Hi, everyone. Thank you for listening and tuning in. I’m here with Taunya Renson-Martin. We met each other a few years ago. We’ve been friends ever since. I think we really took our relationship to the next level when we went partying in Macau.

Taunya Renson-Martin Woo hoo.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, which sounds amazing, right? I’m so grateful to have you here as my first guest on The Curious at the most amazing location. If you’re listening, you can’t see it but you have to check out the video, we’re surrounded by private jets. We’re definitely a good ‘jet-set’ I believe.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yes.

Isabelle Dumortier And super grateful to ASL as well for providing us with this location, which is your client.

Taunya Renson-Martin Absolutely.

Isabelle Dumortier Welcome Taunya.

Taunya Renson-Martin Thank you. I’m so happy to be here. I’m curious about The Curious too.

Isabelle Dumortier Nice. Yeah, but we’re definitely curious about you.

Taunya Renson-Martin Okay.

Isabelle Dumortier Can you tell us where you’re from, who you are, give us a little bit of background?

Sure. I was born the child of a sharecropper. (smiles) No, that’s not true. I am from Washington D.C., from the US. I lived there for about 26 years, so all my school, university. I was an actress there. I was minding my own business, and then I met a Belgian man who was a tourist, fell in love, married him three months later, moved to Belgium. That was 20 years ago.

Isabelle Dumortier Nice. From actress to entrepreneur, that’s crazy.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier It’s a cool journey.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It’s all about the unexpected, right, in life?

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin Actually, I love that.

Isabelle Dumortier Nice, so what made you decide to come on the show?

Taunya Renson-Martin Well, first of all, you asked and I love you, so that’s one thing.

Isabelle Dumortier Thank you. I love you too.

Taunya Renson-Martin But also, I think representation is really important and I think as a woman, as a black woman, as a woman from another country moving to Belgium and making a life here, starting my own business, going into a completely unknown situation and navigating that, I think that’s important that other people see that as well and recognize maybe themselves as a woman, as a foreigner, as a person of color in such a new situation.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, because I mean, you definitely… It’s also the title of this podcast, but you definitely stepped out of your comfort zone and now it’s literally right into private jets. Why are we sitting here? What do you have to do with private jets?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, so actually I think probably a few years into my being in Belgium, I was doing freelance copywriting in a magazine in Brussels, or actually in Nivelles, needed an editor, and this magazine was a private jet magazine.

Isabelle Dumortier Okay.

Taunya Renson-Martin So, I was like, okay, I can edit. And so, that’s how I got into private aviation. And then from that magazine, I ended up becoming the editor of the magazine, and then got to knew a lot of different companies in the industry, so that by the time I started my own company, I had a number of clients in business aviation. The European Business Aviation Association is a client, and ASL, where we are right now, they are a client of ours too.

Isabelle Dumortier Cool.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, that’s the private jet world. I never thought early on that I would be occasionally getting on jets and having to test them out and make sure that it’s…

Isabelle Dumortier Sounds horrible. Sounds horrible. (sarcastic)

Taunya Renson-Martin I know, but if you’re going to write about them you need to experience it.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, you need to experience it, definitely. I’m a big believer of customer experience. I need to get other clients. No, I’m joking. I love my clients. I need to add clients. But how would your parents describe what you do? How would they explain it to their friends?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, well, so my mom was telling everybody for the longest time that I was a flight attendant.

Isabelle Dumortier Oh, interesting. Okay. That’s unexpected.

Taunya Renson-Martin So I tried to explain to her that that’s not quite what I was doing. Also, because I have a marketing communication agency and we don’t do just business aviation, we also have companies in life sciences and chemical industries, she never told anybody I was a doctor though.

Isabelle Dumortier Dang.

Taunya Renson-Martin Okay, so that’s not what I do but-

Isabelle Dumortier Okay.

Taunya Renson-Martin … okay.

Isabelle Dumortier How would you describe it yourself?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, I have a marketing communications agency. So I help companies tell their story in a way that hopefully is authentic, engaging, and inspiring to the people they’re communicating with, whether it’s their customers, their shareholders or their employees.

Isabelle Dumortier Okay, cool. Do you have any trade secrets for us?

Taunya Renson-Martin Be authentic in your communication, I think is important, that companies actually walk their talk and that they have a higher purpose, a higher cause other than to make money. Many companies used to just communicate about that, their earnings. But that’s not what inspires people.

Isabelle Dumortier No.

Taunya Renson-Martin Neither customers nor employees. So, really trying to understand your purpose is important.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, it’s one of the things that bothers me the most when I walk into companies and I see the visions and mission statements hanging on the wall, but they don’t feel right.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, yeah, somebody just made them up and made a poster.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, “We need a vision, so let’s write one and then just…”

Taunya Renson-Martin Stick it there.

Isabelle Dumortier “… stick it against the wall.” Yeah. So you help companies as well figure out why they’re doing what they do?

Taunya Renson-Martin Well, that’s also what’s really interesting about what we do, because it’s easy to think that marketing and communications is really just making nice PowerPoint presentations, and brand stories, and all of that, but actually, we get very much involved in business strategy, because sometimes the fact that the story doesn’t exist or is not clear is because actually, the strategy itself is unclear or unfocused. So, we really have to be the ones who dig and ask the questions.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. Dig deep and ask the right questions.

Taunya Renson-Martin Exactly. And sometimes it’s uncomfortable for the leaders of organizations, but in that discomfort, clarity usually comes out on the other end.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, something I love most is being at C-level or in a boardroom and really going into the nitty gritty-

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, asking the questions that other people are nervous-

Isabelle Dumortier … suddenly just pushing them against the wall.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, other people are too nervous to ask them and for both of us, we’re outsiders, right? When we go into this situation, so we actually have a little license to be like- “That’s a little bullshit.” Right?

Isabelle Dumortier “Get off your throne.”

Taunya Renson-Martin Exactly. I mean, really?

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, absolutely. I really enjoy it. And actually a thing that those people enjoy too, to get some pushback on everything they-

Taunya Renson-Martin I don’t think they would pay us if we didn’t do it.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, good point. Good point. Exactly. What’s one thing that you did for a client that you didn’t expect or that happened that made a huge change for them?

Taunya Renson-Martin For one thing, maybe it’s this combination of things, like what we were talking about, being a sounding board for their actual business and actually caring about the success of their business and not just the communication aspect.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin I mean, to be honest, for some of our clients, we’re also emotional therapists, psychologists.

Isabelle Dumortier You’ve been for me too already. You’re really-

Taunya Renson-Martin No. I mean, they’re navigating politics within their organization, and there’s all these kinds of things, and we’re their little whisper like, “Maybe you should approach it this way or that.” So it’s not even just the macro communications, it’s the micro communications that we’re helping them with too.

Isabelle Dumortier Cool.

Taunya Renson-Martin And sometimes it’s even more important.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. Cool. Has there ever been anyone that has really impacted your business in such a way that it moved direction or that it changed?

Taunya Renson-Martin I would have to… If you don’t mind, I’d have to give EO a shout out here. So that’s not someone.

