Meet Beth Tancredi Chunn, a writer and expert in product management, marketing and content strategy who transitioned into a role as Editor-in-Chief at a Political startup. After 25 years of working for various industries, writing her own book, and starting her own business, Beth felt the ups and downs of climbing the ranks as a female in business. Now, Beth has a role where she is in charge, she knows her worth, and she can make a difference in her company on her own terms. Listen and be inspired by Beth Tancredi Chunn’s Second Act Success story.
Connect with Beth Tancredi Chunn on social:
LinkedIn – Beth Tancredi Chunn
Facebook – @bethtancredi
Political IQ – https://www.politicaliq.com/
03:01 – Working at The Weather Channel
04:38 – Working at a political polling company
06:13 – Starting a writing business
07:09 – New opportunity comes knocking
08:25 – Struggles in the workplace
09:48 – Political IQ
18:14 – Writing the book Pursuing My Wonderful
20:26 – WeJane TV
22:10 – 5 Fast Qs Of The Week
24:51 – Connect with Beth Tancredi Chunn
Season 1 -Episode #5
Guest: Beth Tancredi Chunn
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)
[00:00:00] Shannon: From a career in marketing and content strategy to writing a book and launching her own company. And now being the Editor-in-Chief at Political IQ.. Let's meet Beth Tancredi Chunn and hear her Second Act Success story.
Are you at a crossroads in your career or in life? Well, don't worry because life's next chapter is waiting. This is the Second Act Success Podcast. I am your host Shannon Russell.
I'm a television producer turned boy mom turned business owner podcaster and career coach. If you are looking to start a new career, or begin a fresh chapter in life, then get ready to be inspired with stories of women who have done just that. We will share advice and offer steps. You can take to help figure out what your true calling in life really is. It is time to shine. So let's turn the page and get started. Welcome to second act success.[00:01:00]
Welcome to a new episode of the Second Act Success Podcast. I'm your host Shannon Russell. Today, we're chatting with Beth Tancredi Chunn. Her story is fascinating in so many ways. Beth began her career working at The Weather Channel in Atlanta, Georgia. And then she moved back home to New Jersey and continue to write content and marketing pieces for various industries. She gets candid about the ups and downs of being a woman in the workplace and the struggles she dealt with throughout her career. Through it all. Beth wrote a book, launched her own business and ended up right where she wants to be heading up a fantastic new startup. Let's dive into my conversation with Beth Tancredi Chunn.
[00:01:48] Beth: Thank you so much for having.
[00:01:49] Shannon: Let's start with you telling us about your journey.
[00:01:52] Beth: The, The funny thing is when I graduated from college, I graduated with a degree in journalism and a minor in [00:02:00] politics. And I left that school and I said, I am never going into journalism and I'm never going into politics. So here I am 20 some 27, I think I figured out years later. And I am absolutely in journalism and politics and I'm loving it.
[00:02:14] Shannon: What was it about your college experience that made you not want to go into your major?
[00:02:20] Beth: It was specifically print journalism that I didn't want to go into because, um, every journalist in the world is going to hate me right now. I couldn't grasp it. Like I was a much more, meant for a marketing type of writing. I'm a storyteller and I need fluff. I want to put, you know, cool flashy stuff all over the place. And also I had one professor who went through a whole class with us with a local journalist. And they were telling us how awful the money was and how you were always on call. And I'm like, Yeah. I don't think that's for me.
[00:02:55] Shannon: Yeah, that's going to sour you a little bit.
[00:02:57] Beth: Yeah, for sure.
[00:02:58] Shannon: What was your first job out of [00:03:00] college?
[00:03:01] Beth: I went to school in Ithaca, New York. So it was very cold. I was like, I'm so done with winter. I was like single young woman and I'm like, Atlanta was the hot place to be. So I packed up my car and I'm moved down to Atlanta without a job, without a place to live and was kinda like crashing on people's couches for a little bit. And I ended up with a temp agency that put me on a temporary placement with the Weather Channel and the Weather Channel actually ended up hiring me. They were, had just started weather.com at that point. So they hired me as a, as a junior producer. I went from there and I was really kind of building the content on their website. and I was good at it, but I never wanted to take it any further in any kind of programming. Like that was not my thing. Around that time that I was kind of having that come to Jesus moment with myself. I had some family circumstances happening and I decided to move back up to New Jersey and then I got into, the digital newspaper business, because people kind of knew that I knew how to work the [00:04:00] digital world, the www is at that point.
