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Susan Rocco of Women to Watch Media: “I wish someone told me that the business of radio is a tricky one”

Self-reflection, looking inward and tapping into that small voice that we all have inside is the only way to find success, freedom and peace of mind. The difficulty in doing that comes from living in a society with a lot of noise. There are so many people, books and resources out there that maintain their […]

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Self-reflection, looking inward and tapping into that small voice that we all have inside is the only way to find success, freedom and peace of mind. The difficulty in doing that comes from living in a society with a lot of noise. There are so many people, books and resources out there that maintain their expertise is the way to go, that people get lost in the bombardment of information. We forget that the answers we are looking for, we already have. We’re just not listening. The only barrier for me was not believing in myself. The day I decided to stop looking to others for answers, was truly a pivotal moment in my life.


Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.

How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?

In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.

As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Susan Rocco.

Susan Rocco is the Founder, CEO and Host of Women to Watch Media® LLC based in Philadelphia. Women to Watch® is a national radio show, digital platform and podcast profiling women leaders from around the world, and shares “The Real Story Behind Her Title.” The show is supported by local, national and international corporate sponsors who become integrated partners with segments in Health, Finance, Technology, Non-Profit, Marketing, Law and Military Affairs supporting the mission, “To inspire and encourage more women to pursue leadership roles worldwide.”


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up in Flourtown, PA just outside of Philadelphia. I was the middle of three and grew up in a very traditional Irish Catholic family in a tight-knit small community where all the neighbors had keys to each other’s houses. My Mom was home with us, and my Dad worked as an executive in the roofing industry, followed by healthcare and eventually in philanthropic fundraising. The 70’s was a great time to grow up, compared to the pressures kids have today with the internet and social media. I spent 16 years in catholic school between grade school, high school and Villanova University for my degree in Communications. We spent our summers at the Jersey shore, swimming at the club, playing sports and running around the neighborhood with very little restrictions using our imaginations for fun.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The only advice you’ll ever need is your own.”

This quote means everything to me, and I love to share why. It reminds me of a powerful “aha” moment I had that transformed my life and has absolutely fueled my ambition and desire to help other women discover it as well. It was a Tuesday morning, August 7th in 2012 at 9am. The word original came to me in a very powerful way. Most of the first half of my life was spent looking outward, comparing myself to others and doubting my beliefs and abilities. When I truly understood I was an original, one-of-a-kind human on the planet, I realized I must have something completely different to offer the world than anyone else. I chose that day to go out into the world as Susan Rocco, stop looking to others for answers, and that was the day my life turned around. That I consider a personal achievement. My most significant professional achievement has been building a revenue generating media platform with the support of local, national and international sponsors who believe in my mission. The goal now is to syndicate and bring the voices of thousands of women leaders, to thousands of listeners on a consistent weekly basis. That’s impact:)

You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

I have been an optimist my entire life. I was often viewed as naïve or the girl with “the rose-colored glasses.” It is interesting to me that books are now being written on the power of gratitude. I have always been grateful, and even in the hardest times in my life, I knew that all would be ok. Another quality I think I always had but didn’t tap into until much later in life is a mental toughness. One of the greatest challenges of my life was living with extreme anxiety and panic attacks. What I later discovered after reading an incredible book by Dr. Kapil Gupta called Atmamun was that “The mind is not the Master.” That one line changed everything for me in understanding that the chatter in my head was not me. Conquering the ability to live “mindless,” rather than “mindful,” allows you to live in the flow. That is where peace of mind and creativity live☺ The third quality that comes to mind for me is my ability to connect with anyone. I have always been curious about people and have a strong desire to get to know someone…not superficially, but truly on a deeper level. Some will describe these types of people as empaths. I think empathy has always been under-rated, especially in business.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?

I spent the first half of my life in a constant state of searching. Upon graduating from college with a degree in Communications, I had no idea what I was doing, or who I was. A communications degree for me was decided upon because of my love of people, and a joy of being “in the know.” My first job was in an administrative role with an advertising agency, followed by a PR job with The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and then onto numerous sales jobs that never felt right.

And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?

