Louise M (shoes) Empowerment series with Louise Matson and Carmen Braidwood.
Posted on October 10 2021
The Louise M Empowerment series speaks with business women Founder of Louise M shoes, Louise Matson has met and been inspired by during her business journey. Louise is intrigued about where ones empowerment starts and how we find the 'can do' attitude to start, and succeed in business. Taking each guest back to their childhood, then into their adulthood has truly been a gift and valuable insights to all who listen.
In this episode Louise speaks with Carmen Braidwood. We hope you enjoy the interview and feel empowered yourself.
“But the thing that definitely helped me was this very secure knowledge that something else would come along and that only through space in your life, can good things come to you” - Carmen Braidwood After Carmen’s humiliating and frustrating incident in her radio career, she allowed the universe to speak to her. Listening to the universe is a two-way road. The universe has limitless gifts for everyone; it is listening and is ready to give what we want. Manifest your dearest dreams and deepest wishes authentically, and the universe will guide and empower you. In this Episode of the Louise M Empowerment Podcast, we are joined by Carmen Braidwood. Carmen is a Confidence on Camera coach and broadcaster with more than 20 years of experience in commercial radio and TV. Seen around Australia as a regular presenter on the nine networks Destination WA she's also notched up appearances on Nine News, The Today Show, The Project, and Today Tonight. Radio listeners will know Carmen from her stints on 6PR Breakfast and Weekend Breakfast and a run of seven years hosting 96 FM much loved Breakfast Show. Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast and share it with your friends! Feel empowered in Louise M shoes, the most comfortable heels you will ever wear.
Transcript for you to read if preferred.
Louise Matson (00:03):
Hello today. I am very pleased to have Carmen Braidwood with me. Carmen Braidwood is a Confidence on Camera coach and broadcaster with more than 20 years experience in commercial radio and TV. Seen around Australia as a regular presenter on the nine networks Destination WA she's also notched up appearances on Nine News, The Today Show, The Project, and Today Tonight. Radio listeners will know Carmen from her stints on 6PR Breakfast and Weekend Breakfast and a run of seven years hosting 96 FM much loved Breakfast Show. Welcome Carmen, thank you so much for coming on the Louise M Empowerment podcast series today.
Carmen Braidwood (00:46):
Oh, thanks Louise . It's really nice to be here. You sound, you sound beautiful then it was like, I had just landed at my destination and I was welcomed by the head of the cabin crew on Qantas, thanks.
Louise Matson (00:59):
As a flight attendant, I certainly did a few of those PAs and sometimes I wasn't even sure where I was landing.
Louise Matson (01:10):
Sometimes we went to a few destinations in a day, so it would be like, well, thank you coming from you, such professional in the industry. I will take that. Thank you so much. So Carmen many people we talk about where did that business journey start, but I'm really intrigued as to where our empowerment journey started. And so today I'm taking you back to your childhood and we'll talk about, did empowerment start in your childhood and then take it through your adult hood and how you've taken it through your adulthood and what you're doing today. So, firstly, what does empowerment mean to you?
It's a big question, isn't it? Um, I think it's, I think there's a sense of confidence of the knowledge that you can safely go out of your comfort zone. Try new things, try hard things, put yourself out there, the knowledge that you will, even if things go horribly wrong, be okay.
Louise Matson (02:07):
That's fantastic. Now some have said confidence is an external thing, but I think you might have an inner belief of that you're confident.
Carmen Braidwood (02:23):
Yeah. Yeah. I think, I think I always have, and it's wind at times, definitely in my adult journey. And certainly even as a kid, I guess, you know, during my teenage years there were, there were times when, my confidence took a hit for a few different reasons, but on the whole, I think thanks to my upbringing, there was definitely the sense that nothing was out of bounds for me, which is, I don't think was all that typical of maybe the generation that preceded me, you know? So I'm a, I'm a child of baby boomers but like, but unlike other children, baby boomers, I was born a millennial. You know, I was born that little bit later on the cusp of the gen X and millennials in 91. And I think some gen Xs who arrived by baby boomers were a little bit limited by a lack of technology, by a lack of access to certain kinds of education and by a lack of expectation around them, you know, it was just kind of like, you know, you'll go through life, you'll get a job and you work and you'll die.
