You’ll no doubt recognize the voice of my guest, Candy O’Terry. She was on air at Magic 106.7 for 25 years and has performed with the Boston Pops. She’s a community leader, mentor, and executive coach working to bring up the next generation of media and business professionals in Boston.
She’s also deeply involved in fundraising and volunteer efforts for several worthy causes.
It’s all part of her philosophy of giving back. She says that as you become more accomplished in your career, the more you should be helping others.
We dive into how she’s managed to have a successful career and be an integral part of the community. Listen in to discover…
- Ways to recognize pivotal moments that can change your career – and life
- What can happen when you become your true self in all things
- How facing your biggest fears can lead to your biggest breakthroughs
- Why connections and relationships are everything
- And more
David Elmasian and Candy O’Terry Episode Transcript:
David Elmasian: Today, I’m honored to have a very special guest on the podcast. The one and only, Candy O’Terry. There are only a few women in Boston whose voices are recognizable as Candy O’s. The 2015 Massachusetts Broadcaster of the Year spent 25 years on Magic 106.7, where she connected with listeners in an authentic, memorable way.
Candy’s also an accomplished recording artist whose latest single is, For Good with Sheree Dunwell, from the Broadway musical, Wicked. Her full-length CD, Dream Come True, includes music heard around the world. She’s also no stranger to TV and film having served as the center judge for seven sessions on the Emmy Award winning TV show, Community Auditions, and as an actress in four movies including, Lazarus Rising starring Eric Roberts and Shepard’s Maiden starring Lenny Clark.
An executive coach and certified protocol consultant for Brunner Communications. Yes, that Brunner. Candy is the president and co-Founder of Boston Women In Media and Entertainment. A master interviewer, Candy is the creator of the Exceptional Women brand, the podcast series, The Story Behind Her Success, and the public speaking platform, 16 Life Lessons. She’s a recipient of 45 local and national awards for excellence in women’s programming. And in 2018 was honored by the Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker, the state legislature and the city of Boston for being an inspiration to women everywhere.
Born in New York City, raised in Connecticut. Candy came to Boston to swim and dive for Boston College. A highly sought after emcee, moderator, and public speaker, Candy’s greatest joy is the opportunity to shine a light on women doing great things with their lives. Recently, Candy was quoted as saying, “Always give back because it’s the right thing to do. Never forget where you came from. Remember the struggles, the mountains you had to climb to get where you are today. When someone needs a hand, reach back and offer yours. Good goes around.”
So today, we’re going to shine a light on one exceptional woman, you!
Candy O’Terry: I’m exhausted from listening to that whole thing. Oh my God!
David Elmasian: That was the short version Candy, you’re a very accomplished person.
Candy O’Terry: Oh Dave, it’s so good to talk to you. How are you?
David Elmasian: I’m doing great.
Candy O’Terry: Good.
David Elmasian: Thanks for having me on. I’m having you on, excuse me.
Candy O’Terry: That’s right.
David Elmasian: See, I’m used to it the other way around.
Candy O’Terry: This is your big show.
David Elmasian: So, for those of you just listening. You’re listening to the Hub of Success. I’m your host, Dave Elmasian. And of course, we’re with the one, the only Candy O’Terry.
Candy O’Terry: Oh my, you’re so good to me. Thank you.
David Elmasian: Well Candy, let’s get to it. So, you were on Magic 106.7 for just a couple of years.
Candy O’Terry: Yeah.
David Elmasian: How’d you land that gig?
Candy O’Terry: Well, that’s an interesting story. Thank you for asking me that question Dave. So, I was a single mom and I had been singing full-time. And when you become a single parent, you kind of need to have a job that doesn’t keep you out late at night and on weekends, too. And because I loved the music so much I thought, “Why don’t I get a job at a radio station?” That seemed to be the thing to do, and I figured they also had health insurance, which I needed desperately, right?
David Elmasian: Sure.
Candy O’Terry: This is back in the day.
David Elmasian: Yeah.
Candy O’Terry: So, I went to the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. I took a four month course. I had an Undergraduate Degree, as you said in your intro, from Boston College. But, I really didn’t know anything about the business of radio and I also didn’t know about how to use the equipment, how to work the equipment, and what the parts of a radio station were. And you learn all those things when you go to the Connecticut School of Broadcasting.
So, that was a four month course. And when I graduated, they sent me out on three job interviews. The first one was to be an overnight reporter for a little radio station called WKOX, which was the AM side of what was then, WVBF, owned by Fairbanks Broadcasting. The second was to be a news anchor out in Gardner, Massachusetts. Which, for your listeners is way out in the boondocks.
