A SEAT AT TRICIA'S TABLE WITH BRAD WALSH, EMPOWEROGRAPHY
"Here's to strong women. May we know them, may we raise them. May we be them."
By Tricia Scott
Brad Walsh is not a photographer. He is not a Podcaster, nor is he a women's advocate, father, son or grandson. In fact, I struggle to define Brad in a single term or sentence because he is so much more than any of these definitions. If I had to push it, I'd describe Brad Walsh as a global change-maker.
Who is Brad Walsh?
I first came to know Brad through his Empowerography Podcast after seeing his posts on Instagram, and I was intrigued. Empowerography, what was that? Upon further inspection, I found all of these incredible women sharing their stories through a single platform. It was a treasure chest of inspiration, and as you can imagine, I was in heaven. So who was the woman behind this Empowerography movement? It turned out it wasn't a woman at all but Mr Brad Walsh. A photographer turned podcaster and avid advocate of boosting the self-esteem and confidence of women worldwide. I had to know more.
A journey of discovery
Brad started shooting black and white photography 30+ years ago in high school, developing a love for his craft that would last a lifetime. He knew he wanted to set up his own business, and that's precisely what he did. At first, on a part-time basis, Brad worked towards building a portfolio while also working as an audio/ visual technician for an accounting firm. Interestingly he had no interest in photographing people until the company he was working for decided to include headshots in his job description. While reluctant at first, he fell in love with the art of photographing people. Forming a human connection with his subjects, hearing their stories, and learning about their lives became a massive bonus of his job.
Four years later, Brad was introduced to a Boudoir photographer in Florida who became his mentor. At this time, Brad had what he describes as his lightbulb moment, the strike of inspiration that told him with certainty that this was the thing he had been searching for. Watching women transform before the camera, from introverted and shy to confident and empowered, he found his niche.
The women who make us
Raised by strong women, Brad's mother was far from the norm for the time. A single mother with two ten-year-old boys, she put herself back into the world of work to support her family. With his grandmother always on hand to step in and help, he learned early in life what resilience and strength looked like and was determined to carry on that legacy to his own family.
Now a husband and father to two girls, Brad describes his daughters and seeing their experiences as they journey through life as a significant part of his purpose. Both bullied throughout elementary school, the lasting effects on self-esteem and confidence which carry on into adulthood has had a profound impact. If this was happening to them, then it was happening to others; who knows how many worldwide, and he began to see a way to rebuild that confidence through his work—one woman at a time.
The seed was planted.
From a tiny seed to a mighty oak
By 2019 Brads now full-time business had gone from strength to strength. The mission and vision were crystal clear; Empower women to feel unstoppable, create success on their terms and love the skin they were in.
The women he worked with were raving about his work, leaving the studio bursting with confidence and ready to show the world exactly what they were capable of. Success! The next big idea began to take form. What if he could take what he had learned so far and bring it to a broader audience?
With that thought in mind, Brad came up with the idea of a podcast. He had learned so much and come so far could he take it to a global audience? As with many of the best ideas, It didn't take long for the dreaded imposter syndrome to show up. Who would listen? Who was he to talk about women's empowerment? He was a man! What could he possibly know?
Thankfully for the world at large, Brad could see the negative self talk for what it was and push forward—reaching out first to industry friends, asking if they would agree to be interviewed. As is often the case, they could see the vision even more clearly than Brad himself and were excited to be on board. Of course, they all said yes, and The Empowerography Podcast was born.
Publishing once a fortnight, Empowerography started to gain traction. Still, the Podcast was put on hold with the constraints of a jam-packed schedule and client waitlist.
Creating light in dark spaces
The 2020 Covid-19 Global Pandemic meant that for Brad, as for lots of businesses, everything stopped. Shoots could no longer take place, and face to face client work was a definite no-no. Knowing that he needed to keep his creativity alive and not wanting to engage with the negative news sweeping the planet, Brad decided to re-launch The Empowerography Podcast as his way of bringing light back into the dark and a way of spreading inspiration and hope.
As the world situation continued and showed no sign of release, Brad continued to record and publish episode after episode. Empowerography was a hit! Every week a brand new inspiring story burst onto the platform, and it wasn't long before listeners were recommending it to their friends, sharing it with their social networks and offering up suggestions for future guest speakers. A brand new community was forming amidst the darkness of 2020. Empowerography was a beacon of positivity, and people loved it. Listeners were connecting via the Facebook group, sharing tips, swapping ideas and offering support to one another, a trend that continues today ( I love the Empowerography Facebook group).
The Future Is Female
Brad describes the feeling he gets from his work as being like he's won the lottery - twice! From corporate headshots to a global community of inspired and empowered women, I am keen to know where Empowerography is headed next. With one international online women's empowerment conference under his belt already this year (on International Women's Day) with 24 speakers and 30+ sponsors and next years in the making, I can only imagine how much further Empowerography can go. Brad tells me the sky's the limit! And with in-person events being allowed again, retreats, events and masterminds are all on the cards for this incredible facilitator and his loyal community.
I can't help but notice when I ponder the happy side effects of his work that this was no accident. Although not strategically planned, Brad's mission to empower women is so immense that he literally could not miss it if he tried. When he talks about it, the words don't come from him; they come through him, and that's always where the magic is.
It strikes me that perhaps Brad's lot in life is to be surrounded by strong, inspirational, empowered, resilient women and really, what could be better than that? Not only for Brad himself but through his work, the world at large. Watch this space and mark my words; big things are coming.
This article is dedicated to the memory of Gladys Marie Walsh
'My Mother & Grandmother raised Me. Queens Raised Me' - Lamar Odom