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Philosophy

On Life and Meaning

Updated 12 days ago

Arts
Society & Culture
Philosophy
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On Life and Meaning is a podcast about what matters most in our lives. We host conversations with compelling personalities about their lives and work. We explore human brilliance: our talents, endeavors, motivations and higher purposes. The show focuses on art, philosophy, leadership, literature, civic life and culture – seeking to inspire a more generative and humane world.

Read more

On Life and Meaning is a podcast about what matters most in our lives. We host conversations with compelling personalities about their lives and work. We explore human brilliance: our talents, endeavors, motivations and higher purposes. The show focuses on art, philosophy, leadership, literature, civic life and culture – seeking to inspire a more generative and humane world.

iTunes Ratings

16 Ratings
Average Ratings
16
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0
0
0

Engaging and thought provoking!

By Preinfeld - Dec 07 2018
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Listened to a few of the On Life and Meaning podcasts over the last few months, but recently listened to the Don Taylor episode and really enjoyed it. Found it engaging, thought provoking and informative. I shared the experience with several people since listening to the episode :) Thank you Mark and Don!

Riveting Content AND Questions

By LauraCNeff - Jul 26 2018
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From the first episode of “On Life and Meaning,” I was hooked on the guest content *and* on Mark’s keen listening and questions. The guests are diverse and fascinating, offering an insight into what makes them and our city tick. And Mark is clearly both well prepared and fully present for each conversation. His “Personal Word” at the end allows for his own reflection and input but also creates space for the interview to be completely about the guest. So well done! 100 episodes just won’t be enough. 😊

iTunes Ratings

16 Ratings
Average Ratings
16
0
0
0
0

Engaging and thought provoking!

By Preinfeld - Dec 07 2018
Read more
Listened to a few of the On Life and Meaning podcasts over the last few months, but recently listened to the Don Taylor episode and really enjoyed it. Found it engaging, thought provoking and informative. I shared the experience with several people since listening to the episode :) Thank you Mark and Don!

Riveting Content AND Questions

By LauraCNeff - Jul 26 2018
Read more
From the first episode of “On Life and Meaning,” I was hooked on the guest content *and* on Mark’s keen listening and questions. The guests are diverse and fascinating, offering an insight into what makes them and our city tick. And Mark is clearly both well prepared and fully present for each conversation. His “Personal Word” at the end allows for his own reflection and input but also creates space for the interview to be completely about the guest. So well done! 100 episodes just won’t be enough. 😊
Cover image of On Life and Meaning

On Life and Meaning

Latest release on Jun 06, 2019

Read more

On Life and Meaning is a podcast about what matters most in our lives. We host conversations with compelling personalities about their lives and work. We explore human brilliance: our talents, endeavors, motivations and higher purposes. The show focuses on art, philosophy, leadership, literature, civic life and culture – seeking to inspire a more generative and humane world.

Rank #1: Amy Aussieker | Many Lives Many Masters - Ep. 59

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Amy Aussieker is executive director of Envision Charlotte, a public-private collaboration leading an effort to make the City of Charlotte a global Smart City. Before joining Envision Charlotte, Amy served as a strategic consultant for businesses in marketing, fundraising, social media and public relations. She served as a business development and community affairs executive with a commercial construction company and as Group Vice President for Sales and Marketing for the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, where she was responsible for leadership, fundraising and community relations. She has started multiple businesses, including FABO Coffee Art Bar and Tank*s Tap Craft Beer Bar. Amy earned a B.A. in Communications from Purdue University. 

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in smart cities, circular economies, idea generation, reincarnation and evolving over many lives.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Amy explains Envision Charlotte and its two buckets of projects.
  • She discusses its core mission and how it goes about it work.
  • She talks about changing consumer behaviors in the land of plenty.
  • She addresses the relationship between Envision Charlotte and Duke Energy.
  • Amy defines what makes a smart city.
  • She identifies the one area she would invest in to make a city smarter.
  • She considers the human element of being a smart city.
  • She talks about Envision America.
  • Amy explains the Innovation Barn, waste streams and the circular economy.
  • She answers why she does this work.
  • She reflects on growing up in Indiana and a defining family experience.
  • She discusses changing her major at Purdue University, being a social director, moving to Atlanta, and finding her way to Charlotte.
  • Amy shares her entrepreneurial ventures and what comes up when her name is Googled.
  • She reveals what is at the deep core of her curiosity. 
  • She shares what comforts her and evolving as a soul.
  • She talks about the life lessons she is re-learning.
  • Amy identifies the book that rocked her world.

plus Mark Peres' Personal Word Essay: Reincarnation Once Again

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Aug 22 2018

56mins

Play

Rank #2: Ken Lambla | Interdisciplinary Design - Ep. 95

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Ken Lambla is founding dean of the College of Arts + Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he has served on the faculty since 1983. The College of Arts + Architecture is comprised of academic units in Architecture, Art, Art History, Dance, Music and Theater. Ken’s teaching has focused on architectural design, design process, and social history. He has worked as an architect and urban designer in Belfast, Chicago, San Francisco and throughout North Carolina. Ken received a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from the University of Kansas, and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in arts and architecture, interdisciplinary design, community development, stewardship, and how arts inform a life.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Ken reflects on a 3-month camping trip to Patagonia and what the trip was about.
  • He considers who he found himself becoming in Patagonia and what he is bringing back from his trip.
  • He describes the academic units of the College of Arts + Architecture and how the idea for the College began to form.
  • He states the case he made to his colleagues to form a new college at UNC Charlotte.
  • Ken addresses whether the goals of the College of Arts + Architecture were met during his tenure as dean, what he thinks he and College got right and what he and the College could have done better.
  • He answers whether the College of Arts + Architecture is today what he hoped it would be and why the College of Arts + Architecture is important.
  • He talks about growing up in New Jersey and what was important to his family.
  • He discusses the high school teacher who inspired him, descriptive geometry, being attracted to the abstraction of architecture, and the concept of struggle.
  • Ken shares what drew him to Environmental Design at the University of Kansas and how an interdisciplinary approach to learning became a seed for the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture.
  • He notes how living and working in Belfast, Chicago and San Francisco intensified the role of arts in his life.
  • He shares the core of what he values that he wants his students to learn.
  • He talks about what social values should guide what we build and where he goes where is most happy.
  • Ken notes what’s on his mind as he passes the baton of leadership to a new dean, whether he has led the life he has wanted to live and what’s next for him.

plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay: A Life Revealed in One Scene

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

May 02 2019

1hr

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Rank #3: Cyndee Patterson | True Believer - Ep. 80

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Cyndee Patterson is president of the Lynwood Foundation that owns and operates the historic Duke Mansion and the Lee Institute. Both the Duke Mansion and the Lee Institute are devoted to community service, philanthropy and convening the civic leaders of today and tomorrow. The Duke Mansion is a 4-star inn and meeting event venue. The Lee Institute provides facilitation, consulting and training for nonprofit, government and community organizations across the country. Cyndee was previously president of Patterson Blake, Inc., a corporate meeting and event planning firm. She served as an at-large Charlotte City Council member from 1985 to 1993 and as Mayor Pro Tem from 1989-1991. She has served on several boards and has won numerous awards for community service. Cyndee earned B.A. with honors in psychology and business administration from Purdue University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in civic engagement, dialog, leadership development, city politics, and serving the past, present and future.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • ee describes the Lynwood Foundation and the work of the Duke Mansion and the Lee Institute.

  • She explains how the Lee Institute goes about its work of building community leadership.

  • She notes what the Lee Institute teaches that intersects leadership development, non-profit organizational support and civic engagement.

  • She discusses listening and appreciative inquiry, and the tension between dialog and action.

  • Cyndee talks about facilitating dialog around the issue of gentrification.

  • She identifies two underlying causes of civic engagement issues in Charlotte.

  • She considers how the leadership model in Charlotte must evolve to address stresses from growth.

  • She addresses lack of trust as a barrier to civic engagement.

  • Cyndee answers what can people to do improve civic engagement.

  • She discusses growing up in Carol City, Florida and how it framed her life.

  • She shares how her politics have come full circle and why she loves civic engagement.

  • She reveals what she is a true believer about and what event rocked her world.

  • Cyndee talks about how she went from supporting Bobby Kennedy to Nelson Rockefeller to Richard Nixon to George McGovern.

  • She discusses moving to Charlotte, the first projects she worked on in the city, and bringing people together.

  • She reveals why the chose to withdraw from her race for mayor.

  • She compares civic leadership today to the civic leadership of the 1980’s and 1990’s.

  • Cyndee talks about converting to Reform Judaism and recites the words of a sign in her office that guides her life.

plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay: The Charlotte Way

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning.

