She’s a two-time WBO Featherweight Champion, so throwing a punch is what she does.  But beyond the ring and those boxing gloves is a fierce woman who is thoroughly clear on who she is and what she’s worth.  Find out how to punch at your own weight and well beyond, this is episode 47 of Think Tank of Three podcast.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

You know the old adage put up or shut up? Champion boxer Heather Hardy has taken that to heart. Let’s lace ’em up.

Julie Holton:

The climb to the top feels so good when you get there.

Audrea Fink:

Is it just us or can it feel lonely sometimes even when you’re successful?

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

And who defines success anyway? What about life’s twists and turns?

Julie Holton:

We’ve learned a few things along the way, and we’re ditching the culture of competitiveness.

Audrea Fink:

Bringing together women from different backgrounds to share their stories.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Let’s do this together. Welcome to Think Tank of Three podcast. Hi, I’m Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris alongside Julie Holton and Audrea Fink. And we are your Think Tank of Three.

Julie Holton:

Heather Hardy, hasn’t done anything the easy way, not even getting into the boxing world. But she has excelled at her craft and made a name for herself.

Audrea Fink:

And she isn’t just about throwing jabs in the ring. Heather Hardy is fighting for equality in her sport and all women from her corner.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Heather, thank you so much for taking the time to join us on Think Tank of Three.

Heather Hardy:

Thanks for having me. What an introduction.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

We love this. We love your story. I personally got to know you a couple of months ago, and I just… In that conversation with you on our webcast, I was like, “I’m sorry. I have to talk to her again.” Period. End of story. So I’m super excited about this. So let’s just get into it. We had mentioned that nothing has come easy for you. Not even getting into boxing in the first place. Could you just please just share how you found your way into the boxing ring to begin with?

Heather Hardy:

Oh sure. I was really late when I started boxing, I was 28. I was in the middle of a divorce and me and my kid sister were living together and we were like two single moms, not getting child support. So we had a little thing. I was like the dad and I worked all day, six or seven different jobs. And my sister stayed home with the kids and they open up a little karate school, close to our house. So she gave me a gift certificate to give me a life because all I did was work and see the kids. And within three weeks I had my first fight and I was just like, ‘Wow, I’m good at something finally.” And just that this is going to be my way out.

Julie Holton:

How incredible. I mean, I have goosebumps as you’re talking because we talk a lot about women’s journeys on this podcast and the best success stories are… It never fails that there’s stories where women hit rock bottom or really hit that low point. And hearing your story, I’m thinking, oh my gosh, juggling so many jobs and kids and you and your sister pulling together to make it happen. And then you discover this incredible thing that… Had you ever even thought about boxing before? Was that even something on your radar?

Heather Hardy:

No, oddly though, as a kid, I always felt like I wanted to be great at something, I just didn’t know what it was. And part of the problem when you live in lower working class neighborhoods is there’s not a lot of programs and things there for you to try, right? Growth is not promoted. Survival is. So when you’re in high school, they’re not looking to send you to all sorts of sports camps and music and art. They’re handing out applications for the police department and for the fire department and women are getting married and settling down and waiting for your parents to die, to move into their house. So I mean, that unfortunately, is what that part of life is like when you don’t have funds. So I spent a great deal of my life just trying real hard to figure out what I could be good at, to get me out of there.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

That’s the third time you said that now, “Finally, I’m good at something.” So I guess my question to you, I grew up with that support system. We didn’t have a ton. We were a normal family. I found out in my adulthood that there were some money struggles that I didn’t realize were money struggles because I was a kid and my parents were just like, “That’s not for you to know.” But no matter what, I always felt that you can do anything. You can be anything, we’ve got this. You take care of what you need to take care of.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

I feel like that is a battle… It feels like it’s a battle you might’ve had to deal with as a kid that not necessarily having that because I hear you saying, “Finally I’m good at something.” And there was never a question in my mind, was I going to be good at something? It was, you’re strong enough. You’re smart enough. You can do whatever you want to do. What was in your head through that childhood, through that buildup and getting into boxing where when you finally get to boxing at 29, that’s when you say, finally I’m good at something?

