Season of Resilience Bonus Episode 2


Season of Resilience Bonus Episode 2

Angie talks resilience and rewriting the story​

Join hosts James Anderson and Funda Kalemci as they take over for a special bonus episode of My _ Story, an NIQ DEI podcast, to speak with guest Angie Arnold-Ott as she tells us how she rewrote her story.

An Asian woman with dark hair and black tank top looking at her laptop


Angie Arnold-Ott – Alexandria, Kentucky, USA

Director, Client Development – Expanded Verticals, BASES ​

Angie has been with BASES for a total of 23 years. She lives in a log home on 10 acres and loves animals, crafting and music.​


Some recommended resources on resilience from Brené Brown: ​

In my story, I was able to leave the situation safely, but I know not everyone is able to do so. Here are some resources to get the help you may need – please remember that you deserve to be safe, and you don’t have to do it alone: ​


The views and opinions expressed in this podcast belonged to the individuals who shared them and do not necessarily represent Nielsen IQ. Note that this podcast discusses sensitive topics that may be triggering for some.  For more information specific to this episode, see the episode description. 

Laura Batien: Hi everyone and welcome to My Blank Story.  My name is Laura Batien and if this is your first time tuning in, then let me tell you what this podcast is all about.  In a nutshell, it’s about stories, your stories. We think stories are important because when we tell them we open the door and allow others to see the experiences that shaped us that challenged us and helped us grow.  By doing this we can create a culture where open dialogue is encouraged and we can have a space to discuss important topics in a transparent and courageous manner.  In this season we’re filling that blank in My Blank Story with the word resilience so minimize that email tab, mute your chat and take a little break to hear the stories of two of your colleagues. 

James Anderson: Hello everyone and thank you for tuning into one of our bonus episodes here at My blank Story. My name is James and I am an analyst in CPG here in the Toronto, Canada office. My pronouns are he, him and his. And I’d like to also welcome my fellow co-host to this episode, Funda. 

 Funda Kalemci: Hi everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today. My name is Funda, as James mentioned. I am based in our Istanbul, well not office anymore, but I am based in Istanbul and I am the global leader for diversity and inclusion and my pronouns are she and her. 

James Anderson: So I thought we would take a moment to just introduce our guest today who is Angie Arnold-Ott. She lives in a log home on 10 acres of woods in Alexandria, Ky, which is about 20 minutes South of Cincinnati, OH with her beloved husband of 15 years. She currently works on the BASES team and has been with them for about 23 years and is currently in client development for expanded verticals. She loves animals, in fact, has four rescued fur babies. She’s a big fan of music as a singer, songwriter and piano player, and she has a big love for crafting. Let’s listen to her story 

Angie Arnold-Ott: So on a beautiful fall day, many years ago I found myself sitting in a small moving truck with my dog, my 2 cats, all my belongings packed inside and looking in the rearview mirror. I saw the house that I’d existed in for four years and my soon to be ex-husband. How did I get there? Well, I moved clear across the country to build a life with a man I thought I knew well. To a place where I didn’t know anybody else and had no support system, it was a huge leap of faith and I really quickly realized that I didn’t know him at all, and I’d made a really big mistake landed in a bad spot. One of my favorite musicals is Into the Woods. And a line in one of the songs that kept playing over and over in my head is “this is ridiculous. What am I doing here? I’m in the wrong story”. And I really was. So I was too ashamed to let anyone know how really bad things were, and that shame was killing me slowly. I knew I had to do something so started opening up to people I trusted, started making some plans and it felt so overwhelming to completely restart my life. I just made myself start with one step. I said OK if you can take one step then you can figure out a few more and you can just keep going. So that’s what I did. I’d take a few steps. I’d kind of pause and think about what I wanted to do next. Then I take a few more, and eventually those steps added up. And I was able to go, so it took me a few years after that experience, but I was eventually able to look kind of in my own rearview mirror and see just how far I’d come and where all of those steps had really led. A story with a bad beginning. I saw how it unfolded in a really beautiful way. So I first joined bases in 1997 and I found out about bases from my ex husband’s cousin who told me about an open role and that has led to a career that’s lasted over 23 years, to making lifelong friends who are my chosen family. Those connections lead to marriage is for three of my friends, and one of those couples had a child. So, so many amazing things ended up coming from something that started out really bad. Also, I’m now very happily married my favorite person in the world, so that’s a happy ending for me. So in my life now. If I ever find myself thinking that I’m in the wrong story, then I start thinking how do I rewrite the next chapter? Or sometimes, how do I finish this book that I really don’t like, let it go and start writing a whole new one. So this kind of theme of rewriting my story has helped me a lot, helped me weather some pretty big storms in my life. I’ve just realized that sometimes resilience is about rewriting the life you never planned for and making it the life that you love. 

