Louise M Empowerment Episode 2 Michelle Scott Wilson and Deanne Carbone, Unicorn Empire Media
Posted on June 16 2021
Empowerment differs from person to person. Empowerment always starts somewhere. For some, it started during their childhood, while others discovered it along adulthood. When you're empowered, you are more capable of making better decisions and you can set yourself and others to greater heights.
In this episode of the Empowerment Series, we are joined by Michelle and Deanna.
Michelle Scott Wilson’s family background is in the media sector. The Wilson family founded the New Zealand Herald in 1863. Michelle has continued the passion for the media industry from her heritage and transformed it into the modern-day digital marketing world. She is the founder of lifestyle brand The High-Class Hippie and Unicorn Empire Media - a business growth agency focused on the latest technologies and strategies in lead generation online.
Deanna Carbone (Formerly Deanna Kangas) is a Professional Performer, SEO & Digital Marketing Strategist, Vocal Coach, Public Speaker & renowned Animal Rights Activist. She is the Founder & Director of Voicehouse, Australia’s largest vocal studio. Deanna is on the State Committee for the South Australian Chapter of the Animal Justice Party. She ran in the lower house for the 2019 Federal Election and was nominated for PETA Australia’s Hottest Vegan in 2018.
Deanna is now the Co-CEO of Unicorn Empire Media along with Michelle and their business, media, and performing experience makes them an industry stand out and a duo to watch.
Listen to this podcast now, learn how these women learned empowerment through their business journey, and be empowered!
Louise Matson (00:00):
Welcome Michelle and Deanna. Thank you so much for being on my Empowerment series talks. Welcome.
Michelle Scott Wilson & Deanna Carbone (00:12):
Thank you so much for having us. We're talking like twins!
Louise Matson (00:18):
That's definitely okay. We talk a lot about people's business journeys and we're even also asked whether, you know, your entrepreneurial spirit started, were you born with it or did it, did you become entrepreneurial as an adult, but I want to delve into empowerment and where that started for people. I know for myself it didn't start as a child. It has become that way more as an adult. So yeah, I'd love to know more about you. Let's talk first about your business journey. You have both achieved so much and Michelle, you had an amazing background with media. Your family were highly successful in that zone. Um, you had your own fashion label in New Zealand.
Louise Matson (01:12):
You've even started a lifestyle brand called High-Class Hippie, and now you've developed this digital marketing agencies. So my gosh, your achievements are extreme and then Deanna professional performer. Oh my gosh. maybe you have to sign us a tune later on, like SEO and digital marketing strategist. You've got your own very successful vocal coach business and you are, co-CEO with Michelle in Unicorn Empire Media. So I'd love to know how you two came together to establish your new agency, and I'd love to know where you came up with the name Unicorn Empire Media. So Michelle, would you like to start?
New Speaker (02:02):
Sure, so I've obviously got a background in business over many, many years and Deanna and I actually started working together, on her vocal studio. I was her business coach for about four years. So that's how we met. Then she came to my retreats and things like that, and so we always kept in touch, and then became friends. So as my company evolved, I've got a personal brand and I do a lot of things on social media and a lot of coaching and stuff like that and as it evolves, I found that some of my clients were needing to have the services that I did for my business in terms of digital marketing. And so that's when I created the agency and that was a couple of years ago now. So that sort of evolved.
New Speaker (02:51):
And then I was out to lunch with Deanna last year and we were just chatting and, you know, she got company to an amazing place where she's got all these vocal coaches and she, she doesn't need to be there doing the coaching anymore. And so she stepped out of the business to work on the business and it sort of freed up a lot of our time. And she was like, well, I'm kind of looking for something else to do. I don't know what it is. And I was actually thinking at the time I had just created all the roles of all the people that I needed to fill to scale my agency. And as we got talking, Deanna filled one of those roles and I started thinking, oh this would be a really great partnership, someone that I know, someone that I trust someone I know that's got the skills, and someone that's fun and that I would just really love to hang out with on a daily basis, regardless of whether we work together or not. And so that's how things sort of came together and now we work together and it's amazing. I'm loving it.
Deanna Carbone (03:50):
We do have a lot of fun. We do.
Louise Matson (03:53):
You are very fortunate to have found each other because that is really gold. You know, it is difficult to find that perfect match, shall we call it in business. So congratulations. That's amazing. So Deanna, explain the name.
