Monica Royer: [00:00:00] Today, I am beyond excited to be welcoming one of my very favorite humans on earth to the podcast. It is my CEO coach, my executive coach, frankly, my life coach at this point, Irene Ortiz Glass. Welcome.

Irene Ortiz-Glass: Thank you. It’s an honor to be here, Monica. I so appreciate you.

Monica Royer: Oh my gosh, likewise. And for people that haven’t, I feel like I’ve been very privileged in this journey to be able to have had a coach like Irene and just to give everybody a little bit of like, what does that mean? What Irene has done is as you encounter different challenges at work and like, as you’re leading a company and frankly, as you’re working at a company, I think there’s so many different people that can benefit from it.

No, one of the number one things you can benefit from is therapy. And I encourage everybody to do that. But as you really think about business, the idea of having an executive coach is all about one, getting to know yourself better and understanding who you are, and then taking that knowledge on to [00:01:00] get to know your team better and make sure that you deeply understand your own strengths and weaknesses so that you could bring your best self to the office every day or to the zoom room every day.

So Irene, as I welcome you, my first question is, Tell us about how you got into life coaching to begin with. I feel like you have so much wisdom. Like, did you start at, was that like teenage Irene? Like as, um, as good at like for,

Irene Ortiz-Glass: I wish. No, it was actually not, not on purpose. It was, I think, I know it was my destiny. I was meant to be in the, in the role that I’m in now doing what I do, but I had no idea I would end up here. I think it was a series of really amazing mentors and people in my life who taught me what it meant to really get inside someone’s head about what they cared about and in their heart.

And, um, I started my career at Wright Management laying off people who were in their 50s when I was in my late 20s. And it was probably the most [00:02:00] defining experience that led me to this work because what happened was there’s that movie Up in the Air. Where this young woman is traveling with George Clooney and she’s doing the same thing and it’s literally my life in the beginning.

And what I realized is that people were getting laid off in their 50s and they were shocked. They had no idea why they were being let go. And I had this one experience where a gentleman was so incredibly patient. Pained by the experience that he put him he hid underneath the Desk because he didn’t want to deal with HR or with anybody giving him his paperwork and I remember thinking Wow, people really don’t get any feedback or support or coaching or help along the way to not end up here Or if they do to have a plan and it was at that moment I realized that there’s got to be a better way.

Monica Royer: and so from that moment, take us, you’re in your twenties, you’ve got this job all the way to like, when did you, when did the life coaching or like the executive [00:03:00] coaching, when did you have an opportunity to actually start doing that?

Irene Ortiz-Glass: So I ended up after leaving right management being recruited to work for corn ferry as a as a senior partner and building their practice. So they were starting it at an executive coaching leadership development practice, and it was, you know, they gave us a couple million dollars and said, good luck, hire some people.

And when we, we basically place CEOs, find a way to then develop the people that we place and their teams. And so we, we were a startup. We bought five companies. We integrated them around assessment and coaching. I became certified there. Yeah. I was at the same time getting my master’s degree in organizational leadership.

And I was really business development. I was a senior partner selling the services, but then I realized while I was there, I want to do the work. And so I began also delivering services and doing coaching and fell in love with it. I realized that it was game changing for people. And it was interesting.

There was a gentleman named Kevin Cashman. We [00:04:00] purchased his firm and He had this motto that leadership is an inside out job, and I think that is when it dawned on me that executive coaching was and should always be connected to life and our life lives, not just work that we are one one person interacting in these different areas of our lives.

What work is just 1 part of them. While I don’t describe myself as a life coach, I will tell you that 50 percent of the work I do when I’m doing executive coaching, as you know, is around life and issues that come up with life because life and work as leaders, especially as a CEO, are very connected.

Monica Royer: Absolutely. And don’t let Irene fool you as you hear her talk about this. She has a unique gift. And so as I think about like, Oh, could I, could I have been on the trajectory and done that? The answer is no. There is something so special about the way in which like Irene can connect with you. And even just sharing to Irene, I remember talking to you for the first time.

It was during COVID. I was standing in like the. Garden of my in laws house. Cause we went there to stay [00:05:00] like a week and we were there for like two months or something like that. And at that time, my brother had said to me, Hey, you’re getting to the next stage of growth for your company. You need therapy and you need an executive coach.

Like those are, you need to really like be able to manage your own psychology in order to make it through like the next few years. And so I remember talking to Irene and I talked to like a number of other people and then. COVID hit much harder. This was like almost at the very beginning and everybody else disappeared.