Isabelle Dumortier Go ahead, I love EO.

Taunya Renson-Martin I know, so Entrepreneurs’ Organization, it’s not someone, it’s someones. Many people. But I think having a group of people that I can connect with at minimum once a month but honestly, whenever I would need to-

Isabelle Dumortier But yeah, so we know what EO is-

Taunya Renson-Martin Oh, yeah, okay, yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier … but maybe it would be good to give a small-

Taunya Renson-Martin Sure, you want to do that?

Isabelle Dumortier No, go ahead, you can do it.

Taunya Renson-Martin Entrepreneurs’ Organization is about 13,000 entrepreneurs based around the world who meet regularly for learning. That’s really the mission for us to grow as not only business people but also grow in our personal lives as well, as parents, as partners and as people who operate within a community. We are able to share experiences with each other, because we understand the challenges that come with being an entrepreneur, and we learn that way, through that experience share.

Taunya Renson-Martin We do that, we have learning events that are really super cool in great locations. So, we have our share of fun. But as well we get together about once a month in small groups. So our chapter is EO Belgium, of course, and we get together in small groups of about eight people and we share experiences, talk about our challenges and yeah, help each other out. Real support for each other.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. I think for me really what EO means to me is one big group of… And it’s crazy, because in one way, the older you get, the smaller your group becomes. And then you have EO with this huge amount of people you can really connect with. For people watching or listening, EO has a way of communicating which is called ‘Gestalt’, which lets you talk out of experience, or answer from out of experience, and not, “You have to do this,” or give advice. The crazy thing is because we have this way of communicating with each other, you meet each other all around the world, you click instantly. It’s ridiculous and you go to that 5%.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, you go deep real fast.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, real fast, it’s crazy. Well, I’m really happy that you say EO, I love EO.

Taunya Renson-Martin No, I’m really happy about that too.

Isabelle Dumortier I’m really grateful for it.

Taunya Renson-Martin It’s only been, what?

Isabelle Dumortier It’s like the best gift I ever received.

Taunya Renson-Martin Exactly. It’s been two years, or almost three years that I’ve been in EO now, but man, I’ve made so many I think intelligent decisions in my business, and if not intelligent, at least I felt pretty confident about them because I’d had a chance to talk to other people as well and hear other people’s experiences.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, so you run a company and you’re becoming president of EO next year, which means running entrepreneurs. Are you up for it?

Taunya Renson-Martin I… Say yes and play the scene. I got to roll with the punches on that. I mean, that’s what I do anyway, so we’ll see.

Isabelle Dumortier Okay. Cool.

Taunya Renson-Martin If I’m not up for it, what am I up for? I don’t know.

Isabelle Dumortier Well, yeah, you’re definitely the best person for the job. I’m totally convinced. It’s just-

Taunya Renson-Martin Let’s talk at a year.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. We’ll have another interview.

Taunya Renson-Martin Exactly.

Isabelle Dumortier So EO as a group has been influential. Do you have anyone, a person that has been super influential in your life?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. I would also say that my mother, which is hard to say because I also have a father. I don’t want to… Shout out to dad, but my mother, I think she’s just an incredible role model. She was a teacher her whole life. So, a professional. I think she was the first person in her side of the family, if I’m not mistaken, who went to university.

Isabelle Dumortier Wow.

Taunya Renson-Martin She’s always been this very… My mother is just very professional, very confident, extremely funny, terribly loving person.

Isabelle Dumortier Where would you have it from?

Taunya Renson-Martin It’s from my moms.

Isabelle Dumortier Okay. Well, my next question would have been, what has been the impact your mom had on you, but you already answered a part of that. Is there anything else you would like to share, that she really made me who I am today, and these, and these parts of me?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, I mean, she was the person that… She was also quite real about the challenges that I would have to face in life. Both she and my father were very clear early on, “Taunya, you are a black girl in this world, you’re going to have to work twice as hard to get half as much, and so you put your head down and you do the work and you don’t give anyone any excuse to underestimate your ability.” I think that’s kind of my superhero power or that’s my armor, that I know that I can do, can achieve whatever my mind is set to achieve.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, now you mention it, for me, the past weeks have been crazy in the sense of the Black Lives Matter movement came up. And it has been there, of course, for a long time already, but now the world is seeing it. Because color never mattered to me, but it also meant that I really never stood still with the white privilege I have.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier If I hear you talking about what your parents communicated towards you, I’m wondering, because now you also have two children. Do you feel a difference there? Do they today as well, and your family in general, come into contact with racism here in Belgium and how does that expose itself? If that’s the right word.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. Well, there’s overt and then there’s just the, what’s built into society. Let’s start with the overt stuff. So that’s like, doesn’t happen all the time. If we talk just about being in Belgium, I was telling Serge (my husband)… Actually, I only told him yesterday that when I got on a tram a few months ago, I went to sit down and this lady, a white lady, she got upset because she wanted to sit in this seat that I was sitting in. She started yelling all kinds of stuff. I wasn’t paying attention, but I did hear also like, she yelled “Neger” (Dutch word for ‘Negro’) and I said to her “Ik versta jou” (Dutch for “I understand what you are saying”) yeah? Quite loudly, I said that to her.

Isabelle Dumortier As you should, yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin As I should. But I went home and I didn’t tell my husband. And actually if people ask me, “Taunya, do you have racist things that happen to you?” I always say no, but it’s because if I allowed myself to get angry every time people said stupid crap, I’d be the world’s most agitated human being. So, unfortunately you learn to suppress that or to pass it off. I pass it off as, “Ugh, crazy lady, just crazy lady.” You know?

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin But stuff like that does happen, and my kids have been called names from school friends. Friends who just are not knowing or haven’t been taught not to say those things or do those things and then your kid comes home. My husband has had people say the stupidest stuff to him, and because he is a white man, sometimes people are quite racist in front of him, not knowing or not understanding that he has… Yeah, that that would have an effect on him.

Isabelle Dumortier An effect on him as well.

Taunya Renson-Martin As well, exactly. So, that’s the overt stuff, but the non-overt stuff is, I never go to an appointment in Belgium without my husband.

Isabelle Dumortier Oh, wow.

Taunya Renson-Martin And we do that because we don’t want me to ever be exposed to people who make assumptions about what I can and cannot do, if it’s checking on our house, taking out and going to the bank, and I don’t know if we would need a loan, going to the admin. Yeah, we just, without having a long discussion about it, have made that choice that that’s how we were going to navigate stuff. So people always understood that there was somebody Flemish, because we live in Ghent, who could speak their language, white, who would be with them, so I wouldn’t be exposed to that. That’s that stuff. Also, if I look, my kids are going to schools, they have no teachers of color. Not one.