Deanna Carbone (04:11):
Well, actually I might have to hand it back to Michelle.
Michelle Scott Wilson (04:17):
I didn't think I loved unicorns as much as everyone else thought that I loved unicorns and everyone's just associated them with me, I guess. I must've referenced that a few times over the years. Then when I was thinking about a name for the agency I wanted Unicorn Media because I just thought that would be cool. But that wasn't available. So I thought, well, we're growing an empire here. We'll put an empire in this there, a unicorn empire media.
Louise Matson (04:48):
Fantastic and you're right. That word choir empire does mean your goal is to be an empire. So yeah, I love it. That's fantastic. Were you given plenty of those blow up pool unicorn toys were you growing up?
Michelle Scott Wilson (05:11):
Honestly, I don't know where it came from? All of a sudden it was here, the unicorn thing and it has stuck.
Deanna Carbone (05:15):
Yeah, you've been associated with, like I associated you with liking unicorns. So when it was Unicorm Empire Media, I was like, yeah, that makes sense. But I mean, also it gives, it works in another way. I mean, we are helping other unicorns to build their empire.
Michelle Scott Wilson (05:29):
Yeah and actually what a unicorn is in the business sense, is companies that scale to over a billion dollars. So, you know, kind of fitting where we had to scale, help, help scale businesses and help them to grow and leverage the internet and get more leads through the work that we do with them. So we might be making unicorns all over the place.
Louise Matson (05:55):
Well I did spot one in one of your images on Instagram. So it looks like a lot of fun and sounds really, really fantastic. So let's get into the Empowerment side of this and firstly look, I like the dictionary.coms definition, it says it's a process of becoming stronger and more confident, but what is your definition? I believe we all have our own definition of empowerment. So Deanna, you want to start?
Deanna Carbone (06:26):
I can start with that. I guess for me empowerment really is the process where we realise over the years that we are in fact sovereign and that we have the right to choose and create a life in any which way we want. To be empowered to is to realize that when not a victim of circumstance and we do have the power to change it, but we need to know that first. Even though we might have been through challenging times and had things happen in our lives that potentially were not our fault, we can always take empowerment in the way that we react to those situations and the meaning that we give them and using them to learn lessons and for good moving forward. To really turn that into something that is useful. So empowerment for me is just realising that everything actually, to a certain degree, everything is in my control. And so I am empowered, then I can steer the vehicle, however I want to.
Louise Matson (07:30):
Fantastic. And what about you, Michelle?
Michelle Scott Wilson (07:34):
I'm kind of similar and that's why I guess we get along, we've got a similar mindset around a lot of these things, but for me that's perfectly, I guess empowerment is we do have the right to choose and to make our decisions on, uh, like we have how many thousands of thoughts a day, and in every moment we get to choose, is that going to be an empowering thought or is it going to be a disempowering thought and is that decision or that choice or that thought, or that emotion going to move us closer to the goals that we want to have in our life, the things that we want to achieve or is it moving us away from? So we have to have that self observation, and the ability to see ourselves from like the observer so that we can determine what decisions we are making. Is it an empowering one, something that moves us forward, something that excites us, something that inspires us, something that makes you want to get out of bed every day. I'm actually an empowerment coach as well so you know, I help people to feel that and to make those decisions and to make those choices in their life that moves them forward to I get the positive existence that they would like to create for themselves.
Louise Matson (08:41):
Because that's true, isn't it? It's not just you feeling empowered in yourself. It's about inspiring others to feel empowered too, and that's a little bit where I want to go with this because where did it actually, they say it's a process, so where did this process start? And did it start in your childhood? So firstly, that's the other thing is empowerment, you know, a physical thing, is it an emotional thing? As a child, we didn't say I feel empowered because back then I didn't even know the word existed quite frankly. But, the younger ones probably do these days. I'll certainly be teaching my granddaughter. So, as a child in your household, let me know, do you have siblings and where you fit into the line of that? How many siblings and I mean, youngest or eldest, and did you have feelings of empowerment. As a child?