And Irene, even though I wasn’t working with her, it was like calling and offering me resources and suggesting different things that I could do. And I thought, Oh my God, this is a human that not even her client, but she like actually, she talked to me and she cares about what’s going to happen next. And so through that journey, we started working together and I think the hardest part of doing it to your point, Irene is like, there is like a line between.

Who you are personally is a big part of who you show up for, how you show up professionally as well. And so I definitely think we’ve got to components of the conversation where it’s like, oh, this might really be diving into like, like more deep therapy that’s needed [00:06:00] for me. Like, there is like a fine line that crosses both of those things.

And I feel like the reason and what makes Irene so special is if you look as. You, if you’re listening to this and are thinking about executive coaching, as I think it’s kind of like being a good leader. You have to care about the human behind the leader as well in order to really understand it. And that is something that I feel like Irene, like you, you really carry with you and you take to heart.

Irene Ortiz-Glass: Well, I believe that leading is a human experience and I think that I’ve been alive long enough and seen my own psychology and my, I’ve been through my own therapy to see that, you know, the patterns of our, of our lives. Started a long time ago, they started as Children with our parents and our belief systems and, you know, basically the decisions that we made in the agreements we make with ourselves at a very young age, and then they sort of morph.

And then as you become a leader, they’re like on stage, right? Every day of our lives with every team member with every investor, um, with the market, [00:07:00] you know, with our board members. And so we need to think through. What am I carrying with me? What is serving me? What serves the company? And where do I need to make adjustments, whether it’s through therapy?

And there is a very thin line between, you know, therapy and coaching. It’s, it’s kind of a bit bizarre. Um, luckily I know when it’s crossing and I can say to somebody, Hey, that’s a therapy thing. I don’t, I can’t diagnose or work with you there. And I know when it’s a work thing that’s around the fringes of therapy that I can help with.

So it, you know, you really have to know what you’re doing. You have to be careful because there’s psychology and then there’s, you know, leadership and they’re, they’re very, very closely married.

Monica Royer: Absolutely. And the thing that I feel like is so special about this. This new stage of the podcast is we’re really thinking about telling kind of the story behind the story. And I think, Irene, one of the things that I was most fascinated about with you is like, as we work together, I remember thinking, This is a woman that has everything together.

She’s so articulate. She’s so good at [00:08:00] like seeing kind of in, into your soul and understand, um, And understand like the, the thought process kind of behind how you’re getting somewhere and helping you to unpack that so you can break down all of the steps of your own leadership to be like, oh, these first three steps are great, but like, like, I kind of stumble on the next to you.

And then I get back on my footing and how can I fix that area where we stumble? And then you shared with me that you’ve been through hard times. And there’s been difficulties in your own life that have brought you to where you are. And I think, and maybe we can talk a little bit more about some of what you’ve gone through, but I think part of what makes leaders great is the stumbles that they have themselves, or the humanity that they experience in their own lives that you then bring, um, to your work that helps to make better leaders.

So if you feel like you’re listening to this and you’re stumbling in your leadership or stumbling in your personal life, You can take some of that stumbling and actually build like a deeper foundation from your leadership. And I mean, if you’d be open to sharing some of, especially what you experienced like early on in your career, cause then we, I want to get to sort of the book that you’ve more recently [00:09:00] written, that is absolutely incredible.

And like some of your, your later experiences, but tell us a little bit about your early story.

Irene Ortiz-Glass: Yeah, so this one is, um, that I’m going to share today, I have not shared with anybody. So I’m, I’m going to be pretty vulnerable and I’m at a place now where I’ve decided that’s really important. So bear with me if I get a little bit emotional, but, um, first of all, I will say that all the leaders that I’ve ever worked with who are great have had hardship.

The difference is between how they handled the, the hardship, were they able, able to do the work, get into therapy, get help, see themselves, you know, see reality and then move forward. And I’m fortunate that I can sit here and tell you, and I know I’ve talked to Andy about this too, one on one, your brother, that, you know, we can actually both say we’re grateful for the hardship, because it did help us find purpose, and I know I watch Andy and think, wow, he took it all the way.

And so I’ve tried to do the same, um, so here’s, here’s the story. [00:10:00] At a very young age, you know, my dad left when I was five, my birth father, and he did not want to see me. And I remember being waiting for him, he’d say he’d come and then he wouldn’t. And you know, I’m, I’m a little girl kind of standing at the window thinking, is my daddy ever going to come?

