Paula Dunn: Once bullied for her cleft lip, now helping teens become resilient


Paula Dunn on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast

This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Paula Dunn, who was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. Paula is my first Australian guest, and my first with a cleft lip and palate like me.

Paula Dunn on the Finding Fertile Ground Podcast

On her first day of school, Paula was bullied by her classmates and when she told the teacher, she was called a tattletale. The bullying stunted her academic abilities and self-esteem during primary school and filled her with anxiety, stress, and depression.


As immigrants to Australia, her parents told her the best way to set herself apart was education. Paula’s Greek mom only had one year of education. Paula applied herself to her education, going from the bottom of her classes to landing in the top 10% in the state for biology and music. She went onto graduate with a master’s of science with honors.


Now she has found her fertile ground by applying what she learned in her life by working with teenage girls as a resilience expert, author, and cognitive scientist. She helps them create confidence to conquer life!


Paula lives by this mantra:

It’s not how you start off in life that counts; it’s how you choose to live it.”

Next week on the Companies That Care podcast, I interview Heather Younger, a best-selling author, international speaker, consultant, adjunct organizational leadership professor, and facilitator who has earned her reputation as “The Employee Whisperer.”


If you enjoyed this podcast, please give us a rating and subscribe to hear our next episode.


Marie Gettel-Gilmartin, founder and principal of Fertile Ground Communications LLC, is a writer and marketing communications consultant who loves to take the pain and stress out of writing for her clients. She specializes in making the complex clear, using dynamic, accessible language to explain and communicate important issues. She positions her clients as experts in their fields and helps them communicate about pressing issues. Writing communications that boost employee engagement and thought leadership, she also coaches leaders and executives on how to strengthen communications and leadership. She loves to connect people and resources or solve seemingly impossible problems.


As a podcaster for justice, I stand with my sisters from the Women of Color Podcasters Community. We are podcasters united to condemn the tragic murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and many others at the hands of police.


Fertile Ground Communications LLC is a certified women-owned business enterprise, disadvantaged business enterprise, and emerging small business.

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