Jan 17 2019

1hr

Play

Rank #4: Paula Broadwell | Virtual Reality - Ep. 71

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Paula Broadwell is interim executive director of Wheelhouse Media Foundation, a non-profit arm of Wheelhouse Media, which creates original and branded content across media platforms. She is also director of the Think Broader Foundation. She leads the firm’s branding, communications, business and executive leadership development practices, serving clients across the United States. Paula’s experience spans the consulting, media, defense, academic and nonprofit sectors. Prior to her current work, she was a New York Times best-selling author and research associate at Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership. She also served as Deputy Director of The Fletcher School’s Counter-Terrorism Center. Paula is a U.S. Army veteran with leadership experience in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Europe. She is a graduate of The U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She holds an M.A. in International Security from the University of Denver and M.P.A. in International Relations and National Security from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She is pursuing a Diploma in Global Business from Oxford University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in virtual reality immersion, addressing unconscious bias, a career in military intelligence and service to greater causes.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Paula shares her thoughts on Veterans Day and service to the nation.
  • She discusses her contribution of a virtual reality immersion video to ‘Vicarious,’ an art exhibit on the veteran experience at Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art.
  • She tells the story of Staff Sergeant Dale Beatty and producing a video dedicated to him that shows the challenges of being a disabled veteran.
  • She reviews the potential uses and benefits of virtual reality technology.
  • Paula describes the Think Broader Foundation and her work of addressing unconscious bias in the media.
  • She answers why bias and equality issues are important to her.
  • She talks about her experience pursuing a diploma in Global Business from Oxford University.
  • She quotes from the poem ‘Ulysses’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
  • Paula reflects on growing up the daughter of a teacher and cattle-rancher in Bismarck, North Dakota.
  • She remembers her career in high school and being part of group called ‘The Wholesomes.’
  • She shares how she ended up at The U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
  • She discusses her time at West Point and what branch and post she pursued after graduation.
  • Paula answers what type of mission tested her during her military career and whether she was good at what she did.
  • She reviews her career working in intelligence in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, supporting special operations command in Europe, and being part of an inter-agency special counter-terrorism task force.
  • She remembers the morning of 9/11.
  • She shares what was once her career ambition to serve at the highest levels of national service and she answers whether she ever wanted to be President of the United States.
  • Paula reveals where she focuses her ambition now, the mantra that she follows, and what’s important to her.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Ulysses

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Nov 14 2018

56mins

Play

Rank #5: Kathy Izard | Do Good Love Well - Ep. 64

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Kathy Izard is the author of ‘The Hundred Story Home, a memoir about finding faith in ourselves and something bigger.’ The memoir tells the story of how Kathy listened to a whisper urging her to house the homeless. She launched Homeless to Homes, a Housing First proof-of-concept program, and led a capital campaign to build Moore Place, the first permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless in Charlotte. She has worked on numerous civic projects, including leading fundraising efforts for HopeWay, the first nonprofit residential mental health treatment center in the Charlotte region. Before these efforts, Kathy was a graphic designer and soup kitchen volunteer. She is a member of the Women’s Impact Fund and serves on the board of directors of the Charlotte Urban Ministry Center, Moore Place, HopeWay, and the Crossnore School for foster children. Kathy earned a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in a journey to build permanent housing for the homeless and finding meaning and purpose in life.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Kathy talks about how she feels receiving recognition for her book.
  • She summarizes the story that The Hundred Story Home
  • She shares the most meaningful story within The Hundred Story Home.
  • She describes the household she grew up in West Texas.
  • Kathy reflects on the importance of borders issues in her life.
  • She explains what ‘Do Good Love Well’ means to her and answers which of the two is harder for her.
  • She shares what she wished she had written that she did not in her book.
  • She considers whether family and home are the same thing or something different.
  • Kathy talks about how homeless people go about creating family.
  • She answers what faith she is talking about when she talks about faith.
  • She references the works of theology of Barbara Brown Taylor.
  • She discusses how she sees faith in action and the God she believes in.
  • Kathy explains what she means by ‘God-instance’ and addresses whether an agnostic or atheist could have accomplished the same work of funding Moore Place.
  • She talks about her feelings of guilt and shame and gratitude about privilege.
  • She reflects on what qualities account for her achievements.
  • She reveals what she learned in therapy during the writing of the book.
  • Kathy addresses projecting herself as a protagonist.
  • She answers whether the search for meaning and purpose continues for her.
  • She shares the message she wants to tell people and the whisper she is listening to now

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: The Starting and Finishing of Things

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Sep 27 2018

51mins

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Rank #6: Hardin Minor | From Here to Eternity - Ep. 68

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Hardin Minor is a performance artist and entertainer who embodies countless characters and enlivens spaces throughout the Charlotte community. He is co-founder of OMIMEO Mime Theatre, which presents a blend of mime illusion, circus arts, and special effects theater magic. He has performed for every kind of audience, from the classroom to corporate settings. Hardin has received numerous awards, including the Arts & Science Council’s Creative Fellowship Award, the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Stage Award in recognition of longtime service to the arts in Charlotte, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 2017 Distinguished Alumnus in Dance award. He received a Bachelor of Creative Arts degree in Dance and Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in mime and performance art, the physical nature of wisdom, the spirit of the clown, and widening cosmic circles. 

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Hardin describes his work as an entertainer and how he presents himself to the world.
  • He explains why school children know him and the dynamic he applies to everything.
  • He talks about our desire for creativity and being a ‘cross-educational platform.’
  • He discusses how he works with corporations and playing theater games with bankers.
  • Hardin channels ‘The Ballet Gourmet,’ ‘Barry Cantaloupe’ and ‘Banana Claus.’
  • He reveals how he comes up with characters and what perspective informs his work.
  • He discusses Commedia Dell’Arte and the roots of physical comedy.
  • Hardin explains ‘physical-osophy’ and where and how we gain wisdom in life.
  • He talks about the incarnation of the divine and becoming beams of light.
  • He answers whether the life of a clown is a happy one.
  • He considers where he is on the ‘clown spectrum.’
  • Hardin remembers his parents and the ‘wild, wonderful’ home he grew up in.
  • He reflects on his time attending Woodberry Forest School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • He discusses his experiences of ‘direct action’ in the early 1970s.
  • He shares how he began his career in dance and the sudden revelation he had.
  • Hardin talks about living and performing in New York City in the 1980s.
  • He reflects on returning to Charlotte and creating shows and characters for 30 years.
  • He discusses a new character that he is sharing with the world.
  • Hardin reads a poem entitled ‘I Live My Life’ by Ranier Maria Rilke.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: A Rose Upon His Nose

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Oct 25 2018

1hr 4mins

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Rank #7: Bob Henderson | Teaching Elder - Ep. 87

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Bob Henderson is senior minister and head of staff of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. His ministry is focused on the centrality of worship, on pastoral care, and on vibrant mission programs. Bob previously served as senior pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. Prior to Westminster, Bob was associate pastor of the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in religion and economics from Furman University, his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in the Presbyterian church, faith in public life, gay marriage, white privilege, the changing language of proclamation, and what is true.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Bob explains what makes a Presbyterian church a Presbyterian church.
  • He identifies the core principles of Presbyterianism, including the priesthood of all believers, that God alone is lord of the conscious, and faith in public life.
  • He answers what it means to be a confessional church.
  • He discusses whether and how minority views are protected and honored in the Presbyterian church.
  • Bob explains the position of the Presbyterian church nationally on gay marriage.
  • He describes the evolution of his own thinking on gay marriage and the position of Covenant Presbyterian on gay marriage.
  • He addresses why the Presbyterian church nationally is 90% white and its legacy of forcing and leading white supremacy in America.
  • He shares his view on white privilege and whether Covenant Presbyterian members actually want greater racial diversity in their pews.
  • Bob answers what Covenant Presbyterian does well and it could do better.
  • He considers religious life in America and what revival in the Presbyterian church would look like.
  • He talks about growing up on the East Coast, what he learned from his parents, and how he came to the church.
  • He addresses whether wealth gets in the way of salvation and if salvation is preordained.
  • Bob shares a crisis of faith during a mission in college, what was formative during theological school, his first years as a minister, and a mid-career reflection.
  • He recalls arriving at Covenant Presbyterian during the recession.
  • He discusses how his language of proclamation is changing, the authority of the Bible, and his favorite theologians.
  • Bob shares what he knows is true.

plus Mark's personal word essay: Grace to Mystery

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Mar 07 2019

1hr 1min

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Rank #8: Dianne Chipps Bailey | Doing Well and Good - Ep. 26

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Dianne Chipps Bailey is an attorney who helps non-profit organizations create a better world. She leads the non-profit and foundations practice group for Robinson Bradshaw, a full service law firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dianne speaks nationally and is an expert witness on non-profit, corporate governance and tax/regulatory issues. She has served on many non-profit boards and is particularly engaged in women's philanthropic giving. Dianne is a recipient of multiple awards, including the 2015 Mecklenburg Times Woman of the Year Award, North Carolina Lawyers Weekly Woman of Justice Award, and the Charlotte Business Journal Women in Business Achievement Award. She holds a B.A. with high honors in English and philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. with honors from Georgetown University Law Center.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in the non-profit sector and matters of faith, privilege, perfection and gratitude.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Dianne describes her practice and what she does for the clients she serves.
  • She shares the phone call she most enjoys receiving.
  • She talks about the impact of the Great Recession on the non-profit sector, how she looks at the current health of the sector, and where she sees increased sophistication.
  • She reveals the issue that she is carefully watching and grades the non-profit sector.
  • She answers whether we have too many non-profits, whether we would be better served by for-profit social entrepreneurs, and the disruption that is occurring in the non-profit sector.
  • Dianne shares her one true love in the philanthropic community.
  • She talks about where she is from and what she loves about her home state.
  • She reveals who she considers to be the most important influence in her life and who she most aspires to be more like. 
  • She explains what exploded her worldview in college and the fragmented life she led on campus.
  • She discusses what is it that she struggles with and her thoughts about identity.
  • Dianne shares a moment when she was adrift and what happened to change everything.
  • She addresses the illusion of perfection and how she presents herself to the world.
  • She shares her thoughts about privilege and her response to it in her life.
  • She reveals the role she played in the political rise of Braxton Winston II.
  • She discusses what she calls the Bailey Big Trip and what it means to her.
  • Dianne shares what is most important to her.

After the conversation, host Mark Peres adds a personal word that begins this way, "Dianne Chipps Bailey lives a life that by any measure is remarkable.  She is good at everything she seemingly sets out to do..." 

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning.

