Opening Our Spaces and Honoring Martin Luther King

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In honor of Martin Luther King Day, I wanted to share a profound experience I had through my podcast. Though this conversation took place a year ago, the messages and call to action are as relevant and needed as ever…

When I interviewed my friend and colleague, Jenjii Hysten, I was deeply moved by the authenticity and spirit of our conversation about coming together as mothers of sons across our differences.

I hadn’t planned it this way, but it must have been divine timing that this interview came out the week that we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King.


Toward the end of the interview, Jenjii reflects on Martin Luther King’s ability to bring together people of different races, different classes and different religions and to create space and place for them all to live in their truth and yet become one. And, she offers a challenge to all of us… some small way that we can help honor his legacy:

“We have to intentionally open up as adults our spaces and places to bring people who are not like us in, so that our children can see that we as adults are inclusive…that we don’t just say or read about it, but that we are it….we are not the multitude of sub-groups, but that we are human”

In our interview, Jenjii and I talked about how we have begun opening space and place for our families to come together. I invite you to listen if this calls to you and make a commitment to open your space and place to another family you have been wanting to reach out to.


I also know so many of you are carrying forward MLK’s legacy in other powerful ways. Let’s share here on this important day. What are you doing with your family on MLK Day to be of service? What are you doing in your life and work to move us toward equality, justice and connecting our common humanity? Or what new commitment do you want to make?

Ten Most Downloaded Episodes in 2017 – An End of Year Gift for You!

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This last year has been an adventure and a year of incredible growth and learning as I set out to live a more E.P.I.C. life in the midst of challenging times. I’m so grateful to the guides who came on the podcast and helped light the way to more mindful engagement with my children, passionate and purposeful work and activism, investment in my personal growth and learning and connection to community.

And, I’m also appreciative to all of you who came along with me, who tuned into these intimate conversations and brought the lessons and challenges into your own E.P.I.C. lives.

As a tribute, we’ve compiled this listening list (in case you missed a few favorites or want to listen again for powerful reminders) of the Ten Most Downloaded Episodes of the Mother’s Quest Podcast from Season 1 and 2.

Hope these conversations spark some new learning and will set you on a course for an even more fulfilling 2018. To stay connected, be sure to sign up for the email list at to get announcements for when Season Three begins in February, 2018 and join the Facebook group to be part of ongoing reflection and conversation.

Until then, enjoy these most downloaded episodes. And, if you’d like to contribute your voice to an upcoming E.P.I.C. milestones episode, use the speakpipe tool on the website to leave me a message about YOUR favorite episode and how it has impacted you.

Have a wonderful new year!


Julie Neale

Mother’s Quest Podcast
Ten Most Downloaded Episodes from 2017 – An End of Year Gift for You!

(listed in alphabetical order by last name)

Ep 15: Superpowers and Service with Karen Baker
It was a total joy for me to reconnect with my mentor Karen and I left the conversation so appreciative of the work she does in my state of California, reminded of the importance of using our superpowers to benefit others, and inspired to engage my own children in service.

Ep 25: Change the Conversation: Podcasting as a Tool for Transformation with Elsie Escobar
She Podcasts co-host Elsie is a self-proclaimed die hard podcast junkie. She especially loves to help women like myself find clarity and power in our voice and shift the narrative to focus on the things that matter most, not the numbers or downloads, but the transformative power of podcasting and expanding our podcasting audience.

Ep 11: “Flawed” with Truth Bomb Mom Kristina Kuzmic
I love this vulnerable conversation with the Truth Bomb Mom, Kristina Kuzmic. Energetic, funny, and honest, Kristina has an in-your-face perspective on issues of parenting and life in general.

Ep 27: Courageous Conversations about Race with Nicole Lee
The first of three special episodes recorded for the Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative, this conversation with human rights attorney and inclusion specialist Nicole Lee helped me hold a growth mindset in having conversations about race, especially with my children.

Ep 24: Intersectionality and the Age of the New Heroine with Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin

This conversation with Elizabeth, who guides thousands of us through the twists and turns of today’s political landscape through her daily Resistance Lives on Facebook, helped me define a new kind of heroine’s journey, one where we continually bring back the lessons learned along the way and use our voices for change.


