Denise Conroy

Cues and Views

Queenmaker Denise Conroy, in brief.

Denise Conroy

Home: Alton, NH.  Age: 50.  Birthplace: Pittsburgh, PA.  Profession: Performance coach, advisor, speaker and author.  Organization: Themy.  Significant other: Ned Crystal, my husband, soulmate, bestie.  Ride or die.  Alma mater: West Virginia University (B.A., Political Science); Duquesne University (M.A., Social & Public Policy).  

Current project: My memoir “Spinning Brightly”, the story of my journey from sexual assault, PTSD and anxiety to the CEO role.  Latest accomplishment: Leaving my CEO gig last November to start my own one-of-a-kind performance training practice for women interested in reaching the C-suite and boardroom. I’ve doubled revenue every month since February, and I have a waitlist for my programs.  What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Quitting my CMO job at HGTV on the spot with no safety net and pursuing my dream of becoming a CEO.  I landed my first CEO role 10 months later.  Hobbies: Farming (I live on a 7-acre farm); home renovation (said farm house is 228 years old!); hiking; sporting clays; reading; writing and painting.  Recent travel or adventure: Land Rover Experience Driving School in Vermont, with my husband.  Last book read: The School for Good Mothers, by Jasmine Chan.  Recently viewed and recommended: Hacks (HBO); Shining Girls and Severance (Apple+); Operation Mincemeat (Netflix).  

Personality profile: “Lead, follow or get out of the way.”  Moral compass: I give others the benefit of the doubt.  What is your greatest fear? Not playing big enough with my life.  What natural talent have you neglected? Writing.  I wrote a lot when younger and stopped after college.  I didn’t feel like I had anything worthy to say.  Now, I can’t stop.  What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Anyone in the military.  What is at the top of your bucket list? Three-way tie: Thailand, Ireland, Italy.  What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? No structure.

What three emojis best describe you? 🔥🧡☄️.

I’m a fire sign… can you tell?

What was your favorite college course? Empirical Methods, a political science course.  It changed my life.  What book have you repeatedly read? The Stand, by Stephen King.  What movie have you repeatedly watched? Love Actually.  Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? My Aunt Helen.  What’s the best advice you received growing up? My dad always used to say, “Never go to the school of good enough.”  That’s been a credo of sorts for me.  What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? Being outside, traveling, meeting new people.  What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? I was sexually assaulted when I was 5.  Playing outside one beautiful spring day, a group of teenagers assaulted me and threatened to kill me if I told anyone.  I didn’t tell a soul until I was 41.  That trauma ruled most of my life, until I could no longer deal with the pain of it on my own.  I went to therapy, got rid of the shame and started living.  

What is your big idea? A national women’s strike. This country is run on the backs of women, yet we’re far from equality.  America needs to see what a day without women truly looks like.  What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? More women in the C-suite and on boards.  The lack of progress in this area is stunning, and I’m uniquely qualified to drive change because I scaled those walls.  What widely held belief do you reject? That diversity means hiring people who are less qualified.  What mega-trend most excites you? Work from home.  It’s the ultimate way to approach work/life balance, rebalance real estate for affordable housing and start to solve climate change.  What mega-trend most concerns you? The erosion of human rights in America.

What title would you choose for the movie about your life? Spinning Brightly.  What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Claire Danes.  Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? My parents and maternal grandparents.  My mom’s parents died in separate car accidents six months apart when my mom was a teenager.  I never got to meet them.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? The President of the United States.  After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? My mom’s college scrapbook.  How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? Outside on our farm, with my husband and three golden retrievers.  What day in your life would you choose to re-live? The day I met my husband.  It was pretty magical, and I replay it in my mind often.

Personal mission: Empowering women to play big with their lives.  Personal motto: I’ll figure it out. Favorite quote: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people" (Eleanor Roosevelt).  Desired epitaph: She played big.

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