In August of 2012 after 48 years of working really hard on myself to find my own voice, I walked into a radio station with an idea for a show. They liked it! I would rather say that I found myself than reinvented myself. As someone who spent her entire life asking a lot of questions, and needing to know the truth of everything, a talk radio show was a dream come true! I knew I had the ability to sit one-on-one with someone and gain their trust so they would open up. The reason I chose to launch a show that shined a light on women was because I felt in my gut that women were on the precipice of something amazing, and a long-time coming☺

Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?

The trigger moment was the day I got home from being interviewed myself on a local radio station about the high-end apparel company I was working for. The moment I got home, I recognized that interviewing others and having a talk show was exactly what I wanted to do. I sent a thank you note to the woman who’s show I was on, and said, “If you ever need someone to fill in for you, I would love to do it!” That was the beginning of the new journey.

What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?

Self-reflection, looking inward and tapping into that small voice that we all have inside is the only way to find success, freedom and peace of mind. The difficulty in doing that comes from living in a society with a lot of noise. There are so many people, books and resources out there that maintain their expertise is the way to go, that people get lost in the bombardment of information. We forget that the answers we are looking for, we already have. We’re just not listening. The only barrier for me was not believing in myself. The day I decided to stop looking to others for answers, was truly a pivotal moment in my life.

How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.

Women to Watch Media® has come a long way in the past (almost) 9 years! In addition to my intimate one-on-one interview with my weekly guest, we have a Coach’s Corner segment, a Watch Team® of on-air contributors who are all women leaders at their companies and in their industries and we do a fun “Women on the Fly” rapid fire segment which people seem to love. We are on the doorstep to syndication and the goal is to be broadcasting across the country, giving women leaders the platform to reach thousands of listeners on a consistent weekly basis, and to create a unique Watch Team® in every market.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The first person who always comes to mind for me when I’m asked this question is my husband who believed in me long before I believed in myself. If I had to point to a colleague, I met a woman early on that also believed in me, and her support at the very beginning was a huge gift both financially and personally as she was an executive in the radio industry. Her name is Deborah Esayian and she is Chief Revenue Officer and Co-President of Marketron Interactive at Marketron.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

As an interviewer, my goal is to always engage with my guest in a way that moves them to share something personal, and perhaps walk away with their own new revelation about themselves. On one particular occasion, my guest walked into the studio and said five minutes before air that she was going to open up for the very first time publicly about a very personal challenge she faced in life. She was an executive who worked for Tiffany’s and was hiding the fact that she suffered from clinical depression. That interview is one I will never forget.

Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?

My entire life story was about not believing in myself…. until I turned 48. I have a daughter and I always say to her, I don’t want you to have to wait until you’re in your 40’s to start believing in yourself. My aha moment above explains how I overcame that limiting belief. I always say that the best leaders hold a mirror up to the people they work with and say, look to that person☺

In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?

I did not create a support system before I moved on to my new chapter. I already had a tremendous support system of family and friends who continually offered support where they could.

Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?

Every time I sat down to interview someone, or more importantly reached out to companies in order to secure their sponsorship of the show, I was completely out of my comfort zone. One of my favorite quotes however is, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always going to be no.” The other really important thing I have a deep understanding of is that every human being is the same. Not in personality, but in the deep yearning for freedom, and peace of mind. If that is true, and I know it to be, then there is no need to be intimidated by anyone. I actually enjoy speaking to top executives, notables and high achievers because I know deep down, they are just like me☺

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. I wish someone told me that the business of radio is a tricky one
  2. I wish someone told me to always go with my gut when hiring people
  3. I wish someone told me to not always trust people. That was tough for me to learn.
  4. I wish someone told me that managing money could be fun.
  5. I wish someone told me to use Quick Books from day one.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Without hesitation the movement I hope to inspire is the one that encourages more women to lead because the balance of men and women bringing their gifts equally to every table is what the planet has been missing. It will solve every social and global issue of our time.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂

YES…I would love to sit at a round table in a garden with Oprah, Malala and Dr. Kapil Gupta and discuss why we are here and what the true meaning of life is. These are people that I see as truth seekers, and I share their innate yearning to know the truth of the less superficial matters. They’ve amassed large followers because they have no facades. This would be the most fun I would ever have in life and I am convinced that I would come up with questions they have never been asked before. That’s one of my superpowers☺

How can our readers further follow your work online?

All of our work can be found at www.women2watch.net

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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