Heather Hardy:

Well, when you don’t have money and your family doesn’t have money, you look at things like, “Oh man, I wish I could have that.” And it never really seems like you could. I can remember I was married long time ago and my ex-husband and I, we used to take drives in the car and we go through the nice neighborhoods and just to look at the balconies and the cars. And you just have this feeling like, “Man, why’d I have to be born into this life?” Without the thought that there’s ever a chance that you won’t be. People where I come from don’t leave. You would just have a baby and then you get married and then you literally wait for your parents to die and you move into your mom’s house. And that’s how it goes.

Heather Hardy:

You don’t think that things are available to you. And it wasn’t until I started boxing and started competing and started winning, I think it was when I won my first national title that I thought, “Wow, like I could use this to do something. I could be somebody.” And it makes me think of the quote. There’s a quote that says, “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” And it made me realize the saddest thing in life is never finding your talent. Never finding a passion. People who just go through life, waiting for the day to end, the next day to start, not enough hours to make money. That’s the saddest thing in life.

Audrea Fink:

I agree. So tell us a little bit about when boxing, when the light bulb turned on? Was it like your very first-class going? Was at once you’d been in there for a while? Tell us a little bit about the time between walking in the building for the first time and maybe that first win, when you were like, “I can do this. This is a thing.”

Heather Hardy:

Yeah. I mean, the light bulb took a little over a year to go off. I knew I loved it. And I had a lot of people around me. I was a single mom, I’m 28, going on 29. People telling me, “Stay out of the gym, you got to focus on work, figure out what you’re going to do.” I mean, I was a college graduate. I just couldn’t use my degree to do anything. So I was working all sorts of little odd jobs just to bring cash in, to pay the bills. And it was probably that, like I said, that moment when I won a national title, it was the first time I had ever been to the west coast. First time I had ever seen real life mountains. And I was at the Olympic Training Center and I beat up five girls in a row in six days and I won a national title and that was just like, “Wow, I could keep doing this. Maybe make some money, maybe make something on myself.” And really, just that’s when I turned it around and put all of my energy into fighting.

Julie Holton:

Okay. So it also didn’t take long for you to realize that something’s a little bit off when it comes to women in boxing compared to men. Can you talk us through that discovery?

Heather Hardy:

Sure. I always tell the story. When I was ready to turn pro, after I had won all the amateur titles, I won a national title, nationals, regionals, golden gloves. I beat up everybody in my weight class for a year and a half. And I was like, “Okay, I’m going to turn pro.” And a couple of the girls who were already world champions, tell me just this isn’t your career. You’ll never make money doing this. And I had this flashback moment to being a kid. And I was the biggest Yankee fan in the whole world. I had a Yankee tattoo on my back, it was my first one. I mean, I was 15, I was listening to every single Yankee game. 162 games a year, I didn’t miss one. And when I was little little, I wanted to play baseball, but they didn’t let me because only the boys are allowed to play baseball.

Heather Hardy:

And I had this moment. I was like, “Man, why’d I have to be a girl? Why do I got to always like the boy stuff?” And then I had that same moment in boxing. I just won all these titles. Man, Why’d I got to be a girl? If I was a boy, I’d be making so much money. And as a mother of a girl, I just thought, “What kind of life are we passing on to our kids? Our legacy?” Why are we still saying shit like, “Man, I wish I wasn’t a girl.” And it just drove me to want to push that issue. To change the sport, to change the nature of how little girls think.

Audrea Fink:

So, what did you do when you realized what was going on? When you had that aha moment of “Man, I wish that I wasn’t a girl and man, I wish I didn’t keep saying, I wish I wasn’t a girl.” What did you do?

Heather Hardy:

I can remember where I was sitting. I was like sitting in the old Gleason’s, leaning on one [inaudible 00:09:16] and all these thoughts are going into my head and it’s like, single moms are really good at troubleshooting.

Audrea Fink:

Yeah they are.

Heather Hardy:

We figure out a way around [crosstalk 00:09:25].