Jan 02 2018

56mins

Play

Rank #9: Kelly Ottman | China Rising - Ep. 89

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Kelly Ottman is a professor in the Radar School of Business in the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in leadership, strategic planning, team development and organizational behavior. Kelly developed and leads the Doing With Business China program in which engineering students undergo 11 weeks of classroom preparation that culminates in a 12-day working tour of China. She is a leadership coach providing consultation to executives throughout the world. Kelly earned a B.Sc. degree in Therapeutic Recreation at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and an M.P.A. in Health Care Administration and Public Policy and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and Adult Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in doing business with China, cultural immersion, clarifying mission and vision, and finding joy in purpose.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Kelly describes MSOE and her area of focus in the scholarship of teaching and learning.
  • She notes the classes she teaches and what she wants her students to learn.
  • She explains what she means when she says gray is a color.
  • She notes what she helps to develop in faculty as a faculty development
  • Kelly shares how cultural immersion helps with leadership development and how and why she launched the Doing Business With China
  • She references practicing Tai Chi in the Temple of Heaven and what students most often say when reflecting on their experience in China.
  • She explains Guanxi, the Chinese system of social networks and influential relationships which facilitate business and other dealings.
  • She tells a story illustrating how her students have been transformed by their experience in China.
  • Kelly discusses the phenomenal growth in China she has witnesses and how its technology has leapfrogged the world.
  • She answers what people should know about China as it advances, what is considered good leadership in China, and how China is practicing the Art of War.
  • She talks about growing up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, her parents, and what was formative about her years in middle school.
  • She reflects on finding joy in purpose and learning that one cannot prepare for everything.
  • Kelly shares a mission and vision statement that changed her life and what matters most to her.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Finding Joy in Purpose

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Mar 21 2019

1hr 3mins

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Rank #10: Angela Gala | Mindful Meditation - Ep. 28

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Angela Gala takes the stress out of life. She is co-founder and executive director of Youth Meditation, a non-profit organization dedicated to giving students, teachers and parents tools to manage anxiety and emotions. She is also founder and principal of Rogers and Gala Creative Partners, an event planning firm. She has planned hundreds of events, has been featured on The Today Show, and has been quoted extensively on event planning in media throughout North America. She previously worked as Director of Private Parties for Charlotte City Club and Director of Catering for the Sheraton Hotel. Angela holds a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Louisville.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in meditation and event-planning and what they have in common in a purpose-driven life. 

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Angela explains what is Youth Meditation and what it seeks to do.
  • She describes mindful meditation and how to meditate. 
  • She guides listeners in a meditation session, showing the practice of controlled breath and relaxation.
  • She talks about who Youth Meditation serves and how it is being received.
  • Angela shares what we would witness in a Youth Meditation class.
  • She reflects on the needs she sees in the community for meditation and what science says about its benefits.
  • She reveals what is her one goal when she leads meditation and why she has brought this work to schools.
  • She then talks about event planning and answers how an event planner plans events.
  • Angela explores the connection between meditation and creativity.
  • She answers what event she enjoys planning the most, what makes for a good event and whether the Internet has changed event planning.
  • She shares where she grew up, what was important to her growing up, and what she carried with her for many years.
  • She talks about her first job out of school that made the news and the lesson she learned.
  • Angela reveals the most gratifying part of her joband what she hopes her kids learn from her. 

After the conversation, host Mark Peres adds a personal word that begins this way, "My guided meditation session with Angela was...unusual. We were seated at my kitchen table with microphones in front us recording our conversation..."   

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Jan 17 2018

53mins

Play

Rank #11: Richard Pinder | Truth and Consequence - Ep. 63

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Richard Pinder is a retired assistant professor of history at Johnson & Wales University. Richard taught courses on world history, leadership, religion and civil rights. He has presented extensively on the civil rights legislation. He had a 40-career in education teaching at all levels of instruction from elementary school to middle and high school to community college and private universities. Richard taught in the Michigan and Florida public school systems before relocating to North Carolina. He earned a B.A. in theology from Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, and a M.A.T. in history from Andrews University in Berrien Springs. Michigan. 

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in partisan news, faith in an evidence-based world, and the rewards of teaching.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Richard discusses the news cycle and how it impacts his passion for politics.
  • He reflects on the many layers of his childhood growing up in Savannah, Georgia.
  • He talks about how the way he was disciplined and the validation he received from his church shaped him.
  • He notes the reverence he gained for sacred spaces and the sacraments.
  • Richard remembers attending Pine Forge Academy boarding school.
  • He answers whether he has gone through life resisting authority and discipline.
  • He recalls his ‘foolishness’ as a young man and coming to find himself.
  • He discusses wanting to become a minister and attending Oakwood College.
  • Richard reveals what became his ‘bread and butter.’
  • He considers whether Christianity has held its adherents back.
  • He states his view on faith in an evidence-based world.
  • He shares what he likes best about teaching
  • Richard answers what the level of education he enjoyed teaching the most.
  • He describes the course on civil rights he developed.
  • He reveals what he would want to do every day for the rest of his life.
  • He reflects on the Black Lives Matter
  • Richard answers what he wants his grandson to know.

plus Mark Peres' Personal Word Essay: Two Men Walk Into a Bar

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Sep 19 2018

46mins

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Rank #12: Howard Slutzky | Psychology Today - Ep. 84

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Howard Slutzky is a professor of psychology at Johnson & Wales University. He has a particular interest in the areas of emotional intelligence, positive psychology, and mindfulness. Howard offers numerous health and wellness workshops on topics such as relationships, stress reduction, time-management, grief and loss, dream interpretation, and coping with medical issues. He has worked in a variety of clinical settings including community mental health, college counseling, and private practice. He also has a part-time private practice where he conducts disability evaluations for Social Security. Howard earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland at College Park and a doctorate of psychology from Georgia School of Professional Psychology with a focus on general adult psychology.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in teaching psychology, interpreting dreams, surviving leukemia, overcoming personal trauma, and living authentically.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Howard describes a favorite lesson on alien hand syndrome he teaches in his Introduction to Psychology course.
  • He answers why psychology classes are so popular on college campuses.
  • He tells a story about a student seeking enlightenment.
  • He talks about different workshops on mental health and wellness he leads and how he goes about interpreting dreams.
  • Howard shares who he is in the classroom and what he wants his students to learn.
  • He recalls his childhood in Potomac, Maryland, and his sister Elisa.
  • He describes being diagnosed at the age of seven with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia and surviving cancer as a child.
  • Howard recites a poem he wrote in graduate school called ‘Fallen Angel’ about isolation and pretending.
  • He shares how he found his way to teaching and what he loves about it.
  • He talks about discovering that his sister Elisa had been killed and managing the events that followed.
  • He addresses going to work the day after his sister died.
  • Howard answers where he is now emotionally, what has helped him manage his grief, and what he says to people experiencing tragedy and loss.
  • He explains why the life and welfare of animals is so important to him.
  • He shares what he knows today that he didn’t know before about overcoming trauma.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: The Way of the Jain

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Feb 14 2019

54mins

Play

Rank #13: Michael Graff | Along the Way - Ep. 53

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Michael Graff is a freelance writer. His work has appeared in  in The Guardian, Garden & GunPOLITICOSUCCESSWashingtonianOur StateSouthwest: The Magazine, and SB Nation Longform. He writes a monthly column for the back page of Charlotte magazine, where he served as editor from 2013 to 2017. Previously, Michael served as a senior editor and writer at Our State magazine, and as the Sunday enterprise writer and a sports writer at the Fayetteville Observer. He has received multiple notable selections in Best American Sports Writing and Best American Essays. Michael earned a bachelor's degree in English from High Point University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in freelance writing, storytelling, life, death and love. 

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Michael explains what he does and how he thinks of his work.
  • He shares the most profound essay he has written. 
  • He reveals the question that drives most of his writing.
  • He considers the topic that all his writing explores.
  • Michael tells a story about his father.
  • He shares what to do with this life.
  • He describes how he goes about his work as a story teller.
  • He explains why reporting is far more interesting to him than writing.
  • Michael discusses how being an editor informs his work as a writer.
  • He shares how an editor changed his life as an editor and writer. 
  • He talks about why he tells stories and what moment he tries to find in his writing.
  • He answers whether he writes for an audience or for himself.
  • Michael explains quotes from writers and photographers about his work.
  • He identifies what he is intense about and what he believes in.
  • He answers whether success is on his mind and whether he feels successful.
  • He talks about his childhood and how it informs who he is today.
  • Michael reveals the most freeing thing he has encountered.
  • He addresses whether he wants to be considered a great Southern story teller.
  • He shares the story he wants told about him.

plus Mark Peres' Personal Word Essay: Memory and Love

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Jul 11 2018

1hr

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Rank #14: Laura Neff | True Belonging - Ep. 55

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Laura Neff is an organizational transformation and leadership development consultant and coach for Dorrier Underwood, an organizational and executive development consulting firm. Before joining Dorrier Underwood in 2016, Laura founded and led her own practice as an executive coach for emerging leaders for ten years, co-founded Nourish, LLC, an organic, vegan meal delivery service, and launched Cresswell Communications, a strategic communications and training firm. Her career began at NationsBank/Bank of America, where she was VP, Technology & Operations Strategic Internal Communications. She is a past president of the International Coach Federation, Charlotte Chapter. Laura earned a Bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in executive and personal coaching, how to know a good coach, speaking people into themselves, and the journey we are all on. 