Isabelle Dumortier Wow. Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin And I had that growing up too. So how do you have… Yeah, when you were raised with no representation, that’s in there. If I look on the television-

Taunya Renson-Martin … I watch the news, maybe only recently there are people of color in the news, but when I first came here, there were none. That was really obvious to me. So what does that mean? Does that mean that people of color do not have white collar jobs here or don’t know the language? So, it’s those little things that make you remember constantly that you are the other.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, it’s interesting what you say about being the only one in a room. My niece just traveled to Joburg with her mom and my sister’s best friend, she’s from Rwanda and they went to a cinema. But apparently, there’s quite a color division as well going on in Joburg, the other way around, obviously. But my niece, she’s 14 and she was sitting in the cinema and surrounded only by people of color.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier She said, “I finally understand what it is to be the only one in the room,” and that’s just a snapshot, right?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier She only has this once on a holiday. So I mean, she’ll live. But yeah, it must be interesting to really realize it as well, because I think that that’s exactly the white privilege we are not conscious about.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. I wrote a play about it when I got there, called ‘Afro-American I Am’, because I think I was here probably maybe 10 years by the time I wrote that play. It’s a one-woman show, and it was just calling out all those little things, like going into a restaurant and realizing, “There are no black people in this restaurant.” But for years, I think for at least the first 10 years, and it might be more than that, 15 years-

Isabelle Dumortier Wow.

Taunya Renson-Martin … I never saw another person of color in a restaurant eating.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin After a while then they were serving, but eating. And then I was like, “What’s going on?”

Isabelle Dumortier “How is this…”

Taunya Renson-Martin Nobody said no black people are allowed. I was there, so nobody ever said that, but you think, what is the dynamic going on here where there’s different societies living in parallel-

Taunya Renson-Martin … and not mingling with each other? What’s happening to prevent that from happening?

Isabelle Dumortier What do you think I can do… And what I want to mention there is there’s this great quote from Martin Luther King saying, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people” Is it necessary for you to see me going to protests or being explicit about it, and giving my opinion on social media? How is that for you? What do you expect from your environment? Definitely with everything going on on social media in the past days and weeks, there are people that I’ve seen posting things that I thought… Not understanding, for example, the statues going down. For me, it’s obvious that they should go down. It’s crazy that they haven’t gone down yet. And I thought maybe I should unfollow them or delete them as friendships, but then on the other hand, I thought, “No, it’s also my… I have the possibility to share to many people so I should probably be outspoken about it.” What’s your opinion on what we can do if we want to help and how should we go about it?

Taunya Renson-Martin I would say that social media and protests definitely have their place and they’re demonstrative and they can help with this kind of groundswell of… But I think the really important and the powerful work is quieter and it’s super long term, and that is the conversation that you’d be willing to have on social media, that you’re willing to have with your grandparent, with your cousin, with the other people sitting at your table who make a remark, with your, I don’t know, with your cousin who doesn’t like Asian people and thinks that it’s their fault there’s coronavirus or whatever. To be able to call that stuff out in the moment is important. To be willing to risk losing friendships but not because you let people go, but because they’re going to let you go because you’re going to keep calling them out on their crap.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin And that it happens. It’s going to take a long time because we have to completely dismantle entire systems that have been created to establish the-

Isabelle Dumortier Inequality.

Taunya Renson-Martin … the inequality, the unbalance that we have right now-

Isabelle Dumortier Those systems.

Taunya Renson-Martin Even in school, when the kids are learning about King Leopold.

Isabelle Dumortier I never had it in school. Literally in the past two weeks, I saw the horrific stuff he did.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, and nobody talked about it.

Isabelle Dumortier You know that it’s not okay what happened there, but then you see what has actually happened there and that’s… I mean, you want to throw up by seeing it. It’s crazy. It made me sick.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, so it’s being able to look at your kids’ curriculum and be like, “That’s not cool. Why are you learning about that? Did they teach you about… Did they have a Congolese historian come in and talk about what the Congo was like before then? Because I don’t want to hear about it from a Western perspective. I want to know from a Congolese historian.” You know? Yeah. Are they just calling that crap out? And I’m not trying to freak out your people but I mean, ‘zwarte piet’, there’s some real questions that need to be answered and people need to not be so defensive, and really read and question, and come to a conclusion but after really trying to first-

Isabelle Dumortier Understand.

Taunya Renson-Martin … do a little understanding and soul-searching. That’s all.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for being so open about it.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier I appreciate it. What’s the most important thing today that you’ve learned in life? And how was your life before it, and how was your life after it?

Taunya Renson-Martin I think the most important thing I’ve learned in life is, I said earlier, say yes and play the scene, is to every opportunity, to not shy away from opportunity. To not overthink it. You don’t need to know the 12 coming steps after an opportunity, just take the opportunity-

Isabelle Dumortier Go for it.

Taunya Renson-Martin … and rely on your brains, and your instincts, and your ethics or whatever that you will figure stuff out. And I would say probably earlier on, I knew that but did not trust it as much as I trust it today, and I think that’s just getting older. But I really trust it today. Maybe after moving to Belgium and I mean, everything I ever said I ever wanted to do growing up, I was one of those people who wanted to do a different job. Every time you asked me, I was like, “I’m going to be a magazine editor. I’m going to be a fashion designer. I want to have an advertising agency.”

Isabelle Dumortier You’re seeing it, doing it, manifesting the shit out of my life.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, exactly. I just was saying that stuff, and then I come to Belgium and there was no plan, but I’ve done all of them. There was no plan.

Isabelle Dumortier Trusting the universe.

Taunya Renson-Martin I didn’t know I was going to be able to fly on a private jet one morning from Geneva to France for breakfast. For those who are concerned about the carbon footprint…

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, please share with us.

Taunya Renson-Martin … I would say that I’m also working very much with the business aviation industry to actually work on the carbon footprint.

Isabelle Dumortier Okay, good.

Taunya Renson-Martin Whether that’s sustainable fuels or electric aircraft or… And the social impact. So, I just want to throw that out there too. That-

Isabelle Dumortier Okay. We’ll put it in the disclaimer.

Taunya Renson-Martin … it is not an uncaring industry. It is a very caring industry and there’s a lot of work being done to make sure that it’s a better industry, like every industry should be doing.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, for sure. Definitely. Going back to-

Taunya Renson-Martin Sorry.

Isabelle Dumortier No, no, no, it’s fine. Just circling back.

Taunya Renson-Martin Sorry about my disclaimer.

Isabelle Dumortier Just circling back. Is there something people tend to misunderstand about you?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, people think I’m incredibly confident.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. Yeah, we do. I speak for the people.

Taunya Renson-Martin But the thing is I’m I’m somebody who’s like, I have a running dialogue in my head nonstop and I’m like-

Isabelle Dumortier It’s so great, right? I really enjoy the voices in my head.

Taunya Renson-Martin I have so many voices in my head, and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, your lipstick.” Already right now, I’ve had this voice telling me I’m pretty sure my lipstick is red on my teeth.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, a bit here.

Taunya Renson-Martin See?

Isabelle Dumortier Other side.

Taunya Renson-Martin You see? My voices know.

Isabelle Dumortier They know.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yes.

Isabelle Dumortier I want to share something because it just pops in my mind. During the whole lockdown, I was reading Eckhart Tolle and listening to his podcasts with Oprah, and it was a chapter a day and an hour a day of podcasts, when I was-

Taunya Renson-Martin I’m obsessed with my teeth right now by the way.

