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 Underdog Hala Taha is the host, executive producer, and creator of Young and Profiting Podcast. Hala started her career in radio production at WQHT Hot97 on “The Angie Martinez Show.” Later she focused on an entrepreneurial endeavor― the launch of an entertainment news blog site, “The Sorority of Hip Hop.” She led an all-female team of 50 bloggers, and together they ran the popular blog, interviewed celebrities, produced radio shows, and hosted parties/concerts. When the blog site boom slowed down in 2014, Hala took a temporary exit from the entertainment industry to get an MBA. She now has over 8-years of corporate marketing experience and is currently working at Disney Streaming Services.

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Underdog Hala Taha and Her Secret To Success

Pamela Bardhi
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of underdog today. I’m super excited because I have Hala here with me today. How are you? Hello.

Hala Taha
Hey, Pamela, thanks for having me on the show.

Pamela Bardhi
Thank you so so much for being here. honored to have you I was mentioning to you right before we started recording. And watching you been following you for a long time you do some pretty awesome things with your young and profiting podcast. So hats off to you on that.

Hala Taha
Thanks.

Pamela Bardhi
So I’m intrigued because I always love meeting awesome women, and especially women in business. I’m always intrigued by the story. And it’s like, Alright, I know she has a story of how she got to where she is today. So I guess we could start with what inspired you and sort of like the podcast world. And maybe we can reverse backward from there and sort of how you got there.

Hala Taha
Yeah, so I actually was very interested in radio my whole life. I always loved listening to the radio. When I was in college, I really had two dreams, I either wanted to be a singer or an on-air personality at a radio station. And I actually got an internship at Hot 97, my junior year of college, it was the number one hip hop and r&b radio station in America at the time. And it was amazing. I did really well.

Then Angie Martinez, who was the voice of New York at the time, had the top show in America at the time, asked if I would be her intern and basically transferred me from the corporate area into the studio area. And so I did that, and it turned out really well, and then she wanted me to work every day. And so I had to actually decide to drop out of school to take that opportunity. So I actually dropped out of school to work at a radio station for a couple of years. Then I went back to school, but I dropped out of school for a couple of years to follow my dream to be on the radio.

Throughout my 20s. I had online radio shows. So before podcasts were really big, there was this concept of an online radio show. So they were studios and I had an online radio show at DTF radio at bottom music radio at Cialis.net. And you go in there and I used to have shows with the up-and-coming DJs who are at Hot 97. Some of them are really famous now. They were like my DJ for my show. And then you know I also had a website later on and I used to host a show with some of my girlfriends and we were the sorority of hip hop.

And so I always had radio shows in my 20s throughout my 20s and a YouTube show and I used to try different things, Facebook shows, whatever it was but online radio shows primarily and we had good content we interviewed celebrities, I interviewed fabulous Soulja Boy at the time, those were really big names. Yeah, I was just a young girl, getting these huge celebrities on my little online radio shows. And we would get like 200 300 listeners at a time we’d promoted on social media, but it never really blew up like the whole concept of online radio shows never blew up.

And so, I ended up leaving that behind because it’s just like I couldn’t generate a real big following and my youtube channel was kind of like a flop didn’t really do that well. So younger prompting podcast is actually my seventh or eighth show if you count like Facebook shows that only lasted a day and you know, I had like four real shows and then like three ideas and things that just like didn’t really pan out after a couple of weeks. I just stopped doing it. So I had a lot of experience. I had a lot of experience producing radio shows. I had a lot of experience with real radio shows with Angie Martinez doing research working dialect boards, editing, audio scripting, I had all this experience.

So when I was in a corporate job later in my life and my 20s, late 20s, I’m in my early like I just turned 30 now like recently, so in my late 20s when I was working at Hewlett Packard and I wanted to start younger profiting podcasts. I thought I was never going to get back on a mic again because I had left my entertainment career behind and we can dig into why and that story and everything. But I ended up leaving my entertainment career behind and I worked in corporate for four years.

Then, I had the idea of launching a young and profiting podcast and I was like you know what I really miss being on the mic. I miss having a voice having an audience and I used to be really popular on Twitter, not extremely popular. You know, like in the 2010 era if you had 6000 followers like you were a big deal on Twitter. And so like, that’s the kind of following that I had. And I missed it because it’s like, my Twitter was dead, everything was dead. I had no following my boyfriend is a very successful music producer and has over 100,000 followers on Instagram and Twitter and you know when we were starting, we were coming up at the same time, I’ve been with them for 10 years.