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Laura explains the sweet spot of Dorrier Underwood.
  • She shares what attracted her to coaching and how to know a good coach.
  • She addresses the difference between business coaching and personal coaching.
  • She answers what lights her up and when she is most distressed.
  • Laura discusses the relationship that is for her the purest form of companionship.
  • She reveals the deepest story that she carries about herself.
  • She talks about how she grew up in and what her parents taught her.
  • She shares a formative experience she had in 6th grade and what she struggled with in high school. 
  • Laura reflects on her time in college at SUNY Fredonia and later at James Madison University.
  • She notes when she began to find her way back to herself and what began her path toward coaching.
  • She tells a story about meeting her husband and touring the country with him in a converted school bus.
  • She talks about starting Charlotte's first urban consumer supported agriculture market.
  • Laura reflects on 'speaking people into themselves.'
  • She discusses co-founding Nourish, a prepared, organic, vegan delivery service.
  • She answers how Dorrier Underwood is helping her grow as a person.
  • She explores staying to belong.
  • Laura answers what's possible for her and what journey we are all on.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Ramble On

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Jul 25 2018

1hr

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Rank #15: Sally Robinson | People and Possibility - Ep. 85

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Sally Robinson is a civic leader and community volunteer whose contributions have shaped education, arts and culture in Charlotte and Durham. She has served on many boards, including the Charlotte Symphony, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, the McColl Center for Visual Arts, the Foundation For The Carolinas and Duke University. Sally was the visionary force behind the launch of the Levine Museum of the New South. She has received many awards for her service, including the Duke University Distinguished Alumni Award, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Distinguished Service Award, the John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities, the Charlotte Woman of the Year Award, and the Arts & Sciences Council Lifetime Commitment Award. Sally graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in history from Duke University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in family history, community service, connecting to ideas and possibility, and a lifelong friendship and love.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Sally describes her first home in Charlotte and growing up in the 1930s and 1940s.
  • She tells a story about German POWs and chewing gum just after World War II.
  • She remembers her father and the work he did in textile machinery.
  • She talks about roaming the streets of downtown Charlotte in the 1940s.
  • Sally shares her mother’s community service during the war and the example of civic leadership she established.
  • She recalls her brothers’ heroic service during the war and the family routine of listening to the news and tracking the war effort.
  • She discusses going to boarding school at Mary’s School in Raleigh and the influence of a particular teacher.
  • She shares her first date with Russell Robinson and how it led to marriage.
  • Sally talks about studying history and being a student at Duke University.
  • She answers whether she ever felt limited as a homemaker during the 1950s.
  • She describes how development patterns in Charlotte changed in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • She reflects on segregation, the civil rights movement, and how her perceptions about race relations have evolved.
  • Sally explains how her passion for civic life developed in the 1980s and 1990s and launching the Levine Museum of the New South came about.
  • She answers whether there is a cause or issue that she might have been more involved in.
  • She remembers the naming of the Robinson Center for Civic Leadership at the Foundation For The Carolinas in the 2000s.
  • She shares what is on her mind today for Charlotte in the 2020s.
  • She discusses connecting to community and her connection to Duke University.
  • Sally answers why her marriage works so well and what’s next.

 plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Only Connect

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Feb 22 2019

1hr 6mins

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Rank #16: Stephen Valder | Midlife Mission - Ep. 81

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Stephen Valder is a pediatrician who practiced medicine for 24 years. He was a partner a Providence Pediatrics before retiring in 2016. He has since become interested in addressing the issue of affordable housing as an individual unaffiliated with a non-profit organziation. He is vice chair of the West Side Charlotte Community Land Trust, an owner of housing units that he rents to low-income residents, and an advocate for several affordable housing solutions. Stephen earned a Bachelor’s degree in biology at Duke University and an M.D. at Baylor College of Medicine.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in aptitudes and motivations, civic engagement, affordable housing, the obligations of privilege, and living one’s values. 

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Stephen describes how his first day of practice as a pediatrician was like his last day of practice.
  • He shares what motivated him to retire from the practice of medicine.
  • He answers whether his colleagues felt similar dissatisfaction with their work.
  • He discusses applying multiple aptitudes on confined tasks.
  • Stephen talks about the factors he balanced when deciding to retire from medicine.
  • He addresses what was enough financially for him leaving medicine mid-career.
  • He answers how his colleagues and patients responded when he retired.
  • He reflects on whether he retired too young and going about engaging in community.
  • Stephen explains why he became interested in affordable housing and how he has gone about contributing to solutions.
  • He shares his experience of being a landlord and what he has learned.
  • He discusses whether renting out his properties are a business or a mission.
  • He answers whether he is more fulfilled in retirement.
  • Stephen considers the benefits and the obligations of privilege.
  • He talks about growing up in Charlotte and the influence and example of his parents.
  • He notes the one person he met at Duke University who has had the most impact on his life.
  • He shares how he came to practice pediatrics.
  • Stephen reveals what he wants his to have been about.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Leo Tolstoy and the Blues

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Jan 25 2019

59mins

Play

Rank #17: Valaida Fullwood | Reframing Love - Ep. 4

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Valaida Fullwood is a writer and project strategist who realizes ideas and dreams. She is the author of Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists - named one of the '10 Best Black Books' of 2011 and winner of the prestigious Terry McAdam Book Award as 2012's most inspirational and useful new book for the non-profit sector.  She is also the vision keeper and principal architect for Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited, a museum exhibit that has toured the nation and will be featured at a national conference hosted by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.  Valaida is a poet and public speaker who has inspired audiences throughout the nation.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in the burdens and rewards of an idea and the re-framing of a concept that changes community.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Valaida describes herself as an 'idea whisperer' and shares the most memorable idea she whispered and to whom.
  • She talks about how 'an idea is salvation by imagination' and how she sees herself as spiritual instrument.
  • She describes the small town she grew up in and how it shaped all the choices she made next.
  • Valaida shares how a conversation she overhead on a bus sparked her major in college. 
  • She talks about her work overseas and what she learned about herself.
  • Valaida describes the burden of bearing an untold story and how an idea landed on her that was fully formed and generative.
  • She talks about how she set out to re-frame philanthropy across cultures and communities.
  • She shares the impact of her book and exhibit and how it continues to test and reward her.
  • Valaida responds to where her imagination may be taking her next.   

After the conversation, host Mark Peres shares a personal word that begins this way, "The story Valaida tells of an idea that landed upon her that was fully formed summons another idea about ideas..."

For more about this podcast, visit On Life and Meaning.

Jul 18 2017

54mins

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Rank #18: Michael DeVaul | Omega Man - Ep. 67

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data-pm-slice="1 1 []">Michael DeVaul is Senior Vice President and Chief Social Responsibility Officer for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. He is responsible for strategic alliances, accountability and data measurement, advocacy & public policy, global partnerships, volunteerism, and diversity and inclusion strategies. He began his career at the McGaw YMCA in Evanston, Illinois where he served for just over 15 years before joining the YMCA of Greater Charlotte in 1999. Michael was most recently honored as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014 for his efforts in community building. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in human services from Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri.  

data-pm-slice="1 1 []">This episode is perfect for anyone interested in the circumstances of black and brown boys, connecting dots, code-switching and a personal story of love and humanity.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Michael explains diversity and inclusion work at the YMCA.
  • He identifies the issue on his mind and what he wants to focus on during his remaining years at work.
  • He addresses the circumstances of black and brown boys in Charlotte.
  • He shares how the YMCA is helping black and brown boys.
  • Michael reveals what he is good at and the dots he connects at work.
  • He discusses the historical wave we are undergoing and leaders who are emerging.
  • He talks about the difference between charity and philanthropy.
  • He addresses whether the YMCA is a Christian organization and the image of White Jesus.
  • Michael reflects on growing up in Evanston, Illinois and what his neighborhood taught him.
  • He remembers his parents and what he learned from them.
  • He considers how public school integration shaped him.
  • He shares a defining moment for him during his teenage years.
  • Michael talks about being the ultimate code-switcher and having double-consciousness.
  • He equates playing baseball in college with the work he is doing today.
  • Michael explains what it means to be an Omega man.
  • He reflects on working at the YMCA for 32 years and why he loves what he does.
  • He talks about his marriage to his wife and how they met.
  • He discusses the story of humanity and holding each other with love and affection.
  • Michael reveals what he wants his sons to know.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: A Masculine Faith

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Oct 18 2018

1hr

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Rank #19: Liz Clasen-Kelly | The Sacredness of Human Life - Ep. 93

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Liz Clasen-Kelly is executive director of The Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, which provides emergency shelter to men while working to end homelessness in the Charlotte region. Previously, Liz served as Associate Executive Director for the Urban Ministry Center, an interfaith organization dedicated to bringing the community together to end homelessness. She has also served as director of public policy and community engagement for the Council for Children’s Rights. Liz has received several honors for her work, including the YWCA Woman of Achievement Community Champion Award. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Davidson College and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in helping people needing shelter, working to end homelessness, abundant love, and encountering Christ in the in-between.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Liz describes the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte and the services it provides.
  • She reviews the number of men experiencing homelessness in Charlotte, what drivers affect the rate of homelessness, and what approach guides the work of the Men’s Shelter.
  • She shares what one would see walking into the two Men’s Shelters of Charlotte campuses, the experience men have at the Men’s Shelter, and her keys to improve the flow of services
  • She explains the phrase ‘Life goes on, You’re Not Alone.”
  • Liz tells a story illustrating the friendships that are formed in the Men’s Shelter.
  • She answers how to interact with people experiencing homelessness and whether sleeping in public is a human right.
  • She provides an update on the campaign in Charlotte to address chronic homelessness.
  • She addresses whether a better homeless service system attracts more people experiencing homelessness.
  • Liz shares why she does what she does and what she experiences every day.
  • She talks about navigating class and economic differences in Kingsport, Tennessee.
  • She discusses what was important to her as a young person, her an intense need to be right, and how she learned to play a role influencing public policy.
  • She describes a significant religious experience that changed her life.
  • Liz recalls her religious fervor at Davidson College and the importance of relationships at the Urban Ministry Center in her spiritual growth.
  • She remembers the experience she had and the grace she received at Davidson College.
  • She addresses a theology that can withstand human suffering.
  • She talks about Dale Mullinex and the influence of his work and leadership.
  • Liz shares what she values most.

plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay:  Christ is Risen

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Apr 19 2019

1hr 5mins

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Rank #20: Don Jonas | Community Health - Ep. 78

