Parenthood, Profits — and Purpose:
Janice Pica-Scholl drew from lessons learned both at home and at Walsh to pivot professionally during the pandemic
As for most people who become first-time parents, Janice Pica- Scholl’s perspective on her commercial banking career changed when her first daughter (now 12) was born. But most new parents don’t have to deal with the kinds of challenges that Scholl and her husband faced, which led to a completely different direction for her career.
Scholl’s daughter had health complications when she was born. And while she is healthy now, the challenges of that time made Scholl feel she should step back from her banking career. But she quickly realized how complicated that would be and that so many other parents would face the same problems if it happened to them.
“The financial implications of me stopping my career, and also the cost of what we were incurring at the time — we were planners, business and finance people, and we never anticipated the situation we would be in,” Scholl says.
This led Scholl, a 2001 Walsh College graduate (BBA in Finance), to an important realization. Parents — but especially mothers — think about their careers differently from others. Everyone works to get money, but when parenthood is your focus, the money is much more of a means to an end. Scholl wanted to apply what the experience taught her to help other mothers to navigate similar challenges.
She realized that family stress could be difficult even if it doesn’t cost families money. “But if you can take away the financial burden, it’s so important,” Scholl says.
But how would she do it? The answer started to crystalize when the Scholls had the opportunity to move overseas for her husband’s job. During that time, Scholl became interested in podcasting and learned a great deal about how she would approach a podcast upon the family’s inevitable return to the U.S.
Scholl launched her podcast during the height of the pandemic in 2020, which she thought would be an innovative idea at first. But she quickly realized that many others had the same idea. The podcast field is crowded, of course, and Scholl learned just how hard you have to work at networking to get listeners.
“A lot of people who launch podcasts think it’s going to be the catalyst to grow their businesses,” Scholl says. “But you have to find listeners, just like you have to go out and knock on doors to find clients. It’s very intensive on the marketing side — finding opportunities to be a guest on other podcasts, networking and posting virtual summits. It takes years to really grow a podcast.”
But Scholl knows opportunity when she sees it, and she quickly developed a consulting practice with two elements. One is to coach other parents on how to align their financial and professional lives with their parenting priorities. The other is to assist people trying to get booked as guests on other podcasts — exclusively on podcasts related to children and parenthood.
And if you’re wondering where she learned how to be such a creative and nimble entrepreneur, she has an answer.
“Walsh has really stayed with me since graduation — figuratively and literally because I met my husband at Walsh,” Scholl says. “Walsh’s perspective on delivering an education that prepares people for real-world jobs was exceptional and was different. Walsh was delivering to students what they wanted the end results to be, and that was unique compared to other colleges.”
Just as Scholl finds Walsh’s approach unique, she is equally unique in the way she is applying her Walsh education today.
“Twenty years later, I’m looking at what I do with the podcast and the way I approach money,” Scholl says. “It’s the same thing as Walsh teaching differently to its students at that time. They were delivering something different than others in the space at that time, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”