And I remember trying to look really pretty, like wanting to wear the nicest dress and I had bows in my hair. I was always a little bit chubby as a kid and I was worried if he’d think I was fat. I mean, even at the age of like nine, I’m thinking these things. And so if you don’t think your psyche is, you know, impacted by that, right, that’s a big, big deal.

Um, and he never came, like he, he basically just never wanted to show up. And so that was really, really rough. Um, by the age of 13 though, I was experience, uh, experiencing. A sexual psychological abuse by my stepfather and what does that mean? It means that he never put his hands on me But it was probably the things I saw and experienced with him were probably, you know Very near as bad as that could have been [00:11:00] And by the age of 17, I finally told my mother what was going on after years of this abuse and she basically You know was not able to handle it Wasn’t able to do anything about it.

Wasn’t able to respond appropriately as a mother. So now here I am, you know I’m 17 years old and if you really think about it I’ve experienced being abandoned by all three of the people who were supposed to really love me The people who were supposed to be the people I could count on and the reason the story matters is this.

I put on a lot of, you know, armor from those experiences and I remember and in therapy, in fact, just this last week, I had a really good appointment with my therapist because I still go once a month because I just need to. It’s so healthy and good for me. And I said to him. You know, I finally can see all of it like a movie and, and I can make sense of it.

And I’m so grateful for that. But the reality is when those things happen to me, the thing that came like an alarm [00:12:00] bell in my body and mind was run, run, run, run as fast as you can, as hard as you can. And don’t stop, keep running. And I ran for a really long time. And what did that look like? And this is where a lot of people will.

Can resonate and identify. It looked like perfectionism. It looked like overwork. It looked like never being satisfied. It looked like being very hard on myself, incredibly hard on my son, which. It just kills me the relationship that was hurt by something that hurt me because hurt people hurt people that’s just how this works and and so I went into overdrive and then I sort of fell apart and the falling apart was sort of then when perimenopause hit and that’s when you know, I wrote the book and I had that journey, but All of that culminated into a beautiful mosaic of my life and has allowed me To help so many people.

Monica Royer: my gosh. Irene, first of [00:13:00] all, I know I want to honor you sharing this story because I think that I know, um, how hard it is. Recently I interviewed my mom for the podcast and we couldn’t even get through. We barely were able to do like 10 minutes and she was talking about her childhood and like her. So it’s, it’s so hard to relive like past traumas on things and it’s hard to bring that to today.

But I want you to know, like people hearing that story and understanding that here is, And I think that’s what’s so incredible, even as people have looked at my brother, as you’ve referenced, who has, like, Endured, like, a very significant, um, you know, psychiatric issues over time. You realize that sometimes from the depth of, like, your deepest pain, like, other people are experiencing the same thing.

And if you’re brave enough to tell your story, it just, it helps so many other people, and so I think that As hard as it is as you look back and obviously wouldn’t want anybody to go through the experiences you have like what you bring and and I think that’s what makes you so so special as an executive coach as you see people for the human [00:14:00] beings that they are as opposed to just like.

The management team members, they might be, or like the one dimensional people that you are as you’re, as you’re doing your job, as you work with clients, Irene, as you think about like connecting with people, and I’m excited also to get to like your later story and like what you’re doing today, which is so exciting.

Do you find that as you’re interviewing people to work with? Is it, I don’t, I don’t want to say like everybody you’re working with, like is a home run and you can help, but how do you even vet the people as you’re getting ready now at the, at the stage you are of executive coaching? Cause I feel like you and I are so.

Um, we have so many commonalities in the way that we do stuff. And it’s funny and talking to, uh, you know, as sometimes as I talk to other people to say, Oh my gosh, like you, people dive in and you learn more about yourself. And a lot of times people be like, actually, I don’t want to learn more about myself, but sometimes people come to you like through, you know, through their employers or other things.

And like, how do you know if somebody is going to be the right fit to work with you?

Irene Ortiz-Glass: Well, I’m grateful after doing [00:15:00] this for like 18 or 20 years that I can tell very quickly if someone is going to be a good candidate for coaching because I don’t want to waste their time and their money or my time. Um, I think it’s super important to be clear upfront if this is a good match. So one is chemistry, like do we vibe with each other?

Do we feel like we’re a good fit? That’s like very, very important as you know, like there’s lots and lots and lots of coaches, but chemistry matters. So. I’m always looking for chemistry. Um, and then there’s three pillars. And the first one that I look for is, is this person willing to become And get a deeper level of self awareness.