Carmen Braidwood (03:29):
You know, that kind of had that. That's what I've been told was what you were told as a kid. And, and, and I had parents who definitely kind of viewed life that way don't get me wrong, but there was definitely this overwhelming sense of support and belief that we could both my sister and I go on and do anything we wanted in spite of, you know, from time to time, you know, dad would say something like, well, I don't really see why girls need to go to university, or he didn't believe that women really needed to be in any workplace for a long time, but I think this really cool thing happened as Sally and I grew up in the age that we did through the 80s and 90s, we educated dad, you know, a lot of the time and surprised him and like many blokes who become parents, two daughters. I think he changed his tune about what he expected from women in particular, his girls.
Louise Matson (04:29):
Right. So where did it come from? Was there an external influence for you or was it your mum or was it school? Where, where did all that come from?
Carmen Braidwood (04:39):
Yeah. Um, yeah, mum had a lot to do with it. Yeah. She was pretty, pretty ahead of a time and a lot of ways, you know, I didn't know this at the time growing up, but I know now that mum auditioned to go and be on TV when she was in her early twenties or even a bit younger. So you know, she used to dance at the local stomp when she was in her teen years. So she had a performance interest and she really wanted to do these kinds of things that put herself out there. But you know, being a young woman from Northam, born in the forties there were just not that many of those kinds of opportunities for her to do those things. So I think a lot of generations do this.
Carmen Braidwood (05:25):
They give their kids everything they didn't have. And, uh, you know, and mum doesn't complain about her childhood by any stretch. I think she knows that she had a pretty privileged childhood in many ways, but you just didn't have those kinds of opportunities. You know, she would have loved to have taken dancing lessons or been a performer or, um, you know, had that kind of training as a young woman, but she didn't. So she gave it to us, you know, and, and it must've been particularly frustrating for her to, to watch sometimes when we kind of didn't adopt it, you know, and I can imagine now being an adult myself, you know, if I sign my daughter up to ballet lessons and she ripped her tights a part and decided not to go, I'd be incredibly frustrated as well, pulling her hair out. She would have loved the opportunity to go to ballet. It didn't suit me. I was not that kind of kid was not graceful. I'm still not really that graceful.
Louise Matson (06:27):
I think you just hit something on there that mum might've wanted you to do that, but she didn't actually mind perhaps that you didn't do that.
Carmen Braidwood (06:40):
Louise Matson (06:41):
It'll allow you to do what you did want to do even in the ballet first maybe,
Carmen Braidwood (06:47):
Yeah, she had a great appreciation for what made each of us individual and very quickly picked up what our strengths were and lent into those. So neither of us were really sporty kids we were both overweight kids. That probably really frustrated mum too, but, you know, she didn't get to eat lots of treats and things as a kid. So she probably just, you know, threw them at us. So we, yeah, we were, we were kind of uncoordinated white kids who weren't good at sports. So we went into singing lessons and acting lessons and those sorts of things that gave us another outlet and did wonders for our self-confidence, you know I've always, always said, all kids should be involved in some kind of artistic pursuit, something that gives them an opportunity to learn how to perform under pressure. You know, if you can go on stage and remember lines and get yourself out of a tricky situation, when you don't remember what it is, you were there to say, if you can perform when you're nervous, you can do almost anything in life. You know, it's a very, very powerful skill to give kids. And, and even when, I don't want to speak on my sister's behalf, but both of us copped bullying over the years, even when that happened, remarkably, those performance skills gave you a sense of confidence and knowledge that you're good at something else. And it, and it didn't matter so much if you couldn't run fast.
Louise Matson (08:12):
Well done that you found your thing. You were talking about bullying and, in my day it was just mean girl. There was mean girls and so I suffered a little bit like that too, but did your mum help you through that or was it the school that helped you through that situation?