James Anderson: Thank you so much for sharing your story, Angie. We appreciate you opening up about your experience and welcome to the show. 

 Angie Arnold-Ott: Thank you so much. I’m really happy and honored to be here talking to you both and I also wanted to be sure to mention that my pronouns are she, her and hers. 

 Funda Kalemci: Awesome Angie. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I want to kick us off with maybe taking a step back in your story. And I love the metaphor of being in a story right like I dig that. And I want to ask like, how did you realize or what was that moment that made you realize you where in the wrong story? 

Angie Arnold-Ott: Well, I have to say there were many moments of thinking that, but the one where I said OK, this story is done and it’s kind of funny now. It was not funny then. So this was back before all the checking accounts and everything you could just access online and I actually got a paper statement in the mail and I had opened it up and was looking through and I saw an item that was for a subscription, which was a dating website. But I didn’t know what it was and I was like what in the world is this and I looked it up and I was like why is my husband subscribing to a dating website and that was it. That was the final straw where I was ,where I was done  

Funda Kalemci: Wow. 

James Anderson: How did it feel? In that moment, when you realize that, Angie.  

Angie Arnold-Ott: I have to say I felt pretty numb. It, even though I knew it was a defining stop point that realization just it hits you maybe on a rational level, but emotionally I just was pretty numb about it for a while. Once I got past the initial shock, I think it felt oddly free because it had been bad for so long. I was like OK, this is it, I’m moving forward, so there’s there is some freedom in that realization. 

James Anderson: And then you talked about, you know, eventually being in the truck about to pull away from the house, you know, after you had that moment of OK, this is the end.  What was the first step that you took on this path to starting to write your story anew? 

Angie Arnold-Ott: I remember it very clearly because as I kind of sat there and the realization dawned on me and I, you know, absorbed it. I got into the car and I’ve just been paid a couple days before so I got in the car and I went to the bank and I pulled out my paycheck. And that was just a very kind of mundane step. But I said I need money so that I can plan where I’m going. To figure out where to live and that was just the first step that came into my mind and I took it. I went and pulled out my money, opened my own checking account. That was step one. 

 James Anderson: Separating yourself and starting to write your own story. 

Angie Arnold-Ott: Exactly 

Funda Kalemci: I want to take another look into the story and again I love the way you position it as being in the wrong story. But I really like part of your quote, unquote wrong story has a very positive tune to it. And what I mean by that is, you know you did get into BASES through your ex husband’s cousin, was it? 

Angie Arnold-Ott: Yeah, exactly. 

Funda Kalemci: So that is big, right? Like because we’ve been here for what’s 20 something years now. When you look back, like, how do you take that positivity from the wrong story and how do you start writing the next chapter when you feel like the one you’re in right now is not the ideal one – to say it mildly. 

 Angie Arnold-Ott: Right, so I think some of that comes with a little distance and time. To be able to look back and start connecting those dots. But in the moment, I think the thing that I always leaned on, that’s helped me through moments that are really bad, is just to take a step back and say OK, this story is not where I want to be. But what can I find to be grateful for right now. And there are times we go through in life where it’s almost impossible to find something to be grateful for. But being able to look for even one thing that I could be grateful for that day or something that you know the experience was bringing to my life that helped me to keep going forward. 

James Anderson: What were you? Grateful for in the moment when all of that was going on? When you looked around, was there something in particular that you were able to say “ah this!”. 

Angie Arnold-Ott: Yeah, absolutely. So there was this enormous, enormous tree outside the house there, that was like one of the biggest trees I’ve ever seen. It must have been hundreds of years old and it was just beautiful. There were days I was like OK, everything around me is really hard, but I have this amazing, ancient, beautiful tree and it stood here all this time and it’s doing its thing. Like I can do it too. And sometimes it’s finding things that might seem like that small, even though the tree was big, but it can be those things that just kind of allow you to take a breath and keep moving forward. Or it was things like OK, I know you had mentioned the way I got into BASES and I did definitely lean on that a lot. I was like OK, I am at this company, it’s giving me, you know, a place to go every day where I feel really good about the work I’m doing. I love the people I’m working with. I’m really grateful for this. So it was those kinds of things that kept me going moment to moment. And sometimes that’s what it comes down to. Sometimes thinking about – “how I’m going to get through this day?”, “how am I going to get through this week?”. It can feel like a lot, but if you can find a moment then, you can find another one and you just keep going forward. 