So to your point, when people say, I don’t know that I want to know that about myself. That’s a sign that, hey, they’re probably not a good candidate because I’m going to go there and I’m going to go there all the way, not just on the psychometrics of leadership, but assessing behaviors, mindsets, values, and how they approach the world and their history.

So that’s pillar number one. Like, are you willing to get to know yourself and why you are who you are? And then the second one is the motivation. Like, are they [00:16:00] motivated to then take action, right? You know, do they have the drive? So being self aware is one thing. Being motivated is another. And then the third one is, will they do the work?

As you know, this is time consuming. It takes, you know, I spend a couple of hours a month, if not more, with people diving into dynamics of the business, you know, issues with the board, fundraising, investor situations, um, employee situations, and sometimes personal situations where something has happened in their family and they’re just having a really hard time showing up at work as a leader and they need to calibrate.

You know, I have a woman now who is experiencing her first time role as a, a, a president of a company. And she wrote me and said, I am struggling with my emotional response to how hard this changes. And I wrote her and I said, the first thing I’m going to tell you is this is so normal. Like if you didn’t care, you wouldn’t feel a thing.

It is so good [00:17:00] that you’re feeling and it’s so normal, but let’s talk about how you’re coping with it. Right? And that’s, that’s reality. That’s reality.

Monica Royer: It is. And you know what’s so interesting? And I was just like, it’s kind of smiling as we’re talking because I’m thinking about all the things I’ve learned from you as we’re as we’re going through this conversation. And I think some of it is like, so basic and then it becomes more complicated. But this idea that you learn for me, and I think one of the biggest learnings is we did the assessment was You know, Monica, you’re very flexible and we, I don’t mean physically, by the way, I’m like the least, I’m like the most inflexible person in a yoga class, but from a personality standpoint and you know, the way that you delivered it too, which is like, this can be a great quality, but on the other hand, like keep an eye on like how flexible you are and stuff.

And it’s funny because as you know, Bella, my daughter and the backdrop of listening to stuff. And I know I’ve told you this story, but want to share it here too. It’s like, she’s very structured. Like for me, I get a Google doc. With like her, she’s got what her studying and like what she’s doing. And she literally like firmly checks the [00:18:00] boxes.

I’ve learned so much about parenthood through what we’ve done with you. Cause I’ve identified that like, I’m extremely flexible. My husband and daughter are very structured and it’s kind of like helped us to not butt heads as much because once you understand who you are and you can kind of assess the people around you.

But the funny part is like, Bella’s like flipped it back on me as I’ve shared, where like suddenly plans are changing and things are happening. And she’s like, mom. Your flexibility is like, now becoming a problem for us. She’s like, as you know, I’m much more structured than you. And I’m going to need a little bit of a preview on what’s happening next.

Cause this idea that we’re just going with the flow is not working for me. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, it’s like a 12 year olds. She understands these concepts. And so the cool thing is it’s not like the conceptual idea of like coaching and what you’re doing. It’s not so. Complicated. It’s rooted in some of the most basic things about us.

And it’s kind of like going to marriage counseling where suddenly where you understand yourself a little better and you start to understand the person a little better, it builds more empathy for what’s happening because you realize like, Oh, this person is actually. [00:19:00] And I think that’s been the number one thing that’s helped from a team perspective is you start to understand, like, or to your point, another great thing that we learned from Irene is like, you understand what you’re missing.

You, you want a diversity, a cerebral diversity on the team as well. And one of the things you helped to identify is like, whoa, Monica, there is no structure on this leadership. We were diverging in a million different directions. And she’s like, you’re going to need to hire a few people. Like, I can kind of converge this together.

So I think there’s so much. About decision making that you can change once you understand more about yourself and others.

Irene Ortiz-Glass: I think the beauty of what we assess when we go through the process is how somebody’s brain is wired and their natural energy, where they go naturally and teams all have a natural way they work just on the day to day without thinking. So coaching is about assessing. What does that look like and how we run this business, what the business needs and how we’re wired.

And then where do we need to lean in or turn up the energy? As an example for you, you are probably one of the most empathic leaders [00:20:00] I know. You care more than most people I see on a daily basis about your business and the health of the business and your employees. And there’s a place where that is so powerful.

And then there’s times when you have to turn the volume down. So I tell people, I do not want you to be inauthentic. I don’t want you to be a different version of yourself. I want you to be a version of yourself that knows how to move in and out of the energy that’s necessary for a particular audience or a particular problem.