Carmen Braidwood (08:31):
Definitely. I don't remember school really getting involved ever, you know, and I don't think, I think the understanding of bullying back then was that it was physical. It was something we'd seen on American television, you know, guys being slammed in the locker room doors and things like that. And so I never, probably even called it bullying, you know, there were just systematic little attacks from mean girls over the years that just, you know, were carried out and exacted, and occasionally it was kind of boys, you know, critiquing my appearance and things like that that would come up but that wasn't anywhere near as hurtful as the girls. Uh, but you know, realistically I look back on, they'll probably moments when I did that to other girls too. And that's, what's so heartbreaking about it. I think that there's something in our female psyche that just wants to bring down other girls.
Carmen Braidwood (09:25):
And I don't know why, I think there's a bit of, I think there's a bit of fierce defense of our friends too, sometimes that falls into that category and it ends up being a bit of bullying too, but what helped us through, I don't know, uh, just having that other place, you know, thinking school, dancing, whatever it is you were doing outside of school, you had friends elsewhere, you had abilities that were being championed elsewhere, and I think I was pretty lucky that I had academic prowess as well to fall back on. So for every kid who made fun of me for not being able to run fast or hit the tee ball or catch the cricket ball, you know, there was the, there was the fact that I could read and they couldn't in the classroom, you know, and they probably felt terrible reading out loud.
Louise Matson (10:16):
Yeah. And I love that you focused on what you were good at, not what you were not good at, that's empowering in itself. We didn't know that word empowerment as the child I'm using that as if we knew it, but it's quite recent that we've all been using that I think. So it sounds like your transition, you already had that sense of I can do going into your adult. Was there anything else you went to uni obviously did well there, so that gave you, built even more confidence on, and then the transition, was it into radio after that.
Carmen Braidwood (11:00):
About radio for me during uni, I'd gone and enrolled in Arts degree at UWA, which I was told, was the only university I should consider going to the state back then. It was probably the most well-regarded academically. It's not the case anymore. I was there and I found it a little bit lacking in vocational experiences. I think by the time I got to 19, 20 years old, I was really ready to work. You know, I wanted to make money. I don't think that's a unique experience. So when I was going along to tutorials and discussing a lot of theoretical things and all of my work at uni was so theoretical, I was going, what can I do? That just is a thing. I just want to get my hands dirty and work and make money. And I heard an ad for radio school, on 96 FM.
Carmen Braidwood (11:51):
And so I called and asked about an audition. I was given an audition. I went along and I read a script, I read some news into a microphone. It was the only time I'd ever done anything like that before but I had that performance background so I was able to give it a bit of a shake. I got into this particular radio school and I guess, I, I never, I never would have felt nervous about that. You know, I didn't, it was just like, oh, cool. But it, but it felt really great to, to get in. That was sort of the exciting thing that came from that and there was an empowerment that came from receiving that nod of approval. And I knew that had practical job was on the other side.
Carmen Braidwood (12:40):
I had no intention of not finishing uni and I did eventually after I got through the radio academy. But it was a tricky thing as dad wasn't prepared to pay for me to go to the academy of radio. So I had to go and save the money myself. And that's when I, again, had a can do attitude. I, I networked with friends who were active acting buddies who had this great job working for Constable Care, doing puppet shows and I got in and started doing puppet shows full time for a little while. So I could save the money for radio school. Six months later, I had the money I went off and did the course and, and the rest is really history. Yeah. As soon as I got into that course, I started doing work experience at 6PR and went off to my first regional announcing job in Mandurah, then up to Kalgoorlie and then over east. And yeah, it all went from there.
Louise Matson (13:32):
Now the can do attitude, even when your dad said nope you didn't say I can't do that. You actually again said, yes I can.
Carmen Braidwood (13:42):
I alwasy look for solutions.
Louise Matson (13:44):
That's fantastic. Now I know there was a bit of a stumble in your radio career after the seven years. And I did read, you did say it was a humiliating and frustrating blow to the ego, but I shall make them a few years ago. And that was just after your radio and you, where you were like, what am I going to do now? You just wondered what you were going to do and look at you now, you actually got through that as well. But what helped you get through that? What gave you, what supported you through that?
