Ep 68: Trust-Based Parenting and Philanthropy with Pia Infante

Ep 68: Trust-Based Parenting and Philanthropy with Pia Infante


I’m so honored to bring you this reflective conversation about investing from a place of trust in our dreams of becoming mothers, in our children, and in the causes we believe in, with someone who has been a dear friend and colleague for over a decade, Pia Infante.

As Trustee and Co-Executive Director of the Whitman Institute, Pia leverages decades of multi-sector experience as an educator, facilitator, organizational development consultant and more. In her work at the Institute and as a speaker, she advocates for radically embodied leadership and trust-based philanthropy in settings that have included Harvard Kennedy School: Center for Public Leadership, Ashoka Future Forum, Net Impact, Council on Foundations, International Human Rights Funders Group, and Skoll World Forum to name a few.

Before Pia joined The Whitman Institute, she and I worked together for years as facilitators of a practice called “adult reflection” and also supported one another in our own lives as participants in a women’s reflection circle. I consider her part of my “root system” and so appreciated the opportunity to reconnect and uncover lessons about Pia’s decade-long fertility journey, her relationship with her mother and her ancestors from the Philippines, her experience navigating post-partum depression and the waters of new motherhood, and her perspective about money as energy we can get circulating by investing in organizations and movements over the long-term, from a place of deep, relational trust.

The thread of trust weaved through the entire conversation. I hope you leave this conversation as I did, renewed and inspired to trust the unfolding of your own epic life journey, of your children’s development in their own time and in their own way, and in your own power to invest in the causes that matter to you.

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

This Episode is Dedicated by:
etsuko Kubo of On The Move

This episode is dedicated to the diverse group of 30 women who are mothers, like etsuko, that work for On the Move (OTM) on behalf of themselves, their children and communities.  OTM’s initiatives offer a powerful and groundbreaking combination of strategies seeking to engage and develop new leaders, collaborate with partners in rigorous systems change, and foster communities that are inclusive and equitable.

Based in Napa, OTM was founded in 2004 with a mission to develop and sustain young people as leaders by building exceptional programs that challenge inequities in their communities. Working for over 14 years to expand throughout the Bay Area, OTM has implemented programs and initiatives that develop the next generations of community leaders who reflect the diversity of the communities in which they live and work.

In partnership with local communities, OTM has explored innovative approaches to closing the achievement gap for children of color, transforming outcomes for former foster youth, promoting health and wellness across communities, and building strong, engaged families.

For over a decade On The Move has created and implemented innovative programming that challenges communities and local leaders to push beyond mediocrity and into excellence. Supported by a track record of results-oriented programming and in partnership with the hundreds of established community partners, OTM works to unite communities and focus on the safety and inclusion of all people.

Learn more about OTM and their work here

In This Episode We Talk About:

  • Lessons learned on Pia and her wife Nzinga’s decade-long fertility journey to having their daughter Laniakea and the extra challenges a queer couple faces on that quest.
  • Being present with our intention without being attached to every facet of the outcome
  • Mindful engagement with our children and not trying to force our kids into a prescribed timeline or way of doing things
  • Whitman Institute’s decision to “spend down,” the concept of money as “energy” and why Pia wishes more of us would get money circulating
  • Thoughtful ways philanthropists and donors can shift the power dynamic with those they fund to be more equitable, building non-transactional relationships, reciprocal relationships, and investing as partners
  • Why a funder’s job is to put gas in the tank of those they fund, not to tell them to use this GPS or follow this particular map.
  • The challenges of post-partum depression and that feeling of love and terror simultaneously Pia experienced as a new mother
  • The power of building new circles of community and how connecting with other mothers struggling with the same issues helped Pia crawl onto a life raft from what felt like a swamp.
  • Investing in our children, ourselves, and in the causes we care about

Resources Connected to this Episode:

Additional Resources from Pia:

This Week’s Challenge:

In this episode, Pia challenges us to tap into the power of money as energy and to get it circulating by making a monthly long-term commitment to a cause we think will contribute to an epic life. I said yes to this by personally committing to a monthly, long-term donation to the organization featured in the episode’s dedication, On the Move, and also decided to engage my children and husband in making a long-term commitment to a cause that matters to them by year-end.

Learn More About Pia:

Pia Infante is the Co-Executive Director of The Whitman Institute, which seeks to leverage the power of trust-based philanthropy to promote more equitable practices in resourcing social good.

As Trustee and Co-Executive Director of The Whitman Institute, Pia draws on decades of multi-sector experience as an educator, facilitator, organizational development consultant, executive coach, non-profit manager, business owner, writer and speaker to advocate for trust-based practice. 

Pia also speaks and teaches on radically embodied leadership and trust-based practice in many settings including Harvard Kennedy School: Center for Public Leadership, Ashoka Future Forum, Opportunity Collaboration, Net Impact, Council on Foundations, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, International Human Rights Funders Group, and Skoll World Forum 2017. 

She proudly serves as the Board Chair for the Center for Media Justice. She is an I.C.F. certified executive leadership coach, holds a M.A. in Education from the New School for Social Research, and a B.A. in Rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley.

Connect with Pia:

Announcements:

Mother’s Quest Q & A with Ashia Ray

My incredible guest, Ashia Ray, and I have set aside October 3rd from noon to 1 pm for a Mother’s Quest Q & A with Ashia. To register, join us in the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group to find announcements. Click mothersquest.com/comunity to join.

Watch out for a Bonus Episode!

If you want to know what is on Ashia Ray’s bookshelf, join the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group where we will be releasing bonus audio to the group next week!

Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative

If you identify as a woman podcaster, I hope you’ll join us for the third season of the Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative. Our group recently committed to the topic of immigration from a social justice perspective, and we invite you to join us by committing to record an episode that can shine a light on this important issue. To take a look at past seasons and get more information visit www.womenpodcastersinsolidarity.com.

Want More Reflection in Your Life?
Book A Discovery Call

Some key themes that emerge from all my conversations, is the power of reflection and the power of being seen. These are elements that I bring, not only to every podcast interview, but to my one-one-one coaching and Mother’s Quest Circle facilitation. If you’re seeking more space for pause and reflection in your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a discovery call to learn how we might work together.  Visit mothersquest.as.me/discoverysession to schedule a time to talk.

Click here to book a discovery call

One Minute Mom Manifesto

⚡️Have you been feeling a nudge to say “yes” to create your Mother’s Quest Manifesto? The official challenge and giveaway may be over, but the invitation and content is always there for you to create your #oneminutemommanifesto 

Here are some easy steps you can follow…

👉 Join the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group www.mothersquest.com/community to find the “unit” for the Manifesto Challenge’s reflective prompts and live videos. It’s all waiting for you!

👉 Follow along with the “unit” at your own pace. Share your reflections along the way in the comments. Let us cheer you on!

👉 Give yourself some quiet time to create your own #oneminutemommanifesto in whatever way feels good…writing, art, photos, song. It can be simple and quick. Don’t overthink it. What matters most, as a guiding light, for how you want to live your life at this stage of raising your children?

