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July-August 2014 | Exceptional People Magazine
by Monica Davis
An entrepreneurial ground-breaker, Dr. Linda Mackenzie
is the multi-hyphenate par excellence! With a background as a telecommunications
engineer who designed systems for a global airline and Fortune 1000
companies, Mackenzie represents a cornerstone of the groundbreaking
entrepreneurial mindset. Among the ventures she has launched include
a data com consulting firm, one of the first stores selling used PCs,
as well as serving as the former President of a corporation that made
mind-body supplements. She is one of the few women who broke barriers
by excelling in male-dominated industries.
In 1987, Mackenzie was diagnosed with Epstein Barr/ Chronic
Fatigue. As she visited various physicians to be tested in search of
a diagnosis, she felt as if her life was going nowhere. Taking a positive
attitude toward lifestyle and health issues, she chose to use complementary
medical approaches such as hypnotherapy, diet, and visualization to
heal herself. As a result of her success, she changed her career so
she could serve others by becoming a doctoral candidate in Clinical
Hypnotherapy and a radio host while winning awards as a national speaker
These days Dr. Mackenzie considers one of her best achievements
so far as the founder of the positive web talk Healthylife.net radio
network that began in October 2002, and President of Creative Health
and Spirit, which is a media and publishing company based in Manhattan
Beach, California , founded in 1995.
As a former show host on the Wisdom, PAX, CRN and KPSL networks, her
positive talk radio show had a reach of over 41 FM channels, 11 cable
TV channels, and Internet and satellite channels, reaching over 241
markets. She continues to serve as producer and host of the Linda MacKenzie
Show, hosted on HealthyLife.net which features leading edge guests who
speak on health and life issues.
Having helped hundreds of thousands of individuals around
the globe in attaining personal calm and balance, Mackenzie states that
the key lies in giving information and allowing insight. "I assist
people in meeting the challenges of life by empowering them with tools
to let them integrate and utilize the mind-body connection." Mackenzie
is a member of the American Board of Hypnotherapy and was honored as
being among the "most prolific creative minds" by the International
Association of Clinical Hypnotherapists.
Monica had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Mackenzie
about her trailblazing experiences and the impact she's had on others
as a result of her commitment to living a well-balanced life.
Monica: You were the first woman to become a part of a male-dominated
industry, which was within the airline industry. What was your personal
background at that point?
Linda: The airline industry didn't have many women in management
positions when I was there. I started in 1977. Then, again, data com
didn't have many women in it at all. They were programmers, and that
was it, no one in hardware, data com or planning. That was true throughout
the world. There was no airline that had a woman data com engineer.
It was very interesting.
I had four years in the telephone industry as a representative for the
New York Telephone Company. Then when I went to work for an airline
company, the first thing they asked me was, "Do you want to be
on the ticket counter?" I said, "No." They said, "Well,
do you want to be a flight attendant." I said, "No."
They said, "Do you want to be in reservations?" I said, "No."
They said, "Well, those are the only top women jobs that we have."
I said, "Put me in accounting. I want to see where the money goes,
and then I'll figure it out from there." I asked them to put me
on the mail desk. I went from a management position at a national radiology
registry to working as a clerk, earning $764 a month. We may want to
crash into the barriers, but we really need to know what we're doing
before we can crash. The best way to do business is to find out where
the money's going.
I kept finding million dollar errors, so I kept getting promoted. I
saw within a year, that the monies were going in two directions. One
was to be in cargo sales, and the other one was in telecommunications.
I decided I wanted to be in cargo sales, so I made a case and said,
"You don't have any women cargo sales agents. I would love to be
your first female cargo sales agent. This is what I can bring to the
table." Nobody ever did that before. They said they would hire
me. But during those times in the airline industry, everybody got budget
cuts, so that job was cut.
I decided to stay in accounting and work my way up in accounting because
I was doing very well at it. Then they told me I needed a degree in
accounting or I needed to become a CPA, to even work in management.
I obtained a job as an accountant in the Telecommunications Department,
managing all of the telcom services for Continental Airlines, including
processing all the bills and making sure that the billings were accurate.
In the meantime, I was trying to learn many things, and I ended up taking
an electrical engineering course.
Then came the big break. I got into Telecom engineering and redesigned
the teletype system because they said, "Well, nobody's ever going
to look at that." It turns out that my redesign of the teletype
system was written up in communications journals. I
Then I decided that I would watch and wait. In the meantime my boss
placed me in a bright orange room with no windows, a very tiny room
with one door. He made my life a daily turmoil. For example sending
me to the store to by a specific number 2 pencil to use for drafting,
instead of letting me use an expensive high quality drafting set that
I had. At that time, he hired several people to redesign the network.
I did all of the drafting for all of the circuits; but I also found
a lot of mistakes. He had so many people leaving the department, both
men and women. I decided I was just not going to do that. So I found
a lot of recoverable revenue. The director had promised the VP that
he was going to save the company $40,000 a month. I insisted on telling
them that they were not doing something right, but they ignored me.
So it ended up costing them $40,000 more a month, plus $100,000 in doing
the implementation that didn't work.