Isabelle Dumortier No, it’s gone, it’s gone. What was funny at one point, I didn’t know if it was in his podcast or somebody said it to me, those voices are… I’ve been meditating for so long already, and I found a lot of peace and quiet in my head. I mean, a lot of voices have already… They’re gone and that’s great. But then at one point I read, yeah, you have the dark voice or the demon voice, you just give them a name and have fun with them. So, I started calling mine ‘Pascalleke’. ‘Pascalleke’ and I have a great time now.

Taunya Renson-Martin I need a name for my voices.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, so giving them the name is… But I mean, there’s not so many voices, but friends would probably have a laugh when I say this, lots of tabs open.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, lots of tabs. Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier Sorry. Listening again.

Taunya Renson-Martin No, no, I’m with you.

Isabelle Dumortier Confidence.

Taunya Renson-Martin I understand the lack of confidence. Yeah, lack of confidence.I might come across this one way but inside I’m 13 and I just want you to like me.

Isabelle Dumortier I think everybody wants people to like them in their core, but as we grow older, you start living by a set of values and if people don’t fit within those values, it’s also fine when-

Taunya Renson-Martin Absolutely.

Isabelle Dumortier To let them go, right?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. So, I think Beyoncé when she’s on stage, she’s Sasha Fierce. I think I have… The part that people-

Isabelle Dumortier Taunya Fierce?

Taunya Renson-Martin … think is confident is my Taunya Fierce.

Isabelle Dumortier I love Taunya Fierce. Taunya Fierce in Macau was really nice.

Taunya Renson-Martin When normally, I’m just plain old Tayoncé.

Isabelle Dumortier Waking up in the morning. Awesome. Okay, you have voices now with names too. Great. If you could turn back time and go back to your 18-year-old self, what would you tell her?

Taunya Renson-Martin Oh, it gets better.

Isabelle Dumortier Was it already Tayonce there?

Taunya Renson-Martin No, it gets better with age. I remember when I was probably 13 and I was watching Oprah, and Oprah turned 50, and she had this huge birthday party with John Travolta. I think they flew to Australia or they took their whole audience to Australia or something. I don’t know.

Isabelle Dumortier You get a car. You go to Australia. You go to Australia. You go to Australia.

Taunya Renson-Martin I might be mixing six episodes in this story that I’m telling you.

Isabelle Dumortier Possibly.

Taunya Renson-Martin But anyway, the point is Oprah turned 50 and she said-

Isabelle Dumortier Gave a lot of people free stuff.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, and she said that she’s never felt so confident in her life. And I remember thinking, “Man, I can’t wait to turn 50. It’s going to be great.” And now, I’m not there yet but I’m getting there, and I know what she means. It just gets better with age. More wisdom, more confidence, more… Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier Does it scare you turning… You’re not there yet. I know. I know. If you’re listening, Taunya also looks 30.

Taunya Renson-Martin But I’m 47. I’m proud of that. I’m good.

Isabelle Dumortier Going from 47, going to 50 in a few years, does it scare you?

Taunya Renson-Martin Not at all.

Isabelle Dumortier That’s cool. That’s powerful.

Taunya Renson-Martin No. Not at all. Yeah, not at all.

Isabelle Dumortier Definitely in a world today where people are so concerned about it, yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin Well, first of all, black don’t crack.

Isabelle Dumortier True, true. True that. Black don’t crack. It looks really good too.

Taunya Renson-Martin So I want to be like one of these, I don’t know, Diane Carroll or one of these types who are… Or Cicely Tyson. I mean, the woman’s 95 years old and she’s gorgeous, butter skin and still acting, and so regal and elegant, and I’m like, if I can grow old like that, bring it on.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, well, you’re clearly manifesting your life anyway, every time you speak it, so let’s do it. How many years, about 50?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. Exactly.

Isabelle Dumortier Is there a moment that you had in your life that you would say, “Okay, that’s definitely my never again moment. I never want to have that in my life again.”

Taunya Renson-Martin Yes, I grew up with a very dominant male figure in my life, and I think what that taught me is I must speak my truth and speak up all the time. So, I was raised… Or not raised, but when I grew up I think I kept a lot in to keep the peace. And I’m not very good at keeping it in any more. When I hate something, if there’s an issue or a challenge, I’m going to voice it. Never again will I shut up to put up. I would never do that.

Isabelle Dumortier No. That’s awesome. Yeah. What I really love about your story is you’re such a confident woman and you come from such a diverse background, haven’t always had the easiest life, and you’re really an example for women and for people in general to not say, “But I had a hard life, it’s hard for me and boohoo me.”

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. Yeah. No, I’m not a boohoo nature.

Isabelle Dumortier You’re not the ‘boohoo’ type.

Taunya Renson-Martin No, no, no. I tell my kids, it’s probably not the best parenting advice but I say to my boys all the time, “Suck it up. Come on.”

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. Don’t boohoo.

Taunya Renson-Martin Exactly, what’s that gonna get you? How far? I mean, you can be upset but then you need to figure out what you’re going to do with that energy.

Isabelle Dumortier Moving from being, if I’m allowed to make the assumption, from being someone that keeps everything in, keeping stuff for yourself, probably not as confident looking as you are today, and making that transition to becoming someone that is confident and powerful, and you have a powerful voice, so by default what you say comes in, you know? Did you feel that making that transition, were the people surrounding you ready for that? Do they have a hard time adjusting or adapting to the new Tayoncé?

Taunya Renson-Martin New Tayoncé. Well, I guess it also started with that dominant male figure that I told you about. I wrote that person, a seven to 10 page letter about how I felt and was very clear about how I felt, because I’m also someone who, what I put in writing is much clearer and better than what I say sometimes. So that was the first step.

I think people were surprised. People who knew me earlier during that transition, I think they were surprised that I started to speak out. The first version of me speaking out was an angry version, so I would go from zero to angry, immediately. I’d be like, “No, I am not doing that. I did it.” So, I’ve polished that a little bit now so that I don’t go from zero to angry. I try to nip it in the bud early on. So, I try to calmly say, as soon as I’m uncomfortable or I disagree, that I will say, “You know-“

Isabelle Dumortier “I’m not liking this.”

Taunya Renson-Martin “… I don’t like that idea at all.”

Isabelle Dumortier You have such a huge smile on your face, kind of scary. “I don’t like that at all.”

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, I try to be polite about it. “I hear you, that’s really interesting. I see where you’re coming from. That’s not going to work.”

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, why I’m asking it is that because I had this one point in my life too where I realized I was giving so much and being a very people-pleasing person, and doing my utter best to make life easier for other people, but not really taking care of my Isabelleyonce.