Audrea Fink:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Heather Hardy:

I knew that I had to use my brain to see how am I going to make these promoters want to put me on. At the time there was no women in the Olympics boxing. Women’s boxing was not put into the Olympics until 2012, the year I turned pro. So there were very limited spots. You had big plate companies like Showtime, ESPN who were vocally saying we’re not televising female fights. So promoters had little to no reason to put us on the show. So to me, I just thought, what if I’m a short-term investment, right?

Heather Hardy:

What if I sell so many friggin’ tickets that the promoters can’t deny me a slot? So I was out there selling 10, 15, $20,000 in tickets making 700 and $800 a fight. But at the time, is the story for women across the board. We spend years trying to just prove ourselves, right? Maybe if I’m good enough, they’ll pay me more. They’ll recognize me. They’ll see me. And pretty much the first five to six years of my fight career looked like that. Where I was just selling out tickets, selling, I mean the Barclays Center, they all love me because I would go and get a handful of tickets and sell them and bring them checks. But the money never changed them. The more popular I got, the more people that would listen to me.

Julie Holton:

I have a feeling, there are a lot of women listening right now who maybe are not in touch with the boxing world. Right? But are drawing all of these parallels in their own ways to your story. And one thing that really stands out to me Heather is, when you said it wasn’t until 2012 that women boxing, became a part of the Olympics. That was less than 10 years ago. So often we hear this pushback, this argument back from men and even from women who will say, “Oh, well times have changed.” Stop making this a man woman thing. But the reality is, this is the reality that in so many ways, women are not equal to men. I mean, what would the promoters tell you about, why the money disparity? Why do they not… Why are the differences? What are some of the excuses?

Heather Hardy:

There are so many, right? And I mean, there is so much systematic sexism that’s just built into the business of boxing and it makes it very easy for people to point the finger in a circle to, it’s not me it’s the network and the networks, well, it’s not me it’s the small promoters. And they go, “No, it’s the big promoters.” Now because women have international recognition at the Olympics, they’re getting more recognition than 10 years ago when I started. But a lot of the times people will say, nobody wants to see women fight. Well, how do you know? You don’t promote us? You don’t put us on TV, you’ll bring us up like the boys, right? They’ll say-

Audrea Fink:

It’s the same in most women’s sports, right? Unless you’re-

Heather Hardy:

Right. We’re not promoted, right? You see, the big argument is the NBA and the WNBA well, is the WNBA or like Sean NBA games are promoted by the network? No, they’re shown on small and sports networks.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Three months, season, not even a full regular season. And it’s-

Heather Hardy:

How many women basketball players are recognized by Nike or there’s commercials or shown in magazines? I read a stat, actually, I want to go ahead and call them out because I think they’re terrible at what they’re doing. Adidas had posted a commercial. And they said, “The saddest thing is that less than 3% of female athletes are represented in the media.” And then they had the absolute nerve to use models as characters in their commercial. And I at the time was signed with Adidas boxing and was like, “How dare you?” “How dare you use a “Fitness Influencer” in a commercial that’s specifically targeting the very extreme sexism of women’s shown in the media and you’re showing models instead of the real athletes?”

Audrea Fink:

Show the athletes just signed with. Yeah.

Heather Hardy:

Right. And it’s true. Women aren’t given sponsorship opportunities. And then so it’s like saying, you’re not allowed to do this, but I am going to hold it against you. And that’s really been the story of my career in boxing.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

I think it was Allyson Felix, she’s a sprinter, USA sprinter in the Olympics as we speak. And it was, I want to say Nike-

Heather Hardy:

It was Nike.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

It was Nike, right?

Heather Hardy:

She was dropped by Nike.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Where they dropped her because of her maternity leave. They weren’t going to pay her through her maternity, but if a guy gets injured or something because let’s face it, men cannot have babies. But if a guy gets injured, there’s no slowdown of his money, nothing at all. But she has maternity leave. “Oh, well, you’re not participating in your sport.” Well, that doesn’t make any sense because if LeBron James bust his ankle, he’s not participating in his sport, but you didn’t cut off [crosstalk 00:14:37] his money.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

So it’s quite interesting how the companies and have gotten away with it. And we have little dots on the screen throwing saying, take a look. And you have someone like Heather who stands up and yells and screams about it, but we haven’t gotten that wave yet to really force the change that needs to be forced. It’s got to be frustrating. Because I don’t know how you feel, you haven’t given up. I know that. How hard is it though for you to continue this fight with the pushback that I know that you’re facing?