Ep 18: YOLO (You Only Live Once) and other Milestone Reflections with Ryan Neale
In this special episode, you’ll hear my son Ryan share eloquently and honestly about his appreciation for the support that helped him conquer his developmental delays, how his own fears manifest in his life today, and how, in his next chapter, he wants to  move through his fear. Because, he says, he wants to live with a YOLO (You Only Live Once) mindset.

Ep 10: Choosing Gratitude and Glitter with Nancy Netherland
In our conversation, we explore how Nancy’s parents instilled a sense that anything is possible, something she has needed to draw on as she faced the loss of her husband and the serious, chronic illnesses of her daughters. A total inspiration, Nancy shares how she and her girls cultivate generosity and pay that generosity forward through something they created called “gratitools.”

Ep 20: On Being Mom and Being Boss with Kathleen Shannon
Kathleen Shannon embodies the qualities of an independent, hard-working feminist. She also has this incredible generosity and openness and has impacted so many women, including myself, by sharing her experiences as a mother and an entrepreneur. In this episode, we cover a lot of territory, from the challenges of motherhood to how to design your ideal week.

Ep 06: Healthy and Happy with Dr. Elisa Song
In this conversation with my children’s pediatrician, Elisa and I talk about how the legacy of brave women in her life, making courageous choices, impacted her and her sisters and set them all on a path to become healers and helpers. Her grandmother and mother, who both came to America from Korea, instilled independence, strength, and “grit” in her, which she relied on to follow her passion in integrative medicine.

Ep 14: Breaking the Mold and Finding your Worth with Amanda Steinberg
Amanda was chosen as one of Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100 and recently was named to Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business – all for good reason: she has revolutionized the relationship between women and their finances. In our conversation, Amanda inspires us to find our worth, re-define our relationship with money, and invest in ourselves.

Virtual Mother’s Quest Circle Pilot in 2018 – Sign up Today!

You’re a mindful mother. And being present for your children in these years when you’re raising them is your highest priority. You’re also committed to making a positive impact in the world, something that feels even more important with all the challenges we currently face.

If the description above sounds like you, the Virtual Mother’s Quest Circle Pilot, launching in 2018, may be right for you.

This signature offering provides inspiration, coaching and community to spark your E.P.I.C. life with intimate virtual group sessions over four months, a one-on-one session with me, thought-provoking homework assignments and accountability partner meetings in between sessions and a private Facebook group. All offered at a special one-time pilot rate of $325.

Click to learn and apply. The group will start as soon as I have a committed number of participants so don’t delay if you’re interested. Questions? Email me at

Visit the Website

If you haven’t yet visited the website, head over to to explore some of the ways you can get more connected. At the site, you can sign up for our email list (to get show notes delivered to your inbox and our new “Mothers on a Quest” features), click the link to join the Facebook group and press record to leave a voice message for me. You can also download the FREE Live Your E.P.I.C. Life Planning and Reflection Sheets.


A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

  • Emily Cretella of MotherHustle
  • Collette Flanagan, founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality
  • Titilayo Tinubu Ali of Own Your Expertise
  • Carly Magnus Hurt
  • Lizzy Russinko of This (Un)Scripted Life
  • Suzanne Brown, author of Mompowerment
  • Mara Berns Langer
  • Mallory Schlabach of Marketing Magic for Entrepreneurs
  • Katharine Earhart of Alesco Advisors
  • Jessica Kupferman of She Podcasts
  • Resistance Artist Jen Jenkins Dohner
  • Genese Harris
  • Tonya Rineer, founder of The Profit Party
  • Liane Louie-Badua
  • Cristin Downs of the Notable Woman Podcast
  • Erin Kendall of Fit Mom Go
  • Niko Osoteo of Bear Beat Productions
  • Erik Newton of The Together Show
  • Claire Fry
  • Divya Silbermann
  • Rachel Winter
  • Caren and Debbie Lieberman
  • Cameron Miranda
  • Fran and David Lieberman
  • Debbie and Alan Goore
  • Jenise and Marianne of the Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at


The Power of Reflective Circles and How They’ve Changed Me

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September 9, 2017

I grew up the youngest of three sisters and have memories of sitting at the dinner table with my chin in my hands watching and listening to them talk. My oldest sister is very articulate and my middle sister so humorous. Between the two of them, I didn’t feel like I had anything worthwhile to add.

