“Call Me CEO” is your master-class on innovation, creativity, leadership, and finding YOUR perfect balance between motherhood and entrepreneurship.

Have you ever wondered how you could build confidence in yourself and your children? In this episode, Camille welcomes Elena McAnespie, author and founder of Talk Her Up, a platform dedicated to nurturing the next generation of strong, confident girls. 

Elena shares her discovery while homeschooling her children about the decline of girls’ confidence as they grew older. She gives her advice on how to deal with social media and setting healthy boundaries and open communication to help children build their confidence and strength of character.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to raise confidence in your children, tune into this episode to hear Elena’s tips and resources that you can use so that you too can empower the next generation.



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Purchase the Time for Us Journal at: www.munchkinlanellc.com/products/time-for-us-a-parent-child-daily-interactive-journal?_pos=1&_sid=26509bf65&_ss=r

Purchase Elena’s books at: www.talkherup.com/books


Connect with Elena:

Follow Elena on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mcanespie

Follow Talk Her Up on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/talk-her-up

Follow Talk Her Up on Instagram: www.instagram.com/talkherup

Visit her website: www.talkherup.com

Connect with Camille Walker:

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Follow Call Me CEO on Instagram: www.instagram.com/callmeceopodcast


So, you have this competence crisis, which is just self-esteem. And then, you have this mental health crisis, and they're happening at the same time.



So, you want to make an impact. You're thinking about starting a business sharing your voice. How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We'll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.



Hey, everyone. Today, we're talking about building confidence in girls. If that's something that is of interest to you, or if you're a parent at all, what are some safeguards that you can put in place to help your child with social media, how to build very clear self-awareness, grounding, and actual products that can help your child see themselves the way you see them? So, let's dive in.

Welcome back everyone to Call Me CEO. This is your host, Camille Walker. And here, we love to celebrate women, especially mothers doing incredible things. And today's guest is extra special because she is talking with us about how to build confidence and strength of character in our little ladies, our girls that we love so very much.

And our guest today is Elena McAnespie, and she is a publisher and CEO. She has written the books, ABC's for Strong Girls. Is it ABC's for Mindful Girls as well? That one just came out.

ELENA [01:32]


CAMILLE [01:33]

And then, she also has Cursive Handwriting for Girls, which is becoming a lost art. I'm so excited to hear about your story and everything that has inspired you to create these amazing products and also your businesses. So, thank you so much for being on the show today.

ELENA [01:48]

Thank you for having me.

CAMILLE [01:50]

Yeah. So, please introduce yourself and tell our audience about what inspired you to start this amazing business. I know you have a few. So, we'll get into the weeds of that. But please introduce yourself. Tell us about your family where you live.

ELENA [02:03]

So, my name is Elena McAnespie. And I have twins. I have boy-girl twins who are nine years old. They're amazing. And I live in Colorado. So, I've moved around the country. But currently, I live in Colorado. I grew up in Massachusetts. I lived in Colorado, then I moved back to Massachusetts and California. Now, I'm in Colorado raising my kids.

CAMILLE [02:25]

So fun. And we were just saying the relationship that evolves around a twin life, I don't even know. I said that I had always wished I was a twin. So, that must be so special to be raising twins. Any children are special, but it's probably really cool to see them grow together and sometimes differently because boys and girls, having both myself, it's interesting, the phases that they go through at different times.

ELENA [02:49]

Different times. Definitely the developmental phases are completely different. And sometimes they're not, but sometimes they are.

CAMILLE [02:55]

So, I'm curious. So, tell us about your businesses and what inspired you to do that. And I know that, especially with having a girl, I'm imagining that that is what helped inspire you to create these products and also to help so many other people around you. So, tell us what inspired you and got you to be in that place.

ELENA [03:14]

Sure. So, I mentioned I have the boy-girl twins. And during the pandemic, my husband and I homeschooled, which was not what we were doing before that. So, we were thrown into it. And we did our best. And we did a lot of research. And I had worked in publishing. So, I was speaking with a lot of publishers. I remember meeting with one publisher who I knew who created homeschooling materials.