Funda Kalemci: So can you say indeed that you have an anchor which was that tree at the time but you find an anchor to build that resilience in every moment. 

 Angie Arnold-Ott: I really like how you put that. I guess that’s really what it is. It’s just finding those things that allow you to feel grounded. To have that anchor. To just build those steps on, yeah. 

 James Anderson: I find it’s very painful sometimes going through that process of putting 1 foot in front of the other. Was there anything that inspired you to keep going? 

Angie Arnold-Ott: You know, that’s a great question. I think I’ve been incredibly fortunate to know some very strong people in my life and to have seen what they were able to do and how they kept moving forward and how they overcame obstacles. So that was an inspiration for sure. Being able to look at, you know, some really close friends who had gone through very hard things and come out the other side. You know, looking at family members who’ve done that. And I think knowing those people and knowing their stories, and when I was able to open up about my own, then I could draw strength from what they had been through too. So there’s a lot of strength in being vulnerable. 

James Anderson: I know we talk often about there’s the family you’re sort of given at birth, and then there’s your family of choice. Do you think during and through your experience you sought out and found more of your people, so to speak, your family of choice? 

Angie Arnold-Ott: Absolutely, that was definitely one of the biggest gifts of that experience. Was the people that I got to meet that very directly came through my ex husband. I mean, you know not just the the role at BASESs, which was huge. But other friends and family members of his who I remained very close to. In fact, you know one of them is one of my best friends. She dated him for a while, and so we met because they were still in touch as friends, and then she and I just hit it off and we’re still, you know, incredibly, incredibly close now. 

James Anderson: Angie and what was that feeling like knowing that you had to make a change, and step out there? But really, I mean you were so young when this happened that you know, and I know that you had also moved across the country for this situation, to sort of step out when you don’t have the answers, you don’t even know where to go. Tell us a little bit about that experience of you know on your way to finding resiliency through the experience. 

Angie Arnold-Ott: That definitely was a really scary feeling to feel so isolated and so alone. I didn’t know anybody in this area. So it was a huge leap of faith to make the move that I did. But I truly believe it was meant to happen. Looking back on how everything else in my life has unfolded, I’m grateful for that experience because of where I am now. But I think I’ve gotten off the question a little bit. So where did I find that resilience in the moment? When I didn’t have that support system. You know, for a while. It was just kind of that moment-to-moment experience that I was speaking about earlier. Where I’d just find one thing and keep going. Find something else and keep going. And when I realized that I did have to make that change, and I’ve been thinking about it before that defining moment happened. But I just had to realize, OK, you know, I’ve gotten through other things in my life. I’ve gotten to this point. I had to trust myself to know that I was able to figure things out even id I didn’t have all the answers – I had resources. You know I had people I could ask. I had things I could, you know, just research on my own and and figure out what’s the right thing to do. It’s something that actually built a lot of confidence for other things in my life to go through that experience and to realize that you don’t need to have all of the answers, you just have to be willing to start looking and to trust that you can find the resources that you need. That you can put it all together. 

 Funda Kalemci: Wow! So what I’m hearing, Angie, is in your story, the intersection of resilience and courage was so strong and that’s what carried you through that very challenging time and I believe it carries you into today. 

Angie Arnold-Ott: Absolutely. I mean, I think it’s a given that we’re going to go through those cycles in our lives where things go really well and things get really hard.  

Funda Kalemci: Yeah  

Angie Arnold-Ott: And being able to look back and draw on that time. And remind myself, hey, I had no clue what I was going to do, no clue how to do it – but I figured it out. You know, that definitely gives me resilience and strength now when I need to face things. 

 Funda Kalemci: That is the leap of faith. Angie, thank you so much for joining us today. Your story and this conversation has been truly inspiring. And as James said earlier, really lit off some light bulbs in my mind too.  Thank you so much.  

 James Anderson: Absolutely thank you Angie. 

Angie Arnold-Ott: Thank you. 

Angie Arnold-Ott: Being able to look for even one thing that I could be grateful for that day that helped me to keep going forward.  

Angie Arnold-Ott: And sometimes that’s what it comes down to. Sometimes thinking about how am I going to get through this day? How do I get it get through this week? That feel like a lot, but if you can find a moment and you can find another one and you just keep going forward. 

 Angie Arnold-Ott: I’ve just realized that sometimes resilience is about rewriting the life you never planned for. And making it the life that you love. 

 Laura Batien: Hey all, it’s Laura again.  We hope you enjoyed this episode of My Blank Story. Tune in next month to hear more stories from the Nielsen IQ community.