We had the good fortune of connecting with Carolyn Daughters and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carolyn, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
In 1960, at age 76, Eleanor Roosevelt published You Learn by Living. In a chapter titled “Fear—the Great Enemy,” she wrote: “[It] strikes me that my childhood and my early youth were one long battle against fear.”
I’m a diehard fan of Eleanor’s. We were both born on October 11, for one thing. For another, she was afraid every single day, and yet every single day she kept on keeping on. I really get that. I do.
When I was a child, I was a timid little thing, eyes downturned, my words barely audible. My whole life, I’ve feared honest-to-God terrors just as I’ve feared things that go bump in the night.
Thing is, Eleanor never let her fears define her. When fear nearly got the best of her, she forged a path forward through force of will. When she stumbled, she picked herself up, dusted herself off, and powered on.
I’ve done the same – and, to be clear, I’ve felt frozen by fear a lot. At age seventeen, I began paying my way through college. Years later, I quit a steady corporate gig to earn a master’s degree and teach writing and literature at the University of Virginia. Eighteen years ago, I quit another steady gig to launch my company, CarolynDaughters.com. Initially, I focused on editing work. Over time, I found the courage to guide business brand strategies and teach teams how to master real-world marketing essentials. I designed a daylong persuasive writing course, began pitching it, and soon thereafter began teaching the course at corporations, U.S. Air Force bases nationwide, and the U.S. Department of Defense at the Pentagon.
Along the way, I’ve faced challenges that have stopped me in my tracks. The deaths of my fiancé and one of my closest friends. A divorce that left me with a sense of loss, along with financial struggles. The lack of publication of the novel I have loved dearly and worked on for years on end. Significant business hurdles during COVID. I know what it feels like to want to give in and give up. But I don’t.
Building my Denver-based business, CarolynDaughters.com
Every day I overcome my propensity to sequester and stay silent in order to try harder, ask better questions, learn more, and, like Eleanor, keep on keeping on. An extroverted introvert, I am committed to teaching marketing courses and persuasive writing classes and leading brand strategy workshops, drawing upon everything in my wheelhouse to empower teams to win hearts, minds, deals, and dollars.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face,” Eleanor wrote in You Learn by Living. “You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. … You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Over and again, I have done and continue to do the thing I think I cannot do. That said, I’ll be the first to admit that I am forever a work in progress, emphasis on both the work and the progress. To that end, I see my clients as works in progress, too. Few things make me happier than supporting them on their journeys to own and live their brands, make their voices heard, and do the things they think they cannot do.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Now, you may be thinking that a Land Rover’s a questionable choice. As just one example, it’s known to have some engine issues. Fortunately, classic Land Rovers were designed for easy repair and maintenance. The Land Rover’s risk management strategy involves getting you from point A to point B come hell or high water.
Here’s the deal: When I so much as see an old-school Land Rover, my eyes light up and my heartbeat amps up a tick. I see challenges to be tamed, a world of possibility. I feel confident and powerful, spirited and adventurous. I feel as if I can take my passengers anywhere they want to go and as if I myself can conquer the world.
As someone who loves global travel and boards a plane as often as possible, I’m transported into a foreign land with much to see and learn, every single sight and sound and idea born anew.
A Land Rover makes me think of Karen Blixen (pen name Isak Dinesen) on a years-long safari in Out of Africa. From 1914 to 1931, Karen ran a coffee plantation in Kenya on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. It’s a story of struggle and loss, dignity and self-discipline. A story about coming into one’s own and living one’s truth. Karen’s blunt, opinionated, and unapologetic, a fighter and a writer through and through. And in the 1985 film version, Robert Redford (Denys Finch Hatton) washes Meryl Streep’s (Karen’s) hair, for God’s sake.
You’ve heard of Out of Africa, right? And surely you’ve seen it. If not, I want you to rent it on Amazon Prime right now. Stop reading, make yourself a Dawa, curl up in your comfy chair for 2 hours and 41 minutes, and then come back to me.
You’re back. Right on.
Now, to be fair, you may be wondering why they didn’t edit the movie down to a solid two hours. You make a valid point. Nonetheless, the cinematography is amazing, Karen Blixen’s a straight shooter and a sure shot if ever there was one, and Meryl Streep is always a wonder to behold. And then there’s that hair-washing scene.