Life, or My career has really spanned different industries. And it wasn't until I ended up with a hospital system when I was helping physicians practices tell their stories through direct marketing brochures and all this stuff. And that was really when I got into looking at the stories and learning I really started to revisit the storytelling aspect of it and the content strategy. The skill set has stayed largely the same, but the, but the breadth , of the industries that I worked on was so vast that I could pick up clients from just about anybody.
[00:04:34] Shannon: So when did your political polling opportunity come up?
[00:04:38] Beth: That came after healthcare. I just fell into the political polling business about 12 years ago. I absolutely loved it. I really thought we were making a difference. The thing about polling that's cool is you know, numbers tell stories. You could look at numbers, all lined up in columns and stuff like that, and you could actually make a whole picture. It was like putting a puzzle together and telling that story. I loved that part. You know, [00:05:00] I feel good about what we were doing. I really got a good idea of how, how things worked and how people felt and I really got into politics. Eventually they ended up, promoting me to general manager to run the company and then it was more operational, so i t was less amusing. Things felt a little icky for me. I just wasn't agreeing with the way we were doing business. , but you know, at that point I was well into my forties. It was very hard to find jobs. It started to feel a lot like, gosh, I'm just too old for anybody to consider, you know, me for what I'm doing. It hurt a bit. Right? And then I was like, well, you know what? I love writing. I still love writing. I had picked up some work throughout my career freelancing for folks. And I said, well, let me try it again. I said, I'm going to quit my job at the polling company, but I was going to work part-time until such and such a date at which time, , I'll just transition somebody into my replacement , which was all cool. Except two years later, they still hadn't filled my role. , but it [00:06:00] gave me a really good buffer to work there part-time while I was still, you know, building up my client base.
[00:06:06] Shannon: So then you finally left the polling place and you decided to go out on your own and start your own business. Tell me about that experience.
[00:06:13] Beth: I'm ready to just go solo and so I did and it felt great and every day there was more work and every day there were more clients For me it really was a word of mouth thing. When you know, other writers who are kind of like, oh, I can't take this work on right now. Maybe you can. That was very helpful. , so. I mean, my days were full. My days were full. I loved it.
[00:06:34] Shannon: It's different every day.
[00:06:35] Beth: Yes, and that is what was so cool about it is because you couldn't get bored because you were always learning something new and you were always had to, you know, again, from a time management perspective, your day slices up very differently some days it was writing web copy. Some days it was brochure copy. Some days it was articles. Like I absolutely loved writing articles for magazines, where I was interviewing, you know, C-suite [00:07:00] folks or in the hospital system I was interviewing patients who had gone through different procedures and, uh, you know, it was just great. I love learning about that stuff.
[00:07:08] Shannon: That's fantastic.
[00:07:09] Beth: Then one day I got a call from a, friend of a former colleague . And he said, oh, you know, we've been hearing so much about your political work. , we'd really like you to come in. We have this startup, called Political IQ. And I was like, no, I, I felt really burned by politics after being, especially in, you know, through to 2016, to 2020 and the pandemic and everything, I just felt so, you know, it was scorched earth for me. And I said, now I'm absolutely not getting back involved in politics. Thank you for having faith in me, but h e kept calling and every day the conversation went a little further and I would say, listen, the only way that I will get back involved in politics is if it doesn't lean to the right and it doesn't lean to the left, it has to go up the middle. And unfortunately up the middle just doesn't sell. [00:08:00] So then he calls again and I said, all right, I have this idea for you. I think what you can do is create a fantasy Congress or a fantasy politics kind of game, which was modeled after, you know, fantasy sports and allow people to learn and really invest in their own knowledge of politics. And I was like, but take it I don't want it. And he called me the next day and he said, let's do it. What do you want ?