Taunya Renson-Martin Isayonce.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, I wasn’t ready to really step out. And I remember telling the people in my environment that needed to hear it, “Okay, so you’ve treated me this way and you’ve been communicating with me this way for such a long time, and it’s fine because I let you, but now that’s done, so we’re quitting that. I want you to respect me and I want you to communicate with me this way, and this is what we’re going to do and this is not what we’re going to do.” The interesting part was that the people I had to say this to first got really angry, really angry. But then I decided that I’m just not going to respond, and then two weeks after they came back. So that was… Anyway, for me it worked really well to make the transition.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, yeah. No, I think people have to know where to meet you and they have to meet you where you are. So, probably people like you and I in our earlier stage, we were always going to where they were and then being angry about it.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. And now they’re coming to us.

Taunya Renson-Martin Exactly. And being angry about it. Now, you’re going to have to take a few steps my way as well.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, I like that visualization.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier By the way, we have great background noise because we’re in the middle of jets.

Taunya Renson-Martin He’s picking me up right after this.

Isabelle Dumortier Nice. Nice. Can I join? Where are you going?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, I don’t know.

Isabelle Dumortier I’m not even asking where you’re going.

Taunya Renson-Martin “I’m just going with you.”

Isabelle Dumortier I’m just like, “I’ll hop on the jet with you.” I could perfectly live this life I think.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah?

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, we were talking about it earlier before the interview, is I think I could really enjoy having a jet.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah?

Isabelle Dumortier A lot of people would but I would really make the most of it.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, yeah. I mean… And if, eventually, they become electric or-

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, imagine the possibilities.

Taunya Renson-Martin Sustainable fuels and all so there’s zero guilt at all. I’d be jetting from here to the Albert Heijn.

Isabelle Dumortier Why not?

Taunya Renson-Martin Why not?

Isabelle Dumortier Interesting flight plans. Interesting flight plans. “Tower, we’re going to the Albert Heijn.” Good, actually perfect transition, private jets to money.

Taunya Renson-Martin Oh, great. Oh, money.

Isabelle Dumortier You’re a successful entrepreneur today.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier What’s the one money lesson you had in the past years that literally made a difference in how you manage or handle your money today?

Taunya Renson-Martin I was definitely the person that was being spoken to in that book; Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, same, for sure.

Taunya Renson-Martin I grew up for sure always hearing that you had to work for money, and I’d be working for my money until I retired, and that was the path. You just work, and you work harder to get more money. That was really it. I did not hear about investments. I didn’t hear about, none of that stuff. So, I definitely have a different tune today and I teach my children differently today. My money needs to work for me.

Isabelle Dumortier Sounds good.

Taunya Renson-Martin So I’m interested to know where to invest things. How to scale my business so that more money comes in without me having to work personally harder. Then the other thing is that my parents, growing up in the US, I don’t know if everybody learns this but I was definitely taught like, “You need to have credit. You need to have a credit rating,” so they tried to give me a credit card when I was young, and you had to have a credit rating to be able to get a car and all this credit, credit, credit stuff. And then I came to Belgium and then I met Serge, Mister Cash, cash only.

Isabelle Dumortier Oh, really?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. He was like, I’m never going to owe anybody anything ever.

Isabelle Dumortier Good.

Taunya Renson-Martin He had serious savings and I think that was a huge learning for me as well, and yeah, you spend what you have.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin What a great idea.

Isabelle Dumortier Really? Ah, aha moments. Yeah, but if I hear you speaking about, I want my money to work for me, I think for me, it starts making sense and I understand the concept behind it, but what does it truly mean to you, having your money work for you? Did you have any moments already in your life that you thought, “Ah, look, that’s where my money is working for me right now.”

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, you’ve just pinned me into a corner. Let me just say I am all talk and no action.

Isabelle Dumortier Sorry, not sorry.

Taunya Renson-Martin I am such a big talker, because I do have a little challenge. I’m sure I can overcome it if I dig a little deeper but there is a small challenge of being an American living in Belgium. The bank and finance industry in Europe are not too keen on having to work with Americans-

Isabelle Dumortier Really?

Taunya Renson-Martin … because of FBAR and all of these, I don’t know, policies where the US wants to know all of the financial dealings of all American citizens no matter where you are, even if you don’t live any more in the US. So, because of all that paperwork, banks are not really keen to do that. So, it’s really difficult for me to make investments and things like that here.

Isabelle Dumortier Okay. I didn’t know. Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin So I have looked into a lot of stuff but I have not done as much as I would have wanted to do to make my money work for me. So, I’m still on a journey there.

Isabelle Dumortier You’re only 47, I get it.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. But I also think of my company as an investment too.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, for sure.

Taunya Renson-Martin Investing my time, and also I’ve invested some money in there as well, so that’s one of the things I have actually done.

Isabelle Dumortier Good, good. That brings me to a question I really love. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

Taunya Renson-Martin Okay.

Isabelle Dumortier “Okay. Okay. I don’t like talking about compliments about myself.”

Taunya Renson-Martin When I was in San Francisco, when I was 18 years old, my big hair. I went to a bar. It was a gay bar. I was touring with the Shakespeare Company, and I was there supporting one of my classmates who had been going to bars with me. So, I said, “When we get to San Francisco, I’ll do your scene. I’ll go into bars with you.” And we went to this bar, having drinks and this guy came over to me, a gay man. But he was like, “Can I just tell you, you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.”

Isabelle Dumortier Ooh.

Taunya Renson-Martin “You are a woman, aren’t you?” That’s my best compliment.

Isabelle Dumortier That’s nice. That’s nice.

Taunya Renson-Martin “You are a woman, aren’t you?”

Isabelle Dumortier Do you have certain routines to make sure that you-

Taunya Renson-Martin That I’m a woman?

Isabelle Dumortier … look beautiful? No, no, I’m just-

Taunya Renson-Martin Oh, yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier And feel beautiful and of course give yourself enough and all of the self love you deserve?

Taunya Renson-Martin Not really. I mean, of course I do my makeup and stuff in the morning, I think my biggest routine is that I lay out my clothes every night-

Isabelle Dumortier Oh, wow.

Taunya Renson-Martin Before the next day. So, I really think about what I’m going to wear, because for me, my clothing is my character for the day, so depending on-

Isabelle Dumortier You always look so cool. No. It has detail. You clearly thought about what you’re wearing.

Taunya Renson-Martin But if I have to go to a board meeting or if I have to go to, whatever the event, if I have to teach a workshop, I have to get the costume together. It’s the actress in me coming out.

Isabelle Dumortier It’s nice. So you’re an entrepreneur, you were an actress. If I hear the word actress, I hear creativity. Of course, entrepreneurs also need creativity but it’s a different kind of creativity, I think. How do you stay creative in your job, having to manage so many people, having to manage so many things?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. I think the most creative stuff I do in my job is, problem solving to me is creativity, so I like solving big challenges, big problems. I also have to do a lot of writing. I still do a lot of copywriting so that’s still quite creative for me. And then, yeah, I still act here when I get a chance to, when I get the call. That keeps me creative too.

Isabelle Dumortier Tell me about your acting. What have you done?

Taunya Renson-Martin You know. Just a couple of things.

Isabelle Dumortier You were in ‘Thuis’ (ref. Belgian show), Weren’t you?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yes.

Isabelle Dumortier Yes, right. I remember.

