Patricia Sexton’s Journey from Wall Street Banker to Anchorwoman in Mongolia

Patricia Sexton LIVE from Mongolia

Patricia Sexton on Mongolian TV

UPDATE 11/28/13: LIVE from New Zealand, Patricia launches her book in Wellington

By Bridget Stangland/November 24, 2013

TWITTER: @PatriciaSexton

“I was hungry. Suddenly, I had to make it, and I wasn’t going to arrive wherever I was going by coasting. This dream I believed I had—and I still wasn’t sure what it was—would have to be real.” Patricia Sexton

Everyone has a dream. Whether large or small, these dreams are what can motivate people in their daily lives. However, some never take the leap of faith to follow them. Patricia Sexton is an individual who took her leap. She’s the author of the popular blog and book, LIVE from Mongolia. I was excited to have the opportunity to speak with Patricia recently while she was in America touring for her book before returning to her home in New Zealand.

Patricia Sexton's Life from MongoliaIt was not only a time to learn about her journey, but also a chance to ask her questions that could lead to answers and inspiration for me. My college graduation is right around the corner, and I have this dream to become a broadcast journalist like Patricia. But where do I start?

Do I take the first well-paying corporate job that I am offered? Where do I live? Should I travel? Should I take the leap and follow my dreams? There could not have been a more perfect time to speak with her.

Patricia was thirty-years-old and working as a successful banker on Wall Street. She had it all by New York standards: an amazing job, a loft apartment in Union Square, and the ability to walk into an art studio, find her favorite painting and pay cash.

But she knew that this was not the life for her every time that she turned on CNN and saw Christiane Amanpour reporting live from Baghdad. She yearned for the life of a journalist, reporting on war zones in a foreign country.

Patricia Sexton, LIFE FROM MONGOLIA

At Beaufort Books preparing for launch
10-21-13

Patricia had made a promise to herself to quit her job by the age of the 30 to pursue her dreams. One day her friend convinced her to take a public speaking course. At 26, Sexton decided to take the challenge. On her first day Sexton was required to talk about the currency system for two minutes and in her words “bombed’ it. The instructor stared at her and let her know that the following class she would have to come back and speak for five minutes rather than two.

The next day Sexton returned and started her 5-minute speech with this obscure line: “Have you ever held the hand of a monkey in a rain forest?” Thus she began her speech about her love of travel, adventure and journalism.

By the end of her talk, the class gave her a standing ovation, and in that moment Sexton knew she had to follow her passion. She remembers her instructor asking her if Wall Street was really what she wanted in life. She knew it wasn’t, but continued for five more years to work there.

Just shy of 31, knowing she was about to break her promise, Sexton snapped. She had made a phone call to a hedge fund client and received the standard Wall Street rage she was used to hearing. The client hung up on her, and she ran to the bathroom and wept on the floor, thinking to herself, “What am I still doing here?”

She stood up, wiped the tears off her face, walked onto the trading floor and googled three words: Journalism Internship Asia. On her screen popped up Television Internship Mongolia. Three months later Sexton was on an airplane headed to the far corners of the world where she interned as a national broadcaster in Mongolia.

Patricia on Mongolian TV in English

This internship led to a day Sexton will never forget when she got a shot at becoming the anchor for the Mongolian National Public Broadcaster Network. There is not a day that goes by where she does not remember the experience. She now gets to share it with others in her new book and on her blog.

Patricia told me that she hasn’t regretted the decision to go to Mongolia for one second.  “But did you have moments of doubt and fear?” I asked her.  “I think I had ‘What am I doing?’ moments every single day, and it wasn’t just in Mongolia, ” she said. “It was in New York, wherever I went. You see, I no longer had to ‘be’ anywhere at 7:00 in the morning. It didn’t matter to anyone but me if I finished a blog post, or if I wrote LIVE from Mongolia in the morning or afternoon or not at all. But the only way I was going to succeed was to keep going. In Mongolia, in particular, because I was so far away from home, I was really outside of my comfort zone. But sometimes that’s the very best place to be.”