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Donald K. Jonas, Ph.D. is executive director of Care Ring, which provides primary care to persons with modest means. He previously served as executive director of the Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation and as Senior Vice-President of Community Philanthropy at Foundation For The Carolinas. Don has written extensively on public policy, including the aging of our labor force and the future of America's health care system. He is a 2005 recipient of the Charlotte Business Journal's "40 Under 40" award, he is a German Marshall Fund Fellow, and he serves on a number of boards in the Charlotte region, including UNC Charlotte’s Institute for Social Capital. Don received a bachelor of arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master of arts from Appalachian State University and a doctorate in political science from the University of Kentucky.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in community health, medicaid transformation, human capital and singing in a band.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Don describes Care Ring and its mission of providing health care to persons with limited resources.
  • He identifies the number one issue facing the patients of Care Ring.
  • He explains the Physician’s Reach Out and Nurse Family Partnership
  • He answers how Care Ring is funded and whether Care Ring has the funds it needs.
  • Don tells the story of Maribelle Connerat, the founder of Care Ring.
  • He addresses medicaid transformation in North Carolina and how it might affect Care Ring’s unique model of care.
  • He discusses social determinants of health and how it its leading Care Ring in new directions.
  • He shares his excitement and concerns about One Charlotte Health Initiative and a collective response to community health.
  • Don describes the community health he envisions and what would have to happen for it to materialize.
  • He reveals the personal challenges of leading Care Ring and how he feels about his work.
  • He talks about growing up in Charlotte and the influence of his parents.
  • He answers whether he wanted to run for political office.
  • Don describes his Ph.D. dissertation on telecommunications and the work he did on the book Workforce 2000 and Workforce 2020.
  • He shares how his interest in human capital and health care
  • He discusses why and how he joined the Foundation For The Carolinas as Vice President of Community Philanthropy.
  • He reflects on the influence of Joe Martin, a community leader and executive at Bank of America.
  • Don shares what he learned about himself as executive director of Presbyterian Hospital Association.
  • He talks about being the lead singer of a band, what he wishes he had more time to do, and why his band is called The Fidgets.
  • He reveals what the lyrics of his songs are all about.
  • Don answers whether he senses time passing and what matters most to him.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Black Mirrors and Frumious Bandersnatches

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Jan 02 2019

1hr 7mins

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Richard Thurmond | A Story of Discovery - Ep. 100

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Richard Thurmond is Senior Vice President of Community and Economic Development for Charlotte Center City Partners, a place-making organization for the Center City of Charlotte. He guides special projects and business recruitment efforts that help make the Center City of Charlotte a more livable, memorable, viable, and sustainable place. Previously, Rick spent 21 years with Charlotte magazine. He served as publisher for 4 years and editor for 13 years. During his tenure, the magazine won national and regional awards for excellence. He has served on numerous community boards, including on the board of Historic South End and Theatre Charlotte. Rick earned a B.A. in English from Davidson College.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested basketball, editing and publishing a city magazine, staying and leaving, and the value of curiosity and humility.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Rick describes his home growing up, family influences, how he came to think of himself as a writer, and the significance of basketball in his life.
  • He reflects on his time at Davidson College, study-abroad in Avignon, his start as a sports journalist, and becoming an assistant editor and writer at Charlotte magazine.
  • He talks about why the relaunch of Charlotte magazine succeeded, taking the magazine personally, becoming editor at the age of 26, and being his own harshest critic.
  • Rick discusses the role of the editor of a city magazine, the story of Charlotte, taking readers where they would not have gone, and his proudest moment at the magazine.
  • He addresses whether Charlotte magazine was a magazine for the whole of the city, and why he did not pursue editorial positions in larger media markets.
  • Rick reads from an article he wrote about whether Charlotte could make someone happy, and shares his regret as a writer and why he left Charlotte magazine.
  • He discusses joining Charlotte Center City Partners, the community and economic development work he is doing now, and why it is important to him.
  • Rick shares the moments in his day that are the most meaningful to him, the most important decisions he has made, and how he would write the story of himself.

plus Mark's personal word essay: The End and A Beginning

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Jun 06 2019

1hr 14mins

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Claude Alexander, Jr.| The Park Church - Ep. 99

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Claude Alexander, Jr. is bishop and senior pastor of The Park Church, a Baptist church headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has led The Park Church since 1990. Under his leadership, The Park Church has grown from one local congregation of 600 members to a global ministry of thousands of members with three locations and weekly international reach. Bishop Alexander works with government and community officials to address the community’s most critical issues. He serves on many local and national religious, civic, leadership and university boards of directors. He is the chair of the board of trustees of the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and the Second-Presiding Bishop of the Kingdom Association of Covenant Pastors. Bishop Alexander earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Morehouse College, a Master of Divinity Degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in leading a church, redressing racial difference, our responsibilities to each other, and our relationship to God and mystery.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Bishop Alexander describes The Park Church, its history, the qualities that distinguish it, its business enterprises, and its mission in the world.
  • He talks about the 400-year anniversary of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and racialization in America, being a cultural translator, and what responsibilities we have redressing racial differences and disparities.
  • He makes a connection between social capital, ethnicity, privilege, and the Good Samaritan parable.
  • Bishop Alexander addresses charges of sexism and homophobia in the black church, issues an apology, and considers how history might judge his position on gay marriage.
  • He discusses the arc of the history of the people of God, the bracketing of the best and worse of humanity, and Simon Peter.
  • Bishop Alexander explains why Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America.
  • He reflects on growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, what was important in his family, the volume and weight of the religious calling he felt as a teenager, and studying philosophy at Morehouse College.
  • Bishop Alexander shares a crisis of faith that challenged his sense of value, emotions about the death of his brother, and what he wants people to truly know.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Seeing Fully What We Now See in Part

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

May 30 2019

1hr 5mins

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Jess George | Hope and Optimism - Ep. 98

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Jess George is Government and Community Affairs Manager for Google Fiber in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jess works with government officials, community leaders, organizations and neighborhoods to advance innovation and address issues of access, opportunity and digital inclusion. Prior to joining Google Fiber, Jess worked for 15 years in the nonprofit field. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the Latin American Coalition, North Carolina’s largest Latino immigrant integration and advocacy organization. She has served as director of the United Way of Central Carolinas. Jess earned a B.A. in International Politics from Penn State University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in deploying new technologies, being an ally to immigrants, whether the personal is political, and living with hope and optimism.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Jess explains her role at Google Fiber and updates the roll-out of fiber optic deployment in the Charlotte market.
  • She addresses why high speed internet access is important and whether the internet is overrated.
  • She discusses bridging the digital divide, the negative impacts of device addiction, and where we are going with the advent of new internet-based technologies.
  • Jess shares what she is obsessed with, the town she grew up in, and how her parents’ values and career choices influenced her.
  • She reveals wanting to be Nancy Drew, Mata Hari, an intrepid reporter and a spy, recites a poem her godfather wrote about her, and tells a defining story about interacting with bullies.
  • Jess talks about moving from Tully, NY to Uniontown, PA during her senior year of high school, attending Penn State University, and a pivotal internship in Paris.
  • She discusses wanting to become an ally of immigrants, serving as executive director of the Latin American Coalition, the challenges and rewards of leading the organization, and whether ‘the personal is political.’
  • Jess shares her feelings about joining Google Fiber, what hope and optimism mean to her, and a poem by Hafiz about dropping keys to beautiful rowdy prisoners.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Systems Intelligence

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

May 23 2019

1hr 3mins

Play

Sonya Pfeiffer | A Life in Full - Ep. 97

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Sonya Pfeiffer is owner and creative director of the Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, a fine arts gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina. She leads the gallery’s strategic planning and programming.  Sonya is also a criminal defense attorney and partner in the Rudolf Widenhouse Law Firm, specializing in wrongful conviction litigation. She spent many years as a general assignment and investigative reporter at television stations in Boston, Raleigh, Omaha and New York. Sonya earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Journalism from Ohio University and J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested directing an art gallery, criminal defense, television reporting, the practice of Ahimsa, and the once chance we have in life.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Sonya describes the Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, how she goes about creatively directing, the topics that interest her, and what she hopes the Gallery becomes.

  • She considers whether a fine arts gallery that sells at a price point that only a few people can afford is in fact inclusive.

  • She discusses her law firm’s statement of values, why standing up to the power of the state is personal to her, and seeing the humanity and perspective of another person.

  • Sonya talks about politics, Catholicism, Olympic development soccer, and a playground incident that taught her lesson about empathy and privilege.

  • She explains why she and her sibling became storytellers, her desire to become a foreign correspondent, and what taking unconventional paths says about her personality.

  • Sonya talks about the Michael Peterson case, how other reporters would have described her, her significant scoops, and the Owl theory.

  • She shares how her relationship with David Rudolf came about, what drew them together, and answers whether she thinks of her and David as a power couple.

  • Sonya reflects on her spiritual journey, her concept of God, her practice of Ahimsa and Yoga, and the one chance she has in this life.

plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay: Partial to the Defense

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

May 17 2019

1hr 2mins

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Beatriz Friedmann | Conscious Evolution - Ep. 96

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Beatriz Friedmann is a school counselor, yoga instructor, IT consultant, researcher and traveler. Her school counseling incorporates mindfulness to help students develop self-awareness and self-control. She recently completed a 27-year career at IBM, where she held numerous positions, including as a business value consultant, project executive, application development manager and systems analyst. She worked for IBM in Brazil, Canada and the United States. Beatriz earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Technology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Institute of Financial Markets in Rio de Janeiro, and Master’s degree in Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested emigrating to new countries, balancing the mind with the heart, finding new purpose, and becoming present one step at a time.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Beatriz describes growing up in Brazil and her brother having Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LSG is is a complex, rare, and severe childhood-onset epilepsy).
  • She talks about when she was 9 years old losing her mother to cancer and how she internalized her mother’s death.
  • She explains the role of Logosophy in her life (Logosophy is a philosophy of conscious evolution and metacognition).
  • She shares a memory of sharing a diary with a friend and what it revealed.
  • Beatriz describes beginning her career at IBM Brazil, the life she lived, and choosing to leave Brazil behind.
  • She tells a story about saying the name of her daughter.
  • She describes emigrating to Canada, the challenge of being an immigrant parent, and how she felt about leaving her country of origin behind.
  • Beatriz discusses emigrating again to the United States and adjusting to life in Chappaqua, New York.
  • She describes turning 40 years old, entering therapy, coming to terms with the death of her mother, and questioning her career.
  • She talks about moving again, this time to Charlotte, in search of belonging.
  • She shares a summer of emotional pain when her career ended, her father died, her dog died, and her youngest daughter left home.
  • Beatriz discusses finding solace and meaning in yoga, meditation, and a new career as a school counselor.
  • She shares her plan to emigrate again, this time to Portugal, and the metaphor of walking as a way of living.

plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay: The Second Mountain

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

May 09 2019

46mins

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Ken Lambla | Interdisciplinary Design - Ep. 95

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Ken Lambla is founding dean of the College of Arts + Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he has served on the faculty since 1983. The College of Arts + Architecture is comprised of academic units in Architecture, Art, Art History, Dance, Music and Theater. Ken’s teaching has focused on architectural design, design process, and social history. He has worked as an architect and urban designer in Belfast, Chicago, San Francisco and throughout North Carolina. Ken received a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from the University of Kansas, and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in arts and architecture, interdisciplinary design, community development, stewardship, and how arts inform a life.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Ken reflects on a 3-month camping trip to Patagonia and what the trip was about.
  • He considers who he found himself becoming in Patagonia and what he is bringing back from his trip.
  • He describes the academic units of the College of Arts + Architecture and how the idea for the College began to form.
  • He states the case he made to his colleagues to form a new college at UNC Charlotte.
  • Ken addresses whether the goals of the College of Arts + Architecture were met during his tenure as dean, what he thinks he and College got right and what he and the College could have done better.
  • He answers whether the College of Arts + Architecture is today what he hoped it would be and why the College of Arts + Architecture is important.
  • He talks about growing up in New Jersey and what was important to his family.
  • He discusses the high school teacher who inspired him, descriptive geometry, being attracted to the abstraction of architecture, and the concept of struggle.
  • Ken shares what drew him to Environmental Design at the University of Kansas and how an interdisciplinary approach to learning became a seed for the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture.
  • He notes how living and working in Belfast, Chicago and San Francisco intensified the role of arts in his life.
  • He shares the core of what he values that he wants his students to learn.
  • He talks about what social values should guide what we build and where he goes where is most happy.
  • Ken notes what’s on his mind as he passes the baton of leadership to a new dean, whether he has led the life he has wanted to live and what’s next for him.

plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay: A Life Revealed in One Scene

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

May 02 2019

1hr

Play

Clarence Armbrister | A Nurturing Place - Ep. 94

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Clarence ‘Clay’ Armbrister is president of Johnson C. Smith University, a historically black university in Charlotte, North Carolina. He assumed the role in January 2018. President Armbrister has over 35 years experience in the private and public sectors, including time in senior administrative and leadership positions at Temple University, Johns Hopkins University, the School District of Philadelphia and Girard College. In addition to his background in education, Armbrister has held executive positions in law, government and finance. His volunteer and public service recognition is extensive and varied. He earned a B.A. in political science and economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan School of Law.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in historically black colleges and universities, public service, and the value of relationships.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Clarence describes Johnson C. Smith University and the population of students it serves.
  • He notes the strengths of the university and what it could do better.
  • He discusses what is it that he wants to ‘radicalize’ on campus and his areas of strategic focus as president of the university.
  • He addresses the financial health of the university and an unexpected challenge that came up on campus.
  • Clarence answers why it would be a good investment to contribute to the university.
  • He makes a case for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) ‘having a place’ in the 21st century.
  • He addresses the graduation rates of HBCUs and whether the preparedness of students is different than in previous generations.
  • He identifies what is top of mind for his students.
  • Clarence notes what he would spend money on if he had a blank check but was limited to addressing one concern at the university.
  • He reflects on his childhood growing up in Opa-locka in Miami in the 1960s.
  • He tells a story about his grandfather who was a Baptist minister and disciple of Marcus Garvey who was beaten in 1921.
  • He explains why the story of his grandfather was meaningful to him and contributed to him having a certain race consciousness.
  • Clarence talks about his time as a student at the University of Pennsylvania and why he chose to later study law.
  • He answers what drew him to leadership roles in city governance and education.
  • He shares what brings him the most joy and what he values most.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Blue Ocean Shift

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Apr 26 2019

59mins

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Liz Clasen-Kelly | The Sacredness of Human Life - Ep. 93

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Liz Clasen-Kelly is executive director of The Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, which provides emergency shelter to men while working to end homelessness in the Charlotte region. Previously, Liz served as Associate Executive Director for the Urban Ministry Center, an interfaith organization dedicated to bringing the community together to end homelessness. She has also served as director of public policy and community engagement for the Council for Children’s Rights. Liz has received several honors for her work, including the YWCA Woman of Achievement Community Champion Award. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Davidson College and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in helping people needing shelter, working to end homelessness, abundant love, and encountering Christ in the in-between.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Liz describes the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte and the services it provides.
  • She reviews the number of men experiencing homelessness in Charlotte, what drivers affect the rate of homelessness, and what approach guides the work of the Men’s Shelter.
  • She shares what one would see walking into the two Men’s Shelters of Charlotte campuses, the experience men have at the Men’s Shelter, and her keys to improve the flow of services
  • She explains the phrase ‘Life goes on, You’re Not Alone.”
  • Liz tells a story illustrating the friendships that are formed in the Men’s Shelter.
  • She answers how to interact with people experiencing homelessness and whether sleeping in public is a human right.
  • She provides an update on the campaign in Charlotte to address chronic homelessness.
  • She addresses whether a better homeless service system attracts more people experiencing homelessness.
  • Liz shares why she does what she does and what she experiences every day.
  • She talks about navigating class and economic differences in Kingsport, Tennessee.
  • She discusses what was important to her as a young person, her an intense need to be right, and how she learned to play a role influencing public policy.
  • She describes a significant religious experience that changed her life.
  • Liz recalls her religious fervor at Davidson College and the importance of relationships at the Urban Ministry Center in her spiritual growth.
  • She remembers the experience she had and the grace she received at Davidson College.
  • She addresses a theology that can withstand human suffering.
  • She talks about Dale Mullinex and the influence of his work and leadership.
  • Liz shares what she values most.

plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay:  Christ is Risen

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Apr 19 2019

1hr 5mins

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Natalie Frazier Allen | Art Empowered - Ep. 92

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Natalie Frazier Allen is founder and executive director of The Arts Empowerment Project, a non-profit organization which provides funding to connect court-involved and at-risk children to high-quality existing arts programs. Natalie formerly served as Family Division Policy Counsel and as Chief of the Domestic Violence Unit in the Attorney General’s Office for the District of Columbia. She serves on the board of directors of The Mint Museum and has previously served on the boards of the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture and the Women’s Impact Fund. Natalie earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Spelman College, and a J.D. from The George Washington University National Law Center.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in connecting at-risk children to the arts and finding one’s way back to childhood passions.   

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Natalie describes the mission and work of The Arts Empowerment Project.
  • She discusses the population of at-risk children that The Arts Empowerment Project serves.
  • She explains Adverse Childhood Experiences and the toxic stress it often causes in adulthood.
  • She details the programs that The Arts Empowerment Project delivers.
  • Natalie considers the effectiveness of her programs and the importance of social capital.
  • She addresses how the arts helps people who have experienced trauma.
  • She shares a story of a student who flourished after being exposed to the arts.
  • She answers why the work of The Arts Empowerment Project matters.
  • Natalie notes what she would prioritize if she had additional resources for The Arts Empowerment Project.
  • She reflects on growing up in a working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, the work of her siblings, what was most important in her family, and being a rule-follower.
  • She shares what she loved about attending Spelman College and what being in the AKA sorority means to her.
  • Natalie explains why experiencing studying and practicing law in Washington D.C. was a dream come true.
  • She remembers a file that crossed her desk as a lawyer that had a particular impact on her.
  • She answers why she left the law, what became most important to her, and how the idea of The Arts Empowerment Project came about.
  • Natalie reflects on the importance of family and faith in her life.

plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay: The Disquieting Muses of the Space-Time Continuum

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Apr 11 2019

56mins

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Tom Warshauer | Neighborhood Development - Ep. 91

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Tom Warshauer is Assistant Director, Community Engagement for the City of Charlotte’s Housing & Neighborhood Services Department. In his 29-year career at the City, Tom has worked with business and neighborhood groups to enhance quality of life in Charlotte. He is an American Leadership Forum fellow and has served on several community councils and boards, including as chair of the Community Building Initiative and as a founding board member of Equality NC, The Wesley Mancini Foundation and Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund. He is a Human Rights Commission Charlotte Chapter’s Legacy Award Honoree for fostering equity in the Charlotte community. Tom earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture and Fine Arts from Rice University and a Master of Arts in Real Estate from MIT.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in community engagement, neighborhood development, creating a city, and celebrating diverse and authentic lives.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Tom explains how he helps residents become more engaged in their neighborhoods.
  • He talks about how people feel about their neighborhoods and neighborhood data sets.
  • He notes the common concerns of neighborhoods and which neighborhoods are getting it right.
  • He outlines the role his department is playing in economic mobility efforts.
  • Tom talks about the importance of city markets in developing neighborhoods.
  • He shares what’s changed during his 29 years of work in city management.
  • He discusses what he means by doing what one can do right now.
  • He describes growing up in Wilmington, NC, the Warshauer family, and being a middle-child who loved Lemon Pledge and go-carting.
  • Tom remembers his excitement moving to New Orleans, loving his time in high school, his nights in the French Quarter, and liking intermission at the Opera.
  • He talks about studying architecture at Rice University, restoring buildings and homes in Houston and Wilmington, and earning a masters degree in real estate at MIT.
  • He explains why he moved to and stayed in Charlotte, and the work he is most proud of in his career.
  • He answers whether he has an interest in returning to home restoration work.
  • Tom discusses harvesting the fruit of seeds that he has planted and what he has learned from his relationships.
  • Tom shares what he values most about people and the diversity of their lives.

plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay: A Young Man from the Provinces