And so, I just tried to get all the information that I could. And also having worked in publishing and worked with a lot of women authors and women's studies, I just knew that there's a bit of a dearth in general around girls. So, the example that I can give is that we know that girls read more than boys, and yet less than 50% of the protagonists in books around the ages of six to 12 are female. So. there's a little bit of an imbalance. And I think that the publishing industry has worked really hard to address that. But we're still in it. It just takes a lot of time.

So, I was recognizing that as we were homeschooling. And then, as we were coming out of that, now my kids are back in school and we're no longer homeschooling. We still do things at night, but generally speaking, I was like it seems like there's an opportunity here to create some materials. And so, that's where ABC's for Strong Girls came from. There was also a period where I was learning about the confidence crisis in girls, I don't know how much you're familiar with this, with their mental health.

CAMILLE [04:30]

No, tell us. I could imagine the confidence crisis with social media and all the messagings we've had in media forever. There's been so much being shared lately about Britney Spears. I don't know how up to date you've been with her and her book that recently came out. And she talks about how in interviews, people would blatantly speak to her about her body and her breasts and her sex life. And those things wouldn't fly thank goodness as much today. But that's the generation I grew up with. I was 12 when Baby Hit Me One More Time, yeah. I was 12 years old when that came out.

So, I think that it's really interesting that that was so normal in media. And yet, we are still reeling from that even as the mothers now looking at our own children and going, okay, this needs to change. So, yes, confidence. But now, we have social media.

ELENA [05:31]

It's getting worse.

CAMILLE [05:32]

Yeah, it's getting worse.

ELENA [05:33]

So, I think we're all like, it's getting better, it's getting better. And I felt like that. So, you have this confidence crisis, which is just self-esteem. And then, you have this mental health crisis, and they're happening at the same time. So, thinking about all that, I have some statistics. There was a research study done, and this is for teenage girls, but depression was twice as high in teenage girls than it was in boys. And that was coming out. I think that was 2021.

So, there are just things happening where it's like, what's going on? We thought we were addressing this, and yet, here we are. There's this one book, I'm going to botch the title. I'm about to turn 43. When you hit your 40s, there's a moment where you're looking around like, where are the adults? Who's going to do something? And I was like, oh, my gosh, I have to do it. I'm the one that has to do it. Of course, there's many people who are going to do it, but I think that when you're in your 20s, then it's like, okay, someone's going to work on it, or we've done a good job. But I don't know. I think we still need to keep catching up.

CAMILLE [06:31]

At one point, that baton is handed down. And for some of us, we get a latch on it sooner than later. And it's part of it. It's like we're in this. We didn't necessarily make it, but we have to try the best we can to fix it. Yeah,

ELENA [06:46]

Exactly. Yes. And you're right, that can happen with some people early on and later. But I think when you become a mom, I think it becomes really clear.

CAMILLE [06:53]

Yes, there's a mirror that gets held up because you see reflection of what's happening in the media in your child's eyes. And to speak as a mother of three sons and a daughter, mental health is one thing that not only girls struggle with. In fact, there are things that boys have struggled with, in my home, that my husband, who is the dad has said, "I never thought as a dad of boys, I'd be having my sons worry about X, Y, Z," which traditionally could have been stereotyped as something thing that only girls worried about, whether that's like self-image or body or being left out or whatever those things are. But at the end of the day, it's all of our kids. So, I think that this applies to everyone. If you're a parent, this applies. So, back to girls.

ELENA [07:41]

Yes, I totally agree.

CAMILLE [07:42]

Yes. Let's talk about the girls.

ELENA [07:43]

And to your point, though, that it applies to everyone, so social media, we know that affects boys and girls. I think it probably affects girls a little differently. There's also climate change and political upheaval. There's so many things that we've lived through that's so hard.

CAMILLE [07:44]

It feels heavy. Yeah.