I’m like a normal person working a normal corporate job. And here, my boyfriend’s a superstar now and like, I love my music behind and so I was just feeling like, left out like life could be a lot more fulfilling if I just followed my dreams. I just felt like I have one life to live, why not get back on the mic. That’s why I decided to start young and profiting podcasts. And that really just merged my broadcasting passions with my business passions.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s so exciting. And it’s crazy with as you mentioned, it’s your seventh or eighth show, which is incredible because sometimes people probably look at like, oh, yeah, holla Yeah, she’s super successful that shows but they don’t know.

Hala Taha
they don’t know how much work it took and how much experience I have. Just like, the grit that I have because I know that it could not happen overnight. This young and profiting podcast is by far my most successful show. And I think the secret sauce is because it’s really meaningful. And my past shows were about music, and I would interview celebrities, talk to them about their love life, talk to them about why they wrote certain songs.

It was just like, really shallow, like, you know, we’d play games. And it was cool. It was fun. It was entertaining. I’m sure people like got a good laugh. But the younger profiting podcast is really about improving people’s lives. So people are really into it. They really appreciate it. And I feel more fulfilled because I feel like I’m doing a solid to all of my listeners because they’ll benefit and improve their lives by listening. So I think that was the difference is because I really provided value this time.

Pamela Bardhi
Right? That’s awesome. So it’s interesting to see you more throughout the years, you know, through your different through, different shows, because I listened to another one of your interviews, I was just blown away by you and the story. So you started at Hot 97? And sort of how did it shift from there? Because you had dropped out of school, you’d gotten too Hot 97 and then sort of walking me through what happened next?

Hala Taha
Yeah, so I worked at Hot 97. And I really like busted my butt over there. So I remember always like running in the hallways to try to get the research in on time, you know, we would get the call Jay-Z’s coming tomorrow, or when I walked in, I would find out Jay-Z’s coming at it today. You got to do all the research, you got a couple of hours. So you know, scrambling around typing up the research. I just did anything they wanted. If the DJs wanted me to feed their meters I was responsible to go like make sure that didn’t get parking tickets, I would run around the city to find Angie’s dry shampoo with her driver. And like it was just crazy.

Like, the stories I have are so funny because it’s like I was kind of like making the band. It’s like how I can describe it. Like in terms of the stuff that they would make me do. It was like a lot of radio stuff, and then a lot of like bullshit, like pay or do this type of stuff. So I did that. And I was young, and it was cool. I appreciated the opportunity. It was so much fun to go to the parties that night with the DJs and kind of like being in the DJ booth. Like, super VIP. It was an amazing time, especially being that young and all my friends were jealous. And I was like I had this job and all these connections and I loved being at Hot any seven, it was my identity. I absolutely loved it.

You know, everybody knew me as the girl who worked at Hot any seven everybody. Like that was like the one thing that I could say as I work at Hot 97. And then I was also feeling insecure because I work for free. Even though I dropped out of school. I worked for free every day. And you know, sometimes on the weekends, I would go there and have to work for the boards at two in the morning with like, Al Roker and like all these like crazy people.

And so like I would do stuff for the station. That is how the radio world works. So a lot of the people who you’ve seen Angie Martinez funkmaster, flex all those people. They worked for the other like for their predecessor, like their equivalent of who funkmaster flex or Angie Martinez was for many years for free 510 years. And that’s how it goes in the radio world. It was tough for me because I come from a very successful family. So my dad’s a doctor and all my siblings decided to go to medical school. I’m the baby and so when I was interning for free at a hip hop radio station, all of my siblings were in med school.

So I was getting a lot of shit from my parents and was hustling and making money I was booking showcases at night and on the weekends and hosting them with other DJs and I was making like 1000 bucks every two weeks or whatever I was scraping by for a young girl. But my parents thought that I was smarter and more successful. They were disappointed that I dropped out of school and all I wanted was a job I just wanted like a $30,000 shitty job that’s all a radio station would pay anyway. But I just wanted to have a secure job and so I kept kind of like bugging Angie that like I wanted a job. I wanted a job then she ended up buying her producer and I was the interim producer and I used to do all his work anyway, he kind of sucked.