And that can look different hour by hour. You know that that can be a little bit rough on people and honestly speaking It’s more hard for highly structured people than it is for flexible people because we can kind of roll a little bit better So there is a difference

Monica Royer: Yes. Well, it’s funny if I even, I mean, I think some of this stuff could work really well, premaritally to like, you know, I’ve been fortunate to be married for 17 years, but now I’m like, Oh my gosh, I literally married the exact opposite. Like everything about Rob is like completely, and maybe that’s why it works at

Irene Ortiz-Glass: That’s why it works. I [00:21:00] assessed my husband early on. Yeah, we’re total opposites Yeah, and it has worked because I can know when he’s veering into highly operational structure mode and i’m like that’s a lot for me Can we just veer to the right for just a minute and we do we talk like that to each other?

Monica Royer: Oh, my gosh, I love it. It’s just like, it opens up a whole new world as you start to think about that. And the thing that I love about the coaching, it’s like, there’s no wrong. There’s no wrong way to be. It’s just understanding who you are. And like, there’s nothing like if you’re out there and you’re listening and you’re afraid of the coaching, I feel like there’s nothing about there’s nothing negative, whether you’re super structured or super flexible.

It’s just. Recognizing and understanding, like, your strengths and weaknesses around it, and then the people that you want to bring around you. I think, one thing I want to make sure that we touch on, Irene, is like, you and I talk a lot about higher purpose in our conversations. And so I think as somebody that, like, is living my dream every day, there’s a lot of hard days, but you love the job.

And I think that every day as I come to it, I realize, like, this is A privilege, like, no matter what the complexities of it are, it is [00:22:00] a privilege to have the complexities that that we do face on a daily basis. But I think 1 of the things I’ve learned from you is like, as you’re no matter what your day to day job is, no matter what purpose is fulfilling.

As you’re, as you’re transitioning through decades of your life, like, really thinking about, like, what do you feel like are, are you there, Irene? Hold on, the video went off for a

Irene Ortiz-Glass: Yeah, I’m here.

Monica Royer: Okay, cool. I know what happened. The video went off. We’re okay, though. We’ll see if it comes back on, but I can hear you great.

Like, what is kind of, like, the higher purpose and, like, the things that you want to think about from, Like what will, as, as you’re thinking about life and maybe you’re 90 years old or a hundred years old, and you’re looking back, like, did you fulfill that higher purpose? And I think that’s one of the things that you and I have talked a lot about recently, which is like, what are the higher purposes?

And I think you have more recently dived deeper into your higher purpose and would love for you to share a little bit more about that with everybody too.

Irene Ortiz-Glass: I think this is probably my favorite question because I think this is key to the second half of life So most leaders I work with are in their [00:23:00] 40s and they’re converging to the second half of life And there’s a lot of great, you know books out there, but arthur brooks He has a book. Um, and i’m blanking on the title right now but basically the book that the idea is that as you move into your 50s and on You know, you’re really, you’re really supposed to get more clarity, and the more clear you become on your purpose, your bigger purpose in life, the happier you are, right?

So he does an article in the Atlantic on happiness, and the idea is that if you’re clear on purpose and significance, you will be happier than if you just cared about, Making a lot of money or growing a huge business and what what has happened for me is that has crystallized so much that it’s almost all that I really focus on now.

It’s. Every single day, how is what I’m doing contributing to that purpose? And if it’s not, should I really be doing it? Should I be saying no to that because it doesn’t enact purpose? [00:24:00] So for me, purpose has become helping other people to grow and learn about themselves to become that best version of whoever they’re supposed to be with their gifts and skills.

It is, it, that is the executive coaching component, um, on the other, on the other side of my world, having gone through menopause in an extreme way and. And writing about it in the, in the book I wrote recently, um, which is The Body Whispers Before It Screams is my journey of going through perimenopause, menopause, and surgical menopause. That is when it really hit me. Like, I am not well. I am not clear. And when you go through menopause and perimenopause, what no one tells you is that sometimes all of the junk from the past, it starts to resurface like really quickly. It’s like your body is weak, your cortisol is low, you’re really tired, and everything just piles in.

And I had to decide if I was going to stop and reflect and get deep on that, or if I was [00:25:00] just going to power through like I like to do with most things, and I didn’t. And I. Stopped and I reflected and I healed and a lot of that healing was physical and hormonal and taking supplements and hormone therapy, but a very, very big part of it was reconciling my past, my trauma, the impact it had on my family.