👉 Share your #oneminutemommanifesto on social media with the hashtag. Tag me if you can to make sure I’ve seen it. Consider nominating a friend who would benefit.

–Join us, share or tag a friend, or comment on how the #oneminutemommanifesto has helped you if you’ve already created yours.–

Would LOVE for more of you to join us in claiming, or reclaiming, HOW you want to live your life ✨🙌

Acknowledgments:

A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

On the Move and etsuko Kubo
Kate Amoo-Gottfried
Nicole Lee
Olivia Parr-Rud
“Vince” of the While Black Podcast
Sara Brannin-Mooser
Lindsay Pera
Julie Castro Abrams
Alexia Vernon
Brooke Markevicius
Democracy Clothing
Michael Skolnik
Helgi Maki
Kari Azuma
Tamara Sobomehin
Katie Krimitsos
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Rachel Rosen
Chandra Brooks
Jen Simon
Monisha Vasa
Celia Ward-Wallace
Vanessa Couto
Desiree Adaway
Rachel Steinman
Katie Hanus
Denise Barreto 
Sage B. Hobbs 
Samantha Nolan-Smith
Jody Smith
Emily Cretella
Collette Flanagan
Titilayo Tinubu Ali 
Carly Magnus Hurt
Lizzy Russinko 
Suzanne Brown
Mara Berns Langer
Mallory Schlabach 
Katharine Earhart
Jessica Kupferman
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Genese Harris
Tonya Rineer
Liane Louie-Badua
Cristin Downs 
Erin Kendall 
Niko Osoteo 
Erik Newton 
Claire Fry
Divya Silbermann
Rachel Winter
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Cameron Miranda
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/

Back to School Encore: Equanimity & The Calm In the Storm with Mindful Parent Michelle Gale

Back to School Encore: Equanimity & The Calm In the Storm with Mindful Parent Michelle Gale

In the midst of what feels like a whirlwind in my home and family life, it’s a pleasure for me to share this encore episode with mindfulness educator, corporate trainer, podcast host and author of “Mindful Parenting in a Messy World,” Michelle Gale.

I have a 7-year-old birthday party coming up for my little guy, Jacob on Saturday, my parents have just arrived from Los Angeles, we’re still integrating our brand new puppy into our home, and things are just feeling, like – a lot. This is true for so many of us at this time of year as we’re helping our kids settle into their new school schedule and environment, tackling homework, and all the things.

I remembered that I had this conversation with Michael Gale on the podcast this time last year when we were in a similar flurry and knew I could really benefit from listening again. I always like to share the goodness…and thought this encore episode might help light your way too  this fall season! 

A few other announcements:

**Stay tuned for a brand new episode with my dear friend, new mother, and incredible thought leader in philanthropy, Pia Infante next week.

**And would love for you to join us in the Mother’s Quest Facebook group where I’ll be making announcements about a Spark Your E.P.I.C. Year workshop in early October to help us reflect on the chapter behind us and set intentions for the new school year. www.mothersquest.com/community to join 

Until then, I hope that you enjoy this conversation with Micheal Gale, either for the first time or listening to it again as an encore! And that you find some equanimity and calm in the storm this fall season. 

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Click forward now to pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

Ep 51: Equanimity & The Calm In the Storm with Mindful Parent Michelle Gale

This conversation, rooted in how to bring more equanimity to our lives–finding our center of calm in the storm–came to me just when I needed it most, during a start to my fall season marked by big school transitions for my children, travel away from home, and supporting my family after my father’s bypass heart surgery. 

In the midst of all of that, it was such a gift to have this time with Michelle, whose journey brought her from working in technology startups like Twitter to a deep dive in mindfulness training. Michelle draws on that training today as an advisor to organizations like Wisdom 2.0, in trainings with corporations like Disney and Google, for summits and workshops for parents that she organizes, and as a parent with her own two boys at home. 

An awareness of our impact in the day to day, through being a mindful parent, is something that Michelle embodies in her own parenting, in the appreciation she describes for her own mother, a single parent who adopted Michelle at the age of four months old, and in the ways that she makes mindfulness relatable and accessible to those she teaches. 

I learned so much from Michelle in the time we spent together, about answering our own calls for life-long learning, about slowing down, raising our awareness and making the implicit explicit, of the importance of bringing compassion, especially during times of transition, and how to draw on our experience as mothers as a source of learning and transformation.  

When we began, I asked Michelle to lead us through a Three Breath Practice which I heard her share about on Deborah Reber’s TILT Parenting Podcast. The practice became the bookends for this episode, the opening that allowed us each to make intentions for our time together, and the challenge that Michelle invites us to integrate into our lives. 

As you listen to this episode, I invite you to slow down by taking your own three breaths with us, tap into Michelle’s intention for finding “equanimity,” your center in the midst of chaos, and open yourself to Michelle’s wisdom. If you do, I’m certain you’ll find more of your calm in the storm and connect more fully to your own mindful parenting in a messy world. 

In This Episode We Talk About:

  • The Three Breath Practice and how I’ve begun using it to help me make better decisions about how to use my time.
  • The concept of “equanimity” and the importance of creating awareness and space for our discomfort so that we can come back to our center.

  • Michelle’s appreciation for  “Attachment Theory” through the lens of her own experience being adopted at the age of four months. Also the realization that she doesn’t have a newborn photo and how that drove her inquiry about who was mothering her before she was adopted.

  • Michelle’s journey to mindfulness and how she roots her practice in the day to day experience of mothering, especially in the challenging moments, like when our children can’t fall asleep alone or when they struggle with homework.

  • Michelle’s ritual before sitting down to do creative work that she has introduced to her children as well before they do homework.
  • Michelle’s passion for changing the landscape of how corporations think about supporting parents and the E.P.I.C. snapshot moment that happened for Michelle during a training at Macy’s.

  • How her experience in circle and community enabled Michelle to call more of that connection into her life and more about the tools she uses to “call in”.

  • How Michelle is bringing her mindfulness practices to her health, especially as she navigates the transition to menopause and the hormonal swings and changes that come with it.

Resources and Topics Mentioned:

This Week’s Challenge:

Michelle encourages us to find a place in our life where we can consciously use the 3 Breaths Practice that she modeled in the episode. The practice includes: 

  1. Focusing on your breath coming in and out
  2. Letting your body relax; and,
  3. Asking yourself, what’s really important and what really matters? 

By noticing an area of our lives that needs more consciousness (like reaching for our phone for distraction for instance) and using this practice, we can invite more intentionality, awareness, connection, and equanimity into our lives.

Learn More About Michelle:

Michelle Gale is the podcast host and author of the book “Mindful Parenting in a Messy World”,  a mindfulness teacher, executive coach and a corporate trainer. She works in corporations, schools and communities teaching and speaking to fellow parents about mindful parenting

Announcements:

Spark Your E.P.I.C. Year

Anyone else feel like they need a reset to their year? 

Earlier this year, we declared February the new January and facilitated a Mother’s Quest Workshop/Virtual Milestone Hike experience to help us all start again.