David Elmasian: Yeah.
Candy O’Terry: Take a left and a right hand turn in central Massachusetts.
David Elmasian: It’s out there, right.
Candy O’Terry: And I was living outside of Boston. And they wanted me to do news in the morning. So I figured I probably had to get up at about 2 o’clock in the morning. Who was I going to leave my kids with?
David Elmasian: Right.
Candy O’Terry: The third job was to be a fill in secretary to the Program Director, at Magic 106.7.
David Elmasian: Wow.
Candy O’Terry: It was an entry level position and temporary to boot. But I took it Dave, because I felt like, if I could just be a sponge, you know? A fly on the wall at this big number one radio station, and learn about the business of radio, even if it was just for eight weeks, that was a better decision than the other two job offers. I took it. And I ended up staying for 25 years.
David Elmasian: Yeah. I’d say it worked out pretty well for you, Candy. But you know, it wasn’t all just by accident. Like you said, you saw the potential.
Candy O’Terry: I did.
David Elmasian: You got your foot in the door, as the old expression goes.
Candy O’Terry: Yes.
David Elmasian: And so you started out as an assistant and then what happened next? What were the progression?
Candy O’Terry: So, over the course of those eight weeks, I really dove into the job. And I remember feeling so overwhelmed with the talent that was all around me. There are some legendary names in Boston radio. One of them is Nancy Quill who was doing midday for us then and still is now, 36 years later. And then, David Allen Boucher, the voice of nighttime in Boston. And I found myself surrounded by so much talent.
And I never in a million years thought that they would put me on the air. They did discover early on that I had a lot of experience doing voiceover work and because I was a singer, I was an easy get, to do a jingle, a commercial jingle. So those things started working for me very quickly. The job became permanent when the woman I was filling in for decided to stay home with her baby.
David Elmasian: Oh, wow.
Candy O’Terry: Best decision that ever happened in my realm, let me tell you.
David Elmasian: Yeah.
Candy O’Terry: So I was able to really embrace the job. And we had disc jockey, great guy, very nice guy, who was an exterminator by day, and a disc jockey by night.
David Elmasian: Is there a difference?
Candy O’Terry: And he had-
David Elmasian: No, I’m joking.
Candy O’Terry: … and he had six kids. He had six kids. And they were all very young. And the poor guy just wasn’t getting any sleep. And he had a habit of falling asleep on the radio. And the way you can tell a person has fallen asleep on the air, is back in the day, there would be a tape that would kick on, because the board would recognize silence. And after 30 seconds, a tape would kick on. And the Program Director would find that out, the following morning when he opened the door to his office, a red light would be flashing, and there would be a time stamp that would say when we went off the air and when we went back on the air. And this happened, not once, but twice.
David Elmasian: Wow.
Candy O’Terry: And my boss, because I’m the secretary said, “I want you to call him up and tell him, if he falls asleep one more time we’re going to have let him go.” So, I called him up and said, “Listen Gary, you fall asleep one more time Don’s going to have to let you go.” And that night, he fell asleep for the third time on the radio.
David Elmasian: Wow.
Candy O’Terry: My boss hauled him in on a Friday at four to fire him. And then he turned and looked at me and said, “You’re on tonight.” And I said, “Who are you talking to? It can’t be me! I’ve never been on the radio in my whole life!”
David Elmasian: You did one of those turn around looking for somebody behind you?
Candy O’Terry: What are you talking, I’m in a cubicle, right? I’m in a little cubicle. So he said, “You know what Candy? You’re a singer. You’re a performer. You love the music, you know every song we play on this radio station. You’ve been to the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. You know how to run the board.”
David Elmasian: Right.
Candy O’Terry: “And you’re going to do a good job for us. I know, I believe in you and you’ll be great.” Well, let me promise you something, I was not great. Not even a little great. I was terrible, Dave. But everybody needs a mentor. Everybody needs somebody who believes in them, and he heard some sort of talent in my voice. And I kept us on the air. I didn’t fall asleep. So, I solved the first two problems, right? And, I stayed on the air for the next 25 years.
David Elmasian: Right. So, do you remember that first broadcast?
Candy O’Terry: Oh my God, yes. Romeo’s Tune was playing. I can’t remember who the … It’s Romeo’s Tune by … I can’t remember, but anyway, the song was ending. And it was time for me to speak. So I remember I knelt, I was a good Catholic girl. I threw myself down on my knees, I said a quick Hail Mary, stood back up again, put my headphones on and all I had to say was, “You’re in the middle of a continuous half hour of soft rock,” and then, hit the next song. And I sounded like this, “Magic 106.7, you’re in the middle of a continuous half hour of soft rock, on Magic 106.7.” My whole body was shaking. Every bone in my body was shaking. But, I really loved it, by the way.
