Skip to main content
The Edwards Empowerment Talks with Amanda K. Edwards

The Edwards Empowerment Talks with Amanda K. Edwards

By Amanda K. Edwards
The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast provides a platform to empower individuals and the community by showcasing stories of resilient people who have defied the odds and refused to let life's challenges prevent them from achieving their dreams. The Empowerment Talks also highlights work happening in the community that will help to shift this nation’s trajectory. Defying the odds, overcoming obstacles, digging deep and being the change we deserve to see are the focal points for The Edwards Empowerment Talks that will inspire listeners to do the same. Visit www.amandakedwards/podcast.html
Listen on
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

Spotify Logo


Episode 14: Conversation with Denise Hamilton, President & CEO of WatchHer Work
In Episode 14 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has a motivational conversation with Denise Hamilton, author, speaker, and Founder & CEO of WatchHerWork.         Denise grew up of modest means in New York. During her childhood, Denise watched her hard-working, resilient mother pursue the American dream by working a variety of jobs and projects. Through her own academic journey, Denise learned that talent is equally distributed, but it is opportunity that is not.    While in college, Denise was discovered by El Debarge, and she moved to Los Angeles to perform as a backup singer. She decided to pursue her education so she returned to college and began a career where she allowed her strengths to guide her path. Denise has worked in many spheres - modeling, as a marketing executive, in commercial real estate and even as a magazine executive before she became a public speaker and founded WatchHerWork. Her varied career path was the result of her openness to new opportunities and her willingness to say yes when those opportunities emerged.    Denise formed WatchHerWork to help women and employers navigate diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, among other things. As a motivational speaker, she inspires audiences of all sizes with her personal journey, as well as with her motivational skills and authenticity. In this episode, Denise will encourage the audience to keep the door open for opportunities they may not be familiar with or already know.   Denise is a collaborating partner on An Evening of Women's Empowerment: The 2021 Women's Renaissance, so we discuss her involvement in the event, along with a special announcement of her upcoming business venture. In this interview, Denise will inspire the audience to dare to explore the possibilities and to seek out ways to make them come to fruition. Denise is energetic, honest, motivating and encouraging, which makes this episode one that you do not want to miss!
March 24, 2021
Episode 13: Conversation with Rhonesha Byng, Founder & CEO of Her Agenda
In Episode 13 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has an intriguing conversation with Rhonesha Byng, Founder & CEO of Her Agenda, a digital media platform that elevates millennial women by bridging the gap between ambition and achievement. In elevating other women, she has blazed a trail that has propelled her to speak at places like the White House and be recognized on lists like Forbes' 30 Under 30. Rhonesha grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Although she was a high academic achiever, her goals did not tie to the classroom. She had her sights set on making waves in the world in a very public way through the media. Although she faced a setback as she attempted to launch her first print magazine as a teenager, she did not allow that setback to stop her dreams. Rhonesha honed her journalism skills in college, and went on to work at The Huffington Post, and as a field producer with NBC New York (WNBC-TV) where she earned an Emmy award as part of team coverage for a breaking news story. While Rhonesha was developing her skills as a journalist, she was also becoming a true entrepreneur. She formed Her Agenda to help change the ratio of women in positions of power. At first, Her Agenda did not gain instant notoriety, so Rhonesha made significant sacrifices to push through the challenging times often faced by entrepreneurs.  At first, she had to work to support herself while building Her Agenda. In this interview, Rhonesha shares advice she has used that enabled her to continue to persevere and achieve her dreams. Rhonesha is honest, encouraging and grounded, which makes this episode one that you do not want to miss!
March 10, 2021
Episode 12: Conversation with Jonathan Sprinkles, Author & Motivational Speaker
In Episode 12 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has an engaging conversation with Jonathan Sprinkles, an author and motivational speaker. He has channeled his own challenges into creating messages that uplift and encourage others to bet on themselves.     Jonathan grew up in California, and lost his father as a teenager. After his father's passing, Jonathan and his mother moved to Austin, Texas. With a nagging sense that he did not fit in, he knew that something big was in store for his life. After becoming a student leader at the University of Texas, he began to focus on public speaking.  He eventually took a job at a large company, and realized he needed to take the leap and bet on himself to become a full time professional public speaker.   Jonathan has published many books, hosted numerous conferences, and coached numerous professionals. During this episode, he described the challenges of 2020, and how he has had to pivot and create new entrepreneurial opportunities. Check out this episode!