“Everything in it—the art, the designer furniture, even the air-conditioning—reminded me that I was existing on borrowed time, perhaps a borrowed life.”

During one of those times of doubt, Sexton’s best friend, Meghann said to her,” If you stay in banking one thing can happen. But if you go, anything can happen.” That stunned Patricia into silent deliberation. It also really spoke to me.

I think the fear of the unknown is what scares and excites people. It seems to easy to get trapped into the daily routine of comfort, but what is these routines prevent us from a life of fulfillment and adventure?

Patricia Sexton, author LIFE FROM MONGOLIA

Photo: Eugenia Horn

“Remember that apartment I told you about, my dream home in my dream city, the room-with-a-view sort of place?” Patricia asked. “As I wrote in my last blog, my Manhattan apartment had been my dream, but it was quickly turning into my prison. Everything in it—the art, the designer furniture, even the air-conditioning—reminded me that I was existing on borrowed time, perhaps a borrowed life.”

As much as she loved her home, she couldn’t love it as much as she hated a life unlived. “No longer on a banker’s salary, and without the comfort of a tidy profit on my housing investment, I was hungry,” she said. “Suddenly, I had to make it, and I wasn’t going to arrive wherever I was going by coasting. This dream I believed I had—and I still wasn’t sure what it was—would have to be real.”

Sexton also explained that in order to succeed and be satisfied in what you do, you must be open to different ideas. She ideally wanted to be working in a war zone, but instead was reporting from Mongolia on lighter topics, but she still found herself feeling accomplished and meeting individuals that inspired her along the way.

Patricia Sexton with daughter in Forbidden City, China

Patricia with her daughter in Beijing, China

One particular event that Sexton won’t forget was the costume party in Hong Kong where dressed as Snow White, she met her soon-to-be husband, Jessie, in the costume-crazed crowds. She said the moment she saw him there was an instant feeling in her gut when she knew he was going to be someone special, even while he was dressed as Hugh Hefner that day.

The two both now have a daughter and chose New Zealand to locate their family permanently. Her husband was raised in Wellington so it holds a special place in their hearts.

Towards the end of my conversation, I asked her what it was about her that made her thrive as a journalist. “Professionally, I’d describe myself as ‘curious,’” she said. “I am curious about other people, about their lives and their dreams. Everyone I’ve interviewed, from North Korea to Siberia and Cincinnati, has dreams. But everyone also has obstacles. I’m curious to know how we choose to overcome them to make our dreams come true. I would also describe myself as ‘excited.’”

Curiosity and excitement are exactly what keep Sexton flourishing in her career. She is excited to see what the future holds. Currently she is touring for LIVE from Mongolia and inspiring others to chase their dreams. Wanting to highlight others who follow theirs, she began hosting her own show, WE Talk.

Patricia on WE Talk Show

Last, but not least, I asked Patricia for advice on how I can take my first step towards approaching my dreams after I graduate college. “Best piece of advice,” she replied, “is to try to take a baby step in the direction of your dream. You’ll know if it feels right. You’ll want to keep going! If it doesn’t feel right, take a baby step in a different direction.”

Sexton took a huge step out of New York and into Mongolia and a life she knew she always wanted. I will be taking my first baby step next summer out of the safe cocoon of college life to that of a young professional. I can’t say yet which direction specifically my feet will point towards.  What I do know is that my post grad journey will include finding and following my passion. Thank you, Patricia, for your inspiration!

###

Bridget Stangland, TWE ContributorAbout the author:

Bridget Stangland @bridgestang) is a soon-to-be a graduate of Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, CA. Writer, gourmet foodie, traveler, hostess, adventurer, and swimmer are some of the titles Bridget goes by. Growing up in a large close family netted a genuine interest in discovering the varying journeys of others. She is committed to increasing awareness of the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the  Special Olympics organization.