I really loved it. And you know what else I loved about radio? I loved when people called. I loved when they told me their stories and they asked me for songs. And over the years, I really confided in Magic listeners and I talked to them about, being a single parent and I raised my hand when I could be on the air on Christmas or Thanksgiving or Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. And I would talk to listeners about, what it’s like to have to meet your ex-spouse in the Church parking lot and your kids leave your car and they go into his car. I had grown men who used to call and cry because they had just dropped their kids off, and women too. So, I tried to identify and be relatable to listeners.
David Elmasian: Yeah. Well, you know one of the things that I think is unfortunate that radio isn’t as prevalent as it used to be is there is an intimacy with radio, that you don’t really think about. But when you do and you think of those moments when you’re in a car and you’re listening or a big event happens. That’s lost and it’s so sad because the generation now that doesn’t really get that … The benefit of that.
Candy O’Terry: The thinking is that people just want to hear the hits. They don’t want to hear the Disc Jockey talking. And my sense always was, if I can just fit something in to reach through the radio to let someone know that I was talking just to them. That, that’s the magic of radio. And like you just said, when a big event happens. When John F Kennedy Jr’s plane crashed, off Martha’s Vineyard, I was on the air. When 9/11 happened, I was on the air for 24 hours. When Michael Jackson had his cardiac arrest and died. I was on the air. And you get a chance to talk to people about a tragedy.
David Elmasian: Yeah. I don’t know, I’m not good at words obviously, Candy. But it was cathartic, is what the right term for it? People kind of express that?
Candy O’Terry: Yeah. I just think it is the human emotion of connection. Wanting to share your story with somebody about how you feel.
David Elmasian: Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting how those things come about. And, I’m guessing you didn’t see that stuff right away, did you? You didn’t see the power of that or the effect of that?
Candy O’Terry: I did.
David Elmasian: Did you?
Candy O’Terry: I did.
David Elmasian: That’s why you’re an exceptional woman, Candy!
Candy O’Terry: Something happens when you go live on the radio for the very first time. And once it happens the first time, you never feel it again. But, you can hear your voice traveling through space and time. And it’s humbling and you have so much power, you realize. “My God! All these people are listening to me. All the way down to doing a newscast or a traffic report. I’m telling you that the road is closed, I’d better be right because a lot of people are listening to me.” I always took it as a big responsibility.
David Elmasian: Yeah. You’re absolutely right. You do have that power and that responsibility and because there are so many people listening, if you’re not accurate. If you’re not forthcoming, it really can impact and change things.
Candy O’Terry: You know, you’re reminding me of the Boston Marathon bombings. I was on the air that week doing newscasts with an unbelievable host named, Mike Adams, who was our morning guy. And I had just been moved to mornings, literally on April 1st, they moved me to mornings. And on April 15th, we had the tragedy. So, I was new to morning drive, still getting my big girl pants on, you know? There’s a lot going on. And this tragedy happens.
And what you just said is so true, get it right. We had people calling the radio station saying things like, “I saw a guy running down the street with bombs.” I mean, people were losing their minds, everyone was so frightened. I actually had to tell people, in the car, in the morning, “If you’re in your car. Please turn around and go home. Shelter in place. There are no trains, there are no cars, there are no cabs, there are no buses in Boston right now.” Imagine having to tell people that. I did.
David Elmasian: I can’t. That takes a special individual to have that sense of duty and to be able to do it and do it the way that you did it for those many years.
Candy O’Terry: I don’t know. I hope so, thank you.
David Elmasian: No, but it’s true. And that’s why you were on the air for so long.
Candy O’Terry: Thanks. I miss it.
David Elmasian: Yeah. Well, you know, it’s understandable. It’s something you did for such a long time and were so good at it.
Candy O’Terry: Yeah, yeah.
David Elmasian: Let’s switch gears. Let’s move onto your first love, singing.
Candy O’Terry: Yes.
David Elmasian: I’ve heard you say this story about when you were very little but, what really hooked you about singing? Why do you love singing so much?
Candy O’Terry: Oh, if you ask any singer they’ll tell you. It feels like a very special gift that you have and people praise you for it, so you know it’s special from the time you’re a very young child. And you start singing and someone says. “Oh. Oh, you’re very good at that. Do some more of that.” In my case, that was my father. He put me up on the cocktail table and he told me to sing for his dinner guests, which I did. And, along the way … Especially as an only child, I would find so much joy all alone in my room, setting up all my dollies and stuffed animals. And I would just sing to them. My dad gave me a microphone for my birthday when I was about seven or eight years old. It wasn’t attached to anything, it was just a microphone with a cord.