About fifteen years ago, I sat in my “Adult Reflection Circle” at Alternatives in Action where I worked and mentioned that I struggled with sharing what was on my mind.  I felt confident I could express myself in writing, but when it came to speaking, I hesitated. A member of the circle said, “That’s amazing to hear. Because when you get ready to talk, I lean in to hear more. I know I’m going to hear something powerful. You’re one of the most articulate people I know.”

That moment, when someone in the circle could see me in ways I couldn’t see myself, changed me. I began opening my mouth to speak more often, imagining that I had something someone might need to hear.

About ten years ago, my husband and I faced news that our oldest son Ryan, then a toddler, wasn’t developing typically and needed intensive intervention. I was angry, afraid and depleted. I reached out to some friends who had started their own personal reflection circle and said “I need in.” For the next five years, that circle supported and championed me, gave me the space to cry, laugh, and commit to action that was instrumental in Ryan thriving today.

In the year before launching Mother’s Quest, circles changed me again. I joined a Power Circle through Emerging Women, and shared out loud for the first time my vision for Mother’s Quest. The women in the circle reflected back the value in my ideas and the passion they saw in me to make it happen. Months later, I created my own “Founder’s Circle,” and convened a meeting to lay out my plans. The women, in the group asked me amazing questions,  clarified my thinking, and helped me develop a strategy. They also let me test out my ideas for a Mother’s Quest Circle and allowed me to witness the connection among mothers possible through my vision.

Mother’s Quest Circles – A Signature Experience to Spark Your E.P.I.C. Life

In every example, being part of a circle helped me become a bigger, more confident version of myself and gave me support to get clear and connected to my goals so I could take more effective action. As a CTI-trained coach and facilitator of reflective circles in the non-profit field for over 10 years, I’ve seen this same transformative experience happen again and again for those sitting in the circle.

That’s why, when I launched Mother’s Quest, I knew that Circles would be my signature coaching offer, the key vehicle for helping mothers live their version of a more E.P.I.C. life.

I’m so honored and excited to launch the first Mother’s Quest Circle Pilot, beginning this fall in the Bay Area, for an intimate group of women who are ready to take intentional, purposeful action in their lives and want to do it “in community” instead of alone.

We’ll meet in person for two hour sessions that will include the weaving in of coach skills training, personal introspection and sharing, and group coaching/reflection. Each member of the group will commit to one bold action step that they will complete before the end of our four month cycle. And, I’ll also offer one one-on-one coaching session at the time that feels most pivotal for each participant. Along the way, we’ll build close relationships, hold one another accountable to our aspirations, and help one another see the greatness in ourselves, as mothers and also as leaders with a unique impact to make.

Next Steps – Apply Today!

The first review of applications begins September 10th, but I’ll continue to spread the word, reach out and answer questions until I find the right diverse group of like-minded mothers on a quest. Please take a look at the link for for more information and apply today if it feels like what YOU need to more fully live your E.P.I.C. life. Email me at if you have any questions I can answer. Not right for you, but may be for someone else? Please help spread the word.

Mother’s Quest Circle

I’m so grateful for the power of circles in my life and look forward to witnessing all the ways that being part of a Mother’s Quest Circle becomes a transformative experience for the women who say “yes” to this unique opportunity.

Seize the day, love your people, honor your gifts,


P.S. Plans are under way for a virtual circle. Follow the links to add your name to a wait list and be the first to know when applications open.


Women Podcasters in Solidarity

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August 12, 2017

On this day, a year ago, I learned that my childhood friend Leslie Rabinovitz Fischer passed away in the night after a three year battle with pancreatic cancer.

I sat down that morning to reflect on the lessons Leslie gave me about how to live my life and wrote the words that became the mantra that closes every Mother’s Quest Podcast Episode, “Seize the day, love your people, honor your gifts.”

I also wrote that there is no time for “bullshit.” There’s nothing like seeing your friend face mortality to put things in perspective.