February 10, 2021
Episode 11: Conversation with pastor Juanita Rasmus, author, speaker & co-pastor, St. John's Church
In Episode 11 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has a soul-touching and raw conversation with Pastor Juanita Rasmus, an author, speaker and pastor. Pastor Juanita Rasmus seemingly had it all - a loving family, a great church congregation, strong faith and a supportive community until her depressive episode she describes as her "crash" changed the treadmill course of her life.  In her recent book, Learning To Be, Pastor Juanita uses her personal testimony to help people take better care of themselves and how to learn to be human beings rather than just humans doing.    At an early age, Juanita grew up in 5th Ward and in Alief in Houston, Texas as an overachieving student. After years of being in the insurance business with her father, Juanita life began to take a different course. She married Rudy Rasmus, answered her calling to the ministry, and they became co-Pastors of St. John's Downtown.  When they agreed to take on this mission, the church was not what it is today. In fact, under their leadership the church grew from 9 members to thousands of members. This daughter, wife and mother of two, was on the fast track of serving her church and the broader community where she remained in high demand - until everything came to a screeching halt.   One day as Pastor Juanita was preparing to start her day, she fell ill. Her nerves felt like uncooked spaghetti snapping from pressure. She went back to bed and began to sleep for 18-20 hours a day for months. This depressive episode she calls her "crash" required to emerge as a new Pastor Juanita. Her journey before the crash and the lessons she learned as she began her journey of healing are priceless, powerful insights that we all need to hear.     In this Episode, Pastor Juanita shares life advice that can apply to any person who has a hard time saying no, taking breaks or creating balance for themselves because of their relentless pursuit of their dreams. Pastor Juanita not only provides advice about warning signs she experienced before the crash, but she advocates for a combination of clinical, therapeutic and spiritual support for those experiencing mental health challenges. Pastor Juanita is open, honest and heartfelt in desire to use her personal testimony and lessons learned to benefit those who are living life in the fast lane. This is one Episode you do not want to miss!
January 27, 2021
Episode 10: Conversation with Bo Porter, former MLB Player, coach and manager
In Episode 10 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has a motivational conversation with Bo Porter. Bo Porter defied the odds growing up in Newark, New Jersey to find success as an MLB player, coach and manager. He now uses his experiences as an MLB player, coach and manager to help him find success in the world of broadcasting and in running his own media company.     At an early age, Bo was a standout talent from a household of modest means. Born to a teen mother, Bo was able to appreciate the importance of a strong ethic displayed by his single mother. However, he also simultaneously learned first hand about the challenges of having limited resources. In fact, in his early days, Bo had to play "stick ball" rather than baseball because of the lack of resources in his community. Bo's potential as a future baseball player was revealed after he repeatedly broke the windows of his neighbor, Mr. Taylor, while playing stick ball. Mr. Taylor believed in Bo's potential, which led him to introduce Bo to little league baseball across town. Eventually, the community believed in and supported Bo so much that they paid for him to travel to a special tournament in Puerto Rico, which was a turning point for Bo along with his visit to the Yankee Stadium under the leadership of Coach Miller. Bo's exposure to baseball in this way marked the beginning of Bo's unlikely journey that would be filled with both trials and triumphs.   Bo's work ethic, focus, talent and mindset helped to propel him forward to becoming a champion. Bo explains during the podcast that his reference to "champion" is not about just being #1. Rather, he defines a "champion" as someone who has the ability to continue to fight until they become #1 or achieve his/her goal. Champions do not allow the journey to defeat them. Bo's life has been a testament to this. Not only did Bo persevere beyond numerous setbacks and challenges to become an MLB player, but he also pivoted to coaching in the MLB and became an MLB manager. Bo has successfully pivoted again, as he is now involved in broadcasting and runs CORE Media.    In this Episode, Bo shares so much wisdom and life advice that can apply to any person's career path - especially those seeking to pivot in their career trajectory. Bo shares detailed accounts of setbacks he experienced as an athlete (both circumstantial and sports-related), lessons he learned when making career pivots and the importance of investing in others rather than just oneself so that the return on the investment carries forward to others. Bo reveals the special ingredients for his recipe for success that enabled him to "make it" to and in Major League Baseball. Bo will inspire you to dream big, focus, work hard, and keep the right mindset in order to succeed. Bo's passion for empowering others by using his own experiences will motivate you to do what it takes to realize your dreams. This is one Episode you do not want to miss!