Heather Hardy:

It’s really challenging because I’m 39. I turned 39 this year. So I’m at that age, I don’t know if anyone in the chat is my age, but you go through this transformation from 30 to 35 now to almost 40, where I’m just like, “Get out of here. I’m not taking no money. I’m not doing it for nothing. I’m not here for you. You’re here for me.” And if you don’t want it, I don’t go. I don’t play. As a kid, you’re so insecure. You doubt yourself. I know what I bring to the table. You ain’t going to convince me that I don’t. And it’s very simply put, I won’t fight if you don’t pay me. I was offered $20,000 to go to the UK, to play for a world title. That’s offensive. It cost me more than $20,000 to fight, right? I’m coming out of pocket for a guy to offer me, his wristwatch costs more than he’s offering me to do a 10 round world title fight across the country, across the world. Get out of here. 10 years ago I would have did it.

Audrea Fink:

You know, that resonates so much with me. And obviously I’m not a boxer, but I think… I’ve actually noticed this when I was in my 30s, I wouldn’t negotiate for higher pay. I would do whatever job was in front of me. If they wanted to add responsibilities, I would take it because I needed the job. And I didn’t think I was worth enough. And at this point I’m like, “Eh, I’m not going to work for you for less than I am worth. I’m not going to do bullshit work.”

Heather Hardy:

No, but you notice, that’s why in sports, it’s like they get rid of the old ladies. We make too much noise. They don’t want to deal with us. They want these young girls who will do anything on the up and “Oh, it’s going to get better for me. It’s going to get better for me.” No, babe. It’s not. It’s not.

Julie Holton:

And I can’t help but think, you mentioned earlier too, about your kids and back to this whole conversation about what these big companies are doing. It’s not just hurting the 39 year-olds of the world. It’s not just hurting the women, but look at what these little girls grow up seeing? They don’t grow up seeing the actual athletes like you were talking about. They grow up seeing these perfect looking models or just seeing men. And what does that teach our little girls about who they’re allowed to become in this world?

Heather Hardy:

Or what they have to become right?

Julie Holton:

Yeah.

Audrea Fink:

And we shame athletes who don’t fit that. I remember Serena Williams getting crap for having cellulite. And it was like, “Are you kidding me?” She’s one of the all time… She is the ultimate women’s tennis player. Period. She’s the best. You know she works out. You know, she takes care of herself because she has to. You’re going to give her crap for cellulite? Like come on-

Heather Hardy:

I get it all the time because I had the stretch marks from my daughter. So it’s like “Ew stretch marks.” If I gained a couple pounds, social media is sure to tell me how fat I got and get back into the gym and do this and do that. I mean it’s brutal out there. To what you’re saying is, now with social media, there’s so much more pressure, even from promoters. Will tell you things like you have to go out and promote yourself. And what that really means is you have to go out on be half naked on the internet, if you want fans. It’s the only way. And especially in fighting, probably 70% of my fan base is men. So there’s no such thing as me getting any kind of feminine endorsement. I remember one time I got reached out by Manscaping to see if I would…

Audrea Fink:

What?

Heather Hardy:

Yeah. They wanted to know to do a sponsorship deal. I’m like, “Yeah, no I’m good.”

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

I just read a story. And so my husband, he laughs he gets up, he sits and he’s like, “How come when we’re watching beach volleyball,” he literally asks these questions. “Why are they wearing bikinis? And the guys are wearing these baggy shorts and tank tops, right?” And we just saw, I just read an article about beach handball. And it was the Netherlands team. And the women specifically asked to wear like the boys shorts type of shorts versus the bikini bottoms. And they were told no. So they wore them anyway. Then they were fined. Each player, they were fined a certain amount of money because they didn’t wear the quote defined uniform of the international or whatever, national, whatever uniform, which was bikini bottoms that could only cover so much.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

I’m like, “Wait, what kind of sense does that make?” And then they have the two teams side by side. Of course the guys are wearing their regular shorts and whatever shirt. Baggy shorts, baggy shirt, by the way on that. And the girls in the… And it’s like, are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? It’s like when… And I think now more and more of that is being noticed and discussed, but the fact that it’s 2021 and now more and more of that is being noticed and discussed. And I don’t-

Julie Holton:

And I’m over here like even the shorts they wore, I’m like, “I don’t think I’d leave the house in those shorts.”