Carmen Braidwood (14:21):
Yeah, it was it, I guess. Um, yeah, when we met it only been a few months I think since the show was asked, you know, and let's not like sugarcoat it, it was a show that I loved, I really enjoyed working on it. It had completely changed under my, under my nose. Don't get me wrong. It was so different. You know, the, the goalposts had shifted completely from when I started working there. But you know, it didn't work out, you know, after seven years in this one station with an audience that I love speaking to every day, we were told not to come back the next day. You know, we did a show on Monday, no show Tuesday, you know they said youcan do a farewell if you want. You could tell that was definitely not what they really wanted us to do.
Carmen Braidwood (15:03):
We went home and that was it. So, yeah, it was humiliating and frustrating in many ways. But the thing that definitely helped me was this very secure knowledge that something else would come along and that only through space in your life, can good things come to you? And I was genuinely excited. It wasn't something I was saying. I was, I was really excited to do something different by then it had been 16 years, I think, that I'd been working in radio full-time on breakfast shows. So I was pretty tired. I didn't know it at the time, but I was also really sick, found out I was pretty sick, a few months after that. So I was really feeling it, you know, I was just drained. And so I knew I needed to do something different, but as you saw, when we met, I didn't know what it was yet.
Carmen Braidwood (15:56):
I had this, just this inkling of an idea that I could maybe make a business, teaching people in business, how to use media skills to do what they do and create their content much like you're doing right now, but I didn't know how that was going to look. And I was open to anything, you know, I was thinking, am I going to get a government job? Am I going to go and re tap into this almost journalistic background? I never became a journalist, but I was a news writer on radio stations. And I always wanted to pursue that in TV. And I thought, am I going to go and do that? I explored so many different options and I was probably feeling a little bit overwhelmed as to what it would be, but I was on the whole, very excited because I needed to change.
Louise Matson (16:41):
You said it again, you just believed that things would be okay. You would find something. I do remember. I think you can credit me a little bit because I do remember saying, I'd love to learn how to speak on camera. And I think maybe a few people said that to you?
Carmen Braidwood (16:57):
Spot on it's exactly what happened. And you know, it's so funny and maybe it had something to do with how unwell I was at the time, but I didn't listen for the longest time people kept on saying, that's a great idea. I would do that. Especially you ladies at that lunch when I met you, you know, you were all so enthusiastic. Like that's an amazing idea. I want to learn to do that. And it took me a couple of years, didn't it, before I finally sort of went, hang on. This is what people are asking me for. The dots connected to make it a confidence on camera coach, you know, rather than a media coach for business, that never really came together until the pandemic. And it became painstakingly obvious that that's what everyone suddenly needed, was the capacity to cope with things like this, the zoom call, or to be a content creator for everyone was suddenly necessary. Every company was a media company ffnally and the whole thing just finally made sense. And you, I listened to people like you.
Louise Matson (18:06):
Yeah. Again, I think that's a really important thing to highlight. Actually, you said you're putting it out into the universe, but you weren't actually listening to the universe, you were wondering what it was, but it was staring you right in the face. And that's, that's actually a fantastic reminder that even for me, and I know others will really benefit from that. So thanks for sharing.
Carmen Braidwood (18:28):
The head was getting in the way still back thing. And the thing, the biggest thing was, it was kind of imposter syndrome for sure. It was the hangover of my media career and thinking that I had to, I had to have this new career look a certain way for myself to still feel successful. You know, it was really all about looking like I was getting runs on the board rather than seeking out my own happiness. And definitely in the last 12 months, it's been far more about how I want to work, how I want my life to look, how much time I want to spend with my husband and with my dog and my step son, you know, like what I wanted. I've changed my approach to work so much. And it's not about other people it's, it's about me and it's about the people I can help in my business.
Louise Matson (19:24):
So how did you come to that conclusion? Have you been doing some self development, reading a book, being amongst people with that drive you?
Carmen Braidwood (19:35):
Well, I think it was probably the illness. It was, you know, stop being so oblique about it when, when we met I was undiagnosed with Addison's disease. So Addison's disease to anybody who knows what it is, it can change your life, can't it, to those who don't understand it, it's adrenal insufficiency, which is not adrenal fatigue, which is, you know, being a bit tired and struggling with general energy levels. Adrenal insufficiency is an endocrine, autoimmune illness. And it's the third that I have, so I have autoimmune thyroid condition, which I've had since I was 14 years old, that contributed to the overweight childhood that I had and then for another 20 years. No one picked up this Addison's disease. I don't know when it really kicked in, but Addison's disease, like most autoimmune conditions is also life-threatening and because it had not been treated for such a long time I was getting more and more skinny and brown and exhausted and approaching adrenal crisis. So when your adrenal glands aren't pumping the necessary steroids into your body, your sodium levels, plummet, plummet, plummet, and you eventually go into a coma. And that is exactly what happened to me.