This morning, a year later, I woke up to devastating news again. News about white supremacists marching in Virginia with torches and Nazi salutes.

My experience losing Leslie, and the messages that have become mantras, inspire me to move past my own “bullshit” today and into action…past my own limiting beliefs that I can’t really make a difference, that if I speak out in any way I’ll just say the wrong thing or do more harm, that I can’t handle the harsh judgement (on either side) from being visible on an issue like racism and police brutality.

Many may have seen posts from me in previous months, or listened to my conversation on the podcast with Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin about an initiative I’m working on to raise awareness and funds related to Black Lives Matter.

The initiative is not perfectly planned yet. I’m still trying to find guests for my podcast, speakers for my bay area event, and to find a fiscal sponsor for the Mother’s Quest Giving Fund. And, I haven’t officially invited other women podcasters to pledge to be a part.

But, what I’m waking up to this morning, with my memory of Leslie’s life lessons and the horrific news of yesterday, is there’s no time to wait. It will never be perfect. And, I want to be part of some positive action today in response to yesterday’s ugliness.

If you are a women podcaster (or live show host) with a platform and want to be part of the initiative, “Women Podcasters in Solidarity,” visit to sign up.

I envision this as a twice-yearly initiative for social justice with the first focus being on the Black Lives Matter Movement and raising awareness about racism. If you pledge to be involved, you would commit to doing a podcast episode on this subject between September and mid-November. There are additional optional pledges you could make which include inviting listeners to contribute to a related cause and talking to the children in your life about these issues in a developmentally appropriate way. In December, I’ll assemble a list of what was accomplished with links to all the episodes and spread the word about our collective impact.

If you’re a mother working on the frontlines of this issue and you’re open to helping to educate and raise awareness OR a mother who wants to learn, message me and sign up at for email updates.

Appreciate any help spreading the word…

“Seize the day, honor your gifts, love your people.” And, expand that definition of what “your people” really means.

With love,


The Other Side of Resistance…Launching my Coaching Programs

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I just came out the other side of an internal battle and wanted to share it here and invite any thoughts from your own experience…

I’ve been dragging my feet on “launching” my coaching programs for Mother’s Quest after getting my LLC in September and a successful podcast launch in December.

At the end of the day, I think it’s fear, of success and failure, in equal measure.

So, when I went to write a post to invite mothers on a quest of their own for a coffee chat/discovery session, I still had some uncertainty.

At first, my post started “I’m getting ready to launch my coaching programs…”

Then, I caught myself and changed it to “I’m ready to launch…”

Even then, there was this distance in my language between the preparation for and the doing of. I could feel it. And I just got tired of it. The pain of staying in this stuck place just felt so much greater than the discomfort of diving in.

So, without hesitation, I changed the language to “I’m launching…” (like literally right this moment) and felt a wave of relief. An opening to new possibility and to the connection and impact I know are on the other side of this resistance I’ve been clinging to.

Even now, looking at the words, I’m certain there is another layer I could peel and I fully commit to shedding more.

What about you? Have you had a similar experience? Are you sitting in resistance right now? Where might you choose yourself and your gifts and cut through in this very moment?

Share in the comments. Would ❤️ to hear and learn…

And…if you are on the threshold of something important and need a coach and champion in your corner to support you, challenge you, and help hold you accountable to your aspirations, I’d love for you to be one of the five I’m holding space for a free discovery call with this week. Just email me and we’ll set up a time.

It’s time to bring my gifts, and all I’ve been learning from my journey and the Podcast, to others mothers on a quest, and ready to invest, in a truly E.P.I.C. life.



P.S. If you don’t need coaching, but know someone who might…I’d love if you hit forward and shared this invitation with a friend

Mother on a Quest: Mia Sutton

By | Mother on a Quest, Reflections From My Quest, Uncategorized | One Comment

Mia Sutton is a Jane of all trades. Wife, mother, writer, avid reader, Editorial Manager for Holl & Lane Magazine, and now the host of the (upcoming) Body of Hope podcast which aims to give a voice to survivors of sexual trauma. Mia is a graduate of George Mason University and spent many years working in local, state, and federal government in the higher education, administration, and human resources fields. She lives in Virginia with her husband and 2 sons.

