Fresh Blood Podcast Episode Guest - Dr. Dawn Carpenter

Dawn talks about tackling the big questions in life, embracing your unrepeatable spirit, staying relevant and reaching your goals.

Dr. Dawn Carpenter is an investment banker with the heart of a teacher and a scholar. She is a leading authority for financial management and the capitalization of social purpose corporations, having served for over 25 years as an investment and commercial banker and financial adviser to some of America’s most venerable nonprofit corporations. Dr. Carpenter’s work in business ethics also positions her as a leading authority in socially-responsible business and investment.

Dr. Dawn Carpenter is currently engaged as a Practitioner Fellow at Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, where she serves on the advisory board as the co-developer of the Labor Capital Management Fellowship program. Dawn is also the host of ‘What Does It Profit’ Podcast.

Dawn talks about tackling the big questions in life, embracing your unrepeatable spirit, staying relevant and reaching your goals.

Dr. Dawn Carpenter is an investment banker with the heart of a teacher and a scholar. She is a leading authority for financial management and the capitalization of social purpose corporations, having served for over 25 years as an investment and commercial banker and financial adviser to some of America’s most venerable nonprofit corporations. Dr. Carpenter’s work in business ethics also positions her as a leading authority in socially-responsible business and investment.

Dr. Dawn Carpenter is currently engaged as a Practitioner Fellow at Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, where she serves on the advisory board as the co-developer of the Labor Capital Management Fellowship program. Dawn is also the host of ‘What Does It Profit’ Podcast.


Dr. Dawn Carpenter – Finance Expert, Investment Banker, Practitioner Fellow and Host of ‘What Does It Profit’ Podcast

Jolie Downs: [00:00:00] Today, we are speaking with Dr. Dawn Carpenter. Dr. Dawn is an investment banker with the heart of a teacher and a scholar. She is a leading authority for financial management in the capitalization of social purpose corporations. Having served for over 25 years as an investment and commercial banker and financial advisor to some of America's most venerable nonprofit corporations.

[00:00:27] Dr. Carpenter's work and business ethics also positions her as a leading authority in socially responsible business and investment. Also known as Dr. C, she is currently engaged as a practitioner fellow at Georgetown university's Kalmonovitz initiative for labor and the working poor, where she serves on the advisory board as the co-developer of the labor capital management fellowship program in her work at Georgetown University, she has also created a new business podcast fellowship program where she is hosting and producing an iTunes top 20 business podcast.

[00:01:04] All of this. And I haven't even scratched the surface of everything. Dr. Dawn carpenter is currently doing so, Dawn thank you so much for joining us on fresh blood. I'm excited to learn more about your story. Could you tell us a little bit about your personal path to living this life?

[00:01:21] Dawn Carpenter: [00:01:21] Yeah. What I'll tell you is listen to another podcast. And for that part of the story I say that jokingly, because this week I was on an Australian podcast called let me make sure I get this correct. So if anybody happens to be interested in this backstory they can go hear at there.

[00:01:36]Because I don't know that I'm going to repeat some of that stuff. No. Not just because it's like very intimate and very personal and we've got a lot to talk about . And I think that's exciting, but this other show is called if only you knew so you can take what you want from the title.

[00:01:50] It's okay. I opened up the kimono and shared some of my backstory, which given the background, you just told your listeners about me some people would never imagine. Cliff notes, I was, I'm the daughter of two felons, the first in my family to go to college. I lived in academic dorms in my university as a homeless person while I finished school.

[00:02:09] And, it's quite a story. So you, if anybody is interested, they can find it over there. But Yeah, how I got to where I am really was after a decision to leave investment banking. I I have the DNA of a banker. I'm a deal junkie, but there was a moment I don't know.

[00:02:27] I'm sure all of us experienced this in one time or another in our lives where, it's that pivot point where you say, what am I doing with myself? I had that moment in the elevator at the headquarters of JP Morgan where I was working and I happened to walk in to an empty elevator and in the corner was Jamie diamond, the CEO, and we had this interview.

[00:02:47] Exchange very innocent enough. Everyone has a certain level of the firm has, their Jamie Diamond story. And my story was going to be crafted in those, 30, 40 seconds that it took to get to the 42nd floor for me in the 50th for him. And I looked over and said, I I met a friend of yours last night and he looked at me and he doesn't know me.

[00:03:04] And and so it caught his attention. And we, I had happened to have met Bill Clinton the night before at an event. And now I look back at it this sounds a little bit cheeky, but Wasn't intended that way, but I was telling him about a movie screening that I'd been to with clients. And so I sent him so I got off at 42.

[00:03:21] It was just a very pleasant conversation, no big deal. So I went back to my desk and I said, what do I do with this experience? So I sent him an email here's the link to the movie. It was nice to meet you. And that was that well, 15, 20 minutes later, I get a response and I'm like, that's weird it doesn't have something better to do.

[00:03:36]But that is when the moment it hit me what am I doing with my life? Is this all that I'm supposed to be doing? Here's this guy who's like the Dean of the finance and investment industry. Taking a moment to, to correspond with me just like I'd correspond with anybody else.

[00:03:52] And and it gave me a moment to reflect. It's okay, I think maybe I'm meant to be doing more. And that's when I decided to make a change

[00:04:00] Jolie Downs: [00:04:00] Oh, wow. So I love this because so many of us experienced this, especially at different times in our life where you have that moment of what am I doing and what do I really want to be doing and where should I be? So how did you decide to make the pivot from, cause you said this was in your blood.

[00:04:18]Dawn Carpenter: [00:04:18] Yeah. Yeah, it still is. I sit on some advisory boards where I advise one organization for instance, is a the leading scientific organization actually it's very notable now in the days of COVID, but they have a large endowment, so I help advise their investment committee. So I'm still involved a little bit, and I do consulting work with the US treasury department, but For all intensive purposes, that's my retirement work.