 

 

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Cindy Abbott On Climbing Mt. Everest And Competing in the Iditarod While Battling A Rare Disease

May 25, 2013

Cindy Abbott at Camp 3 | For TWE Radio

Cindy Abbott

 

Click Me to hear the interviewClick to Listen!

 

Cindy Abbott, a courageous adventurer who conquered Mt. Everest, competed in the Iditarod to raise awareness for her rare, life-threatening disease, Vasculitis

 

 

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PERSON OF THE DAY: Cindy Abbott’s Test of Courage Racing in the Iditarod

Iditarod racer Cindy Abbott and her pup

Cindy and her special lead dog, “Baby Drool”

By Stacey Gualandi/March 20,2013

On March 3rd, 54-year-old Cindy Abbott set out to be the first woman to complete the over 1,000-mile Iditarod after having already reached the summit of Mt. Everest, all while living with vasculitis, a rare incurable disease. I interviewed Cindy recently about her determination to take on this difficult challenge. Checking back with Cindy to find out how she did, I just learned that twenty miles after the start, she fractured her groin but managed to stay in the race for ten days.

“If it weren’t for me losing my ability to function at a level that I was thought was safe, I would have kept going…”  Cindy Abbott

While this wife and mom didn’t make it to the finish, she did finish what she set out to do:  raise awareness about her disorder, and show what you can accomplish when you set your mind to something…   [Read more...]

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Interview: Cindy Abbott On Conquering the Iditarod, Mt. Everest and a Rare Disease

Cindy Abbott at Camp 3 Climbing Everest 20,100/Photo: Scott Woolums

Cindy Abbott climbing Mt. Everest at 20,100 feet/Photo: Scott Woolums

UPDATE 3/20/13–Check out Stacey’s new interview with Cindy on what happened in the race, her injuries and her incredible team of pups

UPDATE 3/14/13–We just received word that unfortunately, Cindy had to scratch from the race yesterday.  It’s been reported that she was 346 miles from the Nome finish and strained a groin muscle.  Congrats on getting that far, Cindy!

UPDATE 3/9/13–Cindy is still in the Iditarod with her 14 dogs.  You can check the standings here.  Go Cindy!

By Stacey Gualandi/March 3, 2013

As someone who has bungee jumped, climbed the Oakland Bridge, and stayed awake for 80 hours in a sleep deprivation study, I thought I was pretty adventurous. Wrong! At 54, Cindy Abbott is competing in the Iditarod (click here to watch the race when live), a treacherous, 1000- mile dog sled race through the Alaskan wilderness from Anchorage to Nome. When she finishes, she will be the first woman to run the Iditarod and summit Mt. Everest, all while living with a rare, incurable disease.

“Some people with this disease can’t even walk their dogs. The doctors would say you shouldn’t be able to do this, but I kept climbing bigger mountains and nothing would happen.”  Cindy Abbott

In 2007, this wife and mother was diagnosed with Wegener’s Granulomatosis, (aka Vasculitis) a potentially life-threatening disorder where the immune system attacks the blood vessels. She knows running in this extreme sport could be costly in more ways than one, but she is determined to raise awareness of the National Organization of Rare Disorders.

I spoke to Cindy this week just days before she began this journey. She is in remission, but facing many obstacles, including a frustratingly persistent cold and cough. But as Cindy wrote in her book, Reaching Beyond the Clouds, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”… [Read more...]

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Interview: Eco-Adventurer Roz Savage Lives To Row Another Day

Roz Savage past the iceberg in Tapper's Cove | Photo from Roz Savage site

Roz surveying iceberg in North Atlantic/Photo:Diane Spurrell, 5/12

By Stacey Gualandi/June 4, 2012

It should come as no surprise to you that The Women’s Eye is a tremendous supporter of Roz Savage’s ocean adventures and environmental-awareness endeavors.  We have profiled her on the site and have had the honor of interviewing her on our radio show.