Taunya Renson-Martin I played a much older lady than myself. Yeah, so ‘Cordon’ (ref. Belgian tv series).

Isabelle Dumortier Ah, yeah. Interesting.

Taunya Renson-Martin ‘Het Goddelijke Monster’

Isabelle Dumortier Okay. Cool.

Taunya Renson-Martin I’m the American, when they’re like, “Hey, we need American for some obscure random scenes. We need an American. Call Taunya,”

Isabelle Dumortier “We call Taunya.”

Taunya Renson-Martin There’s something coming up now, ‘Red Sandra’. I think it’ll come out in September.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, ‘Red Sandra’, yeah. Cool. How nice, that’s really cool that you keep on doing that.

Taunya Renson-Martin I try.

Isabelle Dumortier So, we have the entrepreneur. We have the actress. Is there something I haven’t asked? Or I don’t know enough about you yet, that I should ask?

Taunya Renson-Martin You should ask me if I’ve ever shoplifted.

Isabelle Dumortier Have you ever shoplifted, Taunya?

Taunya Renson-Martin No, no. Yes, I have. I did. When I was five. I shoplifted. I bought… I bought. I bought-

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, yeah, shoplifting, buying. I shoplift, I buy. You shoplift, you buy. Same same but different.

Taunya Renson-Martin I stole index cards.

Isabelle Dumortier Oh, really?

Taunya Renson-Martin Just to see if I could.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, interesting. So, but you stole-

Taunya Renson-Martin So, the psychology of me. I just wanted to know if it’s possible to shoplift.

Isabelle Dumortier Yep. It was confirmed.

Taunya Renson-Martin So I went into a store and I stole index cards. I should have stole something more useful at the age of five but no, index cards.

Isabelle Dumortier Index cards. Interesting. I did the exact same thing when I was four or five.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah?

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, but I took screws.

Taunya Renson-Martin See? You and I are crazy.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah, interesting. Same reason. Exact same reasoning behind it. Just thinking, “If I put three in my pocket, will they notice or not? Can’t put me to jail. I won’t-“

Taunya Renson-Martin Four or five. I even think I was stupid enough I got in the parking lot with my mom and was like, “Look. Look what I stole.”

Isabelle Dumortier Oh, my God. Interesting. Interesting.

Taunya Renson-Martin And then she’s too ashamed to take them back, so she’s now complicit and we probably have a warrant out for us after all these years.

Isabelle Dumortier Maybe we shouldn’t say this on camera.

Taunya Renson-Martin Whoops. Psych.

Isabelle Dumortier It was a joke. It was a joke. Is there anything… So you have this super-interesting, amazing journey. Is there anything today that you say, “Well, this is what I’m really tired of. Can’t be bothered any more”?

Taunya Renson-Martin Wow. Tired of. Well, racism. I’m pretty tired of that. I’m tired that we have to have this conversation all the time in history. So I would very much love for us to get to a point where we’re actually doing the work to dismantle entire systems as opposed to having to protest about it all the time. So tired of that, let’s say.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. Agreed. Definitely. For me, in my world, when I hear that it has to go away, but as you say, it’s a long-term-

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, it’s a long-term.

Isabelle Dumortier But we’re going in the right direction, I think.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier I hope we are. I hope we are. And I have the same thing with, for example, women in business.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier Or women in tech.

Taunya Renson-Martin I was going to say. And that’s just the tip of the… I’d like to get with, you know? I mean, why are we having conversations about whether people are allowed to love who they want to love? That’s ridiculous. Women, I mean, hello. We’re awesome. Why are we having these discussions?

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. If you want to be on a stage, or if you want to run a business, then you will. I mean, I don’t get the, if you want to be in tech, I’ll go in tech. I don’t need women togetherness saying kumbaya around a stage.

Taunya Renson-Martin And also, it’s not the… I mean, both sides have to play their part, but I firmly believe that the people who built the systems have to be a part of taking down the systems. If women are going to have women equality, a lot of men need to do some work.

Isabelle Dumortier Yep.

Taunya Renson-Martin If people of color are going to be equal, a lot of people who have not had those pervasive-

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, have work to do. If it’s the foreign people versus the native people, if we want to integrate more immigrants in Belgium to feel confident and comfortable and part of the system, the Belgians have to be welcoming to that. Native Belgians.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin Just that kind of stuff. Small stuff. You know?

Isabelle Dumortier Small stuff.

Taunya Renson-Martin Small stuff.

Isabelle Dumortier It’s just like-

Taunya Renson-Martin You know, if you could just fix those things.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. To counter that question, so, we’re sick of that, so it needs to be solved. At the same time, what makes your alive today? Is there something you’re rediscovering, or something you get a lot of energy from that makes you… Yeah, that you’re today really happy about, and makes you feel alive?

Taunya Renson-Martin My sons. My sons make me alive today. They are 13 and 18. They’re at such a cool stage.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. They’re really cool guys, too.

Taunya Renson-Martin They’re cool guys.

Isabelle Dumortier I see the pictures coming by on Facebook and I just think, “Those are cool kids.”

Taunya Renson-Martin They’re really nice. I like those guys, to be quite honest, and they’re getting better. They’re getting better with age, too.

Isabelle Dumortier Oh, what a surprise.

Taunya Renson-Martin So, yeah, yeah. They give me a lot of energy. They work on my nerves, too, don’t get me wrong, but they give me a lot of energy. I love them.

Isabelle Dumortier Oh, that’s cool. How do you combine being a mom with being an entrepreneur?

Taunya Renson-Martin And that’s where my husband, Serge, comes into play. I married the most amazing man for me in the world. What I can’t do, he does. So there’s never a guilt that things don’t get done. Some people have a guilt, because if I’m focused on this, and I’m not focused on that, and something’s not getting done over there. I never have that feeling because my husband, we are definitely a yin and yang kind of thing going on, so if I’m here, he’s at home. If I’m at home, he’s out getting the bacon, you know? Earning the bacon, or he might be buying the bacon. Whatever. Either way, you know? So that makes it really easy. And again, because I’m a person who believes that I can do and achieve anything I want to, there are no obstacles.

Isabelle Dumortier Have you ever thought of doing something with that passion on confidence, or-

Taunya Renson-Martin Oh, yeah, I would love to. Here’s my next project. Maybe you want to get involved. It’s me, Oprah and Michelle Obama.

Isabelle Dumortier And me.

Taunya Renson-Martin And you. Right? And we’re touring around, and we’re going to talk to mostly people of middle income and lower, to explain that where they are today is not where they have to be tomorrow, and that they have everything within themselves in order to achieve whatever it is that they want to achieve.

Isabelle Dumortier That sounds really good.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier That sounds good. This is a curiosity interview podcast. What are you most curious about in life?

Taunya Renson-Martin Other people. I mean, if my superhero power could be that I jump inside other people and live their lives for a day-

Isabelle Dumortier Walk in their shoes?

Taunya Renson-Martin And walk in their shoes, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Isabelle Dumortier Really?