I'm going to say that my time at the polling organization had really beaten me down as far as my self-worth went. , I really felt like I didn't know what I was doing. I was made to feel like you know, just like, "Hey, cute little girl", , run along. I started to rebuild that faith in myself when I had my own business, because I really felt like I knew my shit. So now here, this guy comes along and he was like, tell me what you want. Like, what do I have to do to get you here? And I was still under selling myself. My sister was like, you got to go higher. So I went in a little higher and I was so [00:09:00] scared. I was so scared. He was like, well, that's not high enough. He actually went above what I was asking, which is fantastic. But the even better part of all this is that I'm finally in a position where I do know my shit. I do know my worth. And we're building up quickly. It's wonderful. And I really feel like people look at me now from this organization, our investors, what have you, and they say, here's somebody who knows what they're doing. I'm figuring this out as I go, but I know more than anybody about this because of the research I've put into it and because of the heart and soul that I've put into it and the contacts I've made to try and make this into something. Yes, we're learning as we go, but this is the way innovation works. Right. You always look for how can I make things better? How can I make things new? , and you have to be ready for it to fail.
We have, , created a kind of like trivia games that we put out on a daily basis. We are now working towards the fantasy politics, which will be out before, , midterms. It's a lot of fun. I love the [00:10:00] job I do. I love, I love learning new things about what I'm doing and. This might not be my second act, This might be my fifth act, but I do think we're just about at the final, you know, and, uh, yeah, yeah. And I think, yeah, and I think it's, yeah, it's the one that's gonna stick. It feels good and I think the attitude I have with it too is, you know, if it doesn't work, that's okay. I get it now. I'm so comfortable in my own skin and in my own belief in myself and my work ethic and, and the products I'm creating that I finally feel like. Like I just have a renewed energy in myself and a renewed spirit and it's pretty cool.
[00:10:38] Shannon: It's really cool and very well deserved.
[00:10:40] Beth: Thank you.
[00:10:41] Shannon: I think the fact that you felt not as worthy you know, working at the polling company to go into a place where you are in charge and you're feeling the love from your colleagues. No wonder you're feeling the self-confidence.
[00:10:54] Beth: Exactly, when you go into a role every day and I'm not just talking about, I didn't [00:11:00] like my job, my spirit was just sucked out of me every day. And it was kind of like this really. You know, vibrating, nervy, feeling that any time the phone rang or any time I got an email from certain people that I would just, my stomach would knot up and I'd be like, oh God, you know, I don't want to deal with this. The fact of the matter was I would have stepped out of icky years ago if I had been more confident in myself and had really, really put myself out there, like I did when I started my own business.
[00:11:30] Shannon: Well, it's scary to leave a situation, even if it's unhealthy, but I think we can all relate to that feeling in your stomach everyone's been at a job like that, and I think a lot of it comes because we are women
[00:11:40] Beth: Oh totally.
[00:11:41] Shannon: It really is true. And so to find people who can respect us on the same equal level is something that, we're always working hard to achieve and it seems like you have that now at Political
[00:11:53] Beth: I have only met these folks one time in person. And yet I feel like they are family. I am on zoom [00:12:00] calls with them every single day . We work together. We actually have two different sides of our. business , but regardless we support each other we truly feel like, Hey, what can I do to help you to make your life a little easier? And really that kind of comradery, that kind of collaboration is so important. In anything you do. But obviously in work-life, especially, and especially when we're all out of sorts, like some people are in the office, some people are not in the office sometimes, you know, I have to go up to the city occasionally, you know, it's just, it just helps when everybody's working together and everybody knows I'm not in it for me. I'm in it for all of us.
[00:12:35] Shannon: Yep. You're more productive. You're more creative. And by collaborating together, that's where you're getting these fascinating ideas, like the games, and you're just really going to grow on that.