And healing from that, not just for myself, but for my children, for my husband, for all of us. And so my purpose now is twofold. It’s working with leaders, and I work with executive women on both sides of these issues. And I have another practice where I have some coaches and a doctor referral network that work with women who come to us with hormone issues and just want to get well.

And in both of these worlds, it’s, it’s basically, I just want to help people become the very best healed version of themselves. And I don’t care who you are. We all need healing. We all need healing from something. And if you think you don’t, then that means [00:26:00] you need more help than other for another person.

Cause we all need healing.

Monica Royer: Absolutely. And thinking about your story, Irene, I feel like you’re. You’re sitting in like the perfect place and time to start to tell this. Because I think even as I’m thinking about brands that come out and conversations that are happening 2024, which I guess is how I got to get used to saying it, there’s so much.

Technology and like thought process around hormones in a way that like women have never had access to before. And it seems like that’s only going to get better and better as I think about, like, the early days of fertility, new, you know, people that are planning parenthood, there’s so many different ways now and technologies that are available to be like evaluating egg quality and thinking about freezing your eggs or like all of these other options, whether it.

Whether you want to, whether they’re right for you or not is are coming onto the horizon. And as we’re thinking about wellness for women, all of these conversations at all stages of life and fertility around like [00:27:00] hormone balance and what does that look like? And how does that affect mental health? And to your point, I think menopause, it seems like has been a more taboo subject while there’s so many million women that are going through that every single year.

It’s kind of like the issues with fertility and miscarriage. They, they just, they’re, people go through them, but they go through them alone. And I think you and a few other folks are on the frontier of like opening, like cracking wide open this whole conversation that it seems like people have just been afraid to have until now or to be able to share.

And so what I love about what’s happening is that. There’s this idea that, like, our mental health, our physical well being, like, all of it is, like, coming together in a, in a place where it’s going to be okay to share all of it. And I, you know, seen it from my brother’s, like, admission of, like, the bipolar diagnosis that he had and things that, like, what, you know, he says, like, you know, shame is sort of what you’re afraid to speak of.

And I think it’s unbelievable that these That these like medical conditions that we as [00:28:00] women go through are things that we’ve also been ashamed to speak of and I think you being on the frontier of that is going to open up the conversation for so many people because I feel like, and if you’re, if you’re open to sharing a little bit more about like how you actually medically went through this, there’s a difference between, as I’ve learned from you, between like going through menopause and like being forced immediately into menopause as well.

Irene Ortiz-Glass: Yeah, there’s a huge, huge difference. So, you know, I had had ovarian cysts for years and they continue to try to, they remove the cysts surgically a couple of times. I had horrible PMS, terrible PMDD, you know, emotional, moody, all of that. What I didn’t know that I know now is that that’s a precursor telling you that you’re probably not going to have a great menopausal experience.

So if you have had PMS, if your periods were terrible, if you were moody and emotional and anxious and depressed, you’re likely gonna have that on the other side of things, and I didn’t know that. So after removing cysts, you know, the surgeon finally said, you know, I can’t keep cutting these out. We’re gonna, we’re gonna [00:29:00] do, uh, surgical removal of both ovaries, uh, bilateral ophorectomy.

And I really didn’t know what that was except for a mouthful of words and then, you know, I talked to my, um, my doctor and she said, you know, Irene, this is looking like you’re just making too much estrogen. We need to be done with this. So they took both ovaries out and if I thought that I had problems before that, like, hormonally, being sensitive, emotional.

and feeling off. I dove into massive depression, massive anxiety, was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, was given several medications, and nothing was working. I was feeling worse, not better. And so I decided after surgery, after none of this was working, that I couldn’t handle it anymore. And I just decided that I had to advocate for myself.

So I went back to school for eight months. I became a hormone practitioner, all the while I’m executive coaching women all day, or men and women all day long. But now I’m in school and I’m thinking, I’m crazy, but I got to [00:30:00] figure this out because that’s me. I’m gritty. I’m super, super gritty. And so I throw all the labs down on the floor, there’s thousands of years of labs, and you know, I start doing genetic testing, and I get underneath it, and I basically start to piecemeal my way back to healing, and I did, I did that, I advocated, I went to my hormone doctor, I said, I’ve done the labs, I’ve looked at my At all the education.

I’ve seen it. Here’s what I think’s going on. And it was funny. She looked at me She goes, yeah, I pretty much agree with this. So let’s give it a try So we started hormone therapy in a certain way. I started supplementing I had a gene mutation that I found on my own. Nobody else did I asked for a gene testing?