Tell us a little about your childhood and the impact your mother had on shaping you…

I am an only child, and I spent a lot of my childhood holed up in my room reading books and writing stories in my journal. My parents divorced when I was 3 years old and I lived primarily with my mother and step-father, though I had (and still have) a very close relationship with my father. My relationship with my mother is complicated. To say the least. But she has made a couple of impacts on my life. 1) She is a hard worker. She will be 62 years young this year and she still works as many hours as she did when I was little; maybe even more since my step-father passed away a few years ago. She has never shied away from difficult situations or from doing what needs to be done. And I admire that. 2) She was what you would call a helicopter parent, often doing and speaking for me before I had a chance to do for myself. And I personally think that affected me negatively as I grew up and found myself in situations where I needed to navigate my own path.  I’ve tried very hard with my boys to give them the freedom to be who they are without trying to micro-manage every aspect of their lives. It’s a balance, for sure.

What has been a “spark moment” or “moments” that set you on your path?

A huge spark moment for me was becoming a part of the Holl & Lane Magazine team. Sarah Hartley, who is the creator, designer, and Editor in Chief of Holl & Lane, has created this amazingly beautiful, open, honest, loving community where women can come together and share their life experiences and know that they are not alone. I am so honored to work with her and the H&L team. The trust that people have in us to share their stories completely blows me away. H&L has shared stories on miscarriage, infertility, mental health, body image, love, loss, self-care, and so much more. And being surrounded by the truth and beauty of those stories every day inspired me to share my own and to no longer be afraid or ashamed of being honest.

What is your passion and purpose (the “P” in EPIC)?

My passion and my purpose is to bring awareness and openness to the subject of sexual trauma. It is one that often makes people very uncomfortable, but I truly believe that it’s something that needs to be discussed. I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and it is something that I tried to avoid dealing with for most of my life, even though the damage it caused was tremendous. I felt ashamed and unworthy and unlovable for many years. But it wasn’t my fault. And I think that message needs to be etched into the minds and souls of every survivor. So, in creating the podcast, I hope to not only give a voice to survivors of sexual trauma, but also to share a shining message of hope – that what happened to you doesn’t define you.

What is one of your favorite things to do, related to one of the E.P.I.C. guideposts?

My favorite thing to do is related to the E in E.P.I.C. My family and I are avid movie-watchers and love nothing more than to be at home with a giant bowl of popcorn watching a funny movie together. It might not be fancy, but that time together is so precious to me. Plus, movies always offer teachable moments that give me the opportunity to bring those up with my kids.

What are you currently reading or listening to for inspiration?

I’m currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’ve heard from many people that there are parallels between the book and today’s political/social climate, so I’m very interested to find out more. But generally, I read a lot of poetry. Words are everything to me – and poetry is like fine art for the soul.

What is one message or affirmation you tell yourself to ground you on your quest?

“I am stronger than I know.” Meaning that no matter what life throws at me, I can get through it. The obstacles might seem insurmountable, but instead of giving up, I remind myself that there’s always a way.

In one word, what are you seeking most right now on your Quest?


What challenge or offering would you like to share with the Mother’s Quest Community?

I would like to encourage the Mother’s Quest Community to fully embrace authenticity. There are so many times that we put on a smile when we’re not smiling inside, or tell people that we’re fine when we’re not. And I think it’s OK to be real, it’s OK to let people know that you make mistakes or you’re struggling just like everyone else. You never know who might be out there going through the exact same thing you are and just needed you to speak up so that they could say, “me, too.”

So, I challenge the MQ Community to share 1 thing (with a friend or loved one, or on social media, or wherever) that is 100% real. No sugar-coating. Just let it all out. And then see how you feel afterwards. It always leaves me feeling lighter and often leads to some really meaningful discussions.

And then if you feel the need for more honest conversations about the trials and triumphs of life, sign up to receive a FREE mini-issue of Holl & Lane Magazine here:


Do you want to share how you are living your truly E.P.I.C. life? Be featured on the weekly Mother on a Quest series by sending in your story here –