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Apr 05 2019

1hr 1min

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Eric Davis | Human Interest - Ep. 90

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Eric Davis is a producer, writer, director and photographer. He works with businesses and non-profit organizations to create media content for television, web and live events. He is currently affiliated with Susie Films, a producer of cable television programs and corporate media. Eric previously served as Vice President of Broadcasting and Content for WTVI, Charlotte’s PBS station. During his tenure, WTVI won 7 Mid-South Region Emmy awards, including twice for Cultural Documentary. He is on the board of the 100 Words Film Festival and serves on the Executive Committee of the Mecklenburg County Boy Scouts of America. Eric earned a B.Sc. degree in Telecommunication Management from the University of Florida and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in producing media, telling stories, helping other people do better, Florida, wrestling, hot dogs, marching bands and football.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Eric describes what he does as a producer and his base skill as a writer for video.
  • He explains the work he does producing documentaries for Susie Films.
  • He outlines the process he follows to produce a video for a corporate client.
  • Eric shares what makes for a good story and he goes about getting it.
  • He tells a story about telling a story in Galway, Ireland.
  • He considers why story-telling is so central to the human experience and the value he brings as a story-teller.
  • Eric explains what he means by the phrase ‘if you can’t fix it, feature it.’
  • He answers whether the value of professional producing has increased or decreased in a world where everyone is a content creator.
  • He identifies the person who does what he does whose work he admires and the signature to his work.
  • Eric talks about growing up in Florida and why the people there are weird.
  • He shares what was important to him when he was yearbook editor in high school and on the track team at Brandon High School.
  • He discusses his path attending four colleges, studying telecommunication management, selling radio on-air advertising and finding his way to Charlotte.
  • Eric answers what was difficult and what he loved as Vice President of Broadcasting and Content at WTVI, Charlotte’s PBS station.
  • He reveals why he is a story-teller and what professional wrestling has to do with it.
  • He discusses helping other people do better and what he has learned about creativity.
  • Eric plays a lightning round sharing answers on Dusty Rhodes, Lums hot dogs, roadside stands, speed traps, the Florida Gators, the Auburn-Alabama rivalry, Dan Marino, the Miami Hurricanes, marching bands, high school kicking, picking college football games, and the Boy Scouts of America.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Football is Transcendent

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Mar 29 2019

58mins

Play

Kelly Ottman | China Rising - Ep. 89

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Kelly Ottman is a professor in the Radar School of Business in the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in leadership, strategic planning, team development and organizational behavior. Kelly developed and leads the Doing With Business China program in which engineering students undergo 11 weeks of classroom preparation that culminates in a 12-day working tour of China. She is a leadership coach providing consultation to executives throughout the world. Kelly earned a B.Sc. degree in Therapeutic Recreation at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and an M.P.A. in Health Care Administration and Public Policy and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and Adult Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in doing business with China, cultural immersion, clarifying mission and vision, and finding joy in purpose.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Kelly describes MSOE and her area of focus in the scholarship of teaching and learning.
  • She notes the classes she teaches and what she wants her students to learn.
  • She explains what she means when she says gray is a color.
  • She notes what she helps to develop in faculty as a faculty development
  • Kelly shares how cultural immersion helps with leadership development and how and why she launched the Doing Business With China
  • She references practicing Tai Chi in the Temple of Heaven and what students most often say when reflecting on their experience in China.
  • She explains Guanxi, the Chinese system of social networks and influential relationships which facilitate business and other dealings.
  • She tells a story illustrating how her students have been transformed by their experience in China.
  • Kelly discusses the phenomenal growth in China she has witnesses and how its technology has leapfrogged the world.
  • She answers what people should know about China as it advances, what is considered good leadership in China, and how China is practicing the Art of War.
  • She talks about growing up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, her parents, and what was formative about her years in middle school.
  • She reflects on finding joy in purpose and learning that one cannot prepare for everything.
  • Kelly shares a mission and vision statement that changed her life and what matters most to her.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Finding Joy in Purpose

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Mar 21 2019

1hr 3mins

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Federico Rios | Welcoming Newcomers - Ep. 88

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Federico Rios is the International Business and Immigrant Integration Manager for the City of Charlotte. His work focuses on community outreach and improving systems to help immigrant newcomers. Previously, Federico was program director for the Northeast Learning Community and Newcomer Services for Communities in Schools in Charlotte. He has several years experience serving as a mental health professional in Charlotte and in New York City. Federico is a board member of the Leading on Opportunity Council and Communities in Schools in Charlotte. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in serving immigrant communities, false and true narratives, embracing a new city, and optimism about equity and justice.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Federico explains his role serving the immigrant and international business community in Charlotte and how his position came about.
  • He notes how a dramatic shift in demographics has led to a need to better welcome newcomers and immigrants.
  • He shares what he expected would be the immediate focus of his work and what his work has actually been.
  • He addresses how his office is attending to the key recommendations of the Immigrant Integration Task Force Report
  • Federico discusses a false narrative about immigrants and the part race plays in the response to undocumented residents.
  • He answers whether he supports open borders and amnesty for undocumented residents and whether his views influence his work as a municipal employee.
  • He shares what excites him about the work that he is doing.
  • He talks about growing up in Queens, New York, and what his parents taught him.
  • Federico talks about the person who helped him complete his college education after the tragedy of 9/11.
  • He discusses how his career began, how he found his way to Charlotte, adjusting to a new community, and going through a difficult moment.
  • He notes his experience at working at Communities in Schools.
  • He answers whether he has an interest in public office and whether he is optimistic about equity and justice in America.
  • Federico shares what is most important to him.

plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay: Out of Many

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Mar 14 2019

54mins

Play

Bob Henderson | Teaching Elder - Ep. 87

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Bob Henderson is senior minister and head of staff of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. His ministry is focused on the centrality of worship, on pastoral care, and on vibrant mission programs. Bob previously served as senior pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. Prior to Westminster, Bob was associate pastor of the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in religion and economics from Furman University, his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in the Presbyterian church, faith in public life, gay marriage, white privilege, the changing language of proclamation, and what is true.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Bob explains what makes a Presbyterian church a Presbyterian church.
  • He identifies the core principles of Presbyterianism, including the priesthood of all believers, that God alone is lord of the conscious, and faith in public life.
  • He answers what it means to be a confessional church.
  • He discusses whether and how minority views are protected and honored in the Presbyterian church.
  • Bob explains the position of the Presbyterian church nationally on gay marriage.
  • He describes the evolution of his own thinking on gay marriage and the position of Covenant Presbyterian on gay marriage.
  • He addresses why the Presbyterian church nationally is 90% white and its legacy of forcing and leading white supremacy in America.
  • He shares his view on white privilege and whether Covenant Presbyterian members actually want greater racial diversity in their pews.
  • Bob answers what Covenant Presbyterian does well and it could do better.
  • He considers religious life in America and what revival in the Presbyterian church would look like.
  • He talks about growing up on the East Coast, what he learned from his parents, and how he came to the church.
  • He addresses whether wealth gets in the way of salvation and if salvation is preordained.
  • Bob shares a crisis of faith during a mission in college, what was formative during theological school, his first years as a minister, and a mid-career reflection.
  • He recalls arriving at Covenant Presbyterian during the recession.
  • He discusses how his language of proclamation is changing, the authority of the Bible, and his favorite theologians.
  • Bob shares what he knows is true.

plus Mark's personal word essay: Grace to Mystery

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Mar 07 2019

1hr 1min

Play

Stephanie Cooper-Lewter | Agent of Change - Ep. 86

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Stephanie Cooper-Lewter is executive director of Leading on Opportunity, an initiative to improve economic mobility in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is responsible for developing goals and strategies to implement systemic change. Stephanie previously served as vice president of initiatives and public policy for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina and as president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia, South Carolina. She has received numerous awards, including the University of Minnesota Distinguished Alumni Award. Stephanie earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Bethel College, a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota, and Ph.D. in social work from the University of South Carolina.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in economic mobility, leading systemic change, overcoming poverty and personal challenges, and living into purpose.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Stephanie explains the Leading on Opportunity Council and the relevance of the measurement upon which Charlotte is ranked among cities in economic mobility.
  • She describes the timeline of events that led to the formation of a Leading on Opportunity Task Force and Leading on Opportunity Council.
  • She notes what the Leading on Opportunity Task Force Report examined and recommended.
  • She discusses cross-determinant factors of segregation and social capital in economic mobility.
  • Stephanie talks about what theories of change are helping prioritize her work.
  • She defines what she means by access and opportunity.
  • She considers how the community has embraced the language of economic mobility and whether it is dampening other initiatives in Charlotte.
  • She addresses the difference between equitable opportunity and equal chance in economic mobility work.
  • Stephanie shares the circumstances of her birth in Indian and adoption in America.
  • She remembers her adoptive mother and sisters and growing up in Minnesota.
  • She recalls her time at Bethel College in St. Paul, how her life changed, and how her experience as a young single mom struggling with poverty informs her work today.
  • She highlights how her career evolved and the wisdom figure who supported her most.
  • Stephanie shares the challenges she has faced, how she is doing, and what is it about her work that resonates most with who she is.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Adopting Charlotte