Um, it’s called MTHFR, a lot of people talk about it, but it means I cannot break down neurochemicals. Once I solved for that and the hormones, I didn’t take another medication, um, I was fine. I had been on Lexapro years ago because of the PMDD, and that saved me at the time, but I couldn’t tolerate it now.

And I [00:31:00] really knew the issues were hormonal, I just didn’t know how to fix them. And so surgical menopause is a very dire, dramatic experience to the body and mind. And it goes back to this adrenal system, cortisol regulation and, you know, all the things that we do to push through life. And, you know, the message I just really want to get out there to women who are executives is this, everything that got you here was pushing really hard.

It was driving really hard. It was making it happen every day. It is not the thing that will get you through. At the, at the second half it is not the thing, in fact the pushing will do the opposite and you will become less effective and sicker if you don’t deal with what’s underpinning that need to keep pushing, which is an adrenaline rush.

It’s like an addiction to adrenaline that drives our focus and behavior and I had it for years. For years and I’m still very focused and driven, but I listen and I know when I need to move in and out of the energy when I need to take a break because the second half is different and you do change and no one wants to hear that we want [00:32:00] to slap another, you know, aesthetic solve onto the body to pretend we’re not because society makes it look like we have to.

And we don’t have to. We need to focus more inward about the inner healing and the wholeness and the wellness of a woman and the, and the psyche, you know, the mental health to really have a good second half. And I finally feel like I’m there, but it took me 53 years. I, I, I don’t want it to take that long for women.

It shouldn’t have to.

Monica Royer: Oh my gosh, Irene, for what you’ve been through, and I feel like, I think this is going to be so helpful for so many people, because I think, I’ve talked to so many women along the way too, that like, with complications of having kids, like very early on, end up in this surgical menopause situation, and I think you’re opening up a conversation.

If you knew now, if you knew then what you know now, Like, would you have not had the surgery? Would you have just gone into it with all of these other hormonal treatments? Like, for people that are, like, that are gonna face this, and they may face this, like, [00:33:00] really early on, too, what, what would your advice be?

Irene Ortiz-Glass: So I get asked that question a lot and I, I, I’m not sure what the answer is, if I would have or wouldn’t have. Um, and, and I’ve realized that’s probably not a good use of my energy because God purposely brought me to that point to help all these women. I mean, the other night I was on the phone with a husband and a wife together about her situation.

I mean, it just brought me to tears. So God had a plan and that trumps all of it, but here’s what I will say. Women are uneducated. They are educated by what they see on TV. Just get a patch, take some hormones. I wish it was that simple. It is not that simple. And it is more complex for women who are executives and drivers because the body actually needs healthy adrenals to support the transition.

It needs healthy stress response. It doesn’t have that when you’re an executive who’s driven their career for 40 years. So when [00:34:00] menopause hits, you’re ill equipped. And you’re usually not sleeping enough, drinking enough water, eating well, exercising correctly. And what I mean by that is not, not doing cardio for 50 minutes on a bike or running every day.

That is not what the body needs. So, what I wish for women, what I wished for myself, is I would have had all the knowledge that I have. After surgery to maybe have a smoother landing. You can have a smoother landing. You know, at perimenopause, estrogen goes up and down dramatically. Some women have two periods a year, I mean a month.

Um, there’s a way around that. You know, you can add in progesterone during perimenopause to even out those cycles. Sometimes even some estrogen. It depends on the woman. And so there are ways to ease into the, and then it’s adrenal health. It’s stress management, the mind stuff, the belief systems, the trauma.

If they, if women could just realize it’s not a quick fix and really get into doing the work, they would not [00:35:00] feel. as symptomatic as they do.

Monica Royer: Such an incredible story, Irene. Tell us the title of the book and where people can get it, because as people are hearing this I want to make sure that they know where they can go to, to really understand, like, the full story.

Irene Ortiz-Glass: Yeah, so the body whispers before it screams, um, is on Amazon and it is the full story, soup to nuts, everything and more than you probably ever wanted to know about me. And then, um, I also have a podcast series, but the, the beauty of the book, I think is it’s a story of not just hormones and menopause.

It’s the story of my life a little bit. It’s about How one thing leads to another leads to another and impacts the body that, that impacts the transition. So my hope is that people can have an opportunity to read that and identify and probably identify with some of those things that, you know, they’re going through, or they have friends that are, you know, some people sail through menopause.