Using photos from my favorite local hike, I took a small group on a virtual journey to:

  • Reflect on our last chapter (as we ascend) 
  • Decide what we want to release (using an image of a big bad bonfire!) and what we want to carry forward
  • Then, set intentions along the E.P.I.C. guideposts for our new chapter. 

If you decide you want to reset and begin again, we will be doing another round of the Spark Your E.P.I.C. Year Workshop this October.

Join the Community

Mother’s Quest Q & A with Ashia Ray

We’ve set aside October 3rd from noon to 1 pm for a Mother’s Quest Q & A with Ashia. To register to join us, follow the link here or join us in the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group to find announcements. Click mothersquest.com/comunity to join. To participate in the call, we invite you to join Raising Luminaries as a patron at a level that calls to you. 

Want More Reflection in Your Life?
Book A Discovery Call

Some key themes that emerge from all my conversations, is the power of reflection and the power of being seen. These are elements that I bring, not only to every podcast interview, but to my one-one-one coaching and Mother’s Quest Circle facilitation. If you’re seeking more space for pause and reflection in your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a discovery call to learn how we might work together.  Visit mothersquest.as.me/discoverysession to schedule a time to talk.

Click here to book a discovery call

Acknowledgments:

A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

Kate Amoo-Gottfried
Nicole Lee
Olivia Parr-Rud
“Vince” of the While Black Podcast
Sara Brannin-Mooser
Lindsay Pera
Julie Castro Abrams
Alexia Vernon
Brooke Markevicius
Democracy Clothing
Michael Skolnik
Helgi Maki
Kari Azuma
Tamara Sobomehin
Katie Krimitsos
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Rachel Rosen
Chandra Brooks
Jen Simon
Monisha Vasa
Celia Ward-Wallace
Vanessa Couto
Desiree Adaway
Rachel Steinman
Katie Hanus
Denise Barreto 
Sage B. Hobbs 
Samantha Nolan-Smith
Jody Smith
Emily Cretella
Collette Flanagan
Titilayo Tinubu Ali 
Carly Magnus Hurt
Lizzy Russinko 
Suzanne Brown
Mara Berns Langer
Mallory Schlabach 
Katharine Earhart
Jessica Kupferman
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Genese Harris
Tonya Rineer
Liane Louie-Badua
Cristin Downs 
Erin Kendall 
Niko Osoteo 
Erik Newton 
Claire Fry
Divya Silbermann
Rachel Winter
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Cameron Miranda
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/

Ep 67: Smashing the Kyriarchy with Books for Littles Ashia Ray

Ep 67: Smashing the Kyriarchy with Books for Littles Ashia Ray

I’m honored to bring you such a powerful and important conversation on the podcast today with a woman who has already impacted my life and my children’s life, Ashia Ray of Raising Luminaries and Books for Littles. 

Ashia is a multiracial (Chinese/Irish) autistic neurodiversity rights advocate and the mother of two kyriarchy-smashing young children! As the founder of Raising Luminaries, she helps parents and educators ignite the next generation of kind and brilliant leaders.

Thousands of parents like me, on a quest to tackle hard topics with our children, turn to Ashia, who through her thoughtfully researched and child-tested book lists, at BooksForLittles.com and in her private group, helps us find the best books to foster age-appropriate conversations with our kids about white supremacy, cissexism, ableism and more.

By using picture books to make hard conversations easier, and to introduce complex topics simply, Books for Littles also educates grownups like me, who then go on to have ongoing discussions with our littles and our extended community. 

I loved the opportunity to delve deeply into how Ashia experiences the world as an autistic adult and mother, how we can deepen our own awareness, understanding and advocacy for neurodiversity, and how we can fight all the isms, smashing the kyriarchy (the intersection of them all) through the power of books.  

This idea that we don’t have to be the same to want the best for each other connects to everything that Ashia embodies. And just as my last episode with Pamela Slim and Desiree Adaway made me feel like I wanted to be a better friend, this conversation, and the micro-challenge that Ashia gave us, made me want to be a kinder more inclusive human being. 

In addition to saying yes to providing captions to photos in anything I post, I also committed to providing a transcript for this episode. I hope you will not only listen, but also read through the transcript, as this conversation is so full of insights that I found myself needing to go back over again and again. I hope what Ashia shares will help you, as it did me, to see things from a new perspective and feel inspired to smash the kyriarchy in your own ways in your epic life.

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Click forward now to pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

This  Episode is Dedicated by:
Kate Amoo-Gottfried

This episode is dedicated by Kate Amoo-Gottfried to her two sons, Marlowe and Miles, as well as to the group of women in her life teaching her what it means and how to be an activist: Ebele Okobi, Dr. Khadijah Costley White, Regina Islas, Ginny Kraus, and Dania Rajendra.

Kate is a recovering business consultant and a life-long learner of how to make change happen and also a full-time mom of two active boys named Marlowe and Miles. She is passionate about children, mothering, education, and the plight of second-class citizens around the globe. The daughter of bleeding-heart liberals, she has spent a life-time reconciling being both “Minnesota Nice” and a revolutionary at heart. 

Kate is an enthusiastic social justice warrior working to bring civilian oversight and reform to San Mateo County and across California as an organizer with Justice for Chinedu.

You can read some of her writing here: Bigger and Bigger and Always Black

Read Dania Rajendra’s piece she co-authored in Newsweek with the definition of solidarity that Kate quotes from in the dedication here https://www.newsweek.com/white-christian-nationalism-most-dangerous-weapon-america-opinion-1197073

Get involved in Kate’s civilian oversight and reform organizing here:Justice for Chinedu

In This Episode We Talk About:

  • The definition of “allistic” and how Ashia’s allistic husband helped her translate the Mother’s Quest Podcast questions into more pragmatic language

  • Unraveling stigmas about autism and exploring how autism can be a powerful and positive part of someone’s identity 

  • How to think about the spectrum as not linear but muti-dimensional on five different points

  • Identifying the ‘ism’s’ and the intersections of them all known as kyriarchy 

  • Ashia’s thoughtful explanation about how classifying autistic people as “high functioning” and “low functioning” is harmful and perpetuates supremacy. 

  • Her journey to creating Books for Littles and Raising Luminaries and some of the favorite books on her bookshelf (listen to the bonus audio for more on this!)

  • How Ashia is exploring the meaning of “transformative justice” and applying it to situations that come up with her children at home 

  • What is exposure anxiety and learning how to ask for and receive help

  • The power of micro-challenges to start to shift our own sense of self as someone who cares about inclusivity

  • The importance of centering people with differences and providing a space for those whose stories are not traditionally seen or understood

Resources Connected to this Episode:

Additional nuggets from today’s episode:

Resources mentioned in the “bonus” content:

This Week’s Challenge:

For this week’s challenge, Ashia challenges us to write descriptions or captions whenever we post pictures on social media. This helps people of low vision, or who can’t afford high speed internet connections, to understand what the image is trying to portray. Starting with small micro-challenges like this one helps us to shift our own perception of our identity as someone who cares about people who are different than us who have different needs.