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Feb 28 2019

51mins

Play

Sally Robinson | People and Possibility - Ep. 85

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Sally Robinson is a civic leader and community volunteer whose contributions have shaped education, arts and culture in Charlotte and Durham. She has served on many boards, including the Charlotte Symphony, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, the McColl Center for Visual Arts, the Foundation For The Carolinas and Duke University. Sally was the visionary force behind the launch of the Levine Museum of the New South. She has received many awards for her service, including the Duke University Distinguished Alumni Award, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Distinguished Service Award, the John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities, the Charlotte Woman of the Year Award, and the Arts & Sciences Council Lifetime Commitment Award. Sally graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in history from Duke University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in family history, community service, connecting to ideas and possibility, and a lifelong friendship and love.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Sally describes her first home in Charlotte and growing up in the 1930s and 1940s.
  • She tells a story about German POWs and chewing gum just after World War II.
  • She remembers her father and the work he did in textile machinery.
  • She talks about roaming the streets of downtown Charlotte in the 1940s.
  • Sally shares her mother’s community service during the war and the example of civic leadership she established.
  • She recalls her brothers’ heroic service during the war and the family routine of listening to the news and tracking the war effort.
  • She discusses going to boarding school at Mary’s School in Raleigh and the influence of a particular teacher.
  • She shares her first date with Russell Robinson and how it led to marriage.
  • Sally talks about studying history and being a student at Duke University.
  • She answers whether she ever felt limited as a homemaker during the 1950s.
  • She describes how development patterns in Charlotte changed in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • She reflects on segregation, the civil rights movement, and how her perceptions about race relations have evolved.
  • Sally explains how her passion for civic life developed in the 1980s and 1990s and launching the Levine Museum of the New South came about.
  • She answers whether there is a cause or issue that she might have been more involved in.
  • She remembers the naming of the Robinson Center for Civic Leadership at the Foundation For The Carolinas in the 2000s.
  • She shares what is on her mind today for Charlotte in the 2020s.
  • She discusses connecting to community and her connection to Duke University.
  • Sally answers why her marriage works so well and what’s next.

 plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Only Connect

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Feb 22 2019

1hr 6mins

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Howard Slutzky | Psychology Today - Ep. 84

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Howard Slutzky is a professor of psychology at Johnson & Wales University. He has a particular interest in the areas of emotional intelligence, positive psychology, and mindfulness. Howard offers numerous health and wellness workshops on topics such as relationships, stress reduction, time-management, grief and loss, dream interpretation, and coping with medical issues. He has worked in a variety of clinical settings including community mental health, college counseling, and private practice. He also has a part-time private practice where he conducts disability evaluations for Social Security. Howard earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland at College Park and a doctorate of psychology from Georgia School of Professional Psychology with a focus on general adult psychology.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in teaching psychology, interpreting dreams, surviving leukemia, overcoming personal trauma, and living authentically.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Howard describes a favorite lesson on alien hand syndrome he teaches in his Introduction to Psychology course.
  • He answers why psychology classes are so popular on college campuses.
  • He tells a story about a student seeking enlightenment.
  • He talks about different workshops on mental health and wellness he leads and how he goes about interpreting dreams.
  • Howard shares who he is in the classroom and what he wants his students to learn.
  • He recalls his childhood in Potomac, Maryland, and his sister Elisa.
  • He describes being diagnosed at the age of seven with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia and surviving cancer as a child.
  • Howard recites a poem he wrote in graduate school called ‘Fallen Angel’ about isolation and pretending.
  • He shares how he found his way to teaching and what he loves about it.
  • He talks about discovering that his sister Elisa had been killed and managing the events that followed.
  • He addresses going to work the day after his sister died.
  • Howard answers where he is now emotionally, what has helped him manage his grief, and what he says to people experiencing tragedy and loss.
  • He explains why the life and welfare of animals is so important to him.
  • He shares what he knows today that he didn’t know before about overcoming trauma.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: The Way of the Jain

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Feb 14 2019

54mins

Play

Debbie Warren | Pastoral Care - Ep. 83

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Debbie Warren is president and CEO of RAIN, formerly the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network. RAIN provides access to personalized care to individuals and their families who are living with HIV and associated chronic conditions so they may live healthier, fulfilled lives. Debbie founded RAIN, a non-profit organization, in 1992. She is also a founding member of the North Carolina AIDS Action Network and has been active in state and national advocacy efforts on behalf of HIV+ patients. She has taught at the US Conference on AIDS and joined experts on HIV/AIDS at The White House as part of a dialogue on the role of public-private partnerships in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Debbie has received numerous awards for her work, including the Human Rights Campaign Charlotte Legacy Award. She is an ordained Baptist minister. She is a graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in helping people living with HIV/AIDS, pastoral care, the maturing of faith, and finding one’s identity in service and love.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Debbie describes RAIN and its core work of delivering services to those people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • She identifies the HIV/AIDS population that RAIN is serving and the extent of HIV/AIDS as a public health issue.
  • She discusses the number of people living with HIV/AIDS and the disproportionate effects of HIV in Mecklenburg County.
  • She addresses whether the LGBTQ community has moved on from prioritizing HIV/AIDS intervention.
  • Debbie considers whether communities of color are accepting the fact that HIV is impacting them to the extent that it is.
  • She explains how RAIN integrates the voices of people living with HIV in its programs and services.
  • She answers how a person gets HIV and prospects for health after a diagnosis.
  • She talks about what gives her hope in the work she does.
  • Debbie describes signature events of RAIN including Gay Bingo, AIDS Walk and annual World AIDS Day luncheon.
  • She shares what draws her in to helping people living with HIV and AIDS.
  • She remembers growing up in Jackson, Tennessee, her father, mother and grandmother, and what set the stage for the work she is doing now.
  • She discusses the role West Jackson Baptist Church played in her life and her time attending Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • Debbie remembers the early days of AIDS, coming out as a lesbian, and a conversation with her mother.
  • She recalls two men who were instrumental in the start of RAIN.
  • Debbie shares how she manages the loss of people she loves, how her faith has changed, her feelings about her own death one day, and what matters most.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: The Best of Who We Are

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Feb 07 2019

1hr 3mins

Play

Freda Lester | The Thin Blue Line - Ep. 82

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Freda Lester is a retired Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) Major. Over a 29-year career, Freda served in various capacities and districts. She served as a community liaison for several neighborhoods, creating programs that reduced crime and strengthened community advocacy. In her last post she commanded the Northwest Service Patrol Area, one of the most challenging patrol areas in the City of Charlotte. Freda has received numerous awards and accolades for her police work, including CMPD Officer of the Year and the CMPD Medal of Valor for saving the life of a citizen. She serves on several non-profit boards, including chairing the board of the Keith Family YMCA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a master’s degree in business administration from Pfeiffer University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in law enforcement, community policing, civil emergency response to protest, and a life dedicated to community safety.  

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Freda shares what wearing the badge meant to her.
  • She assesses the relationship between the CMPD and the community.
  • She tells a story about not being liked simply because she was a police officer.
  • She identifies what CPMD is doing right in the community and what it could do better.
  • Freda reveals what her priority would be if she was the police chief.
  • She addresses how much of policing has become social work.
  • She discusses her involvement and the police reaction in the Keith Lamont Scott shooting that led to protests and civil disturbance in the City of Charlotte.
  • She answers criticism about how the CMPD Civil Emergency Unit responded to citizen protest during the Keith Lamont Scott shooting.
  • Freda shares how she feels when citizens protest against the police.
  • She discusses when a police shooting is justified.
  • She tells a story about drawing her gun at a vehicle felony stop and controlling adrenaline.
  • She remembers fellow officers who died from police killings and suicide.
  • Freda talks about what makes for a good cop, what parents say to children about police officers, and how she feels when she arrests someone.
  • She reveals what comes to mind when she hears the phrase ‘The Thin Blue Line.’
  • She remembers growing up on a farm, her time in high school, and how she came to join the CMPD.
  • She talks about being a rookie cop, how her CMPD career evolved, and being promoted to Sergeant, Captain and then Major.
  • Freda answers whether she still feels like a police officer and what’s next for her.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: A Visit to Jail

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Jan 31 2019

59mins

Play

Stephen Valder | Midlife Mission - Ep. 81

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Stephen Valder is a pediatrician who practiced medicine for 24 years. He was a partner a Providence Pediatrics before retiring in 2016. He has since become interested in addressing the issue of affordable housing as an individual unaffiliated with a non-profit organziation. He is vice chair of the West Side Charlotte Community Land Trust, an owner of housing units that he rents to low-income residents, and an advocate for several affordable housing solutions. Stephen earned a Bachelor’s degree in biology at Duke University and an M.D. at Baylor College of Medicine.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in aptitudes and motivations, civic engagement, affordable housing, the obligations of privilege, and living one’s values. 

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Stephen describes how his first day of practice as a pediatrician was like his last day of practice.
  • He shares what motivated him to retire from the practice of medicine.
  • He answers whether his colleagues felt similar dissatisfaction with their work.
  • He discusses applying multiple aptitudes on confined tasks.
  • Stephen talks about the factors he balanced when deciding to retire from medicine.
  • He addresses what was enough financially for him leaving medicine mid-career.
  • He answers how his colleagues and patients responded when he retired.
  • He reflects on whether he retired too young and going about engaging in community.
  • Stephen explains why he became interested in affordable housing and how he has gone about contributing to solutions.
  • He shares his experience of being a landlord and what he has learned.
  • He discusses whether renting out his properties are a business or a mission.
  • He answers whether he is more fulfilled in retirement.
  • Stephen considers the benefits and the obligations of privilege.
  • He talks about growing up in Charlotte and the influence and example of his parents.
  • He notes the one person he met at Duke University who has had the most impact on his life.
  • He shares how he came to practice pediatrics.
  • Stephen reveals what he wants his to have been about.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Leo Tolstoy and the Blues

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

Jan 25 2019

59mins

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iTunes Ratings

16 Ratings
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Engaging and thought provoking!

By Preinfeld - Dec 07 2018
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Listened to a few of the On Life and Meaning podcasts over the last few months, but recently listened to the Don Taylor episode and really enjoyed it. Found it engaging, thought provoking and informative. I shared the experience with several people since listening to the episode :) Thank you Mark and Don!

Riveting Content AND Questions

By LauraCNeff - Jul 26 2018
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From the first episode of “On Life and Meaning,” I was hooked on the guest content *and* on Mark’s keen listening and questions. The guests are diverse and fascinating, offering an insight into what makes them and our city tick. And Mark is clearly both well prepared and fully present for each conversation. His “Personal Word” at the end allows for his own reflection and input but also creates space for the interview to be completely about the guest. So well done! 100 episodes just won’t be enough. 😊