They don’t have a problem. I can’t [00:36:00] stand those people, but some of them do, and it’s great, but, you know, many, many, many don’t. I mean, like a billion a year don’t. And we’ve gotta, we’ve gotta find better ways to educate, inform, and support women. No matter what, we have to find a better way.

Monica Royer: Absolutely. And just hearing you say that, like, that’s so universal to everything about fertility, right? Like there’s people where they have kids and it’s no problem. And then you’re somebody that’s like deeply struggling to have children and it’s really hard to see all of the people that are so easily able to do it.

So I think that. The idea of hormones and like our fertility as women from like the beginning sort of to like the to menop to menopause and beyond like there’s so much consideration to have and to your point like Some people have no problems and other people don’t. And as I think more universally, Irene, about the lessons I’ve learned from you, I think that’s another, like what you’re talking about as sort of a microcosm too, of like, as you look on social media, as you’re like, uh, um, you know, a woman that’s like building career and like having family and [00:37:00] doing all the things, I think that one of the things that I’ve learned from you is like, you can have it all, but it doesn’t have to be all at once.

And so I think that. If you’re out there and you’re listening today and you’re like, Oh my gosh, I’m hearing from this incredible executive Irene. And, you know, she’s done all of these different things. I think the one thing you’ve taught me, that’s been the most important lesson for me is like, one, it’s definitely need to focus on yourself and like, what are the things that like refuel you and make you feel better?

And that’s kind of like understanding your psychology to some people are fueled by being really social. Other people are fueled by being like, whatever it is, you want to make sure that you’re being truest to yourself and then it’s okay. If you can’t do all of it at once. And I remember in one of our earliest conversations, Irene, I said, my family’s incredible at this incredible job.

Like, really? I’ve got a big family. I don’t have as much time for friends. And you said, Hey, that’s okay. They’ll come a stage in a time in which you’ll be able to focus on those things. And that’s not necessarily a popular thing to say. Plus, that’s a very personal decision in the sense that [00:38:00] for other people, like, it may be work and friends or whatever it is, but like, it’s okay is you’re looking at what appears on social media to people doing it all and having it all.

I think Irene and I are here to tell you, you don’t have to, you don’t have to be able to do all of it once. And it’s like really hard, I, like, I, I certainly can’t, but I feel like you gave me permission. And I think about that a lot, where I’m like, you know what, I, as long as you’re confident in what you pick and choose to spend your time on, and that is not the same for everybody, then at least you can say like, hey, I’ve chosen right now that I can’t do this, and I’ll, I’ll come back to this later.

Irene Ortiz-Glass: Yeah, I think it’s about honoring the journey. So, you know, every part of your journey is a little different. Like in one part, you’re raising small children and you’re barely, you know, feeding yourself because you’re trying to do for all of everybody. And then in another part, they’re going to school and they have more independence.

And now maybe you can do a little bit more because you do have a little more free time. And where do you want to put that energy? And then it changes again. And then it changes again. And then you change incredibly in [00:39:00] your mid forties to fifties. So. You know, your body, your experiences, and your lives are constantly changing.

So, I think it’s about intentionality. Like, as much as I’ve been through and all the introspection. I mean, honestly, sometimes I’m like, is it ever over? Um, I say to myself in the morning, you know, I pray. That’s my thing. And I’m like, okay, God, where do you want me to put it today? You know, I look at the calendar, I look at my day and like, where do, where do I need to be in my head with these people?

I mean, I talk to eight to 10 people a day. I coach them all day. You know, if I’m not straight on me, I can’t really pour into anybody. So I have, I work really hard to make sure I’m centered so that, and I can help other people find their way. And, um, so I think intentionality and being great, having grace with yourself.

We just don’t do that. We don’t have enough grace with ourselves.

Monica Royer: I mean, from the bottom of my heart, like you have literally changed the trajectory of my [00:40:00] life and I’ve learned so much from you. So I’m so grateful to be able to actually have the privilege of working with you directly myself. And thank you so much for doing the podcast today. Cause I feel like the whole idea is like, how do we pay it forward and take this great advice that we’re getting and share it.

You know, more widely. So if you haven’t, um, checked out Irene’s book, we’ll put all of the stuff up online and make sure that everybody has access. And hopefully, Irene, this is only the beginning of our conversations on the podcast, because I think there’s so much more I can learn from you and so much more that I’d love for it to be able to share with everybody.

But thank you so much for your time today.

Irene Ortiz-Glass: Thank you such an honor. I appreciate it so much