Learn More About Ashia:

Ashia Ray is a multiracial (Chinese/Irish) autistic neurodiversity rights advocate and the mother of two kyriarchy-smashing young children! As the founder of Raising Luminaries, she helps parents and educators ignite the next generation of kind and brilliant leaders

If you’re nervous about tackling hard topics with young kids, Ashia helps you find the best children’s books to foster age-appropriate conversations with your kids about white supremacy, cissexism, ableism, and more on her website at BooksForLittles.com.

By using picture books to make hard conversations easier, and to introduce complex topics simply, Books for Littles educates grownups, who then go on to have ongoing discussions with their littles and wider community.  

Connect with Ashia:

Immigrant Solidarity Family Action Toolkit

Join Aisha’s Raising Luminaries – Student Ignition Society group on Facebook here.

If you want to know more about Ashia’s work, experiences and the current project she is working on, click here!

Read the Podcast Transcript

Announcements:

Watch out for a Bonus Episode!

If you want to know what is on Ashia Ray’s bookshelf, join the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group and will be releasing the episode to the group next week!

Mother’s Quest Q & A with Ashia Ray

My incredible guest, Ashia Ray, and I have set aside October 3rd from noon to 1 pm for a Mother’s Quest Q & A with Ashia. To register to join us, follow the link here or join us in the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group to find announcements. Click mothersquest.com/comunity to join.

Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative

Recently, we marked the two year anniversary of the Charlottesville Rally. I remember waking to the news the next day and deciding I had a responsibility to use my voice and the platform I’m building with the Mother’s Quest Podcast to pursue social justice. Many said “yes” alongside me and The Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative was born.

First season episodes, with a focus on anti-racism and police brutality, are up at www.womenpodcastersinsolidarity.com, and episodes I recorded for our second season, on the intersectional impact of gun violence, are assembled on the latest Mother’s Quest Blog.

We’ve also begun identifying the topic for our next season’s series. If you’re a women podcaster who wants to join our effort, come on over to the Women Podcasters in Solidarity Facebook Group to help us select our topic.

Want More Reflection in Your Life?
Book A Discovery Call

Some key themes that emerge from all my conversations, is the power of reflection and the power of being seen. These are elements that I bring, not only to every podcast interview, but to my one-one-one coaching and Mother’s Quest Circle facilitation. If you’re seeking more space for pause and reflection in your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a discovery call to learn how we might work together.  Visit mothersquest.as.me/discoverysession to schedule a time to talk.

Click here to book a discovery call

One Minute Mom Manifesto

⚡️Have you been feeling a nudge to say “yes” to create your Mother’s Quest Manifesto? The official challenge and giveaway may be over, but the invitation and content is always there for you to create your #oneminutemommanifesto 

Here are some easy steps you can follow…

👉 Join the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group www.mothersquest.com/community to find the “unit” for the Manifesto Challenge’s reflective prompts and live videos. It’s all waiting for you!

👉 Follow along with the “unit” at your own pace. Share your reflections along the way in the comments. Let us cheer you on!

👉 Give yourself some quiet time to create your own #oneminutemommanifesto in whatever way feels good…writing, art, photos, song. It can be simple and quick. Don’t overthink it. What matters most, as a guiding light, for how you want to live your life at this stage of raising your children?

👉 Share your #oneminutemommanifesto on social media with the hashtag. Tag me if you can to make sure I’ve seen it. Consider nominating a friend who would benefit.

–Join us, share or tag a friend, or comment on how the #oneminutemommanifesto has helped you if you’ve already created yours.–

Would LOVE for more of you to join us in claiming, or reclaiming, HOW you want to live your life ✨🙌

Acknowledgments:

A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

Kate Amoo-Gottfried
Nicole Lee
Olivia Parr-Rud
“Vince” of the While Black Podcast
Sara Brannin-Mooser
Lindsay Pera
Julie Castro Abrams
Alexia Vernon
Brooke Markevicius
Democracy Clothing
Michael Skolnik
Helgi Maki
Kari Azuma
Tamara Sobomehin
Katie Krimitsos
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Rachel Rosen
Chandra Brooks
Jen Simon
Monisha Vasa
Celia Ward-Wallace
Vanessa Couto
Desiree Adaway
Rachel Steinman
Katie Hanus
Denise Barreto 
Sage B. Hobbs 
Samantha Nolan-Smith
Jody Smith
Emily Cretella
Collette Flanagan
Titilayo Tinubu Ali 
Carly Magnus Hurt
Lizzy Russinko 
Suzanne Brown
Mara Berns Langer
Mallory Schlabach 
Katharine Earhart
Jessica Kupferman
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Genese Harris
Tonya Rineer
Liane Louie-Badua
Cristin Downs 
Erin Kendall 
Niko Osoteo 
Erik Newton 
Claire Fry
Divya Silbermann
Rachel Winter
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Cameron Miranda
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/

Ep 66: A Love Letter to Friendship with Desiree Lynn Adaway and Pamela Slim

Ep 66: A Love Letter to Friendship with Desiree Lynn Adaway and Pamela Slim

What a joy and honor it was to hold space for reflective conversation with two change-making women who have an epic friendship that has spanned more than three decades, Pamela Slim and Desiree Lynn Adaway.

The two met on a hill in Northern California on the first day of college at the age of 18 and have been best friends ever since. From completely different lived experiences, Desiree is a black woman from the south side of Chicago, and Pamela a white woman from Marin in the San Francisco Bay  Area, they unite around common interests and connections that transcend while never forgetting their differences. They love each other’s families fiercely and fight in their own unique ways and in their own communities for inclusion, equity and justice.

Mother to two grown daughters, Desiree is also a consultant, trainer, coach and speaker working to build resilient, equitable, and inclusive organizations. Holding a vision for people’s lives, workplaces and communities until they can hold it for themselves, she has committed over 20 years to creating, leading and managing international, multicultural teams through major organizational changes in over 40 countries. She also teaches and advocates powerfully in the online space and in a course I took from her and her partners called Diversity is an Asset.

Pamela is an award-winning author, community builder, consultant, speaker, and small business strategist. Alongside being a step mother to an adult son and raising her two teenagers, she’s also the founder of The Main Street Learning Lab in downtown Mesa, where she works to increase the effectiveness, equity, and visibility of small business owners from marginalized communities including women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community, and to connect these business owners with the rapidly growing opportunities in Mesa, the Phoenix metro area, and beyond.

Being deeply seen and deeply understood is a theme that runs through this conversation, as we explore the ways that Desiree and Pamela experience the epic guideposts in their lives and in their friendship.

I felt like the entire conversation was a love letter to friendship and a call to action to risk being known, knowing others, expanding our perspectives and championing diversity. I hope you’ll listen with an open heart and leave this conversation as I did, committed to the specific challenges that Pamela and Desiree offered us and inspired to show up every day as a better ally and a better friend.