January 13, 2021
Episode 09: Conversation with Lex Frieden, author of the Americans with Disabilities Act
In Episode 09 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has an extraordinary conversation with Lex Frieden, also known as the architect of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After becoming part of the disabled community and facing discrimination, Lex Frieden dedicated his life to making the community better for the disabilities community through the passage of the ADA and through his life-long advocacy. Lex Frieden's journey to becoming a disabilities community advocate began in his youth. He was involved in a nearly fatal car accident, in which he sustained a spinal cord injury that left him as a quadriplegic and wheelchair-bound. Despite having been the valedictorian of his high school and a strong record of high academic achievement, Lex faced rejection when seeking admission into college. When he asked the dean about the basis for his rejection, he was told that he had been denied admission because of his disability since the school was not equipped to fit his needs. However, upon seeking admission at another college, they were willing to accommodate his disability by moving his classes into an accessible building. From this experience, Lex embraced the notion that being solutions-oriented for issues facing people with disabilities would be his approach. With incredible mentors by his side, Lex used his life to impact millions of people. Lex recommended the creation of a national blue ribbon panel to address what was needed by the disabilities community. Ultimately, Lex helped shape and write a free-standing bill known as the Americans with Disabilities Act that would impact millions of people.  He did not go without challenge along the way. He had to navigate challenges ranging from the small business lobby to federal legislators who refused to acknowledge ableism in order to ensure that ADA would ultimately pass. After the historic passage of the ADA, he then set his sights on making sure that the law did not just sit on the books but instead would be enforced throughout the country and across spheres. Through this Episode, listeners and viewers will appreciate how Lex used his own life-changing challenge and the discrimination that ensued to develop his motivation to make the community better for those who faced the challenges and discrimination he faced. Listeners and viewers will take away from this podcast that sometimes we must go through the challenges we face to become the best  advocates possible to impact the change that is needed in the world. In listening to Lex's journey as a disabilities rights advocate, you will be inspired to use your own challenges and the discrimination you may face to help change the world. This is one Episode you do not want to miss!
December 23, 2020
Episode 8: Conversation with Lauren Anderson, 1st Black Principal Ballerina of the Houston Ballet
In Episode 08 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has an extraordinary conversation with Lauren Anderson. After hard work and dedication, Lauren Anderson defied the odds to become the first Black principal ballerina in the Houston Ballet and one of the first Black principal ballerinas of a major ballet company in the United States. Lauren Anderson's groundbreaking career manifested from hard work and a dream come true. At an early age, Lauren's parents enrolled her in ballet since she was such an active child. After being told early on that she did not have the proper physique for ballet, Lauren Anderson was devastated and once considered ending her dance training. However, her early dream of one day moving to New York and dancing there, a dream borne from seeing Black dancers at the Dance Theatre of Harlem, did not die after all. Lauren continued to work hard and began to blaze trails as a young ballet dancer, eventually becoming "Alice" in Alice in Wonderland in the Houston Ballet Academy Spring Show. This was the beginning of a journey that would be filled with many inspirational feats and firsts. Lauren’s early journey was quite intense to say the least. Lauren balanced her full-time in-person high school education with a 5-hour dance training regimen on a daily basis. She graduated from high school, and pursued professional division training. She worked non-stop, auditioned for the Houston Ballet, and she got into the company as a professional dancer. After joining the Houston Ballet, her dream then shifted. She began to dream of being a soloist at the Houston Ballet. Her hard work paid off in a way she never imagined. She worked hard, and ultimately became a soloist and then she became the principal dancer of the company. She made history by becoming the first Black principal ballerina of the Houston Ballet and one of the first Black principal ballerinas in a major ballet company in the United States. She now lives out another dream of hers, which is teaching at the Houston Ballet and bringing dance to all communities – including those areas that are under-resourced. In this Episode, Lauren details her challenges on and off the stage, and provides viewers and listeners with sage life advice stemming directly from her experiences. She speaks about overcoming negative self-talk and how to be more focused realizing your potential and achieving your goals. Lauren's story will inspire listeners and viewers to dream boldly and to focus on the work and focus needed to achieve their dreams and beyond. Lauren is funny, authentic, wise, encouraging and honest. This is one Episode you do not want to miss!