[00:04:41] I'm sure a lot of your listeners have those kinds of pet projects too in, in retirement. But or thinking about that direction, but for me it was okay. I've acknowledged that, I'm not doing all that. I think that I'm capable of doing what's next. And so I actually thought I was going to buy a bank that was austin. It sounds very ambitious and maybe something that most people don't think about, but when you're in the industry, it's, it's not that big of a stretch. I wasn't going to buy JP Morgan, but I was thinking I was going to buy a very small community bank. And this was not too long after the financial crash in 2008.

[00:05:17]And the regulators just weren't interested in doing the kinds of acquisitions I wanted to do. They wanted to clean up banks that were in trouble and I didn't want to buy a troubled bank and basically be a banking plumber if you will. I wanted to do financial transactions that benefited Areas that were marginalized and didn't have access to adequate capital so we call them community development, financial institutions. And in the course of looking for one of these opportunities, I had a group of consultants who worked with me and lawyers and banking, consultants and accountant and we came across an organization who actually happened to be here where I'm located, which is Washington DC who had worked with a bank that was

[00:05:56] actually the first CDFI community development, financial institution that was started in Washington DC. And they said, look, they participated in the troubled asset program after the financial crash. And part of participating in that program, which is when the treasury bought equity shares in financial institutions.

[00:06:14] The idea was that the U S taxpayer wouldn't be an equity holder in banks forever. There would be an exit strategy, but for these specialty kinds of banks the exit strategy is not so clear. I went over to help this organization. Did my job stayed on a little longer to help them get re certified as a CDFI because the person who had done that the last time had retired.

[00:06:35] And so I learned a lot about CDFIs that way. I think it was, I'm a very faith forward person. So I think that was God saying, you need a little tutorial. And I got to know some people in the treasury department and some of the trade associations who work with banks in this industry, and it was a great learning experience.

[00:06:49] But then I was like, now what. And it was actually a credit to my husband. He's look, you can do whatever you want. You're a really smart woman. You have three at that point I had three master's degrees. Yeah. And I'm a constant reader and he's what do you want to do? And I said, you know what I really want.

[00:07:03]And it sounded really crazy. And I guess now that I say it, maybe still sounds crazy, but I wanted to find out what I thought God had to say about the nature of work and the responsibilities of wealth and. And I'm like, okay, that's a huge question. Where do you go for that answer?

[00:07:20] Jolie Downs: [00:07:20] What did you do?

[00:07:21]Dawn Carpenter: [00:07:21] You can't go to the seminary.

[00:07:23]I'm a woman and I'm also from the Catholic tradition. So I wasn't going to the seminary, but I wouldn't go to any seminary or rabbinical school or w wherever the other faith traditions, get their training Because I didn't think that theology had the entire answer.

[00:07:37]And so there's a theological question. What does God have to say? But what's the implication of that, which is what I really wanted to get at. And so I had to find a place where I could study it from an interdisciplinary perspective so I could learn what others what other scholars and other disciplines, because I don't know how many of you, our listeners are familiar with the academic

[00:07:58] world, but it's very siloed. So if you go to study at a very high level in economics, as an example, you become an expert, not in all of economics, but in a very narrow area of economics. I didn't think I could get what I needed in a very narrow anything, I couldn't look at this in theology.

[00:08:16] My, my background, I have a graduate degree in Catholic theology, one in finance and one in political science. Yeah, this seems random, but in my mind, it's not because I needed all those disciplines. I just didn't realize why I needed them at the time. And so I found a program at Georgetown university.

[00:08:34] That's an interdisciplinary doctorate. So it's a field called liberal studies where you actually study human values over the continuum of time. Teach you a kind of a basic research approach and we all take four common classes that kind of teach us how to think like this which is really interdisciplinary researchers.

[00:08:52] And then they send us off building the course content that gets us the information that we think we need to inform our research question, which for me, we just described. And so I found myself a lot in the history department social psychology which is really great. So I'm with PhD students who are learning a lot about a very narrow area.

[00:09:12] So here I come in with this big broad perspective, and it was very enriching from an intellectual perspective.

[00:09:18] Jolie Downs: [00:09:18] Oh,

[00:09:19] Dawn Carpenter: [00:09:19] yeah, during that time. One of the Jesuits, the Georgetown university is the oldest Jesuit University in the United States. And for those of your listeners who aren't Catholic, Jesuit is a charism of priests within the Catholic church who are very well-known throughout history for leading some of the most well-regarded institutions of financial, of higher education.

[00:09:38] And so Georgetown was oldest Jesuit university in the United States. So it happened to be the right place because of the spirituality of the Jesuits was very consistent with my approach to what I was looking at studying, which is, care and concern for the whole person. And so when you ask the question, what is the nature of work and the responsibilities of wealth?

[00:09:57] It means something very different for each of us. And that kind of original jumping off place just made it the right place to be. So while I was there, I became a fellow I've worked in a center for labor and the working poor. So again, just like I, as I was leaving JP Morgan, I wanted to bring my skills to the most marginalized.

[00:10:18]Jolie Downs: [00:10:18] This is fascinating . Now, with everything that you learned throughout that process, what would you say was one of your greater takeaways that have helped you in life?

[00:10:28]Dawn Carpenter: [00:10:28] Personal perspective. It what I learned from that research in that work solidified something I knew, again, from a faith forward perspective, from a faith lens, which is, this belief that each of us is created as a unique individual in the image and likeness of God. And we're.

[00:10:46] If we're not repeatable. If it's like this theory of, if you imagine a, an image of a pond and you drop a pebble in the pond and you see the ripples everybody's stone makes a different shape of ripple. And it, we all impact each other. There's this common sense of humanity.