Deanna Carbone (09:43):
Okay, all right. Well, in terms of siblings I'm the eldest, I have a younger sister. There was the two of us growing up. We, I had what you would call a very strict upbringing. Traditional Italian family so my journey to empowerment was, you know, starting from quite a back foot, to be honest with you because I was raised in an environment where, and I know that it was the best knowledge and understanding that my parents had at the time, but I was raised in an environment where women were secondary to some degree so my role was always to learn how to be a good housewife and to get married, which I did. I got married young at 22 and I'm now divorced, I was married for eight years.
Deanna Carbone (10:38):
To do all of the things that ticked all the boxes with the house and the kids and the marriage and, and, you know, that was kind of where I, my role was, but unfortunately enough for my dad who made most of these decisions based on his upbringing, obviously, um, he made one little mistake and that was sending me to an all girls school. I went to a very, you know, very well, high-paid like very classy all girls school in Adelaide, where I'm from. One of the things about being in an all girls school was that there's a lot of focus on women's social justice. And so for me, I began that process of being educated as part of the curriculum on the oppression of women throughout history and the different cultural standards and expectations that potentially played a part in those variations of women.
Deanna Carbone (11:34):
I've been brought up in somewhat of an environment that reflects this, and the oppression of women. I know what it's like to feel oppressed, and so from recognising that feeling of feeling like just because I'm born a wo I have to be like this. I went, no I don't actually that's just, I just, you know, I was struggling with that my whole life, like nothing sat right to me watching my boy cousins play, why the female cousins had to help the parents with the dishes and, you know, think like that. And so I realized that I could change that. Then I started that process and that led me to being empowered myself as a woman. It led me to doing a lot of charity work to help women in Sierra Leone, West Africa, to send them back to school where she is more likely to be sexually assaulted, to attend high school. And in more recent years, it's led me to become the animal rights activist that I am as well. Now I'm a delegate and on the state committee for the animal justice party, and I ran in the federal election for animals and the impression in that area as well. So it's been quite a big journey for me, the kind of sh.
Louise Matson (12:46):
So it's interesting that you began your journey really at school. So it wasn't in the home, it was at school. I'm an Australian. I was raised Australian, but I'm older than you. But my home life was actually quite similar to yours, but I was the youngest. So we've got established that your journey of empowerment was really at school, high school.
Deanna Carbone (13:14):
Yeah. High school was where it all changed.
Louise Matson (13:17):
Yeah. And there, he was thinking you were at a, an all girls school and you're going to be a good girl.
Deanna Carbone (13:26):
Louise Matson (13:26):
Okay. And what about you, Michelle?
Michelle Scott Wilson (13:29):
I think I've just grown up in an environment where like, my parents were always very encouraging of me. And I think that I was just, I was sort of born to be someone who was outside of the box. Like I don't, I went to a same private all girls school and I didn't fit into the box there. So, I remember my mom told me once she went to a parent teacher interview and the teacher sat her down and I was off in the corner, playing with the toys and being creative or drawing or something. And she said, Mrs. Wilson at this school, we breed doctors, lawyers, and accountants, and Michelle will be none of those.
Louise Matson (14:10):
Michelle Scott Wilson (14:12):
Until I got to, I think it was like thirteen, twelve or thirteen where we got electives at school. That's when I discovered creative subjects. So I was always encouraged to do what I loved and do what I was good at. And when I found the creative side of, of life in terms of education, that's when I really started to excel. Then once that sort of evolved in, I got into design school, I did a four year degree and I then moved on to doing my own business. So always sort of knew as I got older and started going through my education, that I wanted to start a business and it's not what it was going to be fashion and I was going to be on the biggest stages in the world.
Michelle Scott Wilson (15:03):
I was going to have all these fashion shows. It's going to be amazing. And I, and I actually succeeded in doing that to the limits within my country, New Zealand, even though it's small, it was on, you know, big stage of innovation and design so did four years consecutive at New Zealand fashion week. And I had amazing sponsorship deals. I have stockists throughout the country. I had three stores of my own. So I always knew that like, that's what I was going to do. And, and I've, I've never really fit into a job. Like I am the most curable employee.
Louise Matson (15:44):
So mum encouraged you. She didn't say, well, Michelle, you've got to be a doctor, lawyer, accountant. She actually encouraged you as a child to do what you love to do.
Michelle Scott Wilson (15:57):
And also my father, he always used to say PMA, PMA, PMA, positive mental attitude. And he just instilled it in me, like beat it into my little brain, my whole life. And he went what's that.