David Elmasian: Yeah.
Candy O’Terry: But I sang into that microphone like nobody’s business all day long. And the other thing that I did, which was so interesting, you know? You never know what path you’re going to go down. If you would have asked me as a little girl, I would have told you. “Oh, I’m going to be a singer.” And here I end up playing songs on the radio, right?
David Elmasian: Right.
Candy O’Terry: But, what I also used to do was, I’d memorize all the information about all the artists on the back of a record, you know? Which dates me, certainly. But, yeah.
David Elmasian: They’re coming back.
Candy O’Terry: Right. Records, they’re coming back. But, that was what I did. And so, I learned all about the artists that I loved and that stood me in good stead because then, when I became a Disc Jockey, I knew all this information, which was great. But to answer your question, it’s a very special gift. It’s something I treasure and value greatly. It’s something that comforts me. It’s something that makes me feel alive. When I’m on a stage and I’m singing a song, I am my most authentic self.
David Elmasian: You know, I’ve always wondered that. When you see a performer on stage and it’s … Small stage or huge stage. I’ve always wondered, what’s going through your mind? I mean, I’ve always wanted to know that. I mean, really? What’s going through your mind when you’re singing a song on the big stage?
Candy O’Terry: Not forgetting the words.
David Elmasian: Okay. I can see that.
Candy O’Terry: If you are performing to track, a lot easier. But if you are with a live band or with an orchestra, like when I sang with the Boston Pops. You’re talking about, your voice is being surrounded by some of the greatest musicians in the world. And this guy named Keith Lockhart is sitting over … He’s standing over here, conducting. It’s quite a thing. And you feel enveloped by all the instruments and your voice just becomes part of the greater scheme of things. And, most singers will tell you, it’s important to lose yourself in the song. Stop thinking about yourself, it’s not about you. It’s about the song and it’s about the performance. It’s about the people who are receiving it. That’s what it’s about.
David Elmasian: See, I’ve always wanted to know that. So, your dad gave you this gift really, right?
Candy O’Terry: Well, he told me I was good at it. Yeah, he did.
David Elmasian: Yeah. But parents have a powerful effect on their kids. So, he gave that to you and, as the old saying goes, you ran with it. All right. I’m going to ask you, might be an easy one, maybe not so easy. What’s your favorite song to sing?
Candy O’Terry: Over the Rainbow.
David Elmasian: Okay. Why?
Candy O’Terry: Easy. Because it’s a classic and every generation embraces it. It’s a vocal performance by Judy Garland that every singer appreciates. And yet, the song that can be nuanced and changed in so many ways. I personally am a big believer in singing a song straight. I try very hard. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who over sing the national anthem because they’re doing it for the glory. They’re not even thinking about the words that they’re saying and what those mean to Americans when we hear them. The Star Spangled Banner.
The same is true about a song like Over The Rainbow. You can nuance it a little bit when you change the phrasing a little bit. But I try to stay pretty close to the tune. And when you’re surrounded by … On my CD I’m surrounded by the Boston Pops. So I let them do a lot of the work, too.
David Elmasian: That’s a pretty good backup there.
Candy O’Terry: Oh, yeah.
David Elmasian: All right. So you mentioned you’re a single mom. That’s not so easy.
Candy O’Terry: It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my whole life. And not only was I a single mom, but I had to create a career at the same time. And that when I look back, and I know Dave, I know. When I think about success I know that when I am hopefully dying a peaceful death someday and I’m lying there and I’m drifting away and my time here is done, I’m going to remember that struggle and I’m going to remember that success. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, raising my children by myself. And they’re my greatest joy, my greatest pride and I would never be where I am today if I did not have two children who jumped in and helped me make it happen.
David Elmasian: Yeah. We never appreciate things at the time when they happen sometimes. And certainly for all the right reasons. Like you said, that really gave you a lot of strength.
Candy O’Terry: It was day by day for us. I mean, when we first got started. I’ll tell you quickly. Three days before I started my job at Magic I had to go to the diamond district and sell my diamond ring to come home and pay my mortgage, put oil in the tank and food in the pantry. We had no heat in the house, and start my job. And when they put me on the air my children had to come with me. Who am I going to get to take care of my kids? So my children came with me and slept in the newsroom for years. It’s a tough life. But again, the success piece, it feels so good when you make it happen.
