Katie Fogarty is the vivacious host of A Certain Age podcast, for women who are unafraid to age out loud. She and her podcast celebrate life 50+ in all its sexy, smart, funny, fabulous, weird, sometimes unsettling, yet profoundly liberating glory.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Katie to learn more about her, the woman who is usually the one asking the questions. As with so many women 50+, her story is rich and multidimensional, and an absolute inspiration.
Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself — a former journalist turned career coach, now podcast host? We love to hear how careers evolve and unfold.
I am a superfan of career evolution. I’ve had multiple careers over the years, which has kept life interesting. Right out of college, I taught English in Japan and then worked on Capitol Hill. Eventually, I went to grad school for broadcast journalism and worked at CNN and New York 1 News.
Once I had children, waking at 4am to write the morning news was no longer appealing, so I transitioned to work at PR firms and for private clients.
Eventually, I launched my own company, The Reboot Group, which helps professionals build great careers through great career communications. I am a big believer that your professional story is your currency. When you can tell your story well, it transforms you into an advocate for your career, your company, and your priorities and impact.
Q. What inspired you to launch A Certain Age?
My day job helping executives and job hunters create strong LinkedIn profiles has taught me that not everyone is up for owning their age. I regularly work with clients who want to shave years off their resumes, drop older jobs, “lose” the dates on their college graduation.
Finally, when an author with two books on The New York Times best-seller list told me she couldn’t publicly admit to being 50, I thought, “This needs to stop.” We can—and should—be able to age out loud.
I launched A Certain Age to shine an age-positive light on midlife and create a space where women are aging out loud.
Q. In an age when content is being pumped out at warp speed, there’s often an underappreciation for how much work goes into producing a show like yours. So tell us, what is it like? How is it going so far?
Creating a podcast is an astonishing amount of work! When you’re on the listening end of your favorite pod, it’s easy to think that the show begins when the music starts and the host intros the guest, but hours of behind-the-scenes work happen before the “record” button gets pushed.
It takes time to surface great guests, manage the booking and scheduling, and dive into guest bios, backgrounds, and books to prepare a Q&A that brings their stories to life and captures the attention of my listeners.
I also generally record two shows back-to-back to make the most of the studio time which makes sense financially, but which can be tiring. When the recording sessions wrap, and I say goodbye to my guests, a new phase of work begins.
New podcast episodes drop every Monday, so much of my weekend is spent working on the show. I create show notes that live on my website — show notes offer a show recap and transcript, links to products or resources referenced on the show, plus bonus content.
Next, I create all the show graphics for my website and social media in order to promote the show on Facebook and Instagram. Finally, I write a weekly newsletter AGE BOLDLY which lets my subscribers know when a new show has dropped, and shares more bonus content, plus fun finds on my radar.
All this work takes hours and hours of time. But I absolutely love it. Yes, sometimes it’s a struggle to balance the podcast with life (I have a day job, three kids and a pandemic puppy), but I enjoy the entire process — the creative, the promotion, the conversations, and spending time in the company of amazing women.
Q. We know it’s not fair to ask you who your favorite interviewees have been, but can you tell us about a few of the standout moments from your conversations so far?
This is a hard one! I have so many fantastic guests—I learn something on every show.
Moments that I think about again and again, include when debut novelist Karen Dukess shared that she finally got up the courage to write (and eventually publish) her first novel at age 56, when the “fear of not doing it well,” which had stopped her for so long, was replaced by “the fear of not doing it all.” I completely connect with the idea of midlife as an accelerant—not an obstacle. After years of thinking “maybe I should launch a podcast?” — turning 50 was a galvanizing force in getting A Certain Age up and running.
Other standout conversations include all the doctors who have appeared on the show. Dr. Vonda Wright, an elite sports doctor and expert on active aging, shared a fitness hack that changed the way I brush my teeth (seriously!). Dr. Anita Sadaty came on twice and blew my mind about what I did not yet know about menopause, and vaginal and sexual health. And urologist Dr. Angelish Kumar taught me that irksome bladder issues—leakage, frequency, urgency and more, that we think are just a natural part of aging—can and should be managed. Find yourself a doctor who gets it!
Q. We “met” digitally when you interviewed Dr. Angelish Kumar, a urologist and certified menopause practitioner about bladder health and bladder leakage. It was a great episode, and hit very close to home for us. What was the response like to this piece?
The show with Dr. Kumar hit a nerve. I woke up to multiple messages including two from former guests on A Certain Age telling me they had already booked appointments with her – and one was driving into NYC from Connecticut for the appointment!
Women shared comments like, “the 50+ bladder leakage is real!!” and “I don’t want to have to stop in my tracks to clench before sneezing.” I was also moved by a mom-of-three who shared she had bladder surgery at age 39 which allowed her to return to her routines of running and marathons. She also shared that she could finally, “make it through a dinner and movies without interruption,’ and that surgery was “beyond liberating.” We need more honest conversations about bladder, vaginal and pelvic floor health.
Q. The cultural space for women in their midlife and beyond is really gaining momentum, and we couldn’t be more excited. What are your thoughts on where (as a culture) we are headed, and who has your attention within this movement?
The confidence of midlife is a theme I hear over and over again from my guests on A Certain Age. Culture will tell you that midlife is about a crisis. I don’t see it that way and neither do my guests. We are more midlife “bloom” – our age and experience make us experts, advocates, second acts, and what’s-nexters.
For the first time in our history, the U.S. is on track to have more people in midlife than under the age of 18. I am inspired by women like Nancy Pelosi who is arguably at the peak of her career at 81. By activist Ashton Applewhite who is leading the fight against ageism in our culture. By celebrities like Paulina Porizkova who speaks so frankly and with great elan about the ups and downs of aging and beauty. These women are aging boldly and I am here for it.