And, weirdly, you now have more insight into why I love Land Rovers and why I’ve consciously made my brand the equivalent of a Land Rover.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would definitely walk around Five Points. Once known as the Harlem of the West on account of its jazz legacy, this neighborhood has a connection to the Big Apple that’s audible each May during the Five Points Jazz Festival. There’s more red brick than brownstone here, but on par with the original are rich culinary offerings and loads of breweries, distilleries, and art galleries. The street art (and alley art) are off-the-charts, bona fide world class. (If you haven’t seen the John Lewis and John Prine murals at 39th and Franklin, you must cancel your lunch or dinner plans and go straightaway.)
We might take in a concert or a cult favorite film at Red Rocks. Or visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Perched in Boulder’s southern foothills, it has a free visitors center with interactive exhibits. And you can hike Bear Peak, which will earn you several beers at Black Shirt Brewing as an after-hike reward.
Or we might visit the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art (shrine to Colorado painter Vance Kirkland and to functional design). Think long and hard about William Morris’ quote, “‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Stop by Cuba Cuba after you leave the museum – cause, why not?
Alternatively, we might visit nearby Evergreen or Idaho Springs. Bars, restaurants, antiques, art galleries, photo ops. Try Beau Jo’s Pizza in Idaho Springs and Little Bear Saloon in Evergreen. In the winter, rent skates in Evergreen for some outdoor fun. Or find the Bucksnort Saloon, something every person on the planet should do at least once.
15 other delightful hotspots —
1. Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, 2148 Larimer St. (Elk Dog!)
2. Bistro Vendome, 1420 Larimer St. (French!)
3. Fruition, 1313 E. 6th Ave. (Splurge)
4. Linger, 2030 W. 30th Ave. (Awesome Menu + Rooftop)
5. Masterpiece Deli, 1575 Central St. (Deli = Yum!)
6. Black Shirt Brewing, 3719 Walnut St. (Just Go)
7. Plimoth, 2335 E. 28th Ave. (Amazing + Adorable)
8. Vine Street Pub, 1700 Vine St. (Cheap Eats)
9. Postino, 2715 17th St (Best Italian in Denver)
10. Bookbar, 4280 Tennyson St. (Read + Drink)
11. British Bulldog, 2052 Stout St. (Brit Pub + Sports)
12. Cruise Room, 1600 17th St. (Art Deco Grandeur)
13. Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, 1215 20th St. (Holy Moly)
14. Thin Man, 2015 E. 17th Ave. (Skinny Bar)
15. Tighe Bros. Distillery, 4200 Milwaukee St. (Walkable from my house!)
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I started my career working for Unisys Corporation at the Pentagon under the guidance of John Beasley, a professional editor and the world’s best mentor. (We can play the “my mentor was better than your mentor” game, but I’m pretty sure I’ll win.) Under Beasley’s tutelage, I tested and edited U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) manuals, authored portions of multimillion-dollar proposals, and designed and led professional writing workshops for DoD personnel. It was a nifty gig as far as first jobs go.
Now, anytime an awesome professional opportunity fell into Beasley’s lap, he asked me if I wanted to give that opportunity a go. His generosity knew few, if any, bounds. Whenever I made a mistake, he weighed in while giving me free rein to figure out how to course correct. Not one to give effusive praise, he rewarded my successes with a nod and a smile that held a value greater than currency.
More than anything else, I learned from Beasley the importance of respecting, listening to, and learning from the wisdom of experts — professional editors, professional writers, and business and brand strategists in particular. And after thousands upon thousands of hours of work as an editor, writer, and brand strategist (and after a massive number of both failures and successes), I became a recognized expert myself.
Other: LinkedIn Business Page://www.linkedin.com/company/carolyn-daughters/ Blog: https://www.carolyndaughters.com/fine-points/ Marketing Fast Wins: https://www.carolyndaughters.com/marketing-fast-wins/ Services: https://www.carolyndaughters.com/marketing-strategy/ Portfolio: https://www.carolyndaughters.com/portfolio/