“Truly, we are all here to encourage each other and lift each other up, and help whenever we can in whatever way we can,” our Woman of the Month for October states in a recent phone chat and if you know Betsy Spina, you understand that she lives out this mantra every day. The native New Yorker who now lives in LA as an on-air personality for Radio Disney Country inspires our New York Country Swag team as a positive light and a woman paving the way for others following their dreams.
Growing up about an hour north of New York City, Spina had the opportunity to have the best of both worlds, living in a small, quaint town on the Hudson River and being able to travel into the Big Apple and experience all it has to offer. She started singing and dancing lessons when she was only five years old and continued performing all through high school, singing in choirs and taking part in musicals. “Musical theatre was my first music love, which is so nerdy,” she laughed. “I loved musicals, I remember listening to the Cats soundtrack and Phantom of the Opera, then as I got older I got into pop and country music.” Although all types of music were considered influences, once she got to college she really focused on classical music and singing opera. At the end of her senior year, just as she was about to audition for graduate school programs, she hemorrhaged her vocal chords in rehearsal, therefore changing her path and forcing her to focus on a different career. “I totally believe in God’s plan for life and everything always happens the way it is meant to even when we can’t understand that or see that at the time,” Spina says when discussing how that affected her.
Living in Los Angeles at the time, she went on a casting call for a show that aired on ABC Family (now Freeform) called Greek. An unfortunate writer’s strike led her to the Radio Disney street team, where she eventually was offered a chance to become an on-air personality. Although a career in radio was never something she thought she would pursue, it has now been ten years and she realizes how willing to try something has turned out to be a major career switch for her.
She moved back to New York and after working on the soap opera One Life to Live she got a job working at a Christian radio station which eventually led her to work full time for four years at Sirius XM The Highway. She tells us that although those were her major career changes, she definitely worked plenty of jobs to pay the bills in between including working at a gym, as a waitress, as a secretary and even a personal assistant, and she never underestimated the learning that one can do while waiting for their big break. “It is crazy the places that you are taken when you are willing to learn and try and be positive about things.”
When her former boss at Radio Disney reached out regarding a new station, Radio Disney Country, Spina jumped at the opportunity, eventually making her way back to the West Coast where she now resides with her husband and her adorable dog Teddy. She works for the radio station during the day, interviewing artists and playing the hottest country music. She recently became a team member of Musicians On Call, an organization that brings live music to the bedside of patients all around the country. “I am a guide, I go into the room first, explain what is going on, tell them that we have a musician here and ask them if they are interested in hearing the music,” she explains. “It is so amazing to see the way that just the thought of music lights up people, and it is so powerful and so moving, I love getting to do that.” Musicians On Call is not the only way that Spina is a light in this world, if you follow her on social media, she uses her platform to inspire others, to bring joy and laughter on a daily basis to her followers. Whether it is something silly that she did or her “CarSpriation” Instagram stories, she has the ability to make others smile and that is one of the main reasons we chose her as our Woman of the Month.
We ask what advice she has for young girls wanting to pursue their dreams and she tells us: “Just always be positive and be willing to try things”. Although she loves networking, she explains that making a genuine connection or a new friendship is what is most important to her and if that leads to a new work opportunity then that’s great but real relationships is what creates magic. “I think it so important to be true to yourself and remember, not everyone is going to like you which is always hard, that’s ok, it is important to figure out who you are and what you want to do and what you want to put out in the world and sometimes it’ll work and sometimes it won’t, but at the end of the day when you are rooted in who you are it’ll all be okay.”
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