David Elmasian: Yeah. Well, that accomplishment, that struggle. I think in your case it made you stronger.
Candy O’Terry: It defines you.
David Elmasian: Yeah. Well, boy. We’re really getting into some deep stuff here, Candy.
Candy O’Terry: I am an open book Dave. Ask away.
David Elmasian: I know. But that’s what makes you so special, seriously. There was another quote that I saw that you said, “Sometimes you just have to be brave.” Do you remember that?
Candy O’Terry: Yeah. I was scared to death to be on the air. And I think as adults we feel like we’re fully cooked. Children have to learn something new every single day of their lives. They go to school and oh boy, algebra today or long division. We make it through school, we get into our careers and we think we’re done. Well guess what? Being brave is stepping outside of your comfort zone, stretching yourself like an elastic band and learning something new.
For me, at the age of 32 to start a career on a number one radio station where it seemed to me everybody around me knew what the heck they were doing, I was the only one who did. So I used to come at night with my kids. They’d do their homework in the newsroom and I would teach myself how to edit tape because I was embarrassed to ask. Everybody else knew.
David Elmasian: Sure. Well, that led to your Exceptional Women series with Gay Vernon. I think that also helped you see what really brave can be with some of the stories that you accounted and uncovered with that.
Candy O’Terry: Oh yeah. I learned so much about life by interviewing these women. I had an idea for a show called Exceptional Women and I pitched it to my boss and he really liked the idea and we decided to do … I was about two or three years into my job, roll it out as a public affairs program. And it was the greatest joy of my life. I interviewed over 600 women over 23 years. Gay and I did. And now with my Story Behind Her Success podcast series you can add another 30 to that and I’m going strong and we’ll have hundreds more I’m sure. But boy, you sit in a room with a woman who’s done something great with her life and she opens up and tells you all about it. Guess what? I might take a little bit of her story and make it part of my journey. You know? Share that wisdom.
David Elmasian: Again, going back to it gives you perspective on your struggles and you realize that sometimes no matter how strong or how difficult it is, there’s always others that have overcome it.
Candy O’Terry: Oh my goodness.
David Elmasian: And hearing those stories of the women and the situations they’ve been in, it really is humbling at times. It really is, and that’s really what makes it so special as well, I think.
Candy O’Terry: Yeah. You’re so right.
David Elmasian: Yeah. All right. We’ll move on to a lighter topic. Next you moved on to, amongst many things, Boston Women in Media and Entertainment.
Candy O’Terry: Sure.
David Elmasian: How did that all come about? Why did you start that?
Candy O’Terry: Well, I had been the president of the American women in Radio and Television New England chapter and that really happened because I went to a meeting in 2000 and I suddenly found myself nominated and elected as president in about five minutes. And I think it was, “Oh, she looks like a real go-getter. She gets the job done.” So all of a sudden I found myself in this role. And over the years I recognized that in trying to bring women together, not just in Boston, in Massachusetts, but throughout New England, under one big umbrella called the American Women in Radio and Television, that my strength was in Boston. It wasn’t in Portland, Maine. It wasn’t in New Hampshire. It wasn’t in Rhode Island. It wasn’t …
So I said, “Well, maybe I should just do something in Boston. A way to reach out to women in these fields.” And also people would hear the name American Women in Radio and Television and they would think, you have to be in radio or television to join this group. Not true. Media, as we all know, has exploded into so many different parts. And there are people working behind the scenes and there are people working in front of and behind cameras and microphones.
So in 2012 I joined forces with a woman who was already on my board, Dayla Arabella Santurri. Do you think she has enough vowels in her name? And we formed Boston Women in Media and Entertainment as a way to create a community for women in these fields.
David Elmasian: One of the parts of it that I think has really been beneficial is the mentoring aspect of it.
Candy O’Terry: For sure.
David Elmasian: Giving back. What do you guys do? Tell me a little bit more about that. How do you help people who are getting into the field?
Candy O’Terry: Sure. We have women who have been involved in all areas of media for many, many years. We have newcomers and then we have people who have been in the field for 10. 15, 20, 30 years. One of the big responsibilities of being a member of BWME is that we have an open forum where if someone calls you and you are a member, you need to be able to call them back and help them. That’s part of being a member. So, if you’re going to be part of our organization, you have to be willing to mentor others.
David Elmasian: I think you’re being a little bashful, but there’s some pretty big names on that list, aren’t there?