Roz Savage, world record ocean rower in the studio with TWE Radio Host, Stacey Gualandi

Roz on 1480KPHX radio with Stacey/2-12

So it was with great enthusiasm that we planned to catch up with Roz on Skype once this world-record holding rower announced her desire, determination and decision several weeks ago to row yet again.  This time she would be going across the North Atlantic, accompanied by a first-time crewmate, and hoping to reach London in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics in August.  [Read more...]

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Brent Thomson Runs Mount Everest

Brent Thomson on Mt Everest, Dec. 2011 on TWEBy Pamela Burke

Twitter: @ThomsonBrent

She went, she ran, she conquered! Brent Thomson took on what is called the hardest and highest race in the world, the Mount Everest Marathon, and accomplished her incredible goal this month. At 60 years of age, she finished in 8 hours and 12 minutes. Just completing the 26.2 mile journey down the rugged terrain was a feat in itself.

“I’m extremely thrilled that I did it and in a time I am very proud of…we pushed our bodies to the extreme limits.” Brent Thomson

We profiled Brent on this website before she left for Nepal to begin her trek to 17,200 feet. She returned earlier this month and gave Stacey Gualandi the first exclusive interview on the Women’s Eye Radio Show about her amazing race… [Read more...]

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Roz Savage On Her Record-Breaking Row Across Three Oceans

Roz Savage rowed 3 oceansBy Laurie McAndish King

UPDATE 5/9/12: Roz is about to set out to row from Newfoundland to London with Andrew Morris, 2587 miles in 60 days, to land in time for the 2012  Olympics.  We wish you well, Roz!

UPDATE 3/3/12: Roz has just announced she will be rowing the North Atlantic to land in time for the Olympics in London.

TWITTER: @rozsavage

Adventurer and environmentalist Roz Savage is the first woman to row across the “Big Three” oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian. Even more impressive, she did it solo, in a 23-foot rowboat, without a support vessel.

“I have battled twenty-foot waves, sleep deprivation, self-doubt and depression, but I have never been happier.” Roz Savage

I interviewed Roz back in 2007 when she was launching her Pacific passage, and learned how she’d transformed herself from an ordinary office worker into a world-class ocean-rowing athlete. She’s accomplished quite a lot since then, having rowed more than 15,000 miles and spent nearly a year and a half of her life at sea.

Roz Savage

Arriving Mauritrius after rowing Indian Ocean/Photo: Colin Leondardt-10/3/11

And she has the credentials to prove it. Roz now holds four world records for ocean rowing, and in 2010 was named Adventurer of the Year by the National Geographic Society. She was recently invited by the Queen’s royal command to a reception at Buckingham Palace.

I was thrilled to catch up with Roz recently at a coffee shop in San Francisco, just after she had set her new record by completing the last of her three ocean rows, the Indian Ocean crossing… [Read more...]

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Brent Thomson Prepares To Run The World’s Highest Marathon

Brent Thomson

By Pamela Burke

TWITTER: @ThomsonBrent

It’s a cool, overcast morning in the Marin Headlands when runner Brent Thomson sets off for her 6AM jaunt. But hers is no ordinary undertaking. She’s sprinting 20 miles over hills and tough terrain to prepare for the highest and hardest run of her life–the 26.2 mile Everest Marathon on December 2.

“When you put yourself in extreme situations and you come through them, it makes you so much stronger.”  Brent Thomson

The race starts on Mt. Everest in Nepal at 17,200 feet and ends 6,000 feet below. It’s a helicopter ride in and a 30 mile trek to the starting point. Brent’s approaching her sixtieth birthday but doesn’t give much thought to the age factor. For this Senior V. P. at Pacific Union International, a real estate firm in the San Francisco Bay Area, the morning run is a piece of cake.

Brent Thomson | Photo by Elliot Karlan

Photo by Elliot Karla

It may be cake to her but the rigorous exercise program would give a lot of athletes severe heart palpitations. She runs 18-26 miles every Saturday and 6-10 miles two days a week. Then there are two days of rigorous CrossFit training with just one day of rest. So how and why does she do it? We set out to find an explanation for Brent’s latest ultramarathon goal… [Read more...]

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