December 9, 2020
Episode 7: Conversation with Hon. Curtis Graves, Civil Rights Leader & Public Servant
In Episode 07 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has an enlightening conversation with The Honorable Curtis Graves, a Civil Rights leader and public servant. After leading student sit-ins as a Texas Southern University student, Curtis Graves became a Texas State Representative and served the public.   Curtis Graves' journey as a Civil Rights leader began in his youth while in New Orleans. In his childhood, he came across leaders like A.P. Tureaud, Ambassador Andrew Young and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Having personal experience with barriers to voting (ranging from poll taxes to discretionary reading tests) that Blacks faced in this country, Curtis Graves was determined to create a community that embraced justice as opposed to oppression.     As a student at Texas Southern University, Curtis Graves helped to lead student sit-ins to desegregate lunch counters and restaurants in Houston. With the guidance from leaders like Rev. William Lawson, he embraced the non-violent movement of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement, which was put to the test on numerous occasions. In this Episode, Curtis Graves details his unique encounters with Dr. King and other Civil Rights leaders during the strange demise of Jim Crow in Houston.   Through this Episode, listeners and viewers will appreciate that activism requires strategy that must accompany clear aims.   They will also be inspired to be the change that they wish to see in their own communities. Activism and public service are not always easy feats, but can be deeply rewarding. In this Episode, Curtis Graves details the mixed journey of trials & tribulations, successes, setbacks and the courage needed to impact change during the Civil Rights Movement. In listening to his stories, listeners will learn how easy it is for history to repeat itself if you don't know it and how to navigate what may seem like uncharted waters. Curtis Graves' uncanny storytelling ability and rich knowledge of history will inspire you as you navigate today's trying times. This is one Episode you do not want to miss!
November 25, 2020
Episode 6: Conversation with Bakari Sellers, Political Commentator, Author & Public Servant
In Episode 06 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has a fascinating conversation with Bakari Sellers, a CNN political commentator, New York Times best-selling author and public servant. Bakari's journey as a public servant and top political commentator was fueled by his passion to be a change agent, a goal instilled in him by his parents during his youth. Although he has faced a variety of challenges on his path, he considers "winning the day" as a personal goal in balancing his media work, community and legal work, marriage and fatherhood. Bakari is no stranger to being the youngest in the room, but as his family's roots in the Civil Rights Movement and his own journey have shown, young people have the power to change the world. Through this Episode, listeners and viewers will be motivated to dream boldly no matter where they are from and to be open to opportunities that may present themselves that they may not foresee. Bakari's atypical journey illustrates that oftentimes what you have to learn, you learn by doing rather than sitting on the sideline. Bakari grew up in the small rural town of Denmark, South Carolina. As the son of Civil Rights Leader, Cleveland Sellers, Bakari grew up challenged by his parents to make a difference in whatever path he pursued. He soon began the pattern of doing so at an early age, as he went to college at the age of 16 and became the youngest Black elected official in the country at the age of 22. He served in the South Carolina House of Representatives until 2014 when he ran for Lieutenant Governor. Although he was not successful at his bid for statewide office, he quickly pivoted to his role at CNN as a Political Commentator. Once at CNN, Bakari worked to open the door for more opportunities for Blacks in the media. Bakari believes in opening doors and holding them open for others to follow. Bakari's drive to achieve has been a mixed bag of motivation to make a difference and anxiety about failing. Bakari uses his personal struggles with anxiety to encourage people to use their own challenges as a means to propel themselves forward. If you have ever hesitated to dream boldly or doubted what you could accomplish for yourself and the community, this is one Episode you do not want to miss!
