You Have to Get Uncomfortable to Get Comfortable with Dr. Jocelyn McDonald

Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:20:18] Now to the animals, the only the most unnerving part was when they have to ask questions, you know, what questions are going to be asked. But I mean, if you know your research and you’ve done the work, then, of course, you’ve got to be able to easily answer. That’s right. Yeah.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:20:32] No, that that that’s true. And that is a nerve wracking part. Again, most committees, it seems like these days, they don’t try to ask gotcha questions, but I think there should be a few more of those in defenses these days because you do want to make sure you’re ready. So most people you meet when you’re a doctor, do you like your doctor? Tell me stuff and I’ll just believe it. But occasionally somebody is going to try to, like, knock you off your high horse and you need to be ready. You shouldn’t be on the high horse, but you need to be ready for, you know, to to answer. People need to be able to defend yourself when when necessary. So. But but, yeah, normally that defense is more of a celebration and a coronation than it is a true trial for most.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:21:14] Yes, I agree. It was great afterwards. I was like, oh, yeah, right.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:21:21] And then you get to start calling yourself Dr. Mac. Yes. Yes. So what was that like when you first they told you congratulations and you’re out there in the world now as Dr. McDonald. How did that change things for you?


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:21:36] Oh, you know, once you get a title, people start seeing you differently. And, of course, the people who you were working with prior to or why you’re going to that journey still see you as in this case, a document. But you know, anyone who’s meeting you for the first time and you know, they are they look at you differently and as an expert and they’re willing to listen. It’s amazing what getting three letters in your name can do for you. And so it’s now like, oh, doctor. And so I even at when I’m working, you may call me Miss McDonald and I think I might get a standing. I’m sorry, Dr. McDonald’s. I was like, they did something wrong saying this. And so just even the way they treat you differently. And then, of course, you get opportunities that come your way because people want to hear what you have to say. Of course, the first question is, what was your research about? What is your. And so you talk about that and it leads into other things and other opportunities.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:22:31] See, I have found that for the most part, and I think most of our students will find this to people don’t tend to ask you about your dissertation too much after you graduate. I mean, in certain circles, they will mean if you’re if you’re talking to other people with their doctoral degree, then they probably will. Most people either don’t know or they’re too scared to ask about that sort of thing. And moreover, they just want to know how you can help them. Right. That’s just people everywhere. But they assume that you can help them since you’re a doctor. But, yeah, that notion of, you know, people that know you when you’re still the same Jocelyn, right. That your kids don’t all of a sudden start calling you doctor and.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:23:12] Your doctor mommy at a point where I think the first week I made them call me doctor mommy.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:23:21] So with covid and everything that’s going on right now, this doesn’t happen anymore. And I’m not sure how many people do this, but I know folks that used to go and as soon as they would would graduate, since they finished their defense, you go to the airport and you page yourself, you know, paging Dr. Mac White courtesy. Paging Dr. Mac. Yes, I’m Dr. McDonald. Let me through I can get to the phone and take this important phone call. But just to hear that name, is is is it something that some people can think it’s whatever selfish or stupid or. I don’t care. You work hard for it. You earned it.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:23:59] I have to tell myself that quite often. Like, I want to report to someone when I say, OK, I’ll be OK with still being just awesome. I miss my because people are still adjusting to it. Yes, I know you worked hard for that. You deserve to be recognized and for all you work. Not everyone is doing that. So I have to be OK with that myself.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:24:18] Yeah. Everybody is going to do things their own way and figure out what makes sense for them. Personally, I try to use the title professionally, so prospective clients and the folks I’m working with will at least know. And then personally, I don’t tend to use it at all. I mean, it might be, you know, if someone asked me to fill out a form and it’s check, Mr. Doctor. I’ll check, Doctor, but I don’t go around asking my kids teachers. Yes. To call me Dr. Strickland. But but each their own on that. I do advise folks that once you are that degree, use that title professionally. It makes a difference and you shouldn’t hide from it. You did work hard for it. And they said it does make a difference. It opens doors. What doors to it for you?


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:25:06] Well, you know, I was able to start my podcast since I had a voice and people wanted to hear what I had to say. So I was like, well, let’s share the wealth and use my my new expertise, quote unquote, new expertise that was prior priority, but to share with others and help develop. And so the podcast turned into one thing and I started blogging about my expertise. So now my voice has worked to go with the podcast. And of course I do professional development. So I’m developing others. And and when you have a title, of course, people are looking to oh, doctor, Dr. Mac. So they want to hear what you have to say. And the other thing is that I leverage it to also support the community and and especially for me, something as personal for me is also being representative of other African-Americans in the community and showing that you can still have a title still with you can you can get the word because I’m the first one to get a Ph.D. and in my. And so that means a lot to a lot of people, and so I was a lot of in my family, I was a hero in the sense that I was able to achieve that. And so I also have digital skills camps and which I support use in developing those skills. And I, of course, is open to everyone. But I do target the lower economic communities in schools and in reaching students if they can have the same opportunities and then those then doing that. And actually it’s a different opportunity. And so we’re working with local organizations and supporting adults in parents in developing their digital skills. And then, of course, that opens up opportunities. And so I’ve been asked to be a contributing author into a book about women who lead in technology. And so, in fact, the opportunities is just it just keeps pouring in. You know, once I finished my doctoral program and also boosted my confidence a lot to be OK with putting myself out there, and I felt more comfortable put myself out there than I did prior to. And so now I’m presuming a conversations. I’m consulting and working with small business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking for creative ways to leverage technology to get themselves out there and then have the Fortune 500 budget. And so it’s been it’s been very, very fast. I’ve done so much since I finished. And and it’s still going.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:27:28] That is so much to unpack. We talk about the opportunities just flowing. So let’s rewind. Go all the way back. The podcast. I want to talk about the podcast and what it’s about and who you’re helping. But inside baseball, because I bet we’ve got some folks in the audience who were like, how does this work as they work? You know, I’m doing a podcast. You’re doing a podcast. What was it like to get that started? And what is it like doing your podcast? What’s the format and how do you get that done on a regular basis?