ELENA [07:59]

And so, there's a little bit of how can we flip the script a little bit and change that? So, it doesn't feel so heavy, or so that kids have the tools to deal with it. And so, one of the things in doing a lot of research and reading and talking with people is that the earlier on, we can talk to our kids, even though it seems like big, heavy topics, just to give them the tools of like, okay, can you identify your emotions? What does that look like?

So, that was a driving force of ABC's for Strong Girls and ABC's for Mindful Girls. Writing, we know that journaling and putting pen or pencil to paper helps to process our thoughts. So, of course, there's room, right now, technology is enabling us to do this. And we can type away and teach our kids, but there is something we know from research and science and academia that that does work. And so, just trying to put all those pieces together to try to do my little part of it, with my gifts and my abilities, is how this came to be.

CAMILLE [08:53]

Yeah, I love that. I think that that is really important. I actually shared on social media just yesterday about how I started journaling at five years old. And I realized that it helped me. I never was in therapy as a child. But I really believe strongly that journaling was my therapy. Yeah, and that I was able to process, even if it was as simple and as basic as how I felt that day or how someone made me feel or that I was embarrassed or I was excited. It's being able to connect that pen to paper and that neural pathway from your brain to the hand. There's something different that happens there than you typing on a phone or even on a computer.

So, I developed a journal for parents and children to do together because it so significantly changed my life for the better. So, I love that you took that the same way and said, "Let's make this something that can change lives." So, what is it about ABC's for Strong Girls that helps them identify pieces of confidence and how can we instill that in our own children?

ELENA [09:59]

So, the way that it's laid out is it's sequenced by the alphabet. Here, I have it right here, I can show you. So, ABC's for Strong Girls. So, when you open it up, accept yourself. This is the first page, and it goes through. And then, you'll see B is be brave, C is challenge yourself. And then, every illustration, there's an illustration that accompanies that. So, there's girls and there's boys and animals and other things in there, but it's predominantly girls shown so that girls can see themselves reflected back in books.

And then, each one, it's just a nugget. It's just two, three words. It's not a lot. It's a little saying, so accept yourself is one. We know this. So, it's like, oh, maybe a six-year-old might have to say like, "Mom, Dad, what does this mean?" And then, you have a conversation starter, which is a big question I get.

So, I'm constantly getting questions from parents of like, "How do I talk to them about it? What do I say?" So, how do we build up self-confidence and how do we build up self-esteem in our kids at that young age? It's real simple. They're real simple things. And you can look to the research on how to do it. But we're just thrown into it. As parents, you have your kids and you're just doing the best you can and so trying to create that to your point so that you can do it together, family and children.

Yeah, so throughout the book, it follows a sequence and the illustrator's lovely, and she does wonderful work. She's based in Europe. And she's done a wonderful job of really capturing the essence. So I can show you my favorite. And it's my daughter's favorite as well. My daughter's the QA here. We joke. She goes through and she tests everything before we publish.

CAMILLE [11:28]

That's important. That's so fun.

ELENA [11:30]

But her favorite is keep your cool.

CAMILLE [11:32]

I like that one. That's way cool. And for those of you who can't see it, if you're not looking at the video, which this is available on YouTube, but it is a little girl with an umbrella and raindrops coming down. And she's in a lotus Yogi pose on a yoga mat with a peaceful Zen look on her face. I love that.

ELENA [11:51]

Right. And so then, that's a real specific thing. That's like, okay, the environment around you is stormy. But then, storytelling, you can talk with your kids like, "Do you ever feel like that, like there's a storm around you? And maybe you need to manage and regulate yourself? And how do you do that? And is it breathing? Is it closing your eyes? Is it closing your eyes and imagining you're in a nice place?" Just opening up those conversations, so then they can think about it and just have those little tidbits in mind.

CAMILLE [12:16]

I love that. And this is a term that is becoming more and more predominant. And maybe there wasn't such a need for it. I think in our earlier generations, even my own, where we're having to teach our kids how to ground because we were outside more often naturally I think than the generations we have now and that are coming.

