Officially, former St. Charles resident Jen Schimbeno shares a podcast with three fellow businesswomen based in Bozeman, Mont.
Schimbeno still needs more than one hand to count the contributors behind the operation at “Beautifully Equipped,” though.
“We really open the opportunity as people are tuning in,” Schimbeno said. “Reach out, because this is really a collaborative effort, and we’re only going to be as successful as what we’re putting out as relevant to our audience. It’s really a big deal to us, and we want that to feel like that’s a primary focus for us.”
Organized around the theme of businesses helping businesses, “Beautifully Equipped” launched in September and has counted more than 3,000 collective downloads of its 13 episodes to date, Schimbeno said.
Topics have included commitment, purpose, learning from failure, social anxiety and the power of collaboration. The panel, to be sure, is especially well-versed on the latter topic.
The formation of “Beautifully Equipped” took root about two years ago, when Schimbeno, a financial adviser, connected with health consultant Jackie Corcoran, marketing strategist Jen Cox Erhardt and Kate Jo, an artist. The quartet ultimately found a voice in what it called a “mastermind group,” a gathering the team compares to a mixture of coaching and networking that it also has done podcasts about.
Jo recalls the podcast concept stemming from discussions of building new skills, especially those centered on new media. That in itself turned into a lesson the group has shared with its audience.
“We all came into this not knowing anything about podcasting,” Jo said. “I had a little bit of audio background, but not enough to say that I was a professional in any way. And I think that it’s given other people that ‘just go out and do it and learn it’ [mentality]. You’re capable. You can do it.”
Although the audience to date has trended more toward women, the “Beautifully Equipped” team welcomes all listeners and feedback. Thus far, they have received both from various corners of the U.S. and Europe, thanks to contacts in previous career stops.
Schimbeno, formerly known as Jen Anhalt, hopes a following takes hold in her old stomping grounds. A 2003 St. Charles East High School graduate, Schimbeno embraced Bozeman while studying at Montana State University. She discovered a new reason to find favor with the town upon meeting her future husband, Brock, there during a class reunion event.
Schimbeno tries to visit St. Charles at least quarterly. Several family members still live in St. Charles or adjacent areas, including her parents, Steve and Mary Emily Anhalt.
Her full-time job keeps her plenty busy in the interim. Ditto for “Beautifully Equipped” and its accompanying website, www.beautifullyequipped.com, which offers resources and worksheets in addition to podcast episode downloads.
“Nowadays, there’s so much that’s glorified with social media and everybody promoting their best,” Schimbeno said. “And although we’ve got things that we’re spotlighting that are really inspirational, we’re also being really real and really vulnerable and talking about some of our favorite failures or talking about vulnerability. And I think people are really craving and needing those conversations, because it’s not really what’s being highlighted oftentimes. And so I think it’s creating a really neat space for people to relate to.”