Life’s turning points are rarely planned nor expected. Almost over the night, the pandemic served as a critical turning point that changed not only many lives, but the world as we knew it. Despite its hardships, some people flipped the script on their careers. Kristi Piehl understands career transitions, as she went from working as an Emmy-winning journalist to founder and CEO of Media Minefield, a public relations firm, and host of the podcast Flip Your Script.
Using her turning point of being unexpectedly laid off in 2008, Piehl found herself at a crossroads. Along with courage and motivation, she created the podcast to help people find the inspiration to move forward and rewrite their stories. “It was about a passion project, to share stories and help other people,” Piehl says. By following her dream, she grew her business and podcast amid the pandemic.
When news broke about the pandemic, Piehl had just arrived in Grenada for spring break. Immediately boarding the last flight back to the U.S., she jumped on conference calls with her leadership team and decided the number one priority for all their clients was to keep employees busy. She says they immediately went to work, helping clients navigate the communication crisis that the pandemic initiated.
Up to that point, Piehl says many of their clients were ready to focus on their online presence because so many companies had to communicate on social media. She says websites became the “front doors” of businesses because their actual doors were temporarily (hopefully) closed. “We were able to help them seamlessly, and we grew,” she says. The company added a third of its staff during the pandemic. “I feel so fortunate that we were able to not just keep people employed, but grow the business,” Piehl says. Like her firm, she also had to pivot when it came to launching her podcast.
Initially planning to start the podcast in March 2020, releasing content at the end of May, all of this changed when Piehl could no longer record at a local studio. She had a decision to make: Delay the podcast, or keep going. “I felt like the message of the podcast, perhaps, had never been more important,” she says. And so, Piehl recorded the podcast remotely from her spare bedroom in her Medina home. In just 10 months, the podcast has had more than 7,000 downloads and marked its first anniversary in May.
Over the years, Piehl found that her story inspires other people to do things that they didn’t think were possible. This motivated her to create the podcast to help others, who’ve flipped their scripts, because, “All of us deal with struggle and things we didn’t expect,” she says.
Looking down the road, Piehl says there might be a book in the future, but, for now, she wants to keep the podcast going. “This isn’t anything we’re selling,” she says. “We’re in the helping business. If we can help people, we have a responsibility to do that.”