[00:11:01] And so for me, you asked me, what did I get out of it? I got the. What I needed, which was the the intellectual realization of something that I had already believed in by faith.

[00:11:12] Jolie Downs: [00:11:12] Wow. . That's beautiful way. It's so true. We're all connected. And we all are impacting each other in so many ways that we don't see what now. What was your inspiration to building your podcast.

[00:11:24] Dawn Carpenter: [00:11:24] Oh this is an interesting story, perhaps. I've actually two you in the intro, you. Referenced my very first one, which was called more than money. And we started this in 2015, and I say, we, because I'm in accepting this fellowship position in the university, they said, look we study labor in the working poor

[00:11:42] we know a lot about labor, but we don't know so much about, business and finance and that's a resource you bring. You help us with this. We'll help you with some other kinds of resources. So they gave me some research assistance and they said, we'll do whatever you want. Okay.

[00:11:55]And at the time I was on the board of advisors of another business school and I had approached that business school about doing a television program to promote what their business professors were doing and how they were Providing, additive dialogue to, business ethics and areas like that.

[00:12:14] And they said, wow, that's a great idea. And it's a faith-based university and so they said, Oh, we know the president of this very large Catholic media network. I think they'd love it. And so we sat down with the president of the of the network and he said, yeah, this is great. Just do a pilot.

[00:12:29] And, we'll we'll see about making this happen. One of the professors on the faculty who was assigned to work this up with me we were sitting down talking about our views on what we wanted the show to be or what we thought the show's value could be. And we just had very different ideas.

[00:12:45]And I have a, I guess if you were to think of it from an ideological perspective, we come from the same faith tradition, but we have different ideological views. And I knew it was probably not a good match when I, when he asked me, he w he had his his interest in the show was to do more profiles of executives.

[00:13:02] And mine was to say, let's make it more thematic where we'll take a theme and then see how it plays out in the world. And we'll choose our themes. That are things that resonate within our faith tradition and said what do you have in mind? And I said what about the living wage?

[00:13:18] And there was like a silence. And he looked at me, he said, I don't think you know anything about economics. Like what. So I just didn't let that conversation go anywhere else, because I just knew that it wasn't going to go anywhere. So I, we finished the meeting and I thanked him and I said, yeah, I just think we have a little bit different view. And so I wish them well. And then I went back and told that story to one of my Jesuit friends on campus.

[00:13:44]Who said, I think you need to meet this Research center and that was the introduction to the center. And they said what do you want to do? Do you wanna do a television show? And I said, no, because it's really expensive to do that. And this is, we study labor in the working poor, and they're probably better uses of, the center's resources than, paying for a pilot that may or may not go anywhere so well, let's try a podcast.

[00:14:07] And so that was the beginning of More than Money. And we had two very successful seasons and we would have kept going. But for the fact that there was a fellow who came out of the woodwork and said, Hey, I have a trademark on the name of the show. like, Oh, really? And he said, yes. And I kinda just ignored it for a while because there were probably three or four other shows that had that name.

[00:14:30] And I just really liked the name and I didn't think it was a big deal. I've learned a lot about trademarks since then, but and I said, we talk about very different things. You do a personal finance like financial planning and I was like, We don't do that. We're very conceptual or more ethics oriented and he's no, it will be confusing to the listeners.

[00:14:50] And it's no, you've just noticed that we're six pages deep on Google and People are listening to us when they're trying, maybe to find you. And so I said, if you feel really strongly about it, have your lawyer contact ours. And he did. And our trademark lawyer looked at and said, he does have a trademark on the name, but it's for an am radio show.

[00:15:08] And he said, it's not a podcast. I'm like, and he said, I think, we could probably, win this but it's gonna cost you $800 an hour and we're gonna make really interesting case law. And I'm like, you know what, as much as I love the podcasting industry, I don't want my money to be spent on dealing with these issues.

[00:15:24]I said, I think that's the universe's way of saying, just finish that darn dissertation. So we finished with two seasons, we made it, I think, as high as number 11 on iTunes business, when it was much easier to be number 11 on iTunes business now, Oh my gosh, that just these past few years, the industry has just exploded.

[00:15:44]So we had our first season just ended right before Christmas and we just launched the new show, which we launched the new show October 21st. It's called What Does it Profit. And for those of your listeners who have a Any type of Christian faith background may be familiar with that, a biblical reference, but we're not a a religious show per se.

[00:16:03] We just thought that was a expression that a lot of people knew that really captured the idea that, know, what does it profit to gain the whole world, but yet lose your soul. And that was the heart of what we wanted to talk about. And I think actually it's probably much better for our brand.

[00:16:18] And it helps also to enable me to think more strategically in terms of using the research from my dissertation to formulate the themes and the real spirit of the show.

[00:16:29] Jolie Downs: [00:16:29] Wow. That's very powerful. I think that's incredibly interesting. Now you've mentioned, so many things you've done so many things in your life so far, I'm curious what you feel has been one of your greater successes and what you learned from it.

[00:16:43] Dawn Carpenter: [00:16:43] Professionally. Because I think my greatest success is not professional.

[00:16:47] Jolie Downs: [00:16:47] I either whatever, personal or professional, this is about continued success throughout life. Really and that can, that contains multitudes.

[00:16:55] Dawn Carpenter: [00:16:55] Okay. What I'd say is that in life, if I'm sitting, if I'm lying on my death bed and someone asked me, what are you most proud of having done in your life? It would be the adoption of my two daughters from Russia. They were orphans and they have been just. Transformative for me in my life in so many ways.