Louise Matson (20:59):
It sounds like the universe was actually saving you. I mean, I know it's harsh at the time and quite often we don't know why things are happening and it's upsetting, but in actual fact you've changed your life around to suit you,. You liked the radio show as well.
Carmen Braidwood (21:19):
And I would have stayed in that job. I would've stayed there. And I often say to people, I would have died in that job because there were days when I got so ill and we didn't know what was causing it yet, but I would go to work, even though I felt, you know, beside myself, I couldn't understand why I was feeling so unwell. There was even one day when I couldn't go to work and I went to emergency instead, and I felt so guilty that I hadn't come in to the radio station. And the boss is like, well, that's never happening again. You know, like it was just the pressure to turn up and do a job like that was, it was outstanding. It was just the most incredible pressure you could ever feel. And yet really at the end of the day, it was just a radio show, but I was so intensely defined by it that I would never would never have walked away from it ever, even if it was just making me miserable as it, as it clearly was, you know, my body had to step in and tell me, it's time to change the way you work.
Carmen Braidwood (22:18):
And yeah, since then, I know that I have to have a little more time for rest. And I like the flexibility of being able to work from home. And that makes a big difference.
Louise Matson (22:27):
Yeah. I'm getting the sense that you need to listen. listen to the universe!
Carmen Braidwood (22:36):
Way too much I've recognized it in myself, but I've gotten a lot better at it, but it's still work to be done.
Louise Matson (22:45):
I know you're a member of Business Chicks community cause that's where I met you. And it is a great, supporting network. We've got a great group here in Perth that we're all just watching each other's backs aren't we, which is fantastic. So is there any, anything else you do to continue that sense of empowerment? How do you, do you have down days?
Carmen Braidwood (23:12):
Oh yeah. Yeah.
Louise Matson (23:13):
So how do you overcome those?
Carmen Braidwood (23:15):
I know now when I'm approaching the exhaustion point and it comes so much sooner than it used to, for me, you know, I'm recently just been on two big tours of regional WA, hosting events, which is something I really love to do because I love promoting our state. And that's why I still work on Destination WA. I just think it's the most, I'm very lucky to work on Destination WA, but I think I'd continue to work on that show as long as they'll have me, because it's so important to share what we have here in Western Australia with the rest of the world. But you know, when I go off on these tours, it's a lot for me physically. And so, yeah, recently I definitely hit a wall and I had to orchestrate time to rest.
Carmen Braidwood (24:03):
I have the benefit now with the way I work that I can do that, you know, I can be quite deliberate and make changes to my week. If I say that it's going to be too busy, the struggle I have is saying it sometimes I just kind of say yes, yes, yes. Until I end up in this hole. Um, but yeah, I'm getting a lot better at looking at the start of the week and maybe start of the month and saying, all right, have I given myself enough time to just have a day at home where, you know, even just cleaning, it can make you feel a lot more comfortable about, the world can't it, just being home and getting all your ducks in a row. And yeah, it's a more restful thing than being out and about all the time.
Louise Matson (24:47):
I mean, that's another great thing too. You just rest and I have had another guest say that, that's a pretty interesting. But what if you're going to an event and you're not feeling that confident Carmen, does that happen and you have to switch on? What techniques do you use to switch that Carmen confidence on?
Carmen Braidwood (25:09):
A bit of visualization has to kick in. And I, I believe really wholeheartedly in looking for those things that make you feel a million dollars and trying to tap into that. So for me, I was always most at home hosting radio show. So I would always try before I was going on camera before I was going to an event to try and just remind myself of how it feels when, I mean that moment. And we've all got those things, you know, the, those things that, you know, when you do them, you're shining you're at your greatest and they can be past present or even future, you know, you can have this thing that you visualize in the future is going to make you feel great. And just by thinking about it, you start to feel better. And if you take that feeling into that thing that you're having to go to and switch it on for, same as an on-camera performance, you're always going to be a whole lot better when you actually get there.