Audrea Fink:

Right?

Julie Holton:

So it’s still like, why are we even attention to what the women are wearing instead of the sport they’re playing? And I was so happy when I saw, I don’t know if you saw the follow-up to that, that Pink came out and said she was going to pay the fine. And then also along those same lines, is it the German gymnastics team? I think it’s the team from Germany that decided to wear the full body… Instead of wearing the leotards, they’re wearing the full body, pants. It’s still skin tight. They’re still, which of course for their sport is probably what they’re most comfortable in. And I know that Simone Biles came out and said that she’s just not as… She’d rather wear the leotard, but the whole point being, why are we so focused on what women are wearing instead of [crosstalk 00:21:34]

Audrea Fink:

Because women are still only valuable if we are sexual-

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Sexualized.

Audrea Fink:

Sexualized. Yeah. The fact that you as an almost 40 year old woman, me as an almost 40 year old woman, right? We’re being judged because we aren’t sexy enough. Like, yo I’m 40. I’m not trying to be sexy for you. I’m [inaudible 00:21:58] be sexy for me.

Heather Hardy:

It also goes the other way. Because as a woman, if you decide that you want to be sexy or you want to wear really short shorts, you’re discriminated against and people get on your case and always have something to say anyway. You can’t be a woman. There’s no right way. Nobody’s ever happy now. You’re either too sexy, not sexy enough. Too conservative, not conservative enough. Your body is too thin. You’re too fat. The answer is [crosstalk 00:22:26].

Audrea Fink:

Or too muscular.

Heather Hardy:

Or anything. It’s like, you can’t do anything right. That’s why it’s just like, “Man, do whatever you want anyway.” Because they are going to talk anyway. They’ll talk anyway.

Julie Holton:

I want to switch gears a little bit to focus on the gender stereotypes aside for a moment. You are an incredible boxer. So let’s focus on your career for a moment. Here we are, still trying to get out of the pandemic. As of this taping, it is the very beginning of August and we’re not going to get into all the headlines and what’s happening, but this next variant is causing a lot of problems. We’re seeing a lot of new restrictions or old restrictions coming back into place. And there’s just a lot of buzz again about what our world’s going to look like over the next couple of months. And I can only imagine, I mean, we’ve seen that the pandemic has already caused just chaos in the sports world, especially boxing. What type of impact do you really think that this pandemic is having? And you can tie that into the equity battle too, but, how are you doing?

Heather Hardy:

I’m doing okay. Because boxing doesn’t was never my main source of income, they don’t pay that much. I had another job throughout the pandemic. My promoter called me and said, “Look, you’re not going to fight till at least 2021. So you got to figure it out. If you need any money, call me. I’m happy to take care of you and your daughter, but don’t wait for a fight. I say, okay. And I’ve transitioned over the years into teaching boxing because as a fighter, that was the easiest way to stay in the gym while I was training and be able to make money to pay the bills.

Heather Hardy:

So alongside my training I teach and any fitness professional will tell you that in the pandemic, all anyone did was work out. So I would be teaching tons of lessons at the park or in my building, I got clients in my building I started teaching. I was just hustling around with boxing gloves and pads and giving people workouts for a year. And that’s what I’m doing now. Which is somewhat of a transitional thing. It’s not what I’m going to look at forever, but because of the slowdown at the time of my career, I’m really now deciding, do I really want to do this? Am I going to look to get back into it or just hang it up and start a new project?

Audrea Fink:

It seems like there would be a lot of value in teaching courses on boxing, especially for women who want to find their power again?