[00:17:15] So I would say that's the thing I'm most proud of, but professionally I think I'm most proud of early in my career. I when I first got started in the investment banking industry, there was a lot of transition going on. A lot of disruption I had my first investment banking job was with affirm.

[00:17:33] That was the country's oldest investment bank started in the 18 hundreds happened to be on the East coast, but they had a West coast office and in the West coast They were bringing all of the new tech companies. This is before the bubble, the tech bubble, that if you know the age of your listeners will understand what time period that is.

[00:17:51] It's like the early nineties and they were making all of these young tech entrepreneurs very wealthy and so part of the, a wealth management strategy is to get them in California municipal bonds. And I started my career basically doing tax exempt bonds. And yeah.

[00:18:08] That's how I learned the industry, but when the consolidation started happening, our bank was bought. And so I went to work for a ended up working for a commercial bank that was based in North Carolina, but had an office in the Washington area. I didn't want to move to North Carolina.

[00:18:25]But it put me in touch with the commercial side. Commercial banking side of the business. I was there long enough to realize I hated it. I thought it was boring. But what came out of it is where I'm going, which is the thing I'm probably most proud of. I had an opportunity to actually create my own firm because one of my commercial banking clients was actually a bank.

[00:18:45]And that bank is cool operative bank. They're set up legally by Congress as a A cooperative. And so they're actually owned by their lending customers and they had a deep desire to get into the capital markets. And so they were very interested in that type of expertise that I was bringing.

[00:19:03] And we developed a great relationship. And so when it was time to go off and adopt my first daughter from Russia, which I mentioned just a minute ago I thought, This big adventure is going to take me all kinds of places. I don't know what, how it's going to pull on my time. It's time for me to to maybe take a pause and work on this family stuff and then go back.

[00:19:21] But I had an opportunity to be the financial advisor to in my business. The one of the largest, most well-known traded professional membership association rather. And in my field, it's those are the kinds of deals you really look for and you wait for, and mine was there and I'm like, okay, shoot, what do I do with this?

[00:19:42]And so what I decided was to create my own firm. So we got a contract to be a financial advisor, as opposed to the underwriter of the bonds, which meant that I was going to advocate for that. Client with the banks. And so they paid me a fee for doing it. So it created my, gave me a first, really big client to create my own firm, which was lean named EOS financial group, which EOS is the Greek goddess of the Dawn.

[00:20:08] Jolie Downs: [00:20:08] love it.

[00:20:09] Dawn Carpenter: [00:20:09] Yeah. Now it's names of phones and, whatever. But so that was the beginning. So I did that for about six or seven years and then ended up selling it back to the bank where that had originally been my client. That I think I'm most proud of because we were really able to build a very successful business that actually gave me the resources to Pay off my house, fund my kids' college education, all of the things that I needed at that time and young period of my life that gave me the financial security to be able to have much more freedom.

[00:20:40] When I got older.

[00:20:42] Jolie Downs: [00:20:42] What do you feel contributed to that success? Because that's a big deal. Everything you just did there, what did you do that helped make you successful in this process? Because this is something a lot of people are thinking about or want to do, and it isn't easy.

[00:20:57] Dawn Carpenter: [00:20:57] Oh, I think I was naive, really fearless.

[00:20:59] Jolie Downs: [00:20:59] Really wonderful thing to have actually.

[00:21:02] Dawn Carpenter: [00:21:02] Yeah I think back at it now, it's like I went through undergrad and my first master's degree very quickly. So I was probably 21, 22 years old when I first, so I was, just barely old enough to go to the cocktail parties. When I started my first investment banking job and I was the youngest person there, but I didn't want to look at it that way.

[00:21:23] I never looked at it that way. I thought, you know what? This is my position within the firm. I'm going to take it seriously and the best thing you can do to be taken seriously in a financial institution is bring in deals. So I went out looking for deals and I got them and I brought them in. And so what can people say And now fast forward all of these years, I was like, now I'm staring at being the oldest person.

[00:21:46]So it's.

[00:21:48] Jolie Downs: [00:21:48] you mentioned for the youngest when you started and you did, when we were talking earlier, you mentioned that now your team is comprised of much younger people generally. So what is that like?

[00:22:00] Dawn Carpenter: [00:22:00] Great. You know why? Because last year 2020, before we all knew that it was going to be a pandemic I decided that I was going to learn something new about tech every day. And so I still do that. No. It could be like something tiny or little, but it's like this discipline that I have. So I think that's what has kept me in step, but my team now on this new podcast the research center where I'm affiliated gives me three interns.

[00:22:25] And they have been. Fantastic. And then I have a team of another four interns from another university who are getting ready to do a big social media project for us. And so I'm around young people and it's very yeah, it keeps you young and Either that, or you hate to be, you remember when you were in school, you had professors that just said, you looked at him and he said what have you been doing with your life? It's like cobwebs growing on you. And I never wanted to be that person.

[00:22:53] Jolie Downs: [00:22:53] No. So you make sure you're not, I love that learning something new and technology, even something small each day. I can only imagine how that has catapulted throughout the years now and all the things that you know, and that is a key to success, particularly in this day and age. And learning from the younger generations.

[00:23:09]That's what we, all we all needed and they need to learn from us and we need to learn from them. We all have something to offer.

[00:23:14] Dawn Carpenter: [00:23:14] Oh, yeah. The latest thing they've got me into his clubhouse. Do you know about clubhouse

[00:23:18] Jolie Downs: [00:23:18] Yes. So very cool. I love clubhouse.

[00:23:21] Dawn Carpenter: [00:23:21] Yeah, I'm thinking it could be like an after party for the podcast.

[00:23:24] Jolie Downs: [00:23:24] What I was thinking too.

[00:23:26] Dawn Carpenter: [00:23:26] all right we'll see you there.