Michelle Scott Wilson (16:14):
And he would always come to like my school sports and anything that I was doing. And he would always get me to think outside of what the confinements were of my own mind, of what I could achieve. And I would always achieve more because of that. So I got better as I got older, getting really curious about that, like the power of the mind, and when you actually put your mindset on something, it's amazing when you say, okay, well, I'm going to go for first and, you know, and that's what I'm striving for instead of, Oh yeah I will land somewhere in the mediocrity of life. When you set your sights on that, even if you don't get first, you'll get far further than a few that you'd like lower. And, you know, I've experienced that through school. And I went to this high school to do my final year. And because I hadn't been the academic, I was more, you know, the creative. I went to the school and New Zealand at the time, 17 years old last year at school, it was called bursary. And so you get like an, a, B or C or whatever. I remember having a meeting with the Dean and he, you know, just to get accepted into the school. And he said, Oh, what do you hope to get for your bursary? And I said, Oh, you know, C would be great. Like, I just want to pass.
Michelle Scott Wilson (17:39):
How about we settle for an A, and we'll see where you get to. I ended up getting a bursary and for one of my subjects, I got 1% off a scholarship. I was 11th
Deanna Carbone (17:50):
In the country. Should I go back for remark? No, I'm sorry. It's amazing. The mindset that when you put that on yourself, like I was like, I'll head for an A, and then to see where you get to,
Louise Matson (18:04):
So you did have really positive influences in your childhood. So you are so fortunate and I'm glad you realised that. So, do you think empowerment is an emotional thing or a physical thing? How does it, how does it present for you? Let's talk about your childhood first Deanna at school, when they, when they spoke about these, oppressions and things, and you felt you could be better than that, you are not going to go down that same path. Did you actually have a sense of an emotional feeling or a physical feeling that made you think, no, that's not going to be me. That's, I'm going to do better than that. How, how do, how does, how does empowerment sit, has it changed from childhood to adult?
Deanna Carbone (19:02):
It's definitely changed over time because, you know, you get better and better at sitting in empowerment in terms of being emotional or physical. I think it's one of the same thing to be honest with you, because we know that motion creates emotion not other way around. So we do have a choice in the body to actually change our state, physical state of being. By doing that, we will change our emotion as a result of that. I think empowerment feeling empowered in a positive way is one side of the spectrum. I also think that you can be empowered by feeling down and releasing things and just kind of going through a period in your life where you're just like, okay, I got some, some emotional stuff to deal with and I'm going to be empowered to let myself be a woman and to go through those emotions.
Deanna Carbone (19:55):
And then when I'm ready, I'm going to pick myself back up and I'm going to be strong again. So even feeling down from time to time or not having things go your way, that can be empowering, even if it doesn't necessarily have the same physical stance as what we envisioned empowerment will look like on a person. So yes, obviously it's answer your question, whether it's physical or emotional for me I think it's both, I think you need the mix for you. You'll be a mixture of both at any point in time.
Louise Matson (20:31):
Yeah. And Michelle, what does it feel for you like for the me when I feel empowered, I stand taller and taller. I walk better. My whole body feels better.
Michelle Scott Wilson (20:48):
Yeah, I think, yeah, I agree if I'm in a state of empowerment, I will hold myself differently. It feels different in your body as well as being physical. I agree it's one in the same, the physical and the emotional. For me personally, I would probably hold myself differently. I would speak differently and sometimes when I actually have to go and do a challenging thing, whether that's, you know, be in a position where I'm not as comfortable, like maybe speaking on stage in front of thousands or hundreds of people, you can go and have that mental prep or that chat to yourself either mentally or in front of the mirror. When you tell yourself positive things and beat yourself up, like you can do this, and there's a message that's coming through you that people need to hear, or this is going to magically change someone's life, whatever it is that comes through you, that you say, and if you say all these things, it really gives you that sense of empowerment and encouragement within yourself. So then you stand taller, then you go out on that stage and you present even better. The knees are less shaky and you know, you're not as sweaty and nervous when you actually have that confidence in yourself and have those empowering converstaions you present differently,
Louise Matson (22:03):
Michelle. So do you feel your childhood influenced your ability to feel empowered as an adult?
