I love talking with people who dream big and work together to overcome systemic challenges and affect change. Today, I have the benefit of talking with two amazing women who work with Oregon STEM, an organization that supports “the development of the next generation of innovators and leaders through statewide strategic leadership, collaboration, and alignment.” Deb Mumm-Hill is the Executive Director of Oregon STEM, and Kyle Ritchey-Noll is the President of Oregon STEM and the Education & Workforce Policy Director of Oregon Business Council. In this conversation, they bring stories and examples of how their work throughout Oregon impacts students. We talk about data-driven decision-making, overcoming massive challenges to create a resilient education system for the future, collaborating with industry partners to help students prepare for careers, cutting-edge technology that uses data and generative AI tools to align students’ aptitudes and interests with opportunities, and the power of career-connected learning. Special thanks to Leverenz & Associates for their hospitality and providing a lovely space to record this conversation.
When you think about your words, what impact do they have on the world? Do they make money, capture attention, or disappear in a sea of sameness? Today’s guest believes that words make worlds, and in this conversation, she unpacks what that means as human beings in an increasingly technologically advanced society. Rachel Allen is the boss at Bolt from the Blue, a copywriting agency freeing businesses from the bonds of bad writing with the boldest claims: “We make words make money.” She shares her entrepreneurial journey and how words helped her create a business that works for her and not how other people think it should be. We talk about objective and subjective knowledge, what it means to write for an audience, why she doesn’t want to babysit technology, the aggressive nature of new digital tools, the boring middle, and why human is the only move left. I had a blast talking with Rachel, and I hope you enjoy the wisdom she shared throughout the episode.
What keeps you engaged in a good story? How do you know if you’re being entertained or manipulated? These questions drive today’s guest to help people tell better stories and increase our societal level of video literacy. Steve Stockman is a director, editor, teacher, and author of How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro. As an instructor, Steve’s book was my go-to textbook, and I still refer to it as I continue to grow my production skills. In our conversation, Steve shares his passion for storytelling and what makes a compelling story. He talks about the need for video literacy, how to understand video language, why it’s crucial to not over-rely on technology when learning to tell stories, how to respond to notes and critique, and what networking actually is. Steve’s wisdom and experience can help you tell better stories, whether you are an aspiring filmmaker or a creative professional.
Fun fact: Today’s guest was the very first person I interviewed over eight years ago when I started Getting Work To Work. Cliché statement aside, it’s incredible how things change over time. Thank the maker; I sound less frightened, more relaxed, and a better editor. But enough about me; this is about today’s guest, Benjamin Ironside Koppin. As Ben describes himself, he is a Swiss Army Knife filmmaker who directs and produces independent films and runs 1988 Films, a film distribution company with his wife. In this conversation, we talk about Pastor’s Kid, his latest film coming to theaters on March 15, 2024. Ben shares behind-the-scenes stories, the challenges of bringing an indie movie to theaters, and how hard it was to make an R-rated Christian film that didn’t fall into genre tropes. We also touch on what makes the best art, the artist’s power, how he handles good and bad reviews, and the age-old creative question, “Should I be a generalist or specialist?” No matter your beliefs, I hope this conversation with Ben will encourage you in your creative journey.
At the foundation of this episode are two important questions: 1) How do you take in information and learn rapidly, and 2) how do you improve and become better than you could ever imagine? Today’s guest, Gerald J. Leonard, answers these questions through stories of his journey to become a professional bass player, an author publishing several books, and a Project Portfolio Management guru. In this episode, he shares a technique known as photo reading, which is a process of quickly absorbing a book to increase retention and curiosity. We also talk about jazz as a model for business, authentically being yourself no matter the environment you’re in, why surrounding yourself with experts is critical to your professional growth, and how life is like a great song.
Throughout this podcast, I’ve shared a lot of lessons. From the knocks I’ve taken the hard (and stubborn) way to the wisdom gleaned from the many books I devour each year, I’m constantly searching for answers to my questions with the hope that others will benefit from what I am learning as well. Living a creative life is wondrous, wonderful, and a lot of work. It’s tough at times, while at other times, work flows effortlessly. Producing a podcast attempting to capture the emotional energy of creativity with all the peaks and valleys is a challenge, too. Honesty is great, but lump together too many downer episodes, and will people still stick around? There’s always the fear that the audience will leave no matter what happens. So, it’s probably best just to ride the waves and share what I’ve got. And that’s what I’m doing today: I’m taking my own advice, and you should probably take your own advice, too.
“What kind of life would make you profoundly happy?” is a massive question that today’s guest often asks his clients to help them discover their purpose. Albino Sanchez is a serial entrepreneur, executive coach, and author whose drive is to help others by unleashing their potential. In our conversation, he shares his entrepreneurial journey from working in his father’s convenience store in Mexico to running three businesses today. We talk about the importance of finding and achieving our purpose, what self-leadership is and the role successes and failures play in our development, why he chooses to have more than one business, what makes an aha moment, and how leaders can be more conscious of people. Albino also touches on how we can dream bigger than we are used to and how to act upon our dreams.
Do you know the power of your voice? Do you even know your own voice? I’m not talking about just the literal sound but also the content. The life you’ve lived, the experiences you’ve had, the things you care about deeply, and the people you love or hate. All of which inform the words you use, the tone, passion, excitement, or downright disdain. People tell us our voice is powerful and that we should use it to express ourselves for the causes and cares that move us. And for some, they are told to sit down and shut up. As creative entrepreneurs, our voice is all these things and much more. It is why people hire or fire us, the revelation of our curiosities and creative expressions, and how we venture into the unknown and reveal what is to be known. And yet, we often choose not to do any of this and slowly give our power away, wondering why we aren’t where we want to be at this phase of our lives.
How big are your thoughts and dreams? More than that, what actions are you taking to bring them to life? Today’s guest is all about the relationship between thoughts and action. Andrea Liebross is a coach, podcaster, and author of She Thinks Big: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Guide to Moving Past the Messy Middle and into the Extraordinary. In our conversation, we explore how she uses the acronym TRUST to guide her clients, and even herself, from generating thought options to taking action. She also shares what led her to coaching and starting her business, several tools she uses to help people get unstuck, the difference between stuck and progress stress, and why sometimes labeling a goal as a priority can help it get accomplished.
What do you do when you are struggling more than you want to admit to others? When you feel like you have nothing left to give, yet still need to put on a brave face and move forward throughout the world? Like many people within and around my circle, times are weird, tough, and tricky. The struggle seems to be both endless and deepening. Unfortunately, these feelings often lead to quick solutions—new business offerings, a course or mastermind or program with magic answers, and the power of positive thinking, otherwise known as mindset—but lack a lasting resonance in our lives. So, what are we to do instead? Especially in an environment where it doesn’t seem we are allowed to be human. I’ll be talking about all these big questions in today’s episode of Getting Work To Work.