[00:23:30] Jolie Downs: [00:23:30] We'll have to coordinate.

[00:23:34] And now, how did you celebrate your birthday during this time of COVID out of curiosity?

[00:23:39] Dawn Carpenter: [00:23:39] Oh, that's interesting. I have a husband who would do absolutely anything on earth for me. So he had all these ideas of what he wanted to do. And I'm like, no, we're not getting on a plane. No, we're not going to, some Island, all of these things that he suggested and he's how would you like to celebrate?

[00:23:55] And I said, you know what? I just want one cupcake. There's a wonderful, I'm going to give a little promo for our neighbors cupcake place, it's called baked and wired the best cupcakes in all of Washington DC. And they have, yeah, they have a cupcake it's they're a little bit oversized. So I thought in lieu of a cake, I said, I want a cupcake because it's like portion control.

[00:24:15] So that's one thing I've noticed when I've gotten older. I can't eat the way I used to eat without really feeling it so are seeing it. And so I said I want that cupcake. And then we'll get a fancy restaurant to deliver through grub hub. And we'll have the family at the table. And then we have two daughters at home.

[00:24:31] One's in college, one's in high school and then I have two stepchildren who are grown. One's in Chicago and one's in Baltimore. So they zoomed in we put them on the The dining room table. And then we had our little pod and we did our birthday dinner and cake, which is our family tradition anyway, but the best thing about my birthday from my perspective was The gift from my children.

[00:24:53] They purchased for me. Which I think was, I think they'd been talking to their grandmother, but a pair of roller skates, like old retro roller skates with the four not rollerblades but roller skates. And they are pink and they've got yellow laces and it's fabulous. And it's like, where do you rollerskate?

[00:25:10]We have been blessed due to probably global warming with very mild winters here in Washington and when we moved into our house, we live in an old historic neighborhood and there's a terrible rat problem. And it's just one of those citywide or this part of the city wide problems.

[00:25:27] And so I hate rodents more than really anything. And so I said, when we renovated our yard, I said, we're going to take out all the potential rodent and habitats. So we have terrazzo tile all on the side yard and in the back we have one of these old historic row houses. And so it makes a perfect roller rink.

[00:25:45] So I put in my headphones and I put on some eighties mojo music and I put on my roller skates and I could make a huge loop around my yard and back, and it's fabulous. So it's wonderful exercise. And I haven't broken any bones.

[00:26:00] Jolie Downs: [00:26:00] Don't you feel so free?

[00:26:03] Dawn Carpenter: [00:26:03] Oh. Jolie, let me, let's get real. I felt it for four days afterwards, like all these muscles in my body that haven't gotten any use in a long time.

[00:26:13] Jolie Downs: [00:26:13] I admit it's been a while since I've been on roller skates, so I'm sure it would be the same.

[00:26:18] Dawn Carpenter: [00:26:18] Yeah. I don't know if you ever get round to national geographic, but this months they do it at I think it's, they publish every two months. So for January and February, they have an article on the history of roller skating which has fascinated. It's a couple page article, but it's It gave me a better sense of what what was the expression?

[00:26:37] It was I don't remember Oh, hell on wheels. That's what it is. So in this article, they were talking about how the preachers back in the 18 hundreds, when roller skating was becoming a thing they thought it was just like, the road to hell. And so that's where they, where that expression comes from.

[00:26:50] So I thought that was pretty funny. So I thought that was a very fitting, gesture towards, the decade of starting to begin to feel like he might be getting old.

[00:27:02] Jolie Downs: [00:27:02] Yeah, I agree. I want to back up for a minute, cause there's something that's been pinging around in my mind. You mentioned in the beginning that you were the daughter of two felons and then, five minutes later or so you're talking about potentially buying a bank.

[00:27:19] Dawn Carpenter: [00:27:19] dissonance in there.

[00:27:20] Jolie Downs: [00:27:20] Is there anything that, that you can point to that has helped you find this success in life when maybe coming from a situation that didn't perhaps set you up for it?

[00:27:36] Dawn Carpenter: [00:27:36] Incredibly. Let's say it this way. I think it's this inherent desire to want to have a different kind of life. And it's motivating and for me, that was all, it was about. It wasn't like hatred, it wasn't resentment. It was just, there's a different way. And I want to go find it.

[00:27:54]No one in my universe had ever been to college. And the people that I was aware of in the community, the doctor, or the family lawyer they'd gone to college, I'm like, maybe that's a way out. And to something different.

[00:28:06] Jolie Downs: [00:28:06] Yeah, you didn't wallow in your past or sit in the game or sit in the upsetness of it. You looked forward and went and stepped into the positive of what you wanted, as opposed to focusing on the things that happened that you didn't want.

[00:28:24] Dawn Carpenter: [00:28:24] which I guess is pretty unusual for someone so young, but maybe I just peaked early. I don't know, Yeah. So who knows, but for me it was always a question of, if you wallow in what's wrong, you don't have any energy to make things right.

[00:28:41] Jolie Downs: [00:28:41] Oh, yeah. Oh, that's so good. So true. Let me segue into this. Can you tell us about a time that you failed or made a really big mistake and what you learned from it?

[00:28:52]Dawn Carpenter: [00:28:52] I wish I had pre notice on that question because I would like to give a really good answer, but from my personal life, I probably Would have married. I got married very young in, in life. And I married the wrong person. And so I think that really important life decision was not the best decision.

[00:29:10] And I think you can, now you can't, obviously you can never go back. And things worked out the way they did, I think, because they were supposed to work out. But if I were to design and be in complete and total control over my life I would say that's something I would change, but it's hard to look back and say any of the

[00:29:28] the things that you know happened are necessarily bad because they got you where you are. We all have to get through hard stuff, it's nobody gets out of this life alive and something's going to kill you. I'm not saying be reckless, but, don't don't let it kill you. Don't beat yourself up for it, I guess is what I'm saying.

