Empowering Women through Literature: Vanessa Schwippert, Host of the Chick Lit Podcast

Vanessa Schwippert is the dynamic voice behind the Chick Lit Podcast, where she blends her passion for literature with a mission to empower women. Drawing from her own experiences as a special education teacher in underserved communities, Vanessa has crafted a platform that not only reviews books but also offers solidarity and encouragement to women juggling countless responsibilities. Through her insightful discussions, she highlights the struggles and triumphs of characters and readers alike, reminding them that they too deserve a happy ending. Her journey is one of resilience and dedication, making her an inspiring figure for anyone seeking to find their voice and uplift others along the way.

What inspired you to start the Chick Lit Podcast?

– I see a lot of women carrying a lot of the workload in the spaces we’re in. Whether it’s at home, at work, or with friends, I find that women take on a lot more than their counterparts and often put themselves on the back burner. With my book review podcast, I highlight how characters might be doing the same thing, why they might be doing it, and empower my listeners to make changes. The books are just an excuse to show my listeners they’re not alone and that, just like the main characters, they deserve a happy ending too.

Can you share a bit about your personal journey and how it led you to this project?

I was a special education teacher in underserved communities for several years. This work comes with a lot of guilt for not being able to help everyone. So much is placed on teachers’ plates (safety from armed intruders, teaching social-emotional learning, on top of academic standards, and so much more). It’s no wonder the female-dominated field has such a heavy workload and gets such low pay. This drove my mental health into the ground. I experienced suicidal ideation because I felt like everything was up to me, and I believe this feeling is not only unsustainable but also extremely common among women, mothers, and women of the global majority. That’s why I wanted to be there for us, for people who are currently in the same headspace I once occupied. It’s isolating, it’s scary, and we do better when we find our community and lean into it.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced while working on the podcast?

Funding myself is a challenge. There’s a lot of predatory tactics out there, and I would hate to exploit my audience for a quick buck. Balancing the need to generate income with ethical practices has proven difficult. Currently, I’m looking for partnerships or sponsors to run ads during my episodes as a way to achieve this.

Who are some of your role models or sources of inspiration in your journey?

My mom is the epitome of strength and resilience. Coming to a new country as an undocumented, Spanish-speaking woman in the 80s took incredible courage. If she can do that, I can achieve anything I set my mind to. Giovanna González-Chávez inspires me with her unwavering love for our community through her webinars and speaking engagements. America Ferrera’s eloquence on tough topics is truly impressive. Seeing her work her magic interview after interview motivates me to develop my own speaking skills.

How do you choose which books and characters to feature on your podcast?

As a bookworm, I genuinely enjoy reading books. I read popular and trending books, usually fiction, as a way to take a break from my life. I also choose self-help books that are about women’s empowerment, like “Quit Like A Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Society Obsessed with Alcohol” and “Come As You Are” about the female orgasm. Any book that will entertain us and/or empower us, those are the types of books I choose to read and review. If I read a book that has unchecked harmful tropes like sexism, racism, or classism, I will still do a review but I will tell you what’s wrong with them and it will most likely be a short episode since I’m not in the game of tearing down people’s work that they dedicated years of their lives to.

What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that have helped you grow personally and professionally?

I’ve learned that I’m a badass. The fact that I can read entire books, write around 10 pages of notes and connect it to not only myself but also my listeners, record an episode, edit an episode, make social media clips from that episode, and have the courage to share it all with the world is impressive. If you listen to my very first episode in June 2023 and compare it to my most recent episode from mid-2024, you’ll see how much I’ve grown; not only in podcasting skills but also in confidence and the way I communicate. I’m looking forward to progressing and seeing where this podcast life will take me.

How can interested listeners support and engage with your podcast and its community?

– Subscribing to my Youtube channel where I share my podcast episodes every Monday and also share more personal videos every Thursday.

– My podcast is also available on Spotify every Monday.

– I’m working on my social media presence to land those partnerships and sponsors! I like to be friends with my followers so follow me and DM me and we can be virtual besties. @ChickLitPodcast on Instagram and TikTok

– I don’t have a website yet but once I do I will be letting everyone know via all of my platforms.

by Harness Editor

Harness believes that freedom of expression equals female empowerment. The truth? We’re a badass authentic community of fierce women, and we exist to help your voice be heard. Harness is here to be your safe haven. A place to shed the competition, the insecurities. This is a place to rise by lifting others. This is who we are.


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