Michelle Scott Wilson (22:12):
Yes. A hundred percent.from all of the study that I've done to have me be the coach that I am, I know that a lot of our beliefs and values and the way that we see the world has been determined by the age where two or three years old. So how a child is held responded to, um, talked to, all of those things, like the emotion around that person, the relationships around them, the people around them, all of those contribute to how that child is then going to evolve into an adult and have those relationships where they've talked, being talked to why they're being held, where they're being communicated with, had been negative or disempowering. Then of course, it's going to relate to how they show up later on in life, because those are the beliefs that they have in their mind of what life is like.
Louise Matson (23:03):
And for you, Deanna you had a different experience from Michelle and we actually had similar experiences. So have you had to work harder at the ability to feel empowered as an adult?
Deanna Carbone (23:21):
I personally think that regardless of how Michelle was brought up she still made a choice to stay in empowerment. I think that's the same thing for us. Yes. We would have had to work harder, for sure, because it got to a certain point in time where I started to study a lot of the same things that Michelle has studied and we share interests in these areas as well. I realised that at that point in, I was going to make points, retrain that habit. So the difference is that Michelle from a young age developed really healthy habits around this. I not so much, although granted some help for me and it's not the same for everyone. I know, but there was always something in me regardless that was still positive mental attitude. Like I always had a positive outlook on life and I've read back over journals and diary entries from when I was a kid, I was always as aspirational as I am today. I always saw the brighter side of life. I never, I never looked into the dark and I don't know what part of my personality or how that happened specifically, but I know that I feel very fortunate to have had that regardless of the circumstance.
Louise Matson (24:35):
Yeah. Well, you've got that, you know, that entrepreneurial thing, they say you're either born with it or you develop it and maybe you were born with that entrepreneurial thing, which also means you are a go getter.
Deanna Carbone (24:49):
I was definitely born with a spark. That's always been with me the same spark that I have today. It just got sometimes, the habits that had formed around that would get in the way. Then when I learnt a lot about that, I realized that it was going to have to be a conscious effort and potentially more of a challenge and a little bit more energy to stay on track, but habits can always be changed.
Louise Matson (25:14):
As an adult are there certain things that have helped you like, you know, you're talking about education, mentors, networking groups, you know, are there things that you've done and that you could tell others about that also looking to help them find that empowerment in themselves or become more empowered?
Deanna Carbone (25:40):
For me specifically, all of the things that you mentioned have played a part. I had a love for learning. I struggled at school because I don't learn well in a conventional environment. I have ADHD and I'm quite creative and I just struggled with daydreaming most of my academic life. But I love to learn and I knew that I was very good at it. And so when learning is delivered in a way that I can absorb the information, I can do it very fast. One of the blessings in my life specifically is the fact that from a young age, I was fortunate enough at four years old to start in the performing arts. It was a career that I nurtured since a young age. My parents were always very supportive of that too. They never had any expectations of me to be anything specific that their message was always whatever you do do it properly.
Deanna Carbone (26:33):
So I chose to do that well, and from learning a skill or multiple skills, but specifically singing was the one thing I specialised in from learning a high level skill and learning how to train things past the level where people don't generally have the patience, especially today. I learned self discipline and self discipline to me is very empowering because I know that even if you feel like you're way off track from this practice of self discipline showing up, you could go through months where you feel like you're showing up every day and you're getting nowhere. And then all of a sudden, you just wake up one day and you look back and you realise how far you have come. So then you let go of the need to have this day to day achievement and the instant gratification. And you start to focus on longterm gratification. And I guess that really for me, that comes through.
Louise Matson (27:27):
You just touched on there are times when you feel empowered and when you don't feel empowered. So it's not inherent, like you don't have it all the time or you sounded like you actually do feel quite empowered all the time and even in your disempowerment moments, you feel empowered? Do you feel empowered all the time?
Deanna Carbone (27:59):
I think that's just cause we're like, I don't know what else to put it, but we pretty, like that.