Candy O’Terry: Oh, yes indeed. So Liz Brunner, who is our Executive Vice President is an amazing mentor to so many people. Sally Gaglini, who is an entertainment lawyer, is someone who if I send someone to her, she will pick up the phone, talk to them. You’ve got Dayla. You’ve got me. You’ve got … I mean, the list just goes on and on and on and on. Maria Stephanos of WCVB. Lisa Hughes is a former member of my board from WBC. It goes on and on. Just great ladies.
David Elmasian: But it’s really empowering, everybody that’s involved with it, really, isn’t it? In other words, it’s allowing people that would not normally have access to people like that to be able to kind of pull them up and bring them up the wrongs. And you’re center of all that. How did you have the vision to create something like that? Other than the obvious reason. I know you talked about that. But did you really see it as being as powerful and as effective as it’s become?
Candy O’Terry: I’ll tell you what. I was very fortunate. I told you the story about my boss hearing something in my voice that he believed in. So he became my mentor. And when I paired myself up with Gay Vernon and I had that idea about the Exceptional Women show, she was especially generous in teaching me the art of a great interview. Very seasoned, incredible broadcaster and newscaster. And I felt like I’d been really blessed with Don believing in me. Don Kelly, our program director, and Gay Vernon and teaching me the ropes, showing me the way.
I realized very quickly that if they hadn’t, if they’d been selfish and not given me the skills that I needed, taught me what I needed to know, I wouldn’t be where I was. So, I made that the sort of bone structure of Boston Women in Media and Entertainment because I do believe that it is important to pass it on. And you get what you give in this world and you better throw out the good stuff into the world because it does come back to you. And karma is a bitch, right?
David Elmasian: Yeah, but very few people actually live by those rules, but you’re one of them. I mean, you have your 16 rules, right?
Candy O’Terry: 16 Life Lessons.
David Elmasian: Yeah.
Candy O’Terry: Yes.
David Elmasian: Not everybody has the discipline, the desire and the motivation, because sometimes that stuff’s hard. We all tend to be sometimes little thinking more about ourselves. The reason I’m bringing this up and for those of you that are listening, Candy and I first talked maybe what, about a year or so ago, maybe even less. And it was because her and her husband our customers were one of my business and I had the good fortune of having to speak with her. And I don’t know if because I called you or you called me. I don’t think it really matters.
At that time I was … When I saw Candy O’Terry I’m like, oh man. I was nervous about calling you because you’re those woman that was on the air for all these years. I didn’t know who you were or whatever. So I called you or you called me and we spoke and after a couple minutes I felt totally comfortable speaking with you. And then the kicker, and I need to share this. Candy said to me, “Dave,” she said, “let me do something for you.” I said, “You don’t do anything for me, Candy.” And she said, “Well,” she said, “how about if I do like the voiceovers for your phone system?”
And I’m thinking to myself, “Oh my gosh, Candy O’Terry is going to do the phone system for our little business?” But what I learned was that was your way of giving and that’s been that way and I’ve seen it firsthand, secondhand, thirdhand. And anybody that’s had any type of interaction with you, that’s been consistent.
Candy O’Terry: Thank you. So here’s the thing though. But here’s why I did that. Okay? And I know your show is called Hub of Success. So, anybody who’s listening to this show is focused on success in business and in life. So here’s the deal. Connections and relationships are everything. Period. End of discussion. Right?
David Elmasian: Yeah.
Candy O’Terry: So, we spoke, as I recall, one of your techs, who was amazing, had helped me with a really big problem. You know, your computer’s broken, the world is coming to an end. I was on a deadline for a project and I called and in minutes I had someone helping me virtually on the phone and then when it was recognized that I needed more help. The next thing you know, someone is knocking on my door. That’s great business Dave. Okay?
David Elmasian: Sure.
Candy O’Terry: And what I wanted to do when I spoke to you was let you know how much I valued that. I felt like your company had gone above and beyond and I wanted to give you something that I could share with you that had value beyond the fact that I’m a customer, right?
David Elmasian: Sure. Yeah.
Candy O’Terry: And then we became friends. And isn’t that the way it works?
David Elmasian: Yeah. You’ve taught a lot of people a lot of things and even … The reason why you and I are sitting in this room right now with this podcast is because of that and because of you, of opening up my eyes. Relationships have always been important to me, but you clarified that.
Candy O’Terry: Yes. Yes.
David Elmasian: And I’m not going to make it about me, because it’s not. You’ve done this with thousands of people. So it’s not just with me. First off, thank you for that.
Candy O’Terry: You’re welcome.
David Elmasian: And for the collective thank you that we all owe you. We do.
Candy O’Terry: Thank you. But again, for anyone who’s listening, never, ever, ever doubt the power of connection and relationships.