November 18, 2020
Episode 5: Conversation with Beto O'Rourke, Former Candidate for U.S. President, Former U.S. Congressman & Founder of Powered By People
In Episode 05 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has an honest conversation with Beto O'Rourke, former Candidate for U.S. President, former U.S. Congressman & Founder of Powered By People. His legendary 2018 run for U.S. Senate in Texas catapulted Beto onto the national stage. After coming close to winning his U.S. Senate bid, Beto set his sights on the White House, but concluded his bid for the Presidency earlier than he would have liked. Determined to have an impact on people and the community, Beto founded Powered By People, a grassroots PAC that supports Texas candidates with volunteer support and fundraising. Through his uniquely public journey, Beto is fueled by empowering others.    Through this Episode, listeners and viewers will be encouraged to make the choice to move forward rather than to give up on what is possible. Through his story of challenges in his pursuit of service, listeners and viewers will find motivation to persevere in their own journeys to impact the community by focusing on their "why" or their mission to empower others rather than just to gratify themselves.   Beto grew up in El Paso, Texas, but his road to politics was not the typical one. After his time at Columbia, Beto eventually moved back home to El Paso and ran for El Paso City Council. Beto was elected to Congress where he served three times.  However, while watching the returns in the 2016 Election, Beto set out to run for the U.S. Senate in order to bring America closer to the inclusive values it had previously held close. By driving to every county in Texas and connecting with Texans in an unprecedented way, Beto came within 215,000 votes of winning. He then launched his bid to become President of the United States. With a crowded field, he was not able to break through so he concluded his bid and founded Powered By People to utilize his platform of volunteers and organizing to help others serve in elected office.  In this Episode, Beto speaks candidly about the disappointment he felt in coming up short in his Presidential bid. He also speaks honestly about how action & helping others served as an antidote to his despair.  Despite the recent disappointments in the 2020 election cycle in Texas, Beto reminds us that we have a choice: give up or to move forward.    Beto's desire to empower others and to contribute to the community we deserve has not come without obstacles. If you have ever had the desire to serve and faced losses and setbacks, this is one Episode you do not want to miss! You will get a little therapy, truth and motivation wrapped up in one in this Episode!
November 11, 2020
Episode 4: Conversation with Dr. Roger Mitchell, the Washington, D.C. Chief Medical Examiner & Washington, D.C. Deputy Mayor of Public Safety & Justice
In Episode 04 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has a transparent and inspiring conversation with Dr. Roger Mitchell, the Washington, D.C. Chief Medical Examiner & Washington, D.C. Deputy Mayor of Public Safety & Justice.  His journey to becoming the Chief Medical Examiner & Deputy Mayor of Washington, D.C. while balancing marriage and fatherhood was not an easy one. His father suffered from addiction during his upbringing, and his father’s absence created a strong void in his life. However, through the power of faith, hard work, forgiveness and bold vision he was able to forge a path toward realizing his dreams. Through this Episode, listeners and viewers will be moved to persevere by remembering the past mountains they have had to climb in a manner that helps propel them forward in climbing the mountains they currently face. Through his story of trials and tribulations, listeners and viewers will be reminded to keep going even though climbing the mountain may be difficult and rocky. Roger grew up in New Jersey as the son to a single mother since his father had fallen victim to addiction. Despite the void stemming from his father’s absence, Roger looked to his godfather, as well as his grandfather, a physician, as role models. At a young age, Roger aspired to become a physician, and stayed rooted in his faith in order to successfully complete his medical training. Once scoffed at by a professor when he verbalized his dream of becoming Chief Medical Examiner, he now serves as Chief Medical Examiner of Washington, D.C. as well as the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety & Justice in Washington, D.C. His unique perspective as Chief Medical Examiner enables him to guide preventative policy in a more fact-based and people-centered manner. In this Episode, Dr. Roger Mitchell also speaks candidly about the role forgiveness has played in life. He also speaks honestly about the good and the bad involved with his life of serving others with the mission of impact at the forefront. Dr. Roger Mitchell also encourages those that may be at a crossroads to be willing to confront their fear in order to get on the other side of it. Dr. Roger Mitchell's drive to achieve his dreams and calling to support others to do the same will motivate the audience to keep pushing forward. Through his personal and professional story and through his gems of wisdom, you will feel a sense of self-determination and community connection at the same time. If you have ever faced failure, had dreams that others doubted, wanted to serve or if you need help with thinking through a decision point in your life, this is one Episode you do not want to miss! You will get a little therapy, church, school, comedy and encouragement wrapped up in one in this Episode!