[00:29:46] Jolie Downs: [00:29:46] Yeah there, there's no good in that. And then, too many of us spend way too much of our time beating ourselves up and there's really no point we just need to stop. And would you actually say this to somebody else? Yeah. Answers now.

[00:29:58] Dawn Carpenter: [00:29:58] Oh, that's a good, that's a good barometer.

[00:30:00]Jolie Downs: [00:30:00] Going through divorce. That's a big thing. This is a very big thing. And regardless of what the situation is, divorce is a difficult process to be going through. And it's probably something that a lot of listeners are, have dealt with or dealing with. How did you continue to move on in a positive way through a struggle like that?

[00:30:18]Dawn Carpenter: [00:30:18] It was the single worst part of my entire life. And I've been through some pretty awful experiences. And I guess it was my children. I have two beautiful daughters who themselves have their own issues to overcome. They came from very young. Awful circumstances. And they both have had very significant health problems and I thought, you know what?

[00:30:39] They need me. So I've just got a motor through this. And it's going to be not only in my interest, but really more so in their interest to make all of this right. And so that's what gave me the fuel to, to keep the engine going when some days I just wanted to put my hands up and give up.

[00:30:59] Jolie Downs: [00:30:59] Yeah. Yeah. That's. One of the more important things in life that you can possibly be looking at. Exactly. It's a, I have to say my kids have helped me through some very difficult times as well. focus you on what's important.

[00:31:12]Dawn Carpenter: [00:31:12] Yeah. And they look up to you, right? It's you're the, hopefully, as a parent, you're the person that they want to become or they want to be like that's part of, in my view, part of your role as a parent is in raising another human being is to give them, the best you can give them, which is yourself and the best of yourself.

[00:31:30]We don't. I don't know about you, but there, there are probably countless ways every day that I fall short, but I just, can go, usually can go to bed at night saying I did what I thought was my very best.

[00:31:42] Jolie Downs: [00:31:42] Yeah. And I appreciate you saying that because I feel like that's how most parents probably feel is at least that's how I feel too. I always feel like I'm falling short. So it's a constant feeling. And I think it's just when you love someone so much and you want to do so well, and we're only human.

[00:31:56] We are only, we are all doing our best. But you know what? Even when you to do your best. You do make mistakes. It's a part of life

[00:32:04] Dawn Carpenter: [00:32:04] amen. Yeah. Yeah, that's true. We are an imperfect world.

[00:32:10] Jolie Downs: [00:32:10] and we have to be kind to ourselves. And I'm curious, are there specific habits that you've adopted over time that have helped make you successful? Really you juggle a lot, Dawn so I'm curious if there is anything that you do that helps contribute to this.

[00:32:24] Dawn Carpenter: [00:32:24] Oh, I am an ex if I have any skills I would say the strongest skill I have is I am an incredible multi-tasker. And so I have, I don't know, maybe it's part of my psychological makeup. But I really feel like it's Should I say this? I think that it's really important to be able to do what you say you're going to do and to be Really structured about it because it's very easy to say I'm going to do this project, in my own mind I say to myself, okay, I'm going to do that project.

[00:32:54] What has to happen in terms of steps to get me to that place where I was, I want to be. Technology is really great now I'm going to do it commercial for, a tech company, but I like to use Trello project management and putting in everything in there, so it's all organized and then I can delegate it out to different people.

[00:33:10] And so again, it's that discipline of learning something new about tech all the time that has really helped, but we haven't always had tech. So I remember the days actually, my kids found the bag cell phone in the storage closet, in the w those, things with the big antenna on them.

[00:33:25]Jolie Downs: [00:33:25] It's super old.

[00:33:25] Dawn Carpenter: [00:33:25] use. Yeah. Yeah. They're like, what the, what is this? So they found that, but, so I was always, interested in what what tools are available to help me become more productive. But I'm happier when I'm productive. And again, I guess that's where I was going with this answer, which is I it just makes me feel good to be able to complete a project.

[00:33:45] And when I complete it I might complete it faster than maybe another person who tried that a similar project. So I just go onto the next one. And so if my husband enjoys watching certain television programs and I like to spend time with my husband. So sometimes spending time with him just means, sitting in the same room with him when he's watching television

[00:34:04] and so I'm invariably they're multitasking. And and then I'll pop in. And so he loves watching the history channel. And so I'll interject and ask a question cause I'm watching it too. And so we're there. I also think that it's important that when you're with someone to I don't want to give the impression that, I'm the kind of person that takes my cell phone to the dinner table.

[00:34:24]Jolie Downs: [00:34:24] I know what you were getting.

[00:34:26] Dawn Carpenter: [00:34:26] Yeah, but, I'm the same person who will do some type of sewing project or, something with my hands when, otherwise might be, an idle moment. So I guess it's that maybe a lesson that I learned from my grandmother, who, was always , always busy, always doing something.

[00:34:42]And it wasn't really more than anything other than the fact, she had five kids and a lot of grandkids and there was a lot to do, but I just she was one of those positive role models in my life.

[00:34:52] Jolie Downs: [00:34:52] No, that's beautiful. This has been great, Dawn. Thank you so much before we get going. I'd love to ask one last question. Is there one change that you can think of that our listeners could make right now in their lives, that would help them get closer to their own success or their own fulfilled life.

[00:35:15] Dawn Carpenter: [00:35:15] I think there's a lot of hard work that goes into figuring out who you are. And I think that is the Sometimes the stumbling block for a lot of people, they're like, I just don't know what I'm supposed to be or what I'm supposed to do. I always tell myself, and I tell, friends and others who asked me how I feel about this.