And so, taking time to stop and think what are the smells around me? What are the things I can touch around me? Let's take some deep breaths. Let's go rock in the grass. All of those things that really allow us to feel the presence of mother nature and also to calm ourselves. And I think even for myself as an adult, I have to be more aware and purposeful with those practices as well. So, I love that you make that a step within it, where it's like this isn't going to just happen for you, you have to put effort into it.

ELENA [13:09]

There are tools. Yeah. And hopefully then, you carry with them. To your point, we still need to use them. So, everyone uses them until we grow into our old age. And so, it's just a matter of let's just give them these tools earlier one because these things are happening younger and younger. We know the confidence crisis that's happening out here. We know that mental health is happening younger and younger. And so, trying to equip them with the tools so that they can move forward and succeed.

CAMILLE [13:35]

Can you think of a time when you were a child or adolescent and you were feeling feelings of loneliness or possibly being made fun of and something that maybe impacted you in writing this confidence?

ELENA [13:53]

That's a good question. What I do remember, I don't necessarily remember a specific instance, but what I do remember is I was a latchkey kid. When I was really young, I would go to my grandmother's house. And then, when I got a little older, I could go home.

CAMILLE [14:06]

And for those of you, sorry to interrupt you, latchkey, it means that your parent wasn't home when you got home from school. And so, you were a little bit fending for yourselves, where now they say kids are more monitored. So, if you latchkey, it's that millennial, yeah.

ELENA [14:20]

You came home by yourself. And I think the idea was you had a key around your neck. I didn't have it around my neck.

CAMILLE [14:25]

Me neither, but I was too, yeah.

ELENA [14:27]

Yeah. And so, you'd come home and you'd make your snack and you'd watch TV or do whatever it was that you're going to do. And so, I would read books. So, I think that's a big part of it. I love to color. I love to craft. I love to read books.

And so, one thing that I've read about and recognized now and we're not quite there with my kids their age, but a lot of people are now kids coming home and maybe they're jumping on the iPad and on social media. And so, if they're getting bullied at school or they're feeling like they're isolated or ostracized, it just keeps happening on the phone because now there's social media or text messages where it continues.

Whereas when we would go home, I could turn that off, I could put up a wall. I could be with my grandmother or be by myself and be with my books and try to kind of escape, or maybe I was journaling. Maybe I had my diary. Maybe I was drawing. And so, trying to create those environments and recreate those environments. For me, it was probably going to be many, many more hours than my kids will have access to, just in this day and age, but just trying to continue on with that, because I do think, and again, we know from the research that that's really important.

CAMILLE [15:29]

Yeah, I love that. I know for me and my kids personally, we do not have them on social media. My 15-year-old is on BeReal. And even that, there have been times when I'm like, "Hey, we need to turn that off." Because it very much lets you be aware of who your friends are with and who is not there, too.

ELENA [15:47]

If you're there or not there.

CAMILLE [15:49]


ELENA [15:50]

But you would never have known.

CAMILLE [15:52]

You'd never have known. And so, I even think about, man, when I was in high school and the love of my life broke up with me, had I seen pictures of him with his new girlfriend a week later, I would have been crushed. And it's something where that in your faceness of it is so different from what we had where there were boundaries built around us without us having to try.

So, I think as a parent, it's really important for us to create clear boundaries of what that looks like. And I promise you will get resistance. I promise you will. As having a 15 and now a 13-year-old, I know because they're like, "No, I'm fine. I'm fine."

I actually just saw this advertisement just this last week where it had a teen girl who was looking at her phone. And from the commercial, you're like, something's off. She looks weird. But you can't quite place it because the room is dark. And it says something like your child may be putting on a brave face, but really, they're not fine. And the mother comes over, she sits next to the daughter, takes the phone away and pulls off a mask, and underneath the child is sobbing. And it was such a beautiful, sad real situation of what we're dealing with as parents is that it will come with resistance, that there will be boundaries as a parent.