I went into the Director's office and I said to him, "What if
I told you that I could save you $80,000 a month? And what if I told
you that I could save you $300,000 in one-time charges that the telephone
company owes us?" From there I was catapulted into many things.
I began a consulting company later on and helped redesign the United
States Senate Computer Center, among other things.
After Continental, I went to work for Western Airlines. The whole story
of being a woman back then, you have to understand that when I was growing
up you were limited with regard to careers. You were allowed to become
a teacher, a nurse or a secretary. When I was trying to get jobs, even
in New York City where I grew up, you had to wear a hat and white gloves.
I came from a world where if I wanted a credit card when I was married,
my husband had to get the credit card. It was never given to me in my
Monica: In your experience with the airline, what was your take-away
from the fact that when you first got there they didn't want to put
you in the position that you were seeking?
Linda: It was really interesting. I grew up between the '50s
and the '60s. Those were tough times to grow up in, because during the
'50s you really longed for your husband to take care of you. In the
meantime, you really liked that 60's freedom. You liked being able to
say what you wanted to do and be a real person for a change, rather
than working from the sidelines, or in the background - unknown and
I'm Italian and Irish. My dad was from the Bronx and my mom was Bostonian
Irish. I grew up in a melting pot and we were all poor. I went through
all strata of society, from one to two dresses a year and not enough
food, to nouveau-rich and old money, to jet set - and everything in-between..
For me, it was very important to learn. I didn't want to ever be put
into a box. I like to do things where I can serve a purpose and learn
all that I can. I want to serve and help people. Everything I've ever
done, I've won awards for or I've done them very well. I've just moved
on, and in the meantime opened up the door for many people.
Women, men, people rich and poor, anybody can have whatever they want,
if they have a strong belief. They must know and trust that they're
going to get it, and they must work towards it. You make a plan. You
work your plan. When an obstacle comes, don't sit there and cry about
it or be fearful about it. Face your fears and find a way over, under
and around that obstacle, while being persistent. Get the job done and
be persistent. Persistence will get you there one hundred percent of
Monica: I often tell people when you have a goal that you say
you want to accomplish, whether it's short term or long term, you have
to become what I like to call an actionaire. You have to take action
every single day, do something towards working on that goal rather than
sitting back and saying that it's too big and you can't accomplish it.
It comes down to your belief system. If your belief system is not strong
enough, then you're not going to do what it takes to get you there.
Linda: Fear is a funny thing. There are no mistakes in life.
That's one thing that people need to learn. They are growth experiences.
Here's the deal. Life is cyclical. All that we can depend on is that
it's going to change. It's like a four-step process. The first process
is that everything's going really well and everything seems really great.
Then all of a sudden, there'll be a second process where you're sensing
that something's happening. You don't know exactly what it is, but you
can sense that a change is coming. Then the third step is the change
comes. It's usually a down spiral. You sit there and you say, "Oh,
my goodness, what is this? This is not the same anymore." Then
you begin gathering information and talking to other people, or reading.
Then all of a sudden, you're taking action. When you take that action,
eventually that action becomes a flourishing time again, so you're back
at the top of change again. Then that spiral will happen all over again.
It'll keep going until you learn the lesson. When you learn a lesson
completely, you never have to go through that again.
Change never, ever, ever, happens exactly the same way twice.
Monica: If there's anything that's constant, it's change.
Linda: Exactly. When you are in a changing time, you have to
look at your life and see what your next step is. When you're down in
that dump, find out what lesson you need to learn. "Maybe I shouldn't
really be thinking about the power so much, or how can I serve others?
How is this going to help others?" That's when you're successful,
when you're not working for yourself.
I remember back in the late '70s, and early '80s when everybody was
in telecommunications. I attended a seminar and the person that was
giving the seminar was from McGraw-Hill - he was actually McGraw from
McGraw-Hill Publishing. He asked, "What would you do if in a year
from now, you had all the money in the world. What would you do in a
year? What would you do in five years? What would you do in ten years?
You had to really sit down, create a plan and look at it. I did and
I thought, "I guess I don't really need a million dollars. Right
now, $200,000 will suffice." Of course, today with inflation it's
probably $400,000 or more.
That really gave me a wide open stance because I always thought I have
to make a million dollars to be happy. I thought I needed this amount
of money because I came from a poverty place.
Well, I really don't. I put down everything I wanted and I priced it
out, and I found I only need $200,000. I put the book away. Five years
later I picked up that book and everything that I had wanted, I got.
I was making the $200,000. I was already doing it, taking a vacation
for five days every five weeks. It's very interesting, the power of
your mind, if you allow it to work for you. It knows what you want to
create. You have to allow it to do that.
Monica: Would you say that growing up in poverty was your motivation
for the success that you have?
Linda: No. It was always the knowledge for me. It was never really
about the money. It really was about the knowledge, and it was about
helping people. When I was in telecommunications, I was saving lives.
I was planning to make the plane safe. I was given high levels of responsibility.
It wasn't just planning the reservation systems, it was planning the
first ramp radio network for the planes on the ground and coordinating
the mechanics. It's much bigger than you think, doing a data com job
like that. It's keeping those planes safe. I was responsible for the
computer programs to make sure that the hardware was working, that the
plane, the cargo in the hole was balanced correctly so the plane wouldn't
fall out of the air.