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Click forward now to pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

This Episode is Dedicated by:
Nicole Lee

Nicole Lee is the founder of Inclusive Life™ and mom to Madison and Zindzi. She is also the co-founder of the Lee Bayard Group LLC and Black Movement-Law Project (BMLP).

Nicole Lee is a diversity, equity and inclusion expert, leadership coach, nationally recognized speaker and strategist who regularly consults with nonprofits, schools, businesses, and political and social movements to improve their climate for themselves and all those that they serve.

Nicole is a prolific speaker and commentator who has regularly appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and BBC. She has been recognized for her outstanding contributions in the private and public sectors through numerous awards, including Congressional Black Caucus, Running Starts “Women to Watch”, Black Women’s Roundtable TrailBlazer and Global Leadership and the National Newspapers Publishers Association’s Press Champion Award.

Nicole is also an attorney and nonprofit leader, having formerly served as the first female President of TransAfrica, the nation’s premier African American foreign affairs organization. She, along with civil and labor rights icon Bill Lucy, was the coordinator of the Life, Legacy and Values of Nelson Mandela, a six-month national celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela and his US Memorial Service at the National Cathedral. She is a founder of the BMLP, a legal organization affiliated with the Movement for Black Lives.

Visit Nicole Lee’s Website:

Follow Nicole Lee on Social Media:

In This Episode We Talk About:

  • The beautiful birthday letter Pamela wrote to Desiree and posted on Facebook that inspired me to record this episode
  • Pam and Desiree’s life before they became best friends, how they found each other and how they’ve shaped each other’s lives since
  • What the bracelet Desiree wears every day says and how it connects to her motherhood, her work, and her life journey 
  • How I learned from Desiree that allyship is a daily commitment and how that connects to how Desiree and Pamela approach their friendship 
  • What it looks like to be in right relationship
  • What Desiree means when she says “Pam never remembers that I’m black and she never forgets that I’m black.”
  • The “Sister Resister” card Desiree pulled from her deck that connected perfectly to this conversation
  • The epic snapshot moment of Pam’s with her own daughter that Desiree says exemplified Pam’s self-awareness and lack of ego
  • Dismantling and examining cultural norms and creating our own definition of culture
  • Pamela’s and Desiree’s challenges for us to expand our own awareness and perspective of diversity by reading books only of authors of color for 3 or 6 months (you choose!) and to notice in our spaces and places who is and isn’t being represented

Mentioned from this Episode:

This Week’s Challenge: 

For this episode, Pam and Desiree challenge us to take 3 to 6 months of reading books that are from people of color, if you’re a dominant identity or if you’re white. While you’re at it, you’ll notice how your perspective and view of the world around you will change.

Another challenge… when you are in any situation, school, work, office, ask yourself “who is here?”, “who’s not here?”, and “why aren’t they here?”. Answering these questions will raise your level of awareness, and help you bridge the gap that exists in the areas where we are not seeing diverse representation.

Learn More About Desiree:

Desiree is a seasoned nonprofit consultant and facilitator. All of her presentations have a mix of thought-provoking content presented with humor and wit. When she teaches, she makes a point to connect with every person and create a safe space for their growth. She is known by staff, senior leadership, peers, and partners as being great at open, honest, and productive conversations. She is not afraid of addressing anything that gets in the way of great work. Her style is positive, approachable, engaging, service-oriented and audience-centered.

Email her @: desiree@desireeadaway.com

Connect with Desiree:

Learn More About Pamela:

Pamela Slim is an award-winning author, community builder, consultant, speaker, and small business strategist. She is the founder of The Main Street Learning Lab in downtown Mesa, where she works with business owners to remove obstacles to small business success and test and try new business ideas.

She is best known for her book Escape from Cubicle Nation (named Best Small Business and Entrepreneur book of 2009 from 800 CEO Read) along with her follow up book Body of Work. Both were published by Penguin/Portfolio.

Pam is frequently quoted as an expert in publications such as BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Money Magazine and Psychology Today. Pam lives in Mesa, Arizona.

Connect with Pamela:

Announcements:

Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative

As this episode is released, we are just days away from the two year anniversary of the Charlottesville Rally. I remember waking to the news the next day and deciding I had a responsibility to use my voice and the platform I’m building with the Mother’s Quest Podcast to pursue social justice. Many said “yes” alongside me and The Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative was born.

First season episodes, with a focus on anti-racism and police brutality, are up at www.womenpodcastersinsolidarity.com, and episodes I recorded for our second season, on the intersectional impact of gun violence, are assembled on the latest Mother’s Quest Blog.

Last weekend’s events, two mass shootings within 24 hours, blasted our consciousness with the work still ahead and urgency to fight gun violence and also the racism tied to these events. I hope you’ll follow the links in the show notes to the episodes recorded and that they might shine some light on a path forward. Because, as my guest on this episode’s podcast Desiree says, we only get free together.

Want More Reflection in Your Life? Book A Discovery Call

Some key themes that emerge from this conversation with Amy Simpkins, is the power of reflection and the power of being seen. These are elements that I bring, not only to every podcast interview, but to my one-one-one coaching and Mother’s Quest Circle facilitation. If you’re seeking more space for pause and reflection in your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a discovery call to learn how we might work together.  Visit mothersquest.as.me/discoverysession to schedule a time to talk.

Click here to book a discovery call

One Minute Mom Manifesto

⚡️Have you been feeling a nudge to say “yes” to create your Mother’s Quest Manifesto? The official challenge and giveaway may be over, but the invitation and content is always there for you to create your #oneminutemommanifesto

Here are some easy steps you can follow…

👉 Join the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group www.mothersquest.com/community to find the “unit” for the Manifesto Challenge’s reflective prompts and live videos. It’s all waiting for you!

👉 Follow along with the “unit” at your own pace. Share your reflections along the way in the comments. Let us cheer you on!

👉 Give yourself some quiet time to create your own #oneminutemommanifesto in whatever way feels good…writing, art, photos, song. It can be simple and quick. Don’t overthink it. What matters most, as a guiding light, for how you want to live your life at this stage of raising your children?

👉 Share your #oneminutemommanifesto on social media with the hashtag. Tag me if you can to make sure I’ve seen it. Consider nominating a friend who would benefit.

–Join us, share or tag a friend, or comment on how the #oneminutemommanifesto has helped you if you’ve already created yours.–

Would LOVE for more of you to join us in claiming, or reclaiming, HOW you want to live your life ✨🙌

Did you catch the Father’s Day Special?