So I was doing his job anyway, I was the assistant producer. Then all of a sudden, they hired somebody who worked in the video department. He was my friend. And we were really good friends. We were around the same age, he was just a couple of years older than me. So all the young kids at the station were all like, you know, best friends, we hung out with each other every day. So I remember, you know, feeling really disappointed. It was his first day at work. I remember texting, I felt sick that I didn’t get the job. I was just really depressed. And I remember texting him and I said, you know if you want to learn how to do Angie’s show, learn it on your own as I did. Good luck today.

I feel sick, I don’t want to go to work and I was just pissed, you know. So he showed that text message to Angie, and she was really pissed off at me. And she fired me. So they cut my key cards. I wasn’t allowed back in the station. There were no two weeks, it was just like, You’re out. That’s it all the DJs called me, oh my god, I’m so sorry. Oh, my God, I’m so sorry. And basically told me they can’t talk to me anymore, that I can’t come to the parties anymore. That I was basically blackballed. Like they’re gonna feel it out. See, like, if Angie calms down so that they can try to get me back in the station.

Like you know, it was like this whole big deal that like, you’re blacklisted now. We can’t even hang out with you. We can’t even tweet you support you as it said, it’s over, you know, so unless Angie changes her mind. Okay, so that’s what happened to me. Then I felt like somebody died. You know, I had worked for free for almost three years for this lady. She just slapped me in the face. And so I felt like somebody died, you would think you would give a young girl like a second chance, especially she worked for free for you for three years, she made one mistake, she was upset that you gave somebody she didn’t give a shit. So it taught me a lot of things.

I learned so many things. First of all, I’ll never write anything down when I’m mad. Don’t ever write anything down when you’re mad, think about it a little and have a one on one conversation, face to face or over the phone or something instead, if you really need to tell somebody something, don’t ever do it in a text because it can get read the wrong way. You never know who’s gonna backstab you and show another person. And so I’ll never do that. I’m so much more mindful of what I write down now. Because it really fucked me, like, you know, I last three years for text messages sucks. So that’s what happened. And then I ended up feeling really down.

I felt like somebody died, I felt like my identity was taken away from me. But then, it gave me the opportunity to go back to school, like, thank God I went back to school because then I got a real career, I started making six figures and like my whole life elevated. Later on in life, if I had never got fired, I would have never gone back to school. That means I would have never gone and got my MBA. And so it’s like, my whole life, everything happens for a reason. I have no regrets, but and I’m really thankful that happened, honestly, because now I probably make five times more than anybody who works at that station. So it’s just like, Who cares? You know, what it is. Yeah so sorry, It’s sorry.

I was being long-winded. I just wanted to give you guys the detail. So back to why what I did next. So then I went back to my senior year in college, and I finished and before that, I was a terrible student before hot any seven. One of the reasons why I dropped out is because I was basically failing out of school. I never went to class. Like I was on cheerleading, I was doing plays, I was part of my sorority, I was a party girl, I had really strict parents growing up. And so when I was in college, it was like, I went crazy. I was just wild. Yeah, I was wild. And so it’s like, I never went to school.

Anyway, when I went back to school, I was way more mature and ready for school. Then I started getting A’s and all my teachers really loved me. Like I just started being more of a student and really caring about it. And ever since then I went and got my MBA later on, I got a 4.0 I was always really good at school ever since then.I think it’s just sometimes you need to be ready for school. And it’s okay to explore and, you know, take your time, I really encourage people, like if you don’t feel like you’re ready for school, take a break, get some experiences, then go back and you’ll make more, you know, be worth your money then.

So anyway, I got right when I went back to school, and right after hot 97 I got this bright idea, I’m gonna get revenge, right, I’m gonna get revenge on everyone. I am going to start the sorority of hip hop. I’m going to recruit all girls in the hip-hop and entertainment industry. You know, we’re never given any opportunities, even the other females in the industry, don’t level us up. I’m going to make a female empowerment platform with other ladies in the entertainment industry. And we’re all going to be pretty, smart, and rock it and I’m going to do this and so I feel all that negativity in terms of not being Hot 97 into the sorority of hip hop and learning something new.

I decided I was at the time blogs were like everything. That’s what it wasn’t podcasts, it was blogged, right? And so I wanted to start a blog. So I learned all about WordPress, I learned how to code, I learned graphic design. I started getting up to speed in terms of social media. I went on Craigslist and I recruited girls and I would put out solicits like hey, I’m starting something called the young sorority hip hop, I’m Hala from Hot 97. Here’s my Twitter handle, you know, I looking for other girls in the entertainment industry, if you want to learn how to write, learn how to blog, learn social media come work for me. And I just recruited all these volunteers.