Taunya Renson-Martin I’m so curious about what goes on in other people’s heads.

Isabelle Dumortier What ticks? Why do you do what you do? Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin Exactly.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. Must be scary though, sometimes, right?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. That’s probably why I would be so chicken, to only do it for 24 hours.

Isabelle Dumortier I was just thinking, when you started saying that, I’m like, “We need a time restriction.” Yeah, because otherwise it’s just-

Taunya Renson-Martin It could be too much. It could be a bit too much. Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier So, we have the Michelle Obama and Oprah project.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yes. It’s a small project.

Isabelle Dumortier A small project. Yeah. Small.

Taunya Renson-Martin By the way, Michelle or Oprah, if you happen to be listening to this podcast, give me a call.

Isabelle Dumortier Taunya at Mach Media. Yeah. Absolutely. I tried that three years ago, in an interview, talking about Leonardo DiCaprio.

Taunya Renson-Martin To see if he would call you?

Isabelle Dumortier I was like, “You can always call me if you want to.” He didn’t. It’s three years later.

Taunya Renson-Martin Oh. I thought you said he did.

Isabelle Dumortier Oh, my God, imagine?

Taunya Renson-Martin I was going to say, okay, hello Michelle.

Isabelle Dumortier He definitely needs a 30-something instead of all the 20-year-olds he’s dating, let’s be honest. Okay. If you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would be on it and why?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, well, so I said it, I’ll say it for the third time, “Say yes and play the scene.”

Isabelle Dumortier Okay.

Taunya Renson-Martin Just always go for it.

Isabelle Dumortier That’s the title of your book, if you ever write a book, that should be your title.

Taunya Renson-Martin No, for my book it would be, “This is not a dress rehearsal,” but it’s all part of the same mix. So like this is not a dress rehearsal. You can do it now.

Isabelle Dumortier Are you already writing the book?

Taunya Renson-Martin Well, I did, actually, start on my iPad a year and a half ago, a book.

Isabelle Dumortier Okay. I know the feeling.

Taunya Renson-Martin That is still on my iPad.

Isabelle Dumortier Okay. What’s it about?

Taunya Renson-Martin One chapter in. It’s the life lessons from this, this is not a dress rehearsal, but it’s all life lessons that I learned from things you learn in theater. Theater axioms. And then how those things play out in real life.

Isabelle Dumortier Can you give an example?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. Obviously, say yes and play the scene is an improvisation tip. Another thing my theater teacher, Tom Arthur, shout out to Tom, he always said, “Stop going…” When people are thinking, or you don’t know what to do next, usually people expel air for no reason. And he was like, “Control.”

Isabelle Dumortier “Control the air.”

Taunya Renson-Martin “Control the air. Control yourself. Don’t give it away.” You know? And then another one is, so that whole thing about controlling breath is important. The other thing was, who’s against who for what in a scene? He always was like, “When you go into a scene, you need to figure out who is against who for what.” Man I do that in every business deal, every relationship dynamic, I’m trying to figure out who is against who and for what.

Isabelle Dumortier Interesting.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier The against, though, makes it kind of negative, doesn’t it?

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, but usually somebody is against something. It’s always-

Isabelle Dumortier There’s always someone against.

Taunya Renson-Martin Somebody has a point. There’s always a dynamic. So who’s against who? And for what? What’s the reason? And now you know the dynamics of the situation, you can navigate it.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin It’s interesting.

Isabelle Dumortier Interesting. Yeah. I like the lesson, and definitely about the air, I’ve learned a few years ago that if you go from one situation to the other, it always helps to just take a moment to breathe in and out and then go into the new situation, but leave the old stuff at the door.

Taunya Renson-Martin There you go.

Isabelle Dumortier Coming from a busy day at work, you’re being irritated, you’re going to walk in home, you’re there with your, in my case, my kid. Before I enter the door, just breathe in and out a few times, and then you’re just like, “Okay. He’s looking forward to having a good time with his mom. He doesn’t care about the shit someone gave you.”

Taunya Renson-Martin And I got into that stuff because of you, by the way.

Isabelle Dumortier Oh, really?

Taunya Renson-Martin Because of that 21-day Abundance meditation.

Isabelle Dumortier Oh, yeah, Deepak Chopra. It’s amazing. For everyone listening or watching, you have to, have to, have to go online, on YouTube you can find every day meditations. I did it again in May and it is so accurate. It’s 21-day Abundance by Deepak Chopra, and you have him in your ears every morning, and it’s like, “Ah, okay. Good morning. Yeah. Let’s do this. I’ll do some mantras in Sanskrit.” Yeah. It’s amazing. Oh, I’m happy that it…

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier You had something amazing happening at the airport.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier Tell us about that moment.

Taunya Renson-Martin I don’t know, let’s call it Day 18 of the challenge, and I’m someone, if you tell me I have to do something in a row, if I start it I must complete it because I’m crazy like that. So on Day 18 I was in the airport, I had to fly back from the US to Belgium, and I still needed to do my meditation for that day. So I decided, while we were waiting in line to get on the plane, I just sat on the floor and I did my meditation. And my meditation was something about, I don’t know, it was definitely manifesting what you wanted in business. Something like that. So I was like, “Yeah,” you know, “I need new business, meet people,” because I don’t like networking. I’m really bad at it.

Isabelle Dumortier So strange. So strange.

Taunya Renson-Martin Right? And then I get on the plane, and the guy I’m sitting next to, he smiles, I smile back, and I don’t know, we started talking. Next thing you know, we end up talking the entire flight. He’s the CFO of this company in Ghent, but he’s American, and they need communications help. And we talk the whole time-

Isabelle Dumortier A perfect pitch.

Taunya Renson-Martin … and he needed communications help.

Isabelle Dumortier Not an elevator pitch. It was a flight pitch.

Taunya Renson-Martin It was a flight pitch. By the end, he’s getting my information, and exchanging business cards, and you know, “I want you to meet our CEO. Let’s talk. Let’s do business.”

Isabelle Dumortier That’s awesome.

Taunya Renson-Martin I was like, “Man, that’s a good old meditation for you.”

Isabelle Dumortier Interesting. Good. Yeah, I definitely believe that doing that meditation helps you be aware of the stuff that can come on your path. There are opportunities everywhere.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. For sure.

Taunya Renson-Martin They’re all there.

Isabelle Dumortier If I hear you say, “If I start something, I’m finishing it,” I hear a lot of willpower, because that’s… I mean, I had to build it. I definitely believe willpower is this bucket you have to fill, and it starts with making up your bed every morning for example. How do you see willpower in who you are today? How does that resonate?

Taunya Renson-Martin I make my bed every morning.

Isabelle Dumortier Congratulations.

Taunya Renson-Martin I do. I make my bed.

Isabelle Dumortier No, but it does help. Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin I lay out my clothes at night.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. That’s strong. That’s strong. I’m not there yet. I iron them in the morning before I have to leave.

Taunya Renson-Martin Oh, that’s good. I hate ironing, so that’s-

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. I don’t like ironing either. I must say, and that’s when I get that I’m becoming older, that buying an iron that I really like, and that really works well, makes me happy. Those very interesting moments.