David Elmasian: So, talking about giving. I heard this rumor that you have been responsible for raising literally millions of dollars for American Cancer Society through some of the efforts on your behalf that you’ve been responsible for. Why is that so important to you, Candy?
Candy O’Terry: Sure. When I was growing up my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 14 years old. She was 48. By the time I was 18, she was dead. She was 52 years old and my mother never went through a remission period. The breast cancer went from one breast to the other. It went to her lymph nodes. It metastasized. It went to different body parts and she lasted for four years. And I’m an only child of divorced parents. For me to lose my mom, especially at that age when you really need your mother, talk about not being fully cooked. You’re really not fully cooked when you’re 18 years old and your mom passed away.
I always felt a real connection to the fight against breast cancer. But I didn’t really know what to do with it. I remember donating to the American Cancer Society and those kinds of things early on in my adulthood, but when I got on the radio and then I thought of the Exceptional Women show. Here’s why. Because I didn’t have role models. My mother wasn’t done with me yet. So I felt like in interviewing women doing great things with their lives, kind of in a selfish way, I was feeling myself up with all of their stories.
Little did I know that all these other people were listening to the show for the same reason because we all need to be mentored and we all need to learn very valuable lessons in life. So I turned that into an opportunity to create a yearly event called the Exceptional Women Awards. And we did that for 13 years and all of the proceeds went to the fight against breast cancer. I served as the radio spokesperson for the American Cancer Society in this market for 13 years.
David Elmasian: Wow. That’s unbelievable, Candy. I mean, doesn’t surprise me, but most people, like you said, would just give the donation and be done with it. You really kind of took it to the next level. When you came to the studio today you were more suntanned than normal. Okay? And it wasn’t because you-
Candy O’Terry: I told my dermatologist. He’s not listening to this.
David Elmasian: And it wasn’t because you were on a vacation at Cabo or whatever. You run a swimming program over the summer.
Candy O’Terry: I do.
David Elmasian: Share with us a little bit about that.
Candy O’Terry: First of all, people are probably listening going, “This woman is like schizophrenic. She does too many things.” But guess what. I believe we get one life. Okay? If you’ve got multiple talents, you better be using them. I’ve always been a great swimmer. It’s the only sport I’m any good at, so don’t start thinking I’m bragging here, because I’m not going to win any road races. I don’t lift weights. I don’t play golf. I’m not a good tennis player, but I can kick ass in the pool.
David Elmasian: Hey, we all got something.
Candy O’Terry: I’m a very good swimmer. As you know, from reading my bio, I came to Boston to swim and dive for Boston College. So, I am a certified water safety instructor and lifeguard and I have been for since I was 16 years old, 17 years old. I have run a swimming program at the Meadowbrook Day Camp in Weston for 31 years. I have 12 people on my staff. We have anywhere from 200 to 300 children in the program between the ages of four and 12. And I teach swimming in the morning and when I can I stay in the afternoon and help lifeguard free swims, but usually in the afternoon is when I go to my other job as an executive coach. So, I’m always working.
David Elmasian: Which job? Come on. You have 14 of them.
Candy O’Terry: I know. I do.
David Elmasian: 31 years is a long time to do anything.
Candy O’Terry: I love it.
David Elmasian: What’s the thing with swimming? There’s got to be something more to it than just swimming and that you’re good at it?
Candy O’Terry: It’s freedom. Swimming to me is like breathing. When I’m in the water and my body is gliding through the water I am at such peace. On a stage, in a pool. Those are my two favorite places to be. And I get such joy, not only out of swimming myself, and I swim for fitness every day or hopefully everyday throughout the year, but teaching a child how to swim is a beautiful thing. First of all, if we don’t know how to swim and we’re in water we can drown. So, there’s that. But secondly, it’s so empowering for a child. And for me to watch a child learn from me is brilliant. That’s a great joy.
David Elmasian: Yeah. No, you’re right. I remember when my oldest son Michael, we had a swimming pool and we taught him to swim and those first few strokes, it’s kind of like riding a bike. Same thing. You remember those things.
Candy O’Terry: That’s right. You gave them a push and they’ve just took the training wheels off, right?
David Elmasian: Yeah. It’s a cool thing. We talked about swimming. We talked about Boston Women in Media and Entertainment. You have kind of a new venture called … is it My Dove Productions?
Candy O’Terry: Yes.
David Elmasian: Am I saying that right?
Candy O’Terry: Yes. My Dove Productions. So, I’m … Your listeners can’t see it, but I’m raising my hand so you can see my dove.