[00:35:35]I have a firm belief that we are all good at something. And, it's, I have a guest coming on a future episode of my show. He is a guru in the superhero industry, sounds a little bit weird for my show, but you'll have to listen to find out why that's relevant. But he said something which I thought was brilliant.

[00:35:54] He's we're all superheroes at something. And I think he's right. I find that by asking the question, what brings me joy. And I think about, back in my childhood, what gave me joy and those things that gave me joy, I think, are those keys that were given or those clues that were given as to, what our life should be about.

[00:36:16] They should be about those things that, are, I'll use the metaphysical word, our soul tells us or responds to most positively. And so if you can start by asking yourself what brings you joy? And it doesn't mean if, talk about roller skating. When I was a teenager, roller skating brought me joy and happiness.

[00:36:34]It doesn't. Mean that I was destined to be, a roller Derby queen, but it does mean that, when I'm looking for something to help with fitness goals or health goals, I look at, the things that brought me joy. And so I'm roller skating in my backyard with eighties music in my headphones.

[00:36:48]So I guess that's where I'd go and thinking about that question.

[00:36:51] Jolie Downs: [00:36:51] Oh, I love it. And that, it mimics what my previous podcast guests was talking about as well. And that, that to find who it is that you should be, you're who, you know where to go for that next step. If you're trying to figure that out is to find that joy, go back to the play and fun. What were you doing?

[00:37:06] And go from there. I'm curious on what did you do as a child for fun, or for play that. That you can see has a tug, if you will, towards where you are now.

[00:37:20] Dawn Carpenter: [00:37:20] That's funny. I'm laughing only because I was the kid that got really excited by rearranging her room. So I love just like moving the furniture around and getting little organization things in place, but, I used to Dream about being a political journalist.

[00:37:35] I've watched the movie again, this will date me All the President's Men. And I saw, depiction of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. And I said, that's what I want to be when I grow up. And I wanted to expose bad politicians, which is actually why I studied political science as a young person.

[00:37:51]And I find that back now some of that, and I asked myself, why did I want to do that? And I guess what I had instilled in my kind of core values were that we should live in a uncorrupted, as we, as much as we can society. And that's never going to happen, but in the work that I do, I.

[00:38:11] It's teaching people how to find a way to understand what their responsibility is to contribute to their development of their own life and the lives of others through their work, but also through how they use their wealth. And in those days, that was the, the seventies and eighties nowadays the political sector isn't the only sector that has influenced there now, the economic sector is such a a player in culture and society that, I just think that those same values show up just in a different domain.

[00:38:42] Jolie Downs: [00:38:42] Yeah, , I completely agree. And that's fantastic. Now, is there anything I didn't ask that you want to mention or bring up before we sign off?

[00:38:50]Dawn Carpenter: [00:38:50] If if you're, I don't know if you're going to put this in the show notes or link it somewhere, but if these topics are of interest to any of your listeners we'd love to have them try out our our podcast and see if it's something that resonates with them.

[00:39:05] Jolie Downs: [00:39:05] absolutely. I will have all the links in the show notes for anyone who wants to check it out. As well as to your profile to learn more about you too.


There are so many great take aways from Dawn’s story. A big change happened for her with that chance encounter with Jamie Diamond in the elevator. Someone who is a big deal in Dawn’s world, connected with her in a way that she connects with other people and it made something click inside. Why couldn’t it be me? Maybe I should be doing something more with my life?

What am I doing? And more importantly, what do I really WANT to be doing?

Where am I meant to be?

I love this realization. Have you ever experienced this moment in your life? It’s transformative, that moment of realization that every single one of us has the ability to be a great person – you all have limitless possibilities within you. It’s simply a matter of tapping into that which brings forth the magic within you. Once you figure out that thing that you really want, the only question you need to ask yourself is, why not me?

Dawn has a lot of pet projects she is working on, things she has in mind for retirement, she’s thinking ahead to where she can lend her talents in the areas of her passions. This is a great place to start if trying to figure out what you are meant to be doing or thinking of a change in life. If you had all the time and money in the world, what would you choose to do? What would fulfill you? Where would you want to bring value? Start thinking about that and then get involved now. Volunteer during your free time, join organizations/affiliations that are related to that topic, meeting other people also passionate about this topic. What you’ll find is more joy lighting you up and making all other aspects of life better. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken with who have done this practice and found it led to a new fulfilling path in life.

You get to choose your future path.

We can’t always veer in a different direction immediately but we can start taking those baby steps that will eventually lead to long strides in the right direction.

I love that Dawn reminds us that we are each created as unique individuals and we are not repeatable. This is one of the greatest things about life. We all have these underlying feelings that are the same, this oneness that can connect every human yet at the same time we are all so uniquely different – and this is what makes us beautiful. As Dawn said, we are each a unique stone making a different shape of ripple creating an influence that we will never know the true impact of. We are all connected and our energies make an impression. The person at the counter helping customers in any capacity has tremendous impact on the lives of countless people around them. Simply be interacting with kindness and happiness with another human being, that causes that person to feel more kindly to the next people they are in contact with, which in turn causes more positive interactions. The same goes for the rude, angry customer service person, when they cause negative feelings in the people coming into contact with them, those people in turn react slightly gruffer and impatient with the next people around them and they in turn do the same and so on and so forth. We each of us holds incredible power in each simple interaction with another human being.

What kind of impact have you been making?

What kind of ripples has your stone been creating?

Are they the kind you feel proud of?

It’s ok if they aren’t, just bring awareness to the kind of ripple you are creating and if you don’t like what you see, the good news is, you get to change it. Start leading with kindness both to yourself and to others. It really is as easy as that.

