Badassery Life

Badassery Life

By Kelly Young/Stevi Stoesz Kersh
Badassery Life is a podcast about ordinary women doing extraordinary things. Women willing to share their stories - whether they are filled with heartbreak or amazing accomplishments. These inspiring women include social activists, moms, entrepreneurs, athletes, survivors, mentors, and more. Each has a unique and beautiful story about how they are living out their Badassery Life!
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This badass woman overcame depression, a suicide attempt, and more to become a successful bodybuilder, entrepreneur, and author
Lizbeth Ayala Najera is living out her badassery life as someone who has made an incredible transformation – mentally, physically and emotionally. She endured a divorce, alcoholism, deep depression resulting in a dramatic weight gain, and a suicide attempt before she found the strength to become a fierce bodybuilding competitor and entrepreneur with her own workout apparel line (LizKari LLC). She is also an author (“Our One Miracle”, which she co-authored with her twin sister). We talked to Lizbeth and her sister about family, pain, passions, and about being advocates of depression and suicide prevention. We also had a good laugh about cheat (or s---) days! 
34:54
June 29, 2020
This badass woman created Overdose Lifeline after her son died from heroin: Meet Justin Phillips
Justin Phillips is the Founder and Executive Director of Overdose Lifeline, Inc. – an Indianapolis-based nonprofit she founded in 2014 to help prevent opioid deaths and reduce the stigma of addiction. She is the mom to Audrey, Bryan and her son, Aaron, who died from an overdose on October 9, 2013. He was 20. She has dedicated her life to Aaron's memory and is working to make a difference so that nobody has to experience what she did. Justin talks with us about her recovery, her son's addiction, stigma and shame, heroin - the drug that killed her son and has fueled her advocacy work - and the nonprofit she created in Aaron's memory. This episode is co-hosted by Amanda Kingsbury and supported by Indy Maven.
33:33
June 15, 2020
Jayna Ledford is "En Pointe" and living her badassery life as a transgender ballerina
In January 2018, at the age of 18, Jayna posted a beautiful dance shot of herself to Instagram. The picture – and her story – received national attention. That’s because when she started dancing at the age of 5, she was the only boy at her dance studio. Years later, the dance scholarship she received at the Kirov Academy of Ballet was a "male" scholarship, which she lost after coming out. She always knew she was meant to be a girl dancing the girl roles. Today, Jayna Ledford is living out her badassery life wearing leotards, tights and pointe shoes. She’s a dance and exercise science major at Montclair State University, is heavily involved with her Filipino culture, and is an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.  Jayna talked with us about her journey as a trans ballerina: her challenges, the support she received from family and friends, the national attention she received when she came out, and her plans for the future.
34:42
May 31, 2020
Amy Brinkley overcame addiction, jail, divorce, and her brother's suicide to live her badassery life
Amy credits stubbornness, grit, and God for helping rebuild her life that was nearly destroyed by her drug addiction. Today she is sober and working for the Indiana State Division of Mental Health and Addictions as the Bureau Chief. She is an advocate for the "lost voices" and looks for opportunities to reach back and help others. One of her biggest passions is prison ministry. Amy talks to us about overcoming her addiction, getting her life back, and what brings her happiness. 
30:36
May 18, 2020
Cassie Stockamp continues living her badassery life despite COVID-19 cutting her world travels short
Cassie was living in Columbia, had plans to bike ride across the U.S. and eventually join the Peace Corp - then COVID-19 changed everything. We caught up with her on her travels, the unfortunate timing of COVID-19, and how her journey has completely changed. She talks about her short (but amazing) time in Columbia and the need to get home in the wake of the pandemic. Find out why she chose the word "surrender", what she's doing to find purpose, and how she likens this experience of a cocoon to the butterfly.
37:15
May 4, 2020
DJ Gabby Love livin' her badassery life as one of the most sought after DJs
DJ Gabby Love talks about wanting to be a DJ at the age of 16 - and how she put that dream on hold to go to college and travel the world as a hair model. Today, she's half of a DJ power couple, turning tables at parties and high profile events around the world. Her success hasn't come without challenges and sadness, including her father's death, a house fire that destroyed everything, and the perceptions (and misperceptions) of being a top female DJ in a male dominated industry. COVID-19 has her spinning records virtually and trying to figure out what's next. Listen to learn more about DJ Gabby Love - including what music she chose when asked to curate the music for Former First Lady, Michelle Obama. 
43:42
April 26, 2020
Denise Herd talks about her career, her truth, being vulnerable, and the importance of sisterhood
Denise talks about how life can throw us curve balls and knock us off our stilettos, but she chooses faith over fear, which is one of the many things that has helped her succeed. We talked about everything from her proudest career moments, being vulnerable, the importance of sisterhood, and her word for the year. She stands in her truth about what she wants her voice to do, what she wants her company to do, and what she represents.
31:54
April 13, 2020
The Just Pop In! twins talk about their gourmet popcorn, their family bond, and challenges of being entrepreneurs
These two badasses love to celebrate happiness - and they make others happy with the best popcorn company on the planet. They were raised by entrepreneurs, have incredibly tight family roots, a love for life, and the gift of connection. They talked with us about their Uncle Kevin, who died from HIV and inspired their philanthropic spirit; their purpose and passion with their popcorn; and the business of hospitality. But things haven't always been so sweet for these successful entrepreneurs - a friend they hired to help build their dream cafe screwed them over