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Meet Denise Gorant Gliwa

Today we’d like to introduce you to  Denise Gorant Gliwa.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Throughout my life, I’ve always dreamed of having a talk show. My husband teases me and calls it “Daytime with Denise.” I love talking to people and hearing their stories. For over 35 years I worked in public relations and marketing, and at one point, on a complete whim, I decided I wanted to start a podcast. It took about two years to come up with a topic that I thought was both interesting, timely, and would be beneficial to listeners. I was a podcast fanatic, so I listened to everything and wanted a new idea – something that was not being done. 

I realized that the topic of conversation among so many friends my age was their adult children. We all are in a quandary on what our roles should be as our kids became adults. Our generation was probably the first generation to be “over-engaged” when our kids were growing up. We had to learn to let go, but at the same time keep relationships healthy. I started reading about young adults who were divorcing their parents. That is when it dawned on me – building healthy relationships with your adult children. 

I talked the idea over with my own adult children and they both agreed it could be a great topic. We had a number of episode ideas — wedding planning, giving advice, spirituality, lifestyle choices, opinions on their selection of a significant other, all topics that hoped to include. 

I always heard the sign of good mother was the number of bite marks on her tongue. I am always telling myself to “bite my tongue,” so hence the name was born. 

I was working at another job when I decided to start the podcast. I am the type of person who likes to be busy. During the pandemic, my time was not filled, so I decided to give it a try. 

I wanted a co-host. I think it is more fun and interesting when two people are talking on a podcast and you get two viewpoints. My good friend, Ellen Braaten, also a prominent psychologist at Harvard was game. She did not have too much time so I would do most of the work, but she would come on as co-host as often as she could. I also thought having a professional psychologist on the show would lend some credibility. 

So now we had the topic, name, and co-host. How the heck do you produce this thing? 

My sister, Connie Gorant Fisher, and I are very close and have always wanted to do something together. She is very creative and good with computers, so I thought maybe she could become the audio engineer. She got some help from a young musician in Denver, Zach Heckendorf. He spent some time with Connie helping her to learn the software. Connie learned quickly and she is amazing. It is such a relief to have someone who knows me so well. She’ll say, “Denise I took this or that out because you did not sound good.” I trust her completely. 

There is so much individual growth in putting together our own podcast. We learn something new with every interview. It keeps our minds engaged, and we find ourselves getting excited about every episode. 

As of today, we’ve produced over 20 episodes and our listenership continues to grow. We are still not making any money, but that’s next. Just watch us! Or listen at least! 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road at all. Again, I was working another job trying to put this together on the side. Connie and I do everything – find and pitch guests, write the copy, edit, produce, and publicize. It’s often more that we can handle. Sometimes we are about to give up and then we get an email from someone telling us how an episode truly impacted their relationship with their adult child. So, we keep going. I wish we could hire help. 

Also finding the right guests and getting them to agree to be interviewed has been a challenge. We don’t want to be repetitive. We are always trying to come up with new ideas. 

The biggest struggle however is getting the word out. I’ve pitched and gotten stories for other people my whole life. I love telling “other people’s” stories. It is hard for me to tell my own. I find doing my own publicity the most challenging. 

Connie adds — I had a big learning curve since I never did any sound editing before. Denise put me in touch with an audio engineer she was working with on a different project, and he helped at the beginning. I use a program called Audacity, so I watched several online classes and YouTube videos. I also listened to many many other podcasts to get ideas of what we wanted ours to sound like. Little by little, it all started to make sense. Of course, I am still learning with each new episode. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Each of these three questions is answered below. If we only are to choose one – we would like to highlight what we are most proud of. 

We produce a bi-monthly podcast called BITE YOUR TONGUE: The Podcast – Building Healthy Relationships with your Adult Children. Each episode of the Bite Your Tongue podcast explores different areas of parenting adult children. 

We’ve produced over 20 episodes thus far and we are quite proud of both the topics and the caliber of quests we’ve been able to land. Some of the episodes that stand out for me are: 

Grandparenting: The One Thing You Need to Know. We interviewed Julie Dolan who is one of the legendary Satellite Sisters. With over 20 years in radio/podcast industry, she has taken the alter ego of “Urban Nana.” Her episode was funny but filled with great advice. 

Talk the Talk with Dr. Susan Heitler: She is a renowned relationship therapist who gave us great techniques to use. I even implemented some of her advice with me on a family vacation and it worked beautifully. 

Money and Your Adult Children: Seems to be the #1 issue with millennials and their parents. We interviewed Jeff Opdyke a long-time personal finance editor at the Wall Street Journal. 

Spirituality: This can be a hot topic too. We interviewed an Episcopal priest and Jewish cantor. Both have children who chose significant others not of their religion or have taken a different spiritual path than their families. 

LGBTQ+: This was a very popular episode. We interviewed a mother of a pansexual daughter and the President of P-FLAG Denver who is a trans-man. We did this episode so that parents of our generation begin to understand this journey for their own children or others. 

Trust and Estates: Do you know that as soon as you turn 18 you really need your own will, advance directives, and a Power of Attorney for both business and health care? Most young adults do not have these. 

SSEA: Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood: We interviewed Dr. Larry Nelson the president of this society to learn more about his research and what we need to understand about emerging adults. 

Weddings: We were able to speak with a “wedding therapist” from an NYC boutique therapy practice called Aisle Talk that specializes in helping modern-day brides or s with wedding stresses. 

We’ve interviewed the authors of many books – from Walking on Egg Shells by Jane Isay, When Your Grown Children Disappoint You, by Jane Adams, and one of my favorites, My Everything by Einat Nathan. 

Our most recent episode is with Dr. Susan Engel, she is a professor of psychology at Williams College who authored this wonderful New York Times piece, “When They’re Grown, The Real Pain Begins.” She was wonderful. 

We are most proud when we get responses and reviews from listeners who tell us how meaningful the podcast is and how much they learn from it. One that stands out came from a mother after we dropped our LGBTQ+ episode. She sent us a message that said: 

“I just want to thank you for your podcast. I have not listened to them all but did listen to the one about LGBTQ with Levi and Stacey… I was moved to go look at the PFLAG website and want to attend a meeting. My oldest son is gay and his partner who is not accepted by his conservative religious family needs support. I shared the podcast with them both.” 

We feel good if the podcast is serving its purpose. 

We cannot find another podcast that focuses solely on this trending topic. So, that sets us apart from all. Also, we are two sisters who took this crazy risk in our mid-60s. 

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc.?
One of my favorite books this year was by Brené Brown called “Atlas of the Heart.” She says something like “perfectionism can diminish creativity.” That’s my mantra. I work quickly, make things happen and don’t worry if it is perfect. It was nice to hear an affirmation. 

I exercise a lot. Both Connie and I became addicted during the pandemic to Sydney Cummings on YouTube. She provides new workouts every day. We always chat about what we thought of each one during the week. 

I love podcasts. I listen to so many. The Moth is one of my favorites because I love stories. I am hoping to submit a story to The Moth at some time. Connie loves “Death Sex and Money,” and also listens to “Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations.” 

Finally, for Connie and I – our families and our dogs. They are the number one resource that helps us do our best in life and at work. 

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