[00:12:44] Beth: Absolutely. Right now we are very, small staff. I have a business development director working for me. And I have a part-time writer right now working for me what we do is we do a combination of news and the gaming, we call it education through gamification. So the first part of [00:13:00] my day, I will go and look at different news feeds and pull content, aggregate content into our website. We also work on, games and the social. The cool thing about these games is we think it's a good idea to cheat on these games. Because we believe that if you are taking the time to win a game, by looking up the answers, then you're educating yourself. And that is really the key to Political IQ? is that we're not trying to make. Lean one way or the other, what we want you to do is be educated enough that when you're having conversations or when you go to the polls that you have an educated idea of what's going on and you can make smart decisions.
Every week we tie games into those stories. So we will have a trivia game based on the article that you just read and it's embedded right in the game or in the article. , my dad who has not really participated in anything in my career, will say, you know, I read this article about the Iran nuclear deal. And I didn't realize this, this and this. And he's like, but then I took the test and I had to go back and I was like, yes, [00:14:00] you get it. He said, I finally understand what it is you're doing. And so, you know, that that's really the point. And that's what gives me joy is to say, I am contributing to making the situation better not to dividing anymore. If I can do my part to get people educated, to make people smarter about everything that's going on around them, rather than just limited to their own echo chambers, then I've done my job.
[00:14:29] Shannon: Absolutely. Like you want both sides to learn about the other and educate themselves as much as they want to. What is the response been like?
[00:14:36] Beth: The fantasy Congress is not launching until September. I think it's going to be a lot of fun and the cool thing about fantasy Congress, fantasy politics. We don't have a name there yet, but. Is that you cannot choose to be partisan in a game like that because it's not about whether you agree or disagree with laws, right. It's not about whether somebody supported something that you [00:15:00] agree with or disagree with. What it's about is is this congressperson performing their job? If the sponsor of a bill has done this and it passes, they have done their job. If somebody votes against something they've done their job, it doesn't matter whether that's good or bad for your own ideology. If somebody abstains from a vote or doesn't show up for a vote, they have not done their job. If they're not speaking to the issues that are on their platform, they have not done their job. So. There's a lot. That's going to go into that. I'm really looking forward to that. The trivia games are relatively new still. People seem to be engaged. The people who do come are, you know, onboard and they're with us every week. And that's a lot of fun. And some of the more ridiculous ones, you know, perform better than, than the ones that are a little more serious, but that's part of the learning curve.
[00:15:51] Shannon: Well, maybe some people are a little, like, you know, they're a little sick of politics and you'd take a little break after the past couple of years.
[00:15:57] Beth: Yeah.
[00:15:57] Shannon: They're going to start to get, you know, closer to [00:16:00] midterms. Things are going to start getting a little more active.
[00:16:02] Beth: Oh yeah, for sure. For sure. Even as we go through, you know, some of these primary elections, we'll be doing prediction games based on those. So that, you know, hopefully we can get more excitement around it.
[00:16:13] Shannon: You have to get some politicians playing and then tweeting about it.
[00:16:16] Beth: Yes, actually, that's one of the, that's one of the things we're, we're throwing around as a beat, the pundit kind of game we're, we're, we'll have a pundit or two who are playing against their fans. So I think that's going to be a lot of fun.
[00:16:27] Shannon: Your many careers are very interesting. Beth, you started in journalism and politics said you did not want to do it. Then you made all the changes over the years and you've ended up right back in media and politics in a even bigger way.
[00:16:40] Beth: Everything I do helps everything I do. And I truly feel that way about my career. I might not have been happy at certain points in my life or with certain job functions that I had at certain points in my life. But everything I have done has gotten me to where I am.
I started my career at The Weather [00:17:00] Channel doing HTML in a website production, but can I tell you, if something's not working on a website, I know how to fix that, or I know how to read code to say, oh, I see where the error is.
[00:17:09] Shannon: Isn't that amazing?
[00:17:10] Beth: Yeah. And you know, I'm not a programmer and I would never pretend to be, I don't know anything. And I will always ask if I need help, but if I can go in there first and say, let me just see if I can identify what the issue is then that's great. I've taken the time. I've educated myself, but I mean, this is something that goes back 25 years ago. So again, everything I have done has brought me to where I am today. I just needed all those little pieces. It's amazing how it all comes together. You know, it's a learning curve and it's, it just keeps building, uh, you know, I totally agree with you. It's definitely a thread.