Listen to these two amazing fathers who were on the show here:

Acknowledgments:

A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

Nicole Lee

Olivia Parr-Rud
“Vince” of the While Black Podcast
Sara Brannin-Mooser
Lindsay Pera
Julie Castro Abrams
Alexia Vernon
Brooke Markevicius
Democracy Clothing
Michael Skolnik
Helgi Maki
Kari Azuma
Tamara Sobomehin
Katie Krimitsos
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Rachel Rosen
Chandra Brooks
Jen Simon
Monisha Vasa
Celia Ward-Wallace
Vanessa Couto
Desiree Adaway
Rachel Steinman
Katie Hanus
Denise Barreto 
Sage B. Hobbs 
Samantha Nolan-Smith
Jody Smith
Emily Cretella
Collette Flanagan
Titilayo Tinubu Ali 
Carly Magnus Hurt
Lizzy Russinko 
Suzanne Brown
Mara Berns Langer
Mallory Schlabach 
Katharine Earhart
Jessica Kupferman
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Genese Harris
Tonya Rineer
Liane Louie-Badua
Cristin Downs 
Erin Kendall 
Niko Osoteo 
Erik Newton 
Claire Fry
Divya Silbermann
Rachel Winter
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Cameron Miranda
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/

Ep 65: The Power of Being Seen & The Spiral Path with Amy Simpkins

Ep 65: The Power of Being Seen & The Spiral Path with Amy Simpkins

I’m excited to share this episode of the Mother’s Quest Podcast with someone I deeply admire and whose recent book “Spiral: A Catalyst for Innovation and Expansion” was a revelation to me… speaker, author, thought leader, homeschooling mother, and CEO of the renewable energy start-up muGrid Analytics, Amy Simpkins.

Before a self-described identity crisis brought her to the work she’s doing today, Amy was quite literally on the path to becoming an astronaut. After pursuing a degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and a masters in Astronautical Engineering from USC, she began a 10-year tenure as an aspiring Spacecraft Systems Architect designing, integrating, and operating spacecraft at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. How she determined she no longer wanted to become an astronaut and the power of being truly seen by someone else, which led to her becoming a coach, are just a few of the topics we explore during our conversation.

I first came to know Amy when I was facilitating a virtual “Power Circle” for the organization Emerging Women and Amy was a participant. Right away, I knew she was someone special, as she brought the insight of an engineer’s brain, a poet’s heart, and an alchemist’s life journey to every session.

Using her unique gifts, Amy lights the way for so many of us with how she explains and embodies the iterative spiral path to life, motherhood, and entrepreneurship. And in this conversation, as we explored her wisdom and lessons learned along all the E.P.I.C. guideposts, it felt like we revealed together the creative genius, a quality she most admired in her mother, that is also inside of her.

I left feeling more at ease than when I arrived, noticing the places and ways that I can bring more integration and awareness about the spiral processes in my life, and committed to making space, as Amy challenged me to do, to put down my phone, and sit in the pause and exploration of a question in my life, rather than rushing to a solution.

I invite you to do the same right now…to push pause, really listen to this conversation, and create space for integration, curiosity, iteration, and creativity in your E.P.I.C. life.

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Click forward now to pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

This Episode is Dedicated by:
Olivia Parr-Rud

Olivia pioneered the research in Predictive Analytics and Business Intelligence that led to the writing of her first book, Data Mining Cookbook, Modeling for Acquisition, Risk and Customer Relationship Management (Wiley 2001). Her passion for finding successful solutions for her clients inspired her research on leadership and corporate culture and the unveiling of the link between advances in technology and the increasing need for human and organizational development. Her findings are detailed in her second book, Business Intelligence Success Factors, Aligning for Success in a Global Economy (Wiley/SAS, 2009).

In addition to public speaking, Olivia offers training and consulting in both predictive analytics and innovative leadership. Her clients include Cisco, Citizen’s Bank, Clorox, HP, IBM, Xerox, Providian Insurance, Wells Fargo, Fleet Bank, Advanta, Nationwide, and SAS.

Olivia has a BA in Mathematics and an MS in Decision and Information Systems, with a concentration in Statistics. She is a certified Holacracy™ Practitioner. Holacracy™ is a set of structures and practices designed to build organizational adaptability and resilience.

Radio Show: Quantum Business Insights – Emerging Perspectives on People, Process, & Profits

Follow Olivia on Social Media:

In This Episode We Talk About:

  • The creative genius Amy admired in her mother

  • Amy’s career quest to become an astronaut

  • The spark moments that led Amy to move through an identity crisis and discover a new path

  • The power of truly being seen

  • Amy’s approach to homeschooling, exemplified by what happened when they ran over a snake in their driveway

  • Empowering your children to be decision-makers for themselves

  • Doughnut Economics and Noblesse Oblige

  • Amy and her husband’s work in renewable energy and how they are changing the world

  • The importance of projects and making things real

  • What is a sensory deprivation or “float tank” and why Amy loves it

  • Iterative, Spiral Development and its phases, which map to natural cycles

  • Putting your phone down to be more present and the power of staying in inquiry

  • A favorite passage of mine in Amy’s book which illustrates how “integration” creates a unique ecosystem in our lives

Mentioned from this Episode:

This Week’s Challenge: 

For this week’s challenge, Amy challenges us to invite more space and exploration for something that we are trying to find the solution for. She encourages us to put down our phones, invite in some meditation and mystery, and allow ourselves to be in a state of pause before rushing to resolution. Amy also shared about a float therapy tank experience she has done to quiet her mind and I decided to say “yes” to trying this as well. I’ve identified one to test out not far from my house and think this may be a great way to welcome in some pause.

Learn More About Amy:

Amy Simpkins is the speaker, author, facilitator, and thought leader in innovation for technology, entrepreneurs, and everybody.  She believes that innovation is for everyone and holds the key to both personal fulfillment and lasting global change.

As an MIT-trained engineer, she spent 15 years as a spacecraft systems architect, someone who is responsible for holding the big picture vision for complex space exploration missions, ensuring that all components of the vision were well-integrated into a cohesive whole, and implementing that vision with flexibility and adaptability. She then takes those proven design methodologies and big-picture mindset, infuse them with a heaping side of intuition and soul, and put it all to work to help individuals and organizations bring innovative ideas into reality so they can change the world with their unique magic.

Amy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Master of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering from the University of Southern California. She has designed, integrated, and flown spacecraft with Lockheed Martin, and she’s also the CEO of the hot renewable energy startup, muGrid Analytics.

She lives with her amazing entrepreneurial husband and three rambunctious children in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains outside Denver, Colorado.  She’s a messy chef, a world traveler, a taekwondo green belt, a vocal music minor, a homeschool mom, and a tough cookie in the Colorado backcountry.

Check out Amy’s amazing book here.

Connect with Amy:

Announcements:

Want More Reflection in Your Life? Book A Discovery Call

Some key themes that emerge from this conversation with Amy Simpkins, is the power of reflection and the power of being seen. These are elements that I bring, not only to every podcast interview, but to my one-one-one coaching and Mother’s Quest Circle facilitation. If you’re seeking more space for pause and reflection in your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a discovery call to learn how we might work together.  Visit mothersquest.as.me/discoverysession to schedule a time to talk.

Click here to book a discovery call

One Minute Mom Manifesto

⚡️Have you been feeling a nudge to say “yes” to create your Mother’s Quest Manifesto? The official challenge and giveaway may be over, but the invitation and content is always there for you to create your #oneminutemommanifesto

Here are some easy steps you can follow…

👉 Join the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group www.mothersquest.com/community to find the “unit” for the Manifesto Challenge’s reflective prompts and live videos. It’s all waiting for you!