So like, within two weeks, I had 14 girls, and I still had my first meeting with the Sorority of Hip Hop, we met at the college campus. Because I was really good at school and stuff, all the teachers would like, hook me up and give me keycodes to like, all like our conference rooms and staff at school. And so I would like to book them out over the weekends and have the girls come to meet me and we started this sorority of hip hop within three months, we were the 30,000 most popular websites in the world. And we were one of the biggest hip hop and entertainment websites, and it just blew up, like, very quickly. So quickly. In fact, like, we were more popular at the beginning of everything, then, later on, blogs started to die down.

But when we first like the first year, we started we were like, Rockin you know, and it was crazy. All my teachers knew about it and really like thought it was so cool. I just had a lot of support to get it started. So it was amazing. And I taught all these girls how to blog, we did this cool thing in terms of expanding our brand on Twitter, where all the girls, we hooked up this like automation tool, where every time we put out a blog, all the girls would tweet, the blog title and the celebrity’s name would be like at mentioned in the blog title, and we were the first ones to think about doing that.

I think everybody does that on Twitter now and has been and so Drake or Kanye West’s or whoever was cool at the time would get 50 girls at mentioning them with the same blog title, what would they do? They’d retweet it. And it was a link to our blog. That’s how we blew up. So like all these celebrities would retweet us because they’re like, what, who are all these girls who are posting the same thing about me, let me retweet it or show some love. Then that’s how we got a lot of exposure.

So MTV approached us within the first couple of months and they wanted to shoot a pilot, they thought it was the coolest idea. They thought you know, it was going to be a hit. So they wanted to film us so they did like a little pilot. It wasn’t really a big deal. But it was so early on that we thought what’s next, who cares that we didn’t get it? You know what’s gonna happen next, then we continued on our journey we kept pushing out blogs, we had an online radio show, we must have had three different online radio shows, we hosted concerts and showcases.

We did a number of things we used to go to like sneaker conventions and have a booth at the sneaker conventions with cupcakes and all this crazy stuff and then also sell like stickers and like we were just like, just trying to make it you know. We did anything and so we would mostly make our money from parties. And we weren’t really monetizing the website that much because I didn’t really know enough. I wasn’t smart enough or you know, we were too excited about the parties and because at the time going back to Hot 97 and how everybody blackballed me everything switched once we once I launched the website and it started getting big.

All the DJs started calling me to come to host this party with me, come and then all of a sudden, I’m on the same flyer of DJ Camilo, I and DJ Camilla mean funkmaster flex me and all the big DJs in New York if you guys are from the area, like that’s a big deal. You know, I was getting shouted out on the radio station every weekend Hala Berry, strawberry blonde girls, like every weekend, shout out to us, posting all the parties and just became one of their equals. Angie Martinez, came back with her tail between her legs wanted me to be on Love and Hip Hop was trying to get me on Love and Hip Hop with Molly Scott.

And as everything changed, the whole table flipped because I took everything in my own power and created my own lane and said, I don’t need your help. I’m going to do it by myself. I did and then everybody kind of respected me more. So it’s really funny. I’m so glad because it’s like I leveled up so much. I went from being everyone’s intern to hosting the party side by side with everyone you know, and so it’s like I really leveled myself up. And so thank God, I got fired from Hot 97. So anyway, a couple of years into the Sorority of Hip Hop, you know, it was hard.

I was the leader, the president of 50 girls, right. We did a lot of photoshoots we did fun things. But there was a lot of drama. We were all young, catty girls, there were a lot of girls who also wanted to be in the spotlight. There were a lot of girls like Melissa Sweets was like my VP, Vice President. And she equally like did a lot of work. me and her would butt heads because I couldn’t go to all the parties but I was also the one coding the website and like we would butt heads in terms of who’s doing more work. It was just a lot of drama and a lot of hardship in terms of me managing all these girls. So that was tough. And three years into it. MTV approached us again.

This time they were like, you’re definitely going to get a show. This time, they made us sign paperwork. I was the lead. I was getting paid the most assigned five other girls, they started a lot of drama because they didn’t actually pick the main girls. They picked some of the younger girls to be on the show and some of our main girls weren’t picked and so they were super pissed off and it was a lot of drama so they fucked everything up for us. Just sorry for cursing but just to be clear MTV ruined the sorority of hip hop.