Heather Hardy:

Well, boxing is a beautiful sport, because you’ll be taken to any level that you want. Some people find boxing therapeutic, and they’ll just come and I’ll be like a bartender. And they’ll dump out all their problems on me for an hour while they hit the bag and [inaudible 00:25:14]. Some people really want to compete. And other people just like it as part of a fitness routine. I mean, there’s so many levels to why people come to box, but it’s a community like so many people will tell you, it’s a real community. You go into a boxing gym, you see cops and lawyers and doctors and millionaires and kids who can barely lace up their boxing shoes. Right? All come together and have that one thing in common that transcends what happens when you leave the door. And that’s really what it’s like. It’s a community.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Well, I hope people are coming to you looking to get advice on life from you through boxing. Because let me tell you, just as I’m listening to you and listening to your passion and your story, lady, there’s a circuit out there and it’s called the speaking circuit. And it’s for you.

Heather Hardy:

Yeah. That is one of the things in my brain, I love to fight and I love to talk.

Audrea Fink:

Perfect mix.

Heather Hardy:

Yeah.

Audrea Fink:

All right. So you have a teenage daughter. How has she influenced your decision-making in terms of what you will and won’t take?

Heather Hardy:

I think as parents, we’re always doing everything knowing my daughter is watching this, right? My daughter is watching this. But just to go a step further, a lot of people’s daughters are watching me, right? A lot of people’s daughters are watching the decisions that I make and the things that they say and do. And I have to be proud of myself. And one thing I will say about my career is I never sold out. I never held my tongue. I never pretended something was, that it wasn’t. And I always lived my life like that. Whether it’s the boxing or anything else. Any choice I made, I made it. And this is why. I never sell out just for money or for a job or for nothing.

Audrea Fink:

What does your daughter think about mom in the ring? Does she come to your fights? Does she participate? Is she boxing at all? Would you want her to box?

Heather Hardy:

So when she was a kid, I used to try to get her, but she’s more of an arts, music kid. Never really physically into it. And my favorite story is when I had won my very first title, I was headlining at BB Kings and Annie was there and after the fight she was crying and there was this beautiful photo of her over the ropes crying. And I’m hugging her and I’m saying, “Baby it’s okay. It’s okay.” And she was like, “Is it done yet? I want to go home.” I think that there will come a time when she’ll look at my career and be like, “Wow, I can’t believe my mom did that.” But I think all kids live in a bubble where I’m just mom. I’m just geeky, embarrassing, annoying, not cool, mom.

Julie Holton:

And that’s exactly how it should be.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Yes. Exactly.

Julie Holton:

And I love too that you are encouraging her to find her strengths. It’s so great that… I mean, it’s so great that she is not feeling any pressure to follow in her mom’s footsteps. This is all about discovering her talents just as you found yours.

Heather Hardy:

Yeah. That’s why it was so important to me. I didn’t want her to have to wait until she was 28 to find something she was good at. I wanted her… The goal was to get to a neighborhood, a place where she was going to be exposed to things like art and music, cooking, dance, things that I didn’t have when I grew up, so that she could find something that she loves, something to be passionate about.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Is there a small part of you though that would say, “Oh, just to step in there for a minute,” even just to make sure that when you’re walking down the street, you got the left, right?

Heather Hardy:

No. No. We carry pepper spray in this house.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Heather, where does your strength come from? You have such a power of, you’re not going to take me down no matter what. Where does that come from?

Heather Hardy:

A lot of people ask me that. I think that’s one of them things like you either got it or you don’t. You can’t learn that. I get a lot of kids come to me because they want to box. They want to fight young girls. And over the years, learned that some people just want to want it. They don’t know how to want. They don’t know how to sacrifice. How to push. I can’t teach nobody that. You either do it or you don’t. And where do I think come from? Probably my mother. My mother and father both worked two jobs growing up. And I was the oldest sister with the key on the shoelace. And I would wake my brother and sister and bring home.

