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.
“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.
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.
You know you’re in for a powerful conversation when the person describes themself as “a Katamari ball of learning on a journey to build a creative life by creating cool things, building relationships, and helping people. Rob Garrott has been in the world of motion design and education for much of his career. After leaving a job as a Content Manager for LinkedIn Learning, he set out to learn character animation and how to infuse emotion into motion. Our conversation begins with us sharing who taught us how to swear before talking about blogging as a form of therapy, learning how to break free from systems, and returning to his creative self. We talk about identity and the stories we tell ourselves, the difference between learning on the job and studying a subject, being creative on purpose, and why he prefers not to return to a previous version of himself.
Not only is curiosity a driving force of this podcast, but in this episode, it infuses every morsel of experience and wisdom from today’s guest, Casey Silveria. From his early days growing up on a farm and working in corporate finance to his work today helping visionary farmers achieve their financial aims, finding the answers to the most profound questions drives Casey. In this conversation, we talk about the values he learned on the farm that he still uses today. We also touch on the importance of learning from other industries and bringing that knowledge and understanding back to our businesses, the obligation to never stop learning, the necessity of farming and agriculture, fostering trust with people through transparency and energy, and the power of gut instinct.
How driven are you to create something that’s never been seen before? Mercedes Austin is endlessly curious about inventing a new pattern and fuels that search for uniqueness with humility, resilience, and dignity. She is a mosaic artist and founder of Mercury Mosaics, a company on a mission “to redefine your expectations of what tile is and how it can transform a space.” In this conversation, Mercedes shares where her love for tile and mosaics came from and how she turned a one-woman operation into a thriving business. We talk about entrepreneurial resourcefulness, communicating your vision to others while simultaneously learning to let them contribute, transparency in business, and how investing in personal creative time can help you solve business problems and be more innovative.