[00:17:44] Shannon: I think it's interesting. There are people who have the same job from college and they stick with it until their retirement. And then there's people like us that bounce around. But I feel like you take a little piece from everything that you've done and it really truly does lead you to where you are. Maybe if you've [00:18:00] never worked at The Weather Channel, you would not have been as interested in digital media and you might, you know, there's all these little breadcrumbs, right. That just kind of go through your life. And it's fascinating.
So you mentioned that you wrote a book a while back. Tell us about that
[00:18:14] Beth: When I was first starting to be miserable at the polling company, um, I reached out to this woman who had started her own business. She was public speaker, , and just, just great woman. So I just really called her to find out what she was doing. And she immediately turned it around and she's like, what the hell are you doing? You should be writing. You're the best writer I know. And she was like, here's what you're gonna do. You're gonna set up a website. You're gonna blog daily, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I did like, I, I listened to her. Right. And I was blogging regularly. , and then. This, woman who is a friend of a friend through Facebook was starting this, class for first time book writers. I was like, you know what, I'll go ahead. And I'll, I'll pay for that. I wanted to write this book. , that talked about. turning your passion into a [00:19:00] business. So I had interviewed all these different people, about their pivots. The funny thread between all that was that a lot of what they were telling me was like the stuff that I went through after my divorce. And I was like, starting to date. Right. It was like, um, you know, putting yourself out there and knowing your boundaries and you know, all these different things.
So, I ended up calling it, Pursuing My Wonderful and, and the title or the cover actually says Pursuing My Wonderful but Mr. Is, is crossed out. It's a combination of the stories of these people who have pivoted in their careers, but it's also kind of that fun analogy between post-divorce dating and starting your own business. For me, it was really a bucket list item,, and this like super jacked up business card. I did a, co-write another book with a Navy seal, , and worked on a couple other, , portions of books for people as well.
[00:19:54] Shannon: Is another book in your future, down the road?
[00:19:56] Beth: Immediately after I [00:20:00] published Pursuing My Wonderful I was talking about writing a book called Raising My Wonderful, about the maturing of the business, but, , I just got too busy and yeah, someday I would love to write another book, , I would love to get away from the business writing of it and be more, you know, fictional. But I think over the years, some of my, some of my creativity has gone more towards. The execution of products and projects.
[00:20:26] Shannon: So Beth, we met through a project you were working on. I think it was the beginning of COVID and you might've had it longer. We Jane TV. Tell me a little bit about that.
[00:20:36] Beth: So we Jane TV. There's a woman named Elsie who, and she, and I ended up in the same networking group and kind of had this idea to , interviewing women entrepreneurs. And so it kind of built from there and it was so much fun. It goes back to me loving to, to meet people and to talk to people. But now at the beginning of COVID, we decided, you know what, why don't we offer this [00:21:00] to local entrepreneurs who are, whose businesses are struggling right now? And we would zoom the interview and nobody was really doing this at the time. We just decided let's go. It will, it'll be a little flat, right. It's not going to be all fluffy with cool stuff. It's a conversation. And we, we really were focusing on things that people could do during COVID to help them. So you were actually our first interview and that. and that's yeah. And that series, and, you know, we talked about Snapology and the different activities that you could do with your kids during COVID. So they weren't going crazy. And then we interviewed like a personal home chef, because we wanted to talk about how you buy appropriately to have enough food to be healthy? Um, and yeah, So we went through, three or four months of that. , it's since kind of been put on the back burner, I think we both just kind of went on our, on our own paths. I would love to still do it quite frankly, but again, it's just, cause I it's just fun. It's just fun for me.
[00:21:55] Shannon: It was a perfect time, I think, during COVID just because everyone was longing for those [00:22:00] interactions and those conversations. So I'm appreciative that we, we met and we're able to do that together and yeah,
[00:22:06] Beth: Yeah.