Michelle Scott Wilson (28:04):
I think it's the mind, it's just the mindset. A lot of people can think that bad things happen to them all the time, but bad things happen to everyone. It's just how you see that and how you respond to that and the opportunities that you see in it. And if you just think it's that, Oh, well it's me, all of these bad things are happening to me and my life is so hard and you know, that's just the way that you see it. But like, I've, we've both been through divorce. I've lost my mom at an early age and, you know we've had a lot of challenges in our lives, but I don't see those as challenges in the way that a lot of people would feel disempowered by those experiences. I think what have I gained from that? What is, what are the blessings in those are, what are the opportunities or how can I learn from that experience? And I think that in itself is an empowering state of mind. So maybe it just is that we are empowered, and everyone the good, the bad and the different.
Deanna Carbone (29:06):
I actually think it's stubbornness.
Louise Matson (29:12):
Deanna Carbone (29:15):
To be honest, for example, with COVID hitting last year and being in a brick and mortar business for 12, going on 13 years, this year it was like, there's been multiple times over those years that I have thought, is it time to close this chapter? I never had, and then COVID hit. It was like, okay, well I'm an in studio one, you know, in-person business. And I was like, there ain't no way that any pandemic is going to close down my business. I decide when I close down my business, thank you very much. So I did pivot it and it was more successful because of the stubbornness of I am in charge of me. I think maybe that is, we're both the same and that is, could potentially be empowerment. It's like, ain't nobody going to tell me what to do.
Louise Matson (30:07):
Yeah. Maybe empowerment is actually encompassing a whole. And I guess that process of becoming stronger and confident is this, all these elements together. We'll finish shortly, although we can talk forever. Michelle in your coaching, you must come across clients where they are feeling pretty low about themselves. So what do you suggest to them to go and get that boost, and get that confidence going, you know, feel that empowerment, put those arms on your waistline and "I can do this". So what, what do you suggest to your clients?
Michelle Scott Wilson (30:45):
The first thing I would suggest if you're feeling that that a lot is go and get a coach, surrounding yourself with someone who is empowering and who has that belief in you before you have it in yourself is a really an empowering place to be. It's a beautiful thing to have around you. I think a lot of people have been brought up in disempowering families through no fault of their parents because they had been probably brought up in similar ones. It's just the pitch away, says the interactions evolve. So to step outside of that and surround yourself with people who actually do have a positive mental attitude who are go getters in life who do want to see you also succeed, instead of bringing you down, then those are the sorts of people that you need to surround yourself with. It really does come down to that. If you can't get out of that mindset straight away yourself is to find someone that can help you do it
Louise Matson (31:41):
Often it's not your closest connections that make you feel that way. You do actually have to go outside that circle to find someone else that actually believes in you because sometimes they know you too well. And they know you from a long time ago when perhaps you weren't wanting to achieve as much as you want to achieve these days, so it is important to have that network. Just being inspired with some others, but seen, I could chat with you forever. You have a free group that people can connect with and keep in touch with you girls and get some more information about your digital marketing agency. So how do they go about doing that?
Michelle Scott Wilson (32:29):
So on Facebook, we've got a free group called digital marketing hacks. In that group, we give away a lot of free information around the digital marketing work that we do around tips that we have, that we're using in our business. And then our client's businesses. We give away information around the types of like software and programs and things that we use for lead generation, for building funnels, for making things beautiful online. Then also every Friday we do this Facebook live in the group and it's called the Digital Cocktail Hour.
Michelle Scott Wilson (33:07):
D&M with D&M, a deep and meaningful with Deanna and Michelle. We're having a lot of fun with that. So people can come on there and ask questions. If you are wanting to scale your business, if you're wanting to go online, if you don't even know what digital marketing is, you can come on and learn about that and ask questions. We're an open book and sharing and supporting people to grow their businesses and also we do a lot about empowerment empowerment and, personal growth and things like that. Cause that's just the way that we are. So that comes through as well. It's not just all the digital tech stuff.
Louise Matson (33:50):
You touched on an interesting thing then and valuable thing because when you are starting out, I know when I started out, I was a flight attendant so I didn't know anything about business. My dad had a business, my husband had a business, you are hesitant to ask any questions really, but you have to. To have all that information that you can connect into and learn perhaps on the sidelines, so you can get out and ask a decent question and it feels like you're asking a justified question. So that's really valuable. So thanks so much, ladies.
Michelle Scott Wilson & Deanna Carbone (34:25):
You're welcome. Yeah. Thanks so much.
Louise Matson (34:30):
I'm good to go and enjoy that free group. So thank you so much. Thank you.
Michelle Scott Wilson (34:38):