So anyway, they came, they filled us film this for a whole summer they got us a studio on Broadway, just like the real world, like neon signs totally hooked up. We got our makeup done every day, they would film us walking on the street. We had like a camera crew of 10 people following us around, they would instigate fights with us, they came to my parent’s house to film, they really went all out, we threw a concert, we had different outfits and coordinated a dance like it was just like some whole big thing you know. And so, needless to say, like, at the end of it, we thought we were going to be the next jersey shore.

It was right after jersey shore ended, we thought we were going to be famous, we thought we finally made it as I told you, we weren’t really monetizing the blog. We thought this is going to be our chance to actually make a paycheck and sustain ourselves. Then MTV didn’t give us a show. It was another huge slap in the face all that time. You know, we got paid for the months we filmed but we were just banking on being famous and getting paid a lot to host parties and stuff the same way like jersey shore was. So it just really screwed things up for us. And I was fed up, I felt like I can’t do this entertainment industry stuff anymore. This is just killing me. I’m so smart. And I’m not making any money.

All these girls are looking at me to make them famous. I got to worry about myself and I just felt like enough is enough. I got to worry about myself. So I shut down the website, we actually pretended we were going to prank that we were going to shut down I thought that it would be good like buzz for our fans. And we did it. We did it as a prank didn’t start it back up. A lot of girls were really pissed at me because they really love the sorority of hip hop. And I had a lot of girls for many years, begging me to start it back up and they just really wanted it back. But I just moved on.

I just decided that it was just how long can I be the president of the sorority hip hop like I can’t do it forever. We didn’t make it and you know, everybody’s got a evolve their lives. Like I said, I wanted to do something a little bit more meaningful. And I also needed to work on myself, I clearly listen and I need to work on myself. So I went and I channeled all my energy into getting an MBA, like I said, I did terrible in my undergrad only good my senior year. So I couldn’t really get a good job with those grades. And somebody saw my resume like a sorority of hip hop like what Who’s this girl like, even though I was smart, my resume was like, so stupid.

So I got this MBA, and it gave me the opportunity to get my foot in the door at Hewlett Packard. So I did an MBA internship at Hewlett Packard. They hired me and then I got promoted, like for what, four or five times, like very quickly, I really stood out within the corporate world because I had so many networking skills, I had so much digital media skills I really learned on the internet. I think everybody else kind of had this institutional knowledge. They only learned what they learned in school. So I was way ahead of everyone. And I also had way better social skills. And so I was able to like get the attention of the CEO and the CMO very quickly and became the face of the young employees at Hewlett Packard.

So that was cool and I worked myself up at Hewlett Packard, and I ended up making six figures very fast. I thought that I was going to be, left behind that a lot of my friends who went into corporate straight out of school, like I said, I took a long time to graduate school because I took that break. Then you know, I was an entrepreneur for three years. So it’s like I was starting at Ground Zero. I was a freaking intern when all my other friends were like managers already, you know. And so I leveled up very quickly. I was very happy that happened because I was worried that I was just going to always be like five years behind everyone, you know. And so I ended up starting this thing called a young employee network at Hewlett Packard.

They have these things called employee resource groups, and they have chapters all over the world. It’s a big deal. A lot of corporate companies have them. It’s like the black employee network, the veteran’s employee network, whatever, like specialty groups or support groups. That’s what a lot of companies do. My office had a lot of young people and we had no employee resource groups. So I decided I’m going to found the young, the young employee network. So I did that. And I recruited everybody, I was president and I did a great job. I started their holiday party, their company picnics, all their charity events, I got direct access to the CEO because I was the one asking for a budget.

So I became very visible and became the face of the young employees. Then they have something called the Global young employee network, which basically manages all the chapters, there’s like maybe 50 chapters around the world. There’s a lot of people it’s like 7000 people or more within that. It’s a huge company at the time, it was like 300,000 people in the company. So it was a big deal to me at the time, I felt like oh, finally, I’m a leader. Again, I’ve got this platform again, I feel fulfilled again, right. And so I was in this global young employee network, I started this event called HP spirit week, where it was like different theme days around the world. And over 500 people helped me plan it.

There were over 700 events around the world that we planned. So like I was emailing the company every day, and it’s really was a big deal. And they still do this as a yearly event and I’m the one who created all the boilerplate templates for it and thought of everything. And at the time, I was the recruitment chair on the global young employee network. So then I wanted to be president, you know, that’s my personality I always want to lead, I have always wanted to be president, I had like 50 people send in videos nominating me. Everybody wanted me to be the president who was on the board because it’s like, I am a good leader. Like, I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but I’m really good at leading and getting shit done.

Being a visionary and also rolling up my sleeves and doing work. I’m not afraid to do work. I was the most qualified by far I thought I had it in the bag, and the HR lady didn’t pick me. So she gave it to somebody else who literally had no experience, did not deserve it. Here, I was literally working a part-time job. My side hustle was working charity for my company. Literally, my side hustle was building a culture for HP. And I spent five hours a day or like four or five hours a day on this thing for HP that I didn’t even own and I didn’t even have control over whether they would keep me or kick me out. And they kicked me out. So all of a sudden, I had all this free time because I was no longer on them.

They didn’t even give me a position on the global young employee network. They said goodbye. And I’m like, okay, I just did all this work for three years for free. Then you guys are giving me the boot. So it was up to this HR person. It was some lady who ended up quitting a month later. So it’s funny how those things happen. And so I decided I still want to have a voice in the millennial generation, I don’t get an opportunity to lead these 7000 people anymore. I loved it so much. But I still have my voice. Why don’t I do something for myself? Why don’t I start something new that I own that nobody can tell me that they can take it away from me.

Nobody’s going to give me the approval. I’m going to do it on my own. So that’s why I started a young and profiting podcast. That’s what fueled me to start a young and profiting podcast. And so again, it’s another rejection story. My story is filled with ups and downs and ups and downs. It’s another rejection story. But then I turned it around started a young and profiting podcast and everything was a big success. So I’m so thankful

Pamela Bardhi
You are so dope in so many respects, I gotta give my hat’s off to you seriously because somebody who can adapt to those types of rejections. It takes a special person to do that. So like it almost happened like three times with you.

Hala Taha
Yeah, three major times.

Pamela Bardhi
One in hot 97, one with the hip hop sorority, and then again, with hp. So what, what sort of helped fuel you to be like, I’m just going to be better, I’m just going to go out there and keep doing it. Like, what was sort of your mind state when that stuff happened? Because I know this because I have a tonne of listeners who are in that stage where it’s like, life just blew up and you’re like, hot, damn, that was my identity, like, what am I going to do with myself now? kind of thing?

You know, like, how did you position yourself in such a positive way to be like, you know what, I’m going to go out there, I’m going to get my MBA, and I’m gonna do my thing, I’m gonna be better, you know, so I didn’t know if there was a special quote, or a special person in your life that sort of pushed you to that next level.

Hala Taha
I think it was mostly me just realizing that anytime I’ve ever been successful, it’s actually been on the heels of rejection. So using that negativity to actually fuel me in a different direction. So when I left Hot 97, I decided I was going to focus all my energy on learning something new. That learning something new was building websites, when I left the Sorority of Hip Hop, when I shut that down, I decided I was going to feel all my energy in improving myself by getting an MBA and I got a 4.0, I got straight A’s, and so I fueled all my energy into getting a 4.0 so that I could get into whatever job I wanted. And so that I could set the foundation for the rest of my life.

So that there was no question in terms of my smarts when I tried to get like, go get a job. So basically, just getting really clear on a goal. I want to learn how to blog and build websites and build a popular website, I want to know everything about SEO. I had a new passion, a new idea. And then I focused everything in terms of you know, learning everything that I could so that I could be the best possible and like do the best job and really, like dive into that. And then there’s no more brain space for all the negativity, there’s no more brain space to feel bad about anything.

There’s no more brain space to feel regret, just focusing on something new and just taking action. So that’s really my secret in terms of when something goes bad. When you fail. When you get rejected. You have two options, you can either learn something new, like actually just one option. You can I would learn something new, and then create your own path . Like something that you can control that no gatekeeper can tell you no. Again, like I started my own website, I didn’t go decide Oh, I’m going to go join someone else’s website.

No, I started my own that I decided when I’m going to shut it down and when I want to move on, it’s nobody else telling me what to do. Same thing when I was young and profiting podcasts when I didn’t get that, you know, presidency of the young employee network. Honestly, thank God I didn’t get that, once I left HP and got a job at Disney that would have Have Been Gone away to it’s nothing that I own. It’s not an asset that I own. It’s not something that I can take with me wherever I go.

You want to start building things that you can take wherever you go, that you own, that you’re in control of that you can monetize yourself that nobody’s taking advantage of you and that you can basically decide how far you want to go with. So I think that’s the secret just thinking about why didn’t I get this opportunity most likely is some gatekeepers that saying no to you. How can I do this on my own? Do I really need this other person to tell me that I have permission to do what I want to do? And the answer is usually no, you probably can do it on your own. And you’re probably better off doing it on your own.

Hala’s Biggest Inspiration in Life

Pamela Bardhi
Amen. That’s solid advice, solid advice. And now, I have two more questions for you. I know you got to go soon. But who was the biggest inspiration in your life that kept you pushing throughout all this?

Hala Taha
I would say the biggest inspiration in my life was my dad. So my dad recently passed away and in May. He passed away from COVID, actually, so it was terrible. But God bless him, he still had a long, amazing life. But he grew up super poor in Palestine, he was a son of a farmer, the only light he had to study for school was on his walks to school, he just had liked the sunlight, and ended up getting a scholarship and going to med school and coming to America and became a surgeon and then Chief of Surgery and opened up medical centers.

And he like, went from absolutely nothing to something and he was like the only one in his family that made it and then supported his whole family in Palestine and put all my cousin’s through college and like, really was just like a generous, amazing man who wanted to be a doctor for like, the right reasons. As I said, he wasn’t a flashy person, he really just wanted to save lives, and he saved so many lives. And so to me, one of the reasons why I wanted to have a more fulfilling podcast, as I was talking about earlier, is because I want to help people improve their lives, like the same way that my dad helps so many people improve their lives.

I want to educate people. I feel like I had a lot of privilege. You know, I had a lot of hardships, I’m Arabic. So of course, life wasn’t perfect in terms of quote, unquote, privilege. But I did have a lot of advantages, because, I didn’t grow up poor and like, a lot of people don’t get the same opportunities, I could. I could get an education and it wasn’t an issue. And so like, a lot of people don’t have those opportunities. And so I want to give back, make sure that I’m paying forward and I do that in my dad’s honor every day.

Pamela Bardhi
Thank you so much for sharing that. Thank you so much. It’s always inspiring to me to hear like, where do you get your inspiration from? And for me, it’s the same thing. My dad, you know, my dad sat me down when I was seven years old, he’s like, you’re a leader, you’re going to do it, you’re going to get it. So I think it’s something special about dads that bring that sort of energy to their daughters. So.

Hala Taha
They do,

Pamela Bardhi
God bless him. And then I guess the last question for you is, what would your older self knowing all that, you know, now, tell your younger self

Hala Taha
I would say, spend your time wisely. Make sure that you enjoy life, make sure that you have fun, but don’t waste so much of your time, really think about all the activities that you do, where you spend your time. And, you know, if you own those opportunities, as I think about how much time I spent at Hot 97 working for free, you know, or at Hewlett Packard doing this side hustle within the company for free and got nothing out of it. Do I regret them now? And I think that they’re important, but how long do you have to do that? Like maybe don’t do it for three years, maybe do for one year, you know, like and, and move on so that you can do something on your own that you own.

And so I think that’s what I would encourage my younger self to do is kind of like, just be like, don’t just get stuck in the day-to-day, day to day, try to step back. Look at your life. See, you know, is this gonna matter in five years? Am I ever gonna be allowed to do this for the next five years? Like, what is the end goal? And don’t waste your time too much? Because I think you know, may be young and profiting podcasts would have been, you know, happened two years earlier. If I had been a little bit more strategic with my time.

Pamela Bardhi
and know, can you tell everyone where to find you and your awesome podcast? Sure. So

Hala Taha
A young and profiting podcast is my podcast. We’re on every major podcast platform. So just google us you’ll find it spelled normal young and profiting, you can find me on LinkedIn. My name is Hala Taha, last name Taha. I know it’s a funny name. But that’s me. And then Instagram @yapwithHala. So thank you, and I hope to hear from you know, everybody who tuned in today.

Pamela Bardhi
Absolutely, Hala. Thank you so so much. I appreciate you. It’s an honor to have you, I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. So, thank you so much.

Hala Taha
Thank you so much, Pamela. It was so much fun. You did a great job.

Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with underdog Hala Taha.