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:27:55] OK, well, in my podcast it’s called Tech It Up a Notch. And in the podcast I become Dr Mac, the host with the most passion for supporting educators, the teachers and school leaders. And I turn on this personality, something I want to see different. And the first getting started was something that’s out of my comfort zone originally because, you know, for some reason I speak and I trained so many people, but to record myself was something new for me. And I had to adapt to hearing my voice the way I sound or things like that. And so it was definitely a process to get comfortable with. But I did a little research and I have to tell myself to be OK with continuing to grow and and develop. And so I started with small pieces again, like I did with the dissertation, and until I got more comfortable with it and when I started getting feedback, oh, this is great information. I love it. I love your format. And so the way mine is structured, I have three segments. And in the first segment, mine is on educational technology and making an impact for teachers and school leaders to create environments for students to to learn and adapt to our 21st century 21st century learning needs. And so the first part, we’re talking of a depth and breadth of problems and challenges that teachers and leaders face, especially now during our current time. And the second segment is really talking about is called Get Your Tech Together. And so what tools do school leaders or educators need to have in their digital toolbox? And then the last segment is kind of go into tips and best practices to leave them with to consider about that topic for the show. And so that’s how is organized and free. So in that I sometimes will just be me and sometimes I’ll have guests on and that last part with the best tips I call the tech smackdown. And so they’re going to sit for tips and is supposed to engage the audience to share who they thought had the best tip when they’re leaving those best practices.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:29:54] Yeah, getting interactivity is really is really great. You mentioned something early on about not liking the sound of your voice. Everybody needs to know that nobody likes the sound of your own voice. And the reason why, quite honestly, is because you sound differently through your own ears, because you’re hearing the the rattle of your bones in your skull and things like that. And so I may have mentioned before I study physics growing up, that’s kind of where that sound is coming from. There’s a lot of it is coming from your head and it doesn’t all get out into the air. And so when you hear a recording of you over microphone, it is a different voice than what you’re hearing in your head. That’s not what I. OK, so there’s it’s not a bad thing. It’s just a thing you’re not used to. And people tend to think, I don’t like this thing because it’s not what I grew up hearing forever and ever. So get over it. It’s it’s OK. Nobody likes the sound of their own voice. The next thing that you mentioned is all the help that you’re able to be to these other people. One of the things that my coach talked to me about, my business coach, is that you’ve got to go out there and be out there in front of people in order to help them, it’s not about you, it’s about them. And so many people say, well, who am I to get on camera? Well, in your case, your Dr. Mac, and a lot of our audience, that’s going to be the case to these are people who studied and gotten their doctoral degrees. You have a story to tell. You can help people. You just have to figure out how you’re helping people and if you come from that kind of servant position, that servant leadership position, it makes sense for you to go out there and be in front of people because you’re sharing things that they need to know. And if you help one or two people learn something that they need to learn, then that’s worth you being uncomfortable being in front of a camera.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:31:44] Yes. And, you know, that’s that’s one uncomfortable component components. Something I actually preach in my podcast is that you have to get uncomfortable to get comfortable. And that’s the same thing with technology, with life, and to get good at anything. You’re going to be great at it the first time and keep striving and so forth. That effort. And no, like you just said, no, it’s not about this. Not the I mean, not about you being servant of your your work and what you’re trying to accomplish. And that’s something I have to be OK with myself and supporting other people. It’s like, you know, this is bigger than myself. I’m looking to close gaps and to do that you to put yourself out there.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:32:21] Another one of my mentors, he is a really, really good presenter, very comfortable in front of people. He does it all the time. And he shared his very first presentation. And he was this total, nerdy guy, had his head shaved, almost bald, but not quite. And wearing these weird glasses that were kind of tinted and just standing there very stiff and trying to present people. He would have never in a million years thought those were the same people. And the point that he had to make was. Be grateful for the fact that when you start out, no one’s listening to you, it gives you time to to cultivate your voice. So unless you do a lot of money, the advertising, whatever platform you start working on, whether it’s a blog and your writing or a podcast and people listening to you or do you do a YouTube channel or whatever it is, people are going to be following you immediately. It starts slowly and it builds and it can build and build and build and it can get built quickly at some point. But during that process, you’re going to find your voice and you’re going to start to become more comfortable with the new things that you’re doing and the people who find you later on and who want to see all of your stuff. Yeah, they’ll go back and see those first ones. But there’s going to be a lot more forgiving of you at that point because they all got to know you by some of your later work. But you can’t do your later work. You can’t write Chapter five until you write Chapter one and you’ve got to get out there and do it. So if that’s something that you want to do at all, if you want to get out for people to help people. Bottom line is do it. Get out there and do it. We’re happy to talk about how to do it. I love helping people with those problems. But you don’t need to get specific coaching or help from me to do it. There are lots of ways you can do it. Go out there and do it, if that’s what you’re called to do. So. So I appreciate you taking that will change it, because that’s that’s so cool for me to understand how people pull back the curtain a little bit. What is the podcast about? Who are you helping? And you mentioned a little bit about the text back and so forth, but who are you helping and what are you doing on the podcast?