Taunya Renson-Martin An iron that I would really like picks itself up-

Isabelle Dumortier And irons everything for me. I know. Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. I think that it’s the little routine stuff that feeds my willpower, and maybe that’s what helps me. It’s also a mindset. I’m a to do list checker. So even in my company we have a project management tool, and I chose it because it allows us to go check, check, check, or reassign tasks. But at the end, check, check, check, check. And I like, at the end of the day, it’s empty. I’m the person with her email that cannot have unread emails in the inbox.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. ‘Inbox zero’ is so nice.

Taunya Renson-Martin I would be crazy if not. So that also is probably just a kind of small craziness, too. I don’t know if this is good.

Isabelle Dumortier I think it’s good. It makes you get stuff done.

Taunya Renson-Martin I do get things done.

Isabelle Dumortier And the only way to reach something in your life, I believe, is to get stuff done. It’s not going to happen by itself. Well, sometimes it happens by itself, but it’s also because you have a certain vision of where you’re going.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah, yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier For sure. So if all science would fail us, 150 years from now, we find the history book, Taunya is in it.

Taunya Renson-Martin Uh-oh.

Isabelle Dumortier What would it say? What would the blurb say?

Taunya Renson-Martin “How did she get in this book?” This blurb would say, “She…” I don’t know what it would say. “She always did what she thought was right.”

Isabelle Dumortier That’s a nice one. It’s very value-driven.

Taunya Renson-Martin I think it’s more my tombstone or something, but anyways.

Isabelle Dumortier It’s good. No. I like it.

Taunya Renson-Martin “Taunya, the person who always did what she thought was right.”

Isabelle Dumortier Okay. Some final questions to close off. Do you have three books that have changed your life, or that we can share with everybody watching?

Taunya Renson-Martin Sure. They’re probably not going to be as deep or as great as anybody else’s books that you’re going to interview, and then I’m going to listen to those interviews and be like, “I really should have said other books.” But so, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Just a fantastic book about-

Isabelle Dumortier Why?

Taunya Renson-Martin It takes place during the time of slavery, but it’s an African-American family during slavery. It’s just a really wonderful, well-written book. Zora Neale Hurston is fantastic. Then I would say, Jerry Oppenheimer’s Anna Wintour, the life and times of this Vogue editor or something like that.

Isabelle Dumortier Okay.

Taunya Renson-Martin I just like Anna Wintour.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. She has this really cool vibe around her.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. I just like the idea of, in my mind she represents somebody who just is very calmly and clearly says what she thinks, and people do what she says, and she doesn’t have to go into hysterics, can just be very calm. I like that.

Isabelle Dumortier And she has been so influential for fashion.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. Yeah.

Isabelle Dumortier It’s crazy. Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin And then the last one is, I just finished listening to this audiobook. It’s Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, Talking To Strangers. It’s really about how, basically, miscommunication leads to some really horrific things that go on in the world, but it’s miscommunication on a mass level of us having our own assumptions, and then putting those assumptions on the person we’re speaking to, and therefore-

Isabelle Dumortier Projecting again towards-

Taunya Renson-Martin Projecting, no, I’m not understanding intent.

Isabelle Dumortier It’s like corona, but then with communication.

Taunya Renson-Martin Exactly. It’s the corona of communication. Exactly.

Isabelle Dumortier Assumptions are the mother of all fuck-ups.

Taunya Renson-Martin Exactly.

Isabelle Dumortier My sister used to have that at her office against the wall.

Taunya Renson-Martin And so if anybody is listening, or wants to read that book, I highly recommend the audiobook version, because he’s got Janelle Monae doing some music for it. He reads it.

Isabelle Dumortier Cool.

Taunya Renson-Martin Instead of him reading everything, people he has interviewed for the book speak in their own voice.

Isabelle Dumortier Nice.

Taunya Renson-Martin So it’s really nice. It’s almost like theater.

Isabelle Dumortier Cool.

Taunya Renson-Martin But it’s a great book.

Isabelle Dumortier Okay. Thank you. Is there any challenge you have for me or for people that are listening or watching?

Taunya Renson-Martin Just step into your greatness and go. I mean, and just go, but know you are great. I mean, if you’re not hurting animals and people, and if you have a good heart-

Isabelle Dumortier Shine your light.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. Shine your light. Step into your greatness.

Isabelle Dumortier Cool.

Taunya Renson-Martin Don’t let anybody tell you you’re not enough.

Isabelle Dumortier Awesome. I’ll take that in. That’s nice.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. I’ll give it to you.

Isabelle Dumortier So is there any way we can keep on following your journey?

Taunya Renson-Martin Sure.

Isabelle Dumortier And how can we?

Taunya Renson-Martin Well, if you want to work with me, MachMediaGroup.com.

Isabelle Dumortier Okay.

Taunya Renson-Martin Let’s see. If you want to see me act, watch all the shows and movies in Belgium, and if there’s an American and she’s black, it’s probably me.

Isabelle Dumortier Okay. That’s a good thing.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. Watch a lot of television.

Isabelle Dumortier You’re in a niche.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. Instagram. You can watch me on Instagram, see me and my family. @TaunyaRM. And if you’re an entrepreneur, you can do all kinds of things with me and with Isabelle if you join EO.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. True, true, true.

Taunya Renson-Martin Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

Isabelle Dumortier Good. Yeah.

Taunya Renson-Martin EOBelgium.com

Isabelle Dumortier Go. Go now.

Taunya Renson-Martin Go, go.

Isabelle Dumortier Is there anything else you want to share before we close off?

Taunya Renson-Martin Just to say thank you. This has been really pleasant. I really enjoyed this. It’s always fun hanging out with you, Izzy.

Isabelle Dumortier Thank you.

Taunya Renson-Martin So I’m very grateful that I met you and have you in my life.

Isabelle Dumortier It’s exactly the same back to you. I’m so grateful for sitting here. I want to really thank you for your time and for your effort you’ve put in to be here, and to arrange this amazing location as well, and to share your story.

Taunya Renson-Martin Thank you again to ASL.

Isabelle Dumortier Yeah. Definitely.

Taunya Renson-Martin I mean, if you’re going to fly a private jet-

Isabelle Dumortier ASL is the way to go.

Taunya Renson-Martin Yeah. If you need a charter, or you need somebody to take care of your jet for you, you make sure you call ASL.

Isabelle Dumortier Only place you call.

Taunya Renson-Martin Exactly.

Isabelle Dumortier And yeah, so definitely big thank you. I can’t wait to see you further stepping into your greatness, and yeah, I look forward to traveling the world together, and hopefully in a few years there’s our own private jets called the Jet Sets.

Taunya Renson-Martin Exactly. Exactly.

Isabelle Dumortier But no, thank you so much.

Taunya Renson-Martin No problem. Shall I call the pilot? Let’s go now.

Isabelle Dumortier Let’s go. Great. Yeah. Thank you.

Taunya Renson-Martin Take care.

Isabelle Dumortier Bye.

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