👉 Follow along with the “unit” at your own pace. Share your reflections along the way in the comments. Let us cheer you on!

👉 Give yourself some quiet time to create your own #oneminutemommanifesto in whatever way feels good…writing, art, photos, song. It can be simple and quick. Don’t overthink it. What matters most, as a guiding light, for how you want to live your life at this stage of raising your children?

👉 Share your #oneminutemommanifesto on social media with the hashtag. Tag me if you can to make sure I’ve seen it. Consider nominating a friend who would benefit.

–Join us, share or tag a friend, or comment on how the #oneminutemommanifesto has helped you if you’ve already created yours.–

Would LOVE for more of you to join us in claiming, or reclaiming, HOW you want to live your life ✨🙌

Did you catch the Father’s Day Special?

Listen to these two amazing fathers who were on the show here:

Acknowledgments:

A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

Olivia Parr-Rud
“Vince” of the While Black Podcast
Sara Brannin-Mooser
Lindsay Pera
Julie Castro Abrams
Alexia Vernon
Brooke Markevicius
Democracy Clothing
Michael Skolnik
Helgi Maki
Kari Azuma
Tamara Sobomehin
Katie Krimitsos
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Rachel Rosen
Chandra Brooks
Jen Simon
Monisha Vasa
Celia Ward-Wallace
Vanessa Couto
Desiree Adaway
Rachel Steinman
Katie Hanus
Denise Barreto 
Sage B. Hobbs 
Samantha Nolan-Smith
Jody Smith
Emily Cretella
Collette Flanagan
Titilayo Tinubu Ali 
Carly Magnus Hurt
Lizzy Russinko 
Suzanne Brown
Mara Berns Langer
Mallory Schlabach 
Katharine Earhart
Jessica Kupferman
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Genese Harris
Tonya Rineer
Liane Louie-Badua
Cristin Downs 
Erin Kendall 
Niko Osoteo 
Erik Newton 
Claire Fry
Divya Silbermann
Rachel Winter
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Cameron Miranda
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/

Ep 64: Fatherhood, Forgiveness and Redemption with Poet Will Little

Ep 64: Fatherhood, Forgiveness and Redemption with Poet Will Little

What you think is what you say. What you say is what you do. What you do becomes a habit. What becomes your habit becomes your character. And your character is what determines your future.  (taken from Will Latif’s TEDx Talk: How to Become the Best Version of Yourself) 

As June comes to a close, a month with a focus on Father’s Day and Gun Violence Awareness, I’m honored to bring you an important conversation that touches on both themes with poet, speaker, advocate and father Will Latif Little.  

As you’ll learn in this episode, Will has a profound story to tell, one that began with an upbringing in a single family parent home with his four sisters in Philadelphia, PA. Without his father or a father figure, and impacted by his environment, Will began to venture away from the ideals he was shaped by in church, dropping out of high school in the 10th grade, and becoming involved in the Philadelphia drug trade and a shooting that resulted in the death of a young man. This ultimately landed Will in prison for a 10-20 year sentence on a murder conviction at the age of 19.
 

Fatherhood was a seminal experience for Will. It was the knowledge of becoming a father, during the time of his incarceration, that became a catalyst for Will to turn his life around, motivating him to get his GED and educate himself through reading books that enlightened him. Through that process, Will says that what he thought was passing the time actually helped him become a man. 

After ten long years, rehabilitated and reformed, Will was released from prison to start a new life, as a free man but challenged by the difficulty of gaining steady employment due to his criminal record. Not wanting to go back to a life of drug dealing and gun carrying, Will decided to invest in a career as a barber.  In his spare time, Will developed a program calledPoetree N Motion that would show young and older people how to overcome obstacles in life. And he began to share his story far and wide, taking the stage at a TEDx event, at public meetings where he advocates for education and emotional intelligence trainings, mentoring in the Philadelphia Prison System, and revealing his experience in a new award-winning documentary called Behind the Bullet. 

 It was important to me that this not be an interview solely about Will’stransgressions but about his whole life, his full humanity and his wisdom across all the E.P.I.C. guideposts. I learned so much from my time with Will…about the power of resilience, a strength passed from his own mother, the enduring possibility of forgiveness and redemption, the power of mindset, and about pushing through our discomfort, something Will challenged me to explore through the metaphor of running.

Ultimately, this episode is about hope and transformation…And I hope you’ll be forever changed, as I have been, by your connection to Will and his story.

Much appreciation,

Additional Reflections:

With this special episode today, I close a series of conversations I set out to record on the intersectional impact of gun violence for the Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative.

This one differs from the others in that it is a deeply personal redemption story. A story of a man who took the life of another human being through gun violence and has come out the other side committed to educating others so they don’t make the same mistakes that he did.

It’s important to note that Will’s perspective and journey is uniquely his own, that he takes a tremendous amount of personal responsibility, and focuses his change efforts on building emotional intelligence. Will also shares that there is systemic racism, a justice system that is not always just, and environmental conditions that contribute to the issue of gun violence.

After listening to this conversation and exploring the links to Will’s work, I hope you’ll also spend some time with some of the other episodes I’ve recorded and with links I’ve included in the show notes to understand the big picture context beneath this deeply personal story. And to find your own path and commitment to dismantling systemic racism and gun violence.  There is so much work to do.

This Episode is Dedicated by:
Vince from the While Black Podcast

Vince has always displayed an entrepreneurial and activist spirit. Since his youth, he has dedicated his time to those around him in hopes of bettering them while he better himself. It began by volunteering as a camp counselor from middle school through high school, and grew via mentorship and tutoring in college all the way to his membership role in the 100 Black Men and as an advocate for African Americans through his work on the While Black Podcast. Vince believes wholeheartedly the James Baldwin quote “To be Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be a rage almost all the time”. However, he chooses to channel that rage into a place that allows him to change the narrative on black folks while he helps to empower those same black folks. 

Earning his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from Southern University A&M in Baton Rouge LA (1999) and his MBA from Queens University in Charlotte NC (2005), Vince has gained valuable experience in multiple industries. 

He has excelled in multiple industries and enjoyed a career spanning 20+ years with opportunities in Engineering, Consumer packaged goods, Corporate retail giants, and now the Social/tech industry. 

In addition, he is a successful entrepreneur and founder of Aveo Big and Tall Golf Apparel which rose to become the #1 big and tall golf apparel offering in Golfsmith stores and was distributed nationally and internationally via various outlets including but not limited to Dicks Sporting Good, GolfSmith, and Golf Galaxy. He has since sold the rights to the Aveo name and divested from the company 

However, he has altered his focus by aligning his passions with his promise and ensuring his time is invested accordingly as he focuses on improving the black world and the global community through and with black people. His latest endeavor is laser-focused on impacting and improving the people around him. Specifically, he is the creator and co-host of the While Black Podcast a podcast focused on empowering, educating, and inspiring African Americans to go and grow. While Black tells stories by, from, and for African Americans and pairs those stories with expert and credible guests who can communicate wisdom and success strategies helping us to achieve, accomplish, and overcome.

