Listen up Sistas
Melissa Histon, founder of Got Your Back Sista, is celebrating the first anniversary of her inspiring podcast.
Four years into launching and building her charity Got Your Back Sista, Mel Histon needed a new creative outlet.
“The charity was all consuming. It was getting really hard, almost like crawling through mud all the time. I love the charity and what it stands for, but I was getting close to being in a burn-out phase,” Mel admits candidly.
“I used to be a photographer and I had given that up to run the charity and I sorely missed the creativity that comes with it. When I heard that Melanie Sargeant was launching a podcast station in Newcastle, I was really excited.”
It was the spark she needed and the beginning of her podcast Hey Soul Sista. One year, 50 episodes and almost 30,000 downloads later, she has come to see it as the next part of the “Sista journey.”
“First, I started the Sista Code Community and events, then Got Your Back Sista,” recounts Mel.
“I hear so many stories of hardship and challenges through both of these initiatives, which are all about helping and empowering women to get through tough times in their lives.
“The podcast has become an avenue for women to share their personal stories when they are ready to. They speak up about what they have learned and how they have changed, inspiring other women and showing that they are not alone in their challenges. It quite literally gives women a voice.”
Mel says this has been an unexpected joy of the podcast. “I was just looking for something creative to do, but now it feels like a Sista trilogy with the podcast really being the obvious third step.”
There have been uplifting success stories, like the one with Amber Moncrieff, a feminist lawyer who started a plastic surgery clinic (a favourite with listeners), but also episodes on heartbreak and about business ventures on the brink of bankruptcy.
“Both Lenore Miller and I teared up when she spoke about her 19-year-old son dying from an asthma attack. He played rugby, he was very sociable, he had his life ahead of him.
“But he had become a bit complacent with his medication. Lenore has become an advocate for asthma awareness. My own son was 19 years old when we recorded the episode and it really hit home for me.
“Nerida Bint from Lissome and Nadene Barretto from Eight Recruitment talked about how hard it was for them during COVID-19. Nerida nearly had a breakdown and she shared how she was curled up on the bathroom floor, sobbing, thinking it was the end of her business.”
This resonated with Mel’s listeners, many saying they also found this time hard, but hadn’t wanted to talk about it. Does Mel herself have a favourite episode? She admits that’s a hard one. “After I record an episode, I always say that’s my favourite,” she laughs.
So, if she had her pick of all the women on the planet, who would she have on the podcast?
“Oprah,” she says without hesitation. “I know it’s a cliché, but she’s such an amazing woman from such humble beginnings. I would love to get her to talk about what got her on such a journey of wisdom and soulfulness. Because we are all looking for a bit of that, aren’t we?”