And what I try to remind my children of is that you may not like this, but I'm trying to teach you healthy boundaries so that when you do leave the house someday, you can remember what it felt like. We've taken full month breaks away from phones when we've needed to. We call them screen freezes. And I even do them with my own kids.

ELENA [17:41]

I saw that.

CAMILLE [17:42]

Yeah, I wrote a program. And my kids are like, "This is the worst." But what's interesting is that my kids have noticed, "Mom, we're fighting a lot. I think so and so needs a screen freeze." And they'll call each other out, which is funny. But they're also noticing, hey, when I am having too much time on a screen, whether it's even video games, tablet, phone, whatever it is, our brains need reprieve. And a lot of times as kids, they don't want to turn that away. It's very addicting.

ELENA [18:13]

No, they're still developing. Yeah.

CAMILLE [18:14]

Even as parents, it's addicting to want to put our phone down. So, it takes being purposeful.

ELENA [18:19]

Yeah. And now, we've had it long enough. I think 10 years ago, we didn't. But now, we've had it long enough where there is research where we've gone out and we've interviewed people in their 20s, who grew up with technology. And those who had guardrails and borders and really tight restrictions versus those who didn't. And both of them, the ones who didn't wish they did, and the ones who had all those restrictions are glad they did, even at the time they didn't. When you're 15 years old, you don't want that. But now, as they're older, it's like this all makes sense. And they can see the difference.

So, yeah, it's hard as a parent I think to implement those guardrails and those rules, but it makes a big difference. We've done the same thing where we say, okay. I remember when my kids were seven, we said, no more screentime until you're eight, it was months. It was like many, many months. But we were getting into the Minecraft immersive video games that was never ending. There's no end.

CAMILLE [19:11]

They're made to be that way. Yeah,

ELENA [19:13]

Yes. And it was just as soon as we would turn it off, it was like a fight every day and the conflict was just too much to have in our house. So, yeah, we did that. And same thing, after like a week, they didn't even really care. At first, it was a big deal. But then, they figured out what to do. And, yeah, it worked out well. It was harder for us. It's definitely harder for us as the parents.

CAMILLE [19:33]

Yeah, that's true, though. You think, no, I'm going to have to entertain them. But what's interesting, and I feel like even in this, as you're saying that I'm like, we should probably do one again. Every so often, I'm like, we should do it again. Because I think what's really interesting is that for one, they will in the beginning come to you and say, "I'm bored. I'm bored." And I say, "That's okay."

But one thing I have said is, "Only boring people are bored." And they hate that. Makes it appear on them a little bit. I'm like, "There's plenty to do. You have friends, you have books, you have games and Legos and all the things." But it is a skill. It's like strengthening that muscle backup about, okay, if I am with my own thoughts, what do I want to fill them with if they're not being impeded upon?

Yeah. One thing I wanted to ask you before we wrap up here is, if you had any advice about building confidence in girls, what has been the most impactful resource or maybe response to the book that you've written that's been fulfilling for you in creating these resources?

ELENA [20:43]

I really think it's around the communication piece. It's not like every day at 3 o'clock, you have to sit down and have a talk. It's just like making sure that those lines of communication are open. So, even this conversation that we're having, have those conversations with your girls. Social media is really hard. Because when I was growing up, I would, just like I said, come home and read my books. And that might not necessarily be the experience that you're going to have.

So, again, I kind of focus on the six to 12-year-olds, so that you can prepare them as they go into the older ages of what to do. I get really excited when I hear it. And a lot of moms have said to me like, "They're the best conversation starters." Because they're just right there. And maybe some of them might be a little over their heads, and then you have to talk about it, or the one I showed you with keep your cool, they get it. And then, it starts to open up conversations about maybe one time when they had to try to keep their cool. And I have a master's in communication. And I was in publishing. And so, what is it? Do you remember Mr. Rogers?