Check out the While Black Podcast here

In This Episode We Talk About:

  • How Will’s mother influenced him to be a hard worker and to build resilience

  • Will’s thoughts on the concept of a Hero’s Journey…why he thinks life is really more about being a responsible human being than a hero

  • How fatherhood became the catalyst for changing his life from within and other pivotal moments that he shares in his TEDx Talk

  • The story of forgiveness that unfolded after the brother of the man that Will killed entered into his barber shop

  • The illusion of power and the emotional intelligence and mental control Will believes you need if you are to carry a gun

  • Will’s reflections on the problem of police brutality, the need for emotional intelligence training for officers, and the belief that in order to have justice you need to be just 

  • Biggest lessons Will learned in building a community through the barber shop and how he sees people of diverse backgrounds coming together in new ways

  • Poetry as a vehicle for self-reflection and the recitation of one of Will’s favorite poems “Look Into His Eyes”

  • Pushing past your limiting beliefs through a physical challenge like running

Mentioned from this Episode:

Resources to Go Deeper On Intersectional Impact of Gun Violence and our Criminal Justice System:

This Week’s Challenge: 

For this week’s challenge, Will challenges us to run! It’s a physical and mental challenge to engage yourself in self-awareness he says. Challenge yourself and see how far you can go. This activity will help you shape your mindset to understand that you can reach your full potential. Do this when you’re thinking of starting a new project or a big event. This physical challenge will help you gain more clarity to reach your goals.

Learn More About Will:

Will Little grew up in a single family parent home with his four sisters in Philadelphia, PA. Without his father or a father figure, Will began to venture out. Traveling through the City streets, Will picked up bad habits and negative ideas, soon becoming a product of his environment. Dropping out of high school in the 10th grade, Will became involved in the Philadelphia drug trade and other illegal activities. This ultimately landed Will in prison for 10-20 years on a murder conviction at the age of 19.

During the time of his incarceration, Will decided to turn his life around, by first getting his diploma by way of a GED. While incarcerated, Will started educating himself to pass the time. He became a prodigious reader. In ten years, Will read a diverse spectrum of books that educated and enlightened him. What he thought was passing the time actually helped him become a man. 

After ten long years, rehabilitated and reformed, Will Little was released from prison to start a new life, as a free man. He worked several odd jobs, but could not maintain steady employment due to his criminal record. Will was now unemployed with two children, an apartment, and a car note. Not wanted to go back to a life of drug dealing and gun carrying, Will decided to invest in a career as a barber. Will used one of his unemployment checks to purchase his supplies for barbering and learned how to be a barber while on the job.

In his spare time, Will developed a program in 2003 that would show young and older people how to overcome obstacles in life through understanding life’s trial and taking positive action. This program is called Poetree N Motion.

Since his release, Will has performed in famous places such as Love Park, Harrisburg, PA, for the Philadelphia Prison System, for the Philadelphia School District, and at Girard College. Will has performed at community events with the former Mayor Street, former Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, District Attorney Seth Williams, and for actors such as Charles Dutton, and Judge Mathis.

Will Little and Poetree N Motion have appeared on NBC News and well as on Fox 29. They also teach mentoring workshops with other organizations in the Philadelphia area.

Will has had numerous articles in the local newspapers Philadelphia Tribune twice, south Philu review four times, Philadelphia Enquire two front-page article in the Philadelphia Daily News which inspired him to write his autobiography, I.C.Y. The Life and Times of Will Little. Will also had a television talk show on Comcast channel 80 which aired for two and a half years. You can see a great forgiveness story that won a 2014 Emmy award on YouTube under The power of Forgiveness two south Philly men” 

Will has received awards and citations from the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office of Pennsylvania, former Prison Commissioner Leon King, Partners in Peace Award from State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson and the 2010 Lucien E. Blackwell Guiding Light Award, United Way Philly Roots award, is a 2014 BME award winner and many more.

Connect with Will:

Announcements:

Announcement for the First Spark Your E.P.I.C. Life Group Program

This summer, I’m excited to invite you to join us for the first group program version of the signature Spark Your E.P.I.C. Life series that I typically do in one-on-one coaching or in the Mother’s Quest Circle. The Group Program will bring you the same powerful sequence, in community, at a more affordable rate and at an accelerated pace, meeting weekly on Thursdays, beginning the second week of July.

 If you want to be added to wait list to receive the link to all the details and the registration application as soon as it goes live, sign up here. Hope you may join us, and that together, we can help you clarify your future vision, assess your present along the E.P.I.C. Guideposts, and then move into action to more fully live your E.P.I.C. life.

Mother’s Quest Manifesto Give-Away

⚡️Have you been feeling a nudge to say “yes” to this Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge?

Here are some easy steps you can follow…in the last few days of this year’s invitation before our Give-Away.

FIVE STEPS:

👉 Join the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group www.mothersquest.com/community to find the “unit” for the Manifesto Challenge’s reflective prompts and live videos. It’s all waiting for you!

👉 Follow along with the “unit” at your own pace. Share your reflections along the way in the comments. Let us cheer you on!

👉 Give yourself some quiet time to create your own #oneminutemommanifesto in whatever way feels good…writing, art, photos, song. It can be simple and quick. Don’t overthink it. What matters most, as a guiding light, for how you want to live your life at this stage of raising your children?

👉 Share your #oneminutemommanifesto on social media with the hashtag. Tag me if you can to make sure I’ve seen it. Consider nominating a friend who would benefit.

👉 Tune back in on July 1st to see if you win one of the amazing prizes from Mother’s Quest members…everything from free courses, to a chance to have your manifesto turned into a visual creation from our resident artist Jen Jenkins Dohner

–Join us, share or tag a friend, or comment on how the #oneminutemommanifesto has helped you if you’ve already created yours.–

Would LOVE for more of you to join us in claiming, or reclaiming, HOW you want to live your life ✨🙌

Acknowledgments:

A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

Sara Brannin-Mooser

Lindsay Pera
Julie Castro Abrams
Alexia Vernon
Brooke Markevicius
Democracy Clothing
Michael Skolnik
Helgi Maki
Kari Azuma
Tamara Sobomehin
Katie Krimitsos
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Rachel Rosen
Chandra Brooks
Jen Simon
Monisha Vasa
Celia Ward-Wallace
Vanessa Couto
Desiree Adaway
Rachel Steinman
Katie Hanus
Denise Barreto 
Sage B. Hobbs 
Samantha Nolan-Smith
Jody Smith
Emily Cretella
Collette Flanagan
Titilayo Tinubu Ali 
Carly Magnus Hurt
Lizzy Russinko 
Suzanne Brown
Mara Berns Langer
Mallory Schlabach 
Katharine Earhart
Jessica Kupferman
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Genese Harris
Tonya Rineer
Liane Louie-Badua
Cristin Downs 
Erin Kendall 
Niko Osoteo 
Erik Newton 
Claire Fry
Divya Silbermann
Rachel Winter
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Cameron Miranda
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/