Heather Hardy:

And it was like, I just learned real young that, and I taught this to my sister and if she heard this, she’d be rolling her eyes because I told her her whole life, there are two things in life, things you want to do and things you got to do. You’ve got to do the ‘gotta’ do’s’ first. Don’t matter if you want to do them. You got to do them first. So that’s just how my mind always was. I don’t have a choice. I got to take the kids home. I got to make sure they have a snack. I got to do the homework. Got to make sure they go out and get to. Got to make sure the bath was done. Got to make sure dinner gets ready before mom gets home. Those were all the things I had to do. It didn’t matter if I was sick or tired or if I wanted to go out, you don’t have a choice. I didn’t have a choice, but to survive, I got a kid. I don’t have a choice, but to work. What’s the alternative. Right?

Audrea Fink:

It’s so interesting to see how that inner strength develops. So my parents got divorced. I think I was 13 or 14. And as soon as I got my driver’s license, I was the one out buying groceries. I was the one carting people back and forth. And once my dad moved out, I turned into mini mom because my mom worked all day and my dad worked all day and didn’t live with us. And I think about when I was really young, how they would push me to do more or reward more, right? I was such a dweeb.

Audrea Fink:

I remember in third grade, my dad was like, “If you get straight A’s you can have anything you want.” And I walked into Costco and was like, “I want this book on Abraham Lincoln.

Julie Holton:

It’s so you, love it.

Audrea Fink:

Right? Also, I’m fascinated by that man. So I feel like some of it is just ingrained when you watch people, like you said, there’s no alternative, you got to do it. But I also feel like there’s a part of it that’s learned or modeled maybe. But I have met people who had really tough goings, who still fall asleep, like fall apart at tough goings. So it’s fascinating to hear about people building inner strength because I don’t think you can teach it as an adult. I think you have to have it a spark of it and have it modeled.

Heather Hardy:

If you can teach it. I don’t know how, and I don’t want to know how either. I don’t want to know how either. My mom always said, “You can only help somebody who wants help.” You can only help somebody who also is helping themselves. You can’t come to me with no heart and expect me to build with you. I can’t. You got to have a little [crosstalk 00:32:42].

Audrea Fink:

Yeah.

Julie Holton:

Heather, 30 minutes with you. And I’m convinced that every woman in this world needs a Heather in their corner.

Audrea Fink:

Agreed.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Amen.

Julie Holton:

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and for our Think Tank of Three tribe, I have no doubt, this is going to be one… We often joke amongst the three of us about how we go back and re-listen to our own podcasts. And this is going to be one, we joke about it. We’re like, “Ooh, I said something that was good.” And then we laugh about it. But this is definitely one that I think will help so many people. So thank you for sharing your story. But before we go, we’re not quite done yet. We collect advice from our guests so that we can continue to share this. So we have three rapid fire questions for you. Just off the top of your head from your heart. You ready?

Heather Hardy:

Go.

Julie Holton:

Number one. Is there a lesson that you’ve recently learned that you wish you had learned earlier?

Heather Hardy:

That’s a good one. I would say my whole life has been a battle of let it go, right? You can’t control everything. You can only control yourself. You can only control your reaction to things, to let things go. And I think every year that lesson gets learned and it gets easier to put into practice. It is a thing. You can’t control other people, you can’t control how they feel about you. You can’t control what makes them happy. You can’t fix it every time they’re sad. You got to just let other people live theirs and worry about you.

Audrea Fink:

From the lessons you’ve learned in your life, what advice would you offer to women?

Heather Hardy:

Never stop fighting. Never stop. You can’t stop at no. You can’t stop at I don’t think so. You can’t stop at this is hard. The best way I put it is, it gets harder before it gets good. And if you’ve gone across to get to the other side and you get to the middle and it gets real hard, you already know where you came from. Leave that alone. You’ve got to go through it to get to it, you know.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

I love her. I just do. In today’s-

Audrea Fink:

Reisch has got a girl crush.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

I have a girl crush on Heather Hardy, what can I say? In today’s world, what do you think the most important skill for a woman is to have?