David Elmasian: She has a little dove on a …
Candy O’Terry: I have a tattoo of a dove-
David Elmasian: Yeah, tattoo.
Candy O’Terry: … on my wrist. My father called me his dove and he called my daughter his dovelet. So when I wanted to create a company as a way to bring all of my creative endeavors under one umbrella I thought, I’ll call it My Dove Productions. And I also have My Dove Music, but I just became a limited liability corporation-
David Elmasian: Oh, excuse me.
Candy O’Terry: … so I’m pretty [crosstalk 00:37:27] LLC. Hey, hey. But what that does is honestly, it’s like taking your idea, putting it on paper and making it real. Now it’s a real thing and within My Dove Productions will be all of my recording projects, my weekly podcast series called The Story Behind Her Success, which will become a syndicated radio program this fall. And then also my 16 Life Lessons, which are going to become an art project and anything else that I conjure up Dave, it’s going right underneath that umbrella.
David Elmasian: I’m sure you’re missing a lot there, because there’s a lot. You and I talked about something and it came up and it hadn’t really occurred to me, but I thought it was kind of interesting for anybody that’s listening that is in a creative field. And that’s a little thing called intellectual property. You’re going through a similar process right now to protect yourself. And I know you shared experience where … Not necessarily a negative thing, but these things happen when you work for a company. Share with some of the people that are listening, if they are in a creative field, what should they do?
Candy O’Terry: It’s very important. So listen carefully everybody. When I created the Exceptional Women concept, the brand, I was working full-time for a radio station that was owned by a company. So as an employee of the radio station, even though it was clear to everyone that it was my creation, because I was an employee when I exited the station, it became the property of, or was always the property of the radio company.
So it’s kind of hard to leave behind your baby. And there were many sleepless nights through those first few months and years. It’s been three years since I left, that I’ve really missed doing the show, but I wanted to be very careful to protect my intellectual property, where I can this time. So, if you have an idea and you need to have a proof of concept and proof of performance of that idea.
In my case, I have The Story Behind Her Success podcast series. So my lawyers and I are working on creating copyrights and trademarks for my ideas, i.e. The Story Behind Her Success and some other. Like my 16 Life Lessons. These are all being trademarked as we speak along with anything else that I come up with. But it’s very important to protect your intellectual property. If you’re a singer, a songwriter, these are all … One of the things that used to make me so crazy. What was that website people used to steal music from?
David Elmasian: Oh, Napster.
Candy O’Terry: Yes. I was at a dinner party when I got into a fight with somebody who was like, “Hey, I take it off Napster.” I’m like, “Wait a second. Do you know that somebody stayed up for three nights in a row writing that song and you’re stealing his rights to that song?” It makes me crazy.
David Elmasian: No, but it should. And because like you said, a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into that and it shouldn’t be just be able to-
Candy O’Terry: It’s their product. Right?
David Elmasian: Right. Yeah. So if you are listening, protect yourself. There’s a lot of resources out there.
Candy O’Terry: Go to an entertainment lawyer. They know how to do this and they’ll help you.
David Elmasian: Yeah. Because there are a lot of horror stories that people didn’t do that and they got taken advantage of and we don’t want that to happen. So, what’s next for you Candy?
Candy O’Terry: Oh my.
David Elmasian: All right. Just limit it to a few now. Come on.
Candy O’Terry: All right. I’ll tell you what my big project is right now. We’ve got this weekly series and so far we launched on January 3rd, 2018. So far we’ve interviewed 32 women for the show. And on October 19th we will debut The Story Behind Her Success Luncheon, which will feature five women who’ve been on the show, who have been especially compelling and memorable. And in a luncheon setting I will interview them for 10 to 12 minutes followed by a couple of minutes of audience Q&A and then we’ll move on to the next person and the next person.
And I want you to envision what will probably look like an Oprah set where it’s just me and the one person in a nice cozy chair, or like you see Ellen when she’s interviewing someone on her show, surrounded by like-minded wonderful enthusiastic men and women and we’ll eat some really good food and it will be at Granite Links Country Club on October 19th from noon until 2:00, and I hope you’ll be there.
David Elmasian: Come on. Of course. Wouldn’t miss it for the world. So we need to wrap things up. We could talk more for hours. I know you and I could talk, but let’s wrap it up. I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule. I know you got a million other things to do. So I just want to thank you again. You’ve been listening to the Hub of Success. I’m David Elmasian and we had the good fortune of having the one and only Candy O’Terry on the show. Thank you so much, Candy.
Candy O’Terry: Thank you. It was my pleasure to be on this show. Best of luck.
David Elmasian: Thanks.