Louise Matson (26:02):
And you're now helping others getting palette. So how are you doing that, how are you helping others to feel empowered?
Carmen Braidwood (26:10):
Helping people lose their connection to perfection, I think that's one of the really big things that holds us back and it held me back and belief that I had to make perfect video content in order to become a confidence on camera coach, but it didn't need to be perfect to get the message out there. The message is what's stronger. Your content is what's stronger than the production values around what you're doing and you going to help a lot more people if you actually start putting something out there. So I'm big on helping people just kind of break down the complex around this kind of stuff, you know? So, people will say to me, well, you know, I'm not good at X, Y, Z, therefore I shouldn't do this or I'm too old or I'm too fat, or I'm not that kind of person.
Carmen Braidwood (27:02):
And it's like, well, hang on your, your audience member doesn't care about any of those things, If you're helping them, they'll be benefiting from it. So I think that's a big part of how I'm able to empower people. I'm also pretty candid. You know, I really don't believe in glossing over the ugly stuff. And I think that getting to know a person more intimately comes from knowing all sides of them, you know, and that definitely was a big part of what we did in radio land, as opposed to TV where there's a bit more kind of glossing over, you know, in radio, it's really about authentic connections. We've got nowhere to go three hours of radio a day. You can't fake it. You've just got to be yourself, and these days as content creators, we've all got to just be ourselves. Otherwise we're going to be paralyzed.
Louise Matson (27:55):
I'm really pleased you say don't worry about perfection because I'm just doing this series. I'm loving it. And I know it's not perfect, and now I've got, you know, you're okay. That's great!
Carmen Braidwood (28:09):
But you're still adding value, you know. I have really enjoyed listening to these conversations that you're having with people and you know, where else are we going to tap into these kind of insights? You know, it's a really powerful thing that you're able to do to, to ask someon, to sit for 20 minutes and reflect on their childhood. You know, it's not necessarily something you could go and do at a networking event, you know, it's, it's a totally, and the audience that gets to see it is far greater than if it were a conversation just between two people at networking event.
Louise Matson (28:44):
Really interesting that, because I do also work for Qantas part-time, and I work with those people day in day out, and I really don't know too much about them. So, yeah I feel very privileged that you and others have come on here and shared their childhood. So I'm getting that you just, I don't know, just had it from your childhood, your mother gave you that yes I can do and encouraged you to do what you wanted to do. And you've just always had that and you've taken that all the way, but yeah, really important thing is lets listen to the universe a little bit more, but stop and rest and, and let the universe speak to us and let it be heard. I have done one of your Confidence on Camera workshops. I absolutely loved it. It was a great day. And so I know you do that and other things such as emceeing and you're going to host events and things. I love seeing it all. So how could others get in touch with you if they want to do the Confidence on Camera workshop? I think you've got one next week, actually.
Louise Matson (29:56):
How do people get in touch with you Carmen?
Carmen Braidwood (30:01):
I think the easiest way is to head to Instagram and search On Camera with Carmen, that's my Instagram handle. It's also my handle on Twitter and other places like that. But On Camera with Carmen is where you'll find me otherwise. Carmen Braidwood on LinkedIn, Facebook and carmenbraidwood.com. You can find all the workshops I'm running in Perth. I also run them virtually so anywhere in the world, you may be, we could actually carry out a Confidence on Camera workshop or get together and work on a pre. programme.
Louise Matson (30:34):
Fantastic, that's just brilliant. And coming up really enjoyed having this conversation with you today. I do know you through networking, but it's really lovely to hear about your childhood. I have met your sister, Sally, so it was lovely to talk of her a little bit as well. So, thanks so much for sharing your story today, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Carmen Braidwood (30:56):
Well, thanks, Louise. And thank you for the most comfortable high heels I've ever worn as an event host in my life.
Louise Matson (31:02):
Ah, thank you. That's really lovely up here. Oh, it's the same. Bye. Thanks Lou.
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