[00:22:06] Shannon: a great idea. I'd love to have you guys do that. That'd be great.
[00:22:11] Shannon: All right. It's time for our five fast queues of the week. Here we go.
Name one thing that these different chapters in your life have taught you.
[00:22:21] Beth: My worth. And maybe this is something you just get with age anyway, but I think especially as a woman, You go through a lot, climbing up the ranks, you go through a lot, falling down the ranks, too. But I know my worth. And I know that I'm valuable as an employee, as a, you know, girlfriend, as a mother, as a daughter.
[00:22:51] Shannon: Would you recommend taking a leap into a big life change to your best friend?
[00:22:55] Beth: So it's kind of depends on the friend. [00:23:00] It's all about what your gut can take really, right. When you tell people that you're going to start a new venture and you've probably experienced this too. There are a million naysayers, like you'll have people like, oh my God, it's a great idea. I love it. Love it, love it. But you have a lot of people that are like, well, but if you do that, did you ever think about what's going to happen if this, and it's so easy to fall into that? , I would try to be encouraging, but reasonable in a rational to say, these are the things we need to consider, but here's a great idea. Here's how you can make it work. It really depends on where you are in life because you know, I'm a single mom and , it was risky. But I had gotten myself into a position where I felt that I could actually make the effort and do it.
[00:23:39] Shannon: What is one piece of advice that you would give someone trying to start a second act?
[00:23:44] Beth: Earlier I referred to the, I knew my shit concept. , I think you have to revel in those moments and, And you'll know them. You will know them. So many people are going to try and beat you down, um, and, and make you feel less [00:24:00] than that when something happens and you all of a sudden realize you are the subject matter expert of whatever you're talking about at that moment, it is so refreshing. It is so empowering. I would say, look for those and then really celebrate them.
[00:24:16] Shannon: And run with it yet.
[00:24:17] Beth: Yeah, for sure.
[00:24:19] Shannon: All right. What does the next chapter look like for you?
[00:24:22] Beth: My hope here is you know, this is a leadership position for me. I'm would love to see this be wildly successful and I believe it will be. Um, and I think I just want to ride that wave. This is the first time that I haven't been looking at like the, what the what's next. Because I feel like I'm there. For now I'm just riding this wave because it's making me totally happy.
[00:24:45] Shannon: How does that feel? Not everyone has that. So the fact that you love what you do
[00:24:49] Beth: It feels fantastic.
[00:24:51] Shannon: Where can our audience connect with you?
[00:24:53] Beth: Certainly check out Political IQ, it's politicaliq.com. You can always reach me at LinkedIn. I'm under [00:25:00] Beth Tancredi, T a N C R E D I Chunn C H U N N . And I'm also on Facebook. @bethtancredi. I'm always happy to talk to people and always happy to give some guidance or bounce ideas off of, because to me that's just, that's just fun stuff.
[00:25:19] Shannon: And you're the connector. You really are. So take her up on it, guys. Uh, well, thank you so much, Beth. I really appreciate chatting with you. And this has been so wonderful to hear about your story.
[00:25:29] Beth: Thank you so much for having me.
[00:25:30] Shannon: I hope you enjoyed hearing Beth's story and that you learned a little bit from all of her many careers over the years. I found it really interesting to hear how vulnerable she was. Admitting that she was at jobs that she did not feel comfortable with, where she wasn't treated right. And she kept going to find a place that really accepted her for who she is. And I hope that you will find the same thing to never settle in a job that does not support you. That does not respect you. And [00:26:00] that you too can keep going to find a career that truly fits you and that you can truly be happy in.
Thank you again so much for listening. Be sure to tell your friends, leave us a review and subscribe to the podcast. So you don't miss a single episode. We will see you back here again next week with another Second Act Success story. Have a great one!
Thank you for joining us. I hope you found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act Success. To view, show notes from this episode, recommend to guests with a great story and learn more about us. Visit secondactsuccess.co. Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast. So you don't miss a single episode. And if you are enjoying our time together, please leave a review in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much. Thank you again for listening. I am Shannon Russell, and this is Second [00:27:00] Act Success.
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