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:34:38] So my podcast is geared and really speaking to educational leaders, especially those who are sorry, and educators and teachers who support the K through 12. And I’m sure those who oppose secondary benefit for some of the knowledge that I share, because we’re all adjusting to the leveraging technology to maximize instruction. But it’s just so I’m reaching out to put my voice out there in the public education. We so many things that are going on. And this is a way that I can step out of those walls of public education to kind of close some of the gaps I see. And I support when I’m working with campuses, schools and teachers all the time and to bring on other guests so they can hear voices from their peers allows them to not just hear from me, the expert, but to see also bring voices of experience from others who are also in the work, the same capacity as those who may be listening. And so I’ll have educators, I’ll have administrators, I’ll have instructional technology or educational technologists like myself. And we’re just having casual conversation and have real conversations about.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:35:48] One of your guests will have an interesting story that came out of your podcast. Tell us a little bit about give it. Can you have an example of one of those?


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:35:55] I think every every every guest I’ve had has an interesting story which is centered around education. And, of course, with covid-19 having such a major impact in education, ours is definitely on experiences in adjusting and just hearing things you have to get comfortable with and know. I had one administrator that will talk about how, you know, they have to host these virtual meetings. Then they don’t have the camera. But if they have their camera and kind of modeling what you’re expecting your teachers to do and having to, as I think a lot has been a reflection, like, well, how can I now do this new thing and make this big impact, but I have to be a leader to do that. And so that’s been some of the discovery of conversations from others, from sharing what students are doing and how they have to be really creative and get them to join discussions and be a part of the learning and the challenges of that from elementary and high school and then their experiences with parents who are struggling to support their students at home. And so it’s been a range of different stories that have come out because covid-19 has had a major impact.


[00:37:08] I’ll tell you, when you first mentioned the idea of the teachers not wanting to have their cameras on, it immediately flooded back. We our kids are all doing we have three children and they are all in what they call virtual academy around here. They’re doing their school remote this year. And first of all, it took a while for us to get to the point where we could ask the kids to have their cameras on because our school system was very respectful to the fact that some kids actually would be embarrassed to let people into their house, that their their home wasn’t something that they would be comfortable sharing with their school. And that’s something that I understood but also didn’t realize for a while, because right now. I am I’m in like a corner of my office, and that camera is not going to pan around to the rest of this office right now because it’s my home and it’s real. And it’s not necessarily the image I want to project all the time and so I can get that. But it goes deeper for some of these kids that they can be embarrassed and ridiculed, bullied over the state of their home. So I took that to heart. And then it was nice to see the school starting to teach them about these virtual backgrounds so you can put up something behind you that now people don’t see everything and they could get the kids on camera. Because I thought that was one of the things that was really missing early on is you want these kids to be able to see each other interact, to socialize a little bit. They’re really missing the social aspect of school, which is critically important to these kids development. People say, well, that’s that’s goofing off. That’s whatever. I mean, yeah, to some extent, teachers need to crack down on it when you’re in school. But when you don’t have it at all, it’s a huge component. So. So anyway, the story that I thought about, not when you mentioned the camera, is some of these kids aren’t bashful at all. And I remember my middle my elementary kids in the background. Yeah, all sorts of things. My elementary school daughters teacher. I remember very distinctly one day hearing her ask, let’s call him Ralph. That wasn’t his name. But Ralph, are you in bed? Are we supposed to be in bed while we’re in school? Because he was there like layback in bed apparently with the camera and I needed to start. I should have done this back at the beginning of the school year because it’s gotten to be a little bit more normal now. But I needed to start a little blog on things. I overheard my teacher, my kid’s teachers say during lockdown because I don’t think that any of these teachers thought they were going to be saying to one of their students, Are you in bed right now? Well, were you before this year, that was not part of their training when they were learning to become a teacher and make sure you get out of bed while they’re in class like you mean so they can go to school? Nope, nope, nope. They’re going to school in bed.

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Dr. Russell W. Strickland

RUSSELL STRICKLAND, Ph.D., has been referred to as a “rocket scientist turned management consultant.” In truth, he applies an eclectic body of work from astronomy and nuclear physics to dynamic inventory management to market research to each of his student engagements.