A state senator in Nevada, the director of a school in a juvenile detention center, a high school teacher who raised two children while attending graduate school and a health blogger — while these four women seem to come from different walks of life, they have at least one thing in common: They were all guests on a podcast created by Ariel Hudes SOM ’18 that highlights the unconventional success stories of women across the country.
Hudes’ podcast, titled “Club House,” aims to showcase the stories of women who otherwise might not have a voice in popular media. Hudes developed “Club House” in fall 2017 and launched the first four episodes in February.
“Each episode is one woman’s story in about half an hour and the through line of the women who tell their stories are basically that they are women who otherwise wouldn’t have a platform to tell their story [and] would not be conventional headline subjects,” Hudes said.
Hudes — a Philadelphia native who attended Brown University, worked in New York City and now lives in New Haven — said she was motivated to create the podcast after the 2016 presidential election. Having lived in “homogenous communities” for much of her life, Hudes said President Donald’s Trump’s election victory made her realize how little she knew about the rest of the country.
According to Hudes, the podcast reflects her desire to better understand others and also share peoples’ stories.
“I felt the desire to understand and believe that peoples’ needs are real, [and] I’ve been looking for ways to do that, to meet and know people in other places and share their stories with other people like me who are kind of cloistered away,” Hudes said.
Hudes’ guests thus far have included Philadelphia health blogger and founder of “The Fuck It Diet” Caroline Dooner; Rachel Hobson, the director of a juvenile detention center school in New Orleans; New Hampshire high school teacher and graduate student Meghan Lydon; and Nevada state senator Yvanna Cancela.
Professor Jennifer McFadden SOM ’08 — associate director of entrepreneurship at the School of Management and the teacher of the class “Founders Practicum,” which Hudes attends and through which she has worked on her podcast — said that “Club House” is contributing to a conversation that “is helpful in bringing people together from different backgrounds” in a country in which there is often a “lack of understanding.”
“She’s trying to demonstrate that there [is] this other set of role models that are taking these paths and contributing to their communities and families, and that is equally as important as somebody who might be going and trying to be managing director of Goldman Sachs,” McFadden said. “She’s trying to expand peoples’ understanding of what is important in life, [and that] is a noble thing to try to do.”
Dooner agreed and emphasized that “Club House” shows female listeners that they do not have to follow “the one or two acceptable paths” to conventional success. She said that highlighting the “personal stories” of women who do things differently will inspire others.
In fact, Hudes said she hopes these stories will encourage people to be more conscious about how they perceive success. The business school student said her experiences in communities that emphasize traditional credentials also inspired her to create a podcast highlighting unconventional success stories.
“I do think at Yale and in the alumni communities I’ve experienced there’s a real emphasis on credentials and on exclusivity around credentials that was actually part of what pushed me to do this,” Hudes said. “I think that limits our opportunities, the healing our country can do. It pushes away the students and alums who don’t care about those things.”
Hudes added that she hopes her podcast inspires people to make subtle changes and “open their minds” to other perspectives. She stressed that the podcast format is especially conducive to encouraging people to listen to one another.
Cancela, the state senator from Nevada whom Hudes interviewed on “Club House,” said Hudes is “creating the space” to hear the stories of people who often go unheard.
“Ariel’s idea about fostering dialogue between people who aren’t talking to each other is tremendously important, [and] I believe that what she’s doing is powerful,” Cancela said.
The next four episodes of “Club House” will air in the summer. One of these episodes will be recorded on April 27 as the capstone of Yale’s inaugural Podcast and Audio Conference.
Ultimately, Hudes said, she hopes to expand the podcast’s reach beyond the Yale community and build a timeless archive of stories for her listeners.
“Generally speaking, clubhouses are known as exclusive spaces that you have to meet a set of limiting criteria to get into, and in some ways this is just flipping that on its head,” Hudes said. “This is the most inclusive clubhouse for anyone, for any woman in the country who is passionate about the life she’s built.”
Chloe Glass | firstname.lastname@example.org