October 27, 2020
Episode 3: Conversation with Karen Jackson, Founder of Sisters Network & 4X Breast Cancer Survivor
In Episode 03 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has a timely conversation with Karen Jackson, a 4-time Breast Cancer Survivor and the Founder of Sisters Network Inc. In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Karen candidly discusses her personal journey of becoming a Breast Cancer survivor 4 times! Borne from her personal cancer journey, was her interest in helping other women who sought a network of support and information for Black women. Through this Episode, listeners will be inspired to be proactive about their own health and to become your own biggest champion in the face of life's obstacles, health-related or otherwise.       Karen was first diagnosed with breast cancer while living in California. She moved to Houston to be with family and receive cancer treatment in light of her grim prognosis. She deeply desired to connect with other women like her who had similar experiences and to provide various forms of support to them so she founded Sisters Network Inc. 25 years later, Sisters Network Inc. has raised awareness about breast cancer impacting Black women and has assisted Black women all over the country by providing key information, critical support and financial advocacy support.     In this Episode, Karen also speaks candidly about the disparities faced with supporting organizations like hers that focus on Black women with breast cancer. She reveals that there are always more mountains to climb, and will motivate you to use your own mountains to help others climb theirs.      Karen's determination to not only live, but to thrive and to help others do the same is infectious.  Through Karen's story, you will learn not to take no for an answer when trying to advocate for your own health and the health of others. You must fight like your life depends on it - because it does. You will also be inspired by the opportunity to effect change in the community that can be borne from your own trial and tribulations. If you have ever faced personal challenges, and developed a desire to help those experiencing similar ones, this is an episode that you do not want to miss!
October 14, 2020
Episode 2: Interview with Dr. Jen Welter ( First Female NFL Coach )
In Episode 02 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has an honest conversation about being the first and breaking glass ceilings with Dr. Jen Welter, the first woman to coach in the NFL. From her background as a collegiate rugby player to her success in the Women's Professional Football League, Dr. Jen did not travel the road most traveled. She continued blazing her own trail that would eventually lead her to coach men's professional football and to be the first woman to coach in the NFL. Through this Episode, listeners will be inspired to reflect on their own purpose and how to align with that purpose and to believe in yourself, no matter how unlikely the pursuit. During her life in Florida, Jen Welter gravitated toward sports of all kinds ranging from football to tennis. Her 5'2 frame proved to be a barrier to longevity in tennis, but once she made it to college, she became a successful rugby player. After graduating from college and becoming a headhunter, Jen Welter realized that an office job was not for her so she began a pursuit of her dream to play professional football and broke records. In this Episode, Dr. Jen candidly describes the sacrifices she made for a career as a professional athlete. She also reveals the power of not being her own barrier as she began to blaze trails in uncharted territory for women and to break glass ceilings. After success coaching professional men's football, Dr. Jen got the invitation to join the Arizona Cardinals as the first woman to coach in the NFL. Her love for the game and willingness to always give it her all enabled her to coach and gain acceptance of the team. If you have ever been up against unlikely odds or if you are the "first" to do something, this is an episode that you do not want to miss!
September 29, 2020
Episode 1: Conversation with Mayor Svante Myrick
In Episode 01 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has an honest conversation about resilience and public service with Svante Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca, New York. From a homeless child to Ithaca’s youngest Mayor (at age 24) and its first Mayor of color, Svante Myrick’s journey is the epitome of defying the odds in the face of adversity.  Through this Episode, listeners will be inspired to reflect on what may holding them back from dreaming boldly and pursuing those dreams, despite the obstacles they have to overcome. During his early life in New York and Florida, Svante weaved between being homeless and being housing insecure - causing him to know intimately what poverty felt like. In this Episode, he describes how his early life experiences impacted his view of the possibilities available to someone like him. The world seemingly opened up to Svante when he was admitted to Cornell University. With leaders like President Barack Obama and others as inspiration, Svante began to push for a career in public service, the pursuit of which required him to address and reconcile his past, which had once brought him great shame. He learned that public service required him to be his authentic self and also required substantial sacrifice in order to place service above just politics. As Mayor of Ithaca during a time where nationwide unrest has resulted from police brutality, Svante provides his insight on how we should move forward as a nation. From touching on subjects like the role of ego in politics to interfacing with the public he serves, Svante shares great insight on how public service impacts his life, his community and what people should know when considering public service. In this interview, Svante moves beyond just having a discussion of his accomplishments and has a conversation that is honest, raw, funny and one in which he is truly vulnerable. Those who listen will take a true peak into the leader that Svante is and what is required of leaders in public service. This Episode is one you do not want to miss.
September 14, 2020