Monica: That's a huge responsibility.
Linda: Very huge. You have to be aware of that, every moment
and in everything that you're doing. It was always a service of doing
the best job that I could. It was fun to learn new things, and it was
challenging too. I was willing to do what it took to get there. I wasn't
Monica: Based on your experience at that time when you first
entered a male-dominated industry, compared to today, what do you see
as the differences? How have things become better for women in terms
of those who work in, or want to work in male-dominated industries?
Linda: It's a lot easier these days. When my daughter graduated
from college, I decided that I wanted to go ahead and use the right
side, the creative side of my brain, and not so much the left, logical
side anymore. I decided she was all set. If you're going to have kids,
they're your responsibility. That's your number one responsibility.
The greatest accomplishment I have is that my daughter is a productive
member of society. She's a teacher. Family - that's the biggest thing.
Now my grandson, who's going to be 11, he's also getting ready to do
many things. He's a very kind and giving person; he helps people. This
is what life is all about. It's preparing your family; your daughter
or your son, to be in a better position than you were when you were
Monica: What do you believe is your life's purpose?
Linda: There are several things. One was definitely my radio
network. When you look back on your life, you find that everything you've
ever done is there for a reason. It's always setting you up for where
you're supposed to go. It may change, but take a look at everything
that I've done. I was in telecommunications, so I helped design the
first real web-like network for Continental Airlines. We didn't call
it internet back then, but it was like a low-speed data network. Then
I had eight years in radio. I had already lectured on positive thinking
and health all over the country, because we are very much into natural
health on our Radio Network. We only focus on natural health. I was
doing a lot of television. I was becoming very popular, doing documentaries,
appearing on BBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, German TV and Japanese TV. They were
offering me TV series.
I really am very God-based and I'm very spiritual. I don't belong to
an organized religion but whenever God speaks to me, I obey. So I started
the radio network, HealthyLife.net.
Monica: What kind of impact have you had on your audience?
Linda: We've reached over 79 million people in 12 years. With
the internet you can chart it. We're syndicated on 60 channels of distribution.
We get people saying how much we've changed their lives all the time.
We have 40 hosts that are just incredible people.
Monica: Your hosts cover a broad range of radio show topics?
Linda: It's a broad range. The only thing that holds us together
is that we're all positive talk. We don't do sensationalism. We have
changed the industry. We have about 600,000 listeners a month. We've
got about six million a year, but that's a really conservative estimate
because we're in 128 countries. The problem is that when you're doing
streaming, it's not your website hits that are your listeners. I have
a streaming aggregator, who takes my stream and streams it out for me.
When Microsoft's radio tuner picks up our stream, it looks like one
listener to our end. But it's available to one billion people a day.
Microsoft doesn't give me listener numbers. Even at one percent, it
would be one million more listeners a day. We don't even include this
data in our listener numbers. We're on private radio networks for the
blind, we're in retail stores, we're on worship stations, we're on WiFi,
we're on smartphones and iPads, smartTVs and even on alarm clocks. You
name it, we're probably there.
Monica: What is your vision moving forward with the Healthy
Life radio network?
Linda: We've pretty much got the top here. Mine is to keep it
going in perpetuity. We're working on that. I have a children's movie
that I wrote 12 songs for which teaches kids how to be positive. If
we can get to the kids first and teach them how to handle fear and how
to be positive, then we can change the world. If you take away fear,
no one can control you.
Monica: Based on some of the lessons you've learned over the
years what advice can you offer women who are considering moving to
or are currently working in fields that are mostly male dominated?
Linda: It's very simple. When you go in, don't look to change
everything in a day. You have to understand that you have to do the
time. You've got to know, whenever you go into a job, you don't know
the dynamics of that job for the first six months. So you watch and
you learn. You see what's working and what's not working. Then you do
what it takes to get where you need to go without compromising your
integrity, that's the biggest thing. Do your job.
There are going to be some fields where you're not going to be viewed
as equal. You need to understand that it would be nice to have an equal
playing field, but it's not going to be that way. Don't let it get to
you. Get where you need to go. Just learn as much as you can. As you're
doing it, learn enough so that you can do it better. Worst case scenario,
go work for another company, or you start your own business. Don't be
afraid of that.
Monica: Sometimes when you are not able to walk through a door,
you create your own opening.
Linda: That's exactly it.
Monica: What legacy would you like to leave, not necessarily
as a business owner, but as a person?
Linda: I often think about this. On my gravestone I would like
three words: feel, know and trust. If you align yourself with God and
you feel what you're doing is right, and you know what you're doing
is right, and you trust that it's going to happen, if you feel, know
and trust, everything will manifest for you. Everything. Those are the
three words: feel, know and trust. If you do, your mindset will get
Monica: And of course you put God first in of all of that.
Linda: Of course. There's only two reasons we're here on earth.
One is to get back to God and the other is to be of service to the planet
and people on the planet. That's the only two reasons we're here.
| Exceptional People Magazine | July-August 2014