Dawn had excellent advice for staying relevant in a youth dominated culture. Dawn decided she was going to learn something new about tech every day and continues to do this to this day. Something tiny but every day she adds to her tech knowledge. This discipline keeps her in step with the ever evolving tech world and keeps her relevant in her field. This is something we can all be doing easily. If tech isn’t the area you want to learn, you can apply this to any industry or expertise. Decide to learn something new every day in your field, even if its something small, but every day you take that baby step in your chosen space and just imagine how much more knowledgeable you will be in six months, in a year, in five years! Apply this to multiple topics and you can learn and eventually dominate on any topic you choose. One percentage point every day for a year puts you operating at 365% increased capacity on your chosen topic.

Apply this to your life. I promise you, you will see positive results and you will feel daily internal satisfaction.

Dawn had also mentioned having professors in college who seemed like they had cobwebs growing on them and she never wanted to be like, it helped keep her connected to the younger generation, This is really important too because there is so much to learn from every generation, we all have knowledge to share and we need to keep the communication open with each other so we can all grow and expand even quicker than we would have siloed in our generation. On the flip side of those cobwebbed professors, we all know those teachers who have that effervescent youth about them. My Dad was a teacher, he died the day after he retired, yes, the actual day after he retired – if that doesn’t make you want to find something that fulfills you now I don’t know what will – but my dad was incredibly youthful. He retired at 65, standard retiring age, but his students were shocked to learn his age at the funeral, they thought he was much younger. It’s because my Dad embraced every generation as they came through his class room, he learned the music, learned the culture, learned the lingo and he genuinely cared and connected with people of all ages – he remained that young at heart, young at soul and I am telling you that absolutely translates into how you appear to other people – your aura is palpable. There is so much to learn from each and every person, regardless of what age or stage they are in in life. Even attempting simple understanding leads to learning.

Dawn’s story didn’t have an easy beginning, the daughter of two felons, experiencing homelessness among other trials, she could have let her beginning define her, she could have let her beginning cause her despair or make her feel unworthy, she could have stayed in the victim role, used it as an excuse to go down a similar path, because why care? Right?

How many people go there – why should I care when no one else does?

Because this is your life.

It belongs to you.

You only get one.

All it takes is a desire for something better and the willingness to work for it.

Dawn knew this. She made the decision that she wanted a better life and then she started taking the steps forward.

It doesn’t mean it will be easy,

But I promise you, it will be worth it.

Turn your victim story into your victor story. Stop focusing on the past, stop focusing on the things you don’t want, the things that went wrong and step into the positive of what you do want. Get really clear on what you want. And then focus in on what you can control, which is yourself. Focus on the future and put your energy towards daily baby steps in the right direction, creating the positive change you want in life. As Dawn says, If you wallow in what’s wrong, you don’t have the energy to make things right.

Dawn gave great advice around reaching your goals. She stays very structured about what she wants to do. She thinks about her goal and then figures out what she needs to do to get there, working backwards. She figures out each step needed to accomplish and then moves forward with each goal. It’s important to break the projects into smaller steps, this makes it easier to accomplish small pieces of your big project. Each time you finish the small goal, you’ll feel good internally and that internal satisfaction will make you want to finish the next step and so forth. Doing this will make it much more likely that you’ll stick with it and actually reach your goal. You need those internal high fives happening consistently, so stick with those small goals. It’s a great psychological hack to help you reach your overall bigger goals.

I appreciated that Dawn shared with us the difficulties of going through her divorce. What she learned from the experience is invaluable. As she said, things worked out the way they did because they were supposed to. We can’t see that when we’re going through the tough times but this is what hindsight teaches us. The longer you live, the more you see that hindsight gives sense to most things. Hard stuff gets you to where you are. There is no good in beating yourself up for whatever may have gone wrong. It is so easy to feel like you’re falling short. Like you’re just doing your best to exist day to day while everyone else is thriving around you. It’s so easy to feel like you’re just getting by, not doing any one thing really well. And it is so easy to beat yourself up for all of it.

Please Stop. Just stop.

This is human.

We all feel this way at some point in life. You’re not some special fuck up, you’re the same fuck up as everyone else. So stop beating yourself up for being normal.

I used to do this to myself until it finally sunk in – why? Why would I treat myself like this? You are your own best friend, you are your own best supporter, you are the only one who will always be there for you.


Why would you not be your own friend? Why would you not be your own supporter?

Whatever you say to yourself, stop and ask yourself, would I say this to someone I loved? If the answer is no, then why do you think it’s ok to say it to yourself.

Go to bed every night and know that you did your very best and if something didn’t go as you liked, then ask yourself, what can I learn from this situation and how can I do better next time. I just applied this myself this weekend, I had set a goal that I failed to reach. I could have spent the next couple of days beating myself up, why did I do this, why didn’t I do that? Of course you failed, you just suck, why did you think you could reach that goal? But what good would that have done me? What would that thought process accomplish? Instead, I spent the past two days thinking about what I could learn from the situation. How can I figure out what my hindsight will teach me apply it now? How can I grow from this so I can try again and do better next time. By looking at every situation that comes your way as a learning experience, you can eliminate the suffering of the second, third and fourth arrows of pain that are sent from your own mind to slice you again and again. So be kind to yourself. And give the same courtesy to others. We are all works in progress. Perfection does not exist in humans. We live in an imperfect world that happens to be perfect for our souls development.

Finally, let’s bring it full circle with a reminder from Dawn, that we are all good at something. We are all super heroes at something.

What is your super hero strength?

What brings you joy?

What lights up your soul?

Sometimes figuring out these answers are the first steps to jump starting the best next version of your life. So that is my wish for us all, that you find clarity on your own super hero essence and live a life full of that which brings you joy.

Until Next time

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