Heather Hardy:

You got to have thick skin because the better you get, the more they hate you. The better you get, the more they hate you. I don’t care. And this is like, everyone says I’m a man hater. No, there are lots of wonderful men in the world, but there are a lot of very insecure men, hate to see women succeed. So it gets harder the better you get. You got to have a thick skin. I learned, especially with social media, that if 10 people tell me I’m beautiful, there is going to be three of them, three people who tell me how ugly, fat, stupid I am. Of those three people, maybe one believes that the other two were just trying to bring you down. You just can’t let the outside stuff get to you. You got to have thick skin. You got to stick to your goal and you got to charge at it.

Julie Holton:

All right, Heather, I’m going to start following you immediately on social media.

Audrea Fink:

Everywhere. Everywhere.

Julie Holton:

Because I think the girl crush, it’s spreading. What is the best way for our audience to connect with you? Is it through social media? What’s the best way to follow you?

Heather Hardy:

Sure. I think we all know at this point, Facebook is just family, nobody really does that anymore. I post most often on my Instagram and my Twitter and my IG is @heathertheheat. And my Twitter is @Heatherhardybox.

Audrea Fink:

Followed.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

That’s why Audrea’s quiet. She’s literally typing right now.

Audrea Fink:

I was like let me pull out my Instagram. Let me check out Twitter. I’m trying to get more of you in my life.

Heather Hardy:

It’s an even mix of political rants, inspirational quotes and just dumb, silly stuff.

Julie Holton:

Perfect.

Audrea Fink:

Well, Heather, thank you so much for joining us today.

Heather Hardy:

Aaaw thanks so much for having me.

Julie Holton:

Yeah.

Audrea Fink:

Yes. And this has been another episode of the Think Tank of Three. If you have topics you’d like us to cover or guests you’d like to hear from send us a message @thinktankofthreeatgmail.com, subscribe to the Think Tank of Three, wherever you listen to podcasts and connect with us online. We blog weekly @thinktankofthree.com.

Julie Holton:

Follow us on social media. You can find this individually on LinkedIn and as Think Tank of Three on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Women click to join our private group on Facebook, where we can all share advice and articles.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

And if you liked what you heard in the podcast, share it. You can find Think Tank of Three on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, Amazon music and SoundCloud.

 

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Photo of Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris

As with all things that are of true destiny, Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris believes, you don’t find your career, sometimes your career finds you.

Armed with the gift of gab and a natural feel for writing, broadcasting found it’s way into Reischea’s world after she…

As with all things that are of true destiny, Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris believes, you don’t find your career, sometimes your career finds you.

Armed with the gift of gab and a natural feel for writing, broadcasting found it’s way into Reischea’s world after she graduated from the University of Southern California.

Reischea’s television career began in her hometown of Fresno, California, at then KJEO, channel 47. Her experience at the CBS affiliate was
invaluable; as she worked her way up from a sports intern, to sports producer/reporter, to full-time weekend sports anchor/reporter. That
experience propelled her to San Diego as the weekend sports anchor/reporter for KSWB, where she got her first opportunity to cover
professional sports teams on a regular basis in the Chargers and Padres.

In 2002 she was hired as the weekend sports anchor/reporter for FOX 5 WNYW in New York. There, Reischea was nominated for a New York
Local Emmy for her three-part series on “Diminishing African American’s in Baseball” in 2007. She was also given the opportunity to work on the
station’s community affairs show, Good Day Street talk where topics ranged from post 9/11 stress disorders, healthcare, music and more.
In 2008 opportunity knocked again, this time taking her to Bristol, Connecticut to join ESPN. While with the network, Reischea was able to
interview and interact with some of the biggest athletes and stars on the planet, which made for a pretty awesome experience.

After the birth of her awesome son, Agisi, Reischea focused full-time on the hardest job she’s ever had, being a Mom. But the television love never
went away and so she was able to slide in news anchoring with News12 Connecticut for a short time.

Fast forward to the addition of an amazing daughter, Chrisonia, and that center stone in her life, family, proved to be of necessary focus. As a Mom
of 2 and a wife to a phenomenal husband, Alexandros, Reischea has learned the dynamics of life are ever-changing. Now, focusing on her own
self-empowerment, Reischea is taking her experience in broadcast and bridging it over to a new adventure in the podcast world as a co-host on
Think Tank of Three.