CAMILLE [21:46]

Yes, yeah.

ELENA [21:47]

So, a friend of mine recently told me that he used to say, "If you can mention it, you can manage it." So, if you can say it out loud, if you can talk about it, it just opens that door up. And then, hopefully what that does, and again, the research shows that it does, but start those conversations early on. And then, as they get older, you've a 15-year-old or an 18-year-old, they might not come to you as often, but they know they can come to you.

CAMILLE [22:08]

Yes, yes. If there's one thing I've done right so far, knock on wood, it's keeping those conversations open because I love that my teens can come to me and talk about the hard things. And I even just had the sex talk with my nine-year-old.

And it was so funny last night, my husband asked me something. He's like, "Do you like this one or this?" And I'm like, "I like that one. I like it because it's sexier." And my son says, "Mom already talked to me about all that stuff." But it was like he could mention it a casual way. And I was like, "It's a little bit different. It just means it's good looking and attractive." But I loved that he just was like, "Yeah, now I know. Now, I'm in that."

But what's really cool I think, especially with even that same child, is one of the major problems or situations that we ran into is he was having very big outbursts and not communicating and kicking and screaming. This was when he was like three or four.

ELENA [23:13]

Using other behaviors.

CAMILLE [23:14]

Yes. And one of the very first things when we did therapy with him was learning how to identify emotions. And so, this practice, especially for these younger kids, is there's a printout that you can get from the internet, where it says a range of emotions.

ELENA [23:29]

Yes, and it's colorful, we have it on the fridge.

CAMILLE [23:31]

Yeah. It's like 15 faces. Yeah. And you can go through and say, "What's the difference between anger or frustration or overwhelm or embarrassment or scared or frightened?" And then, the practice was identifying three emotions. At the end of the day, I would have to mirror that for him.

So, for example, today, I felt scared when our dog got out of the house, and I was afraid he was going to be lost. And then, today, I felt happy when you came home from school, and I got to give you a big hug. And then, after you mirror the three, then they marry the three. And as you do that, you can also try a little bit trickier ones. Today, I felt nervous or today, I felt petrified. That's a different word that nervous is different, but similar.

Anyway, so I think I just love that you're bringing this to conversation and giving tools to people, especially parents to use in their hands, because information is power. And with so much information that our kids are getting every day, it's a bombardment of information. I think I heard last week that we get the amount of information in one day that people 100 years ago would get in a lifetime. Yes. We're just drinking through a firehose. Yes. So, to be able to slow it down and be mindful and color and talk about these words and talk about confidence and how we can really settle into who we are is just so impactful. I'm so grateful that you've put together this resource.

ELENA [25:02]

Thank you. And thank you so much for having me. I'm glad we were able to talk about all these things. It's wide-ranging. There's a lot to deal with, but I feel like we have to deal with it for the next generation.

CAMILLE [25:11]

Absolutely. Please tell our audience where they can find you and your resources and help support you.

ELENA [25:16]

Sure. So, you can go to www.talkherup.com. The books are on there. More to come. Next year, I'm excited to publish more books and help more families, so you can find me there. And, of course, I'm on Instagram. Talk Her Up is on Instagram or on LinkedIn. We're on the socials. So, just look for Talk Her Up.

CAMILLE [25:34]

Perfect. More power. You know that a girl who creates a podcast about women empowerment, this is like right up my alley. So, I'm so grateful. And thank you so much for being on the show today.

ELENA [25:47]

Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.


CAMILLE [25:50]

Hey, if this is your first time here, make sure to subscribe. I would love to have you be here to celebrate women and mothers developing amazing products and businesses. Thank you so much for being here. And feel free to leave a comment below of ways that you help build confidence in your child.


Thank you for listening to this episode. I really appreciate it. If you could please leave a comment or review or share this with someone who would benefit from this episode, it would mean so much to me. Helping to build other women and especially children is a big passion of mine. And if you want to check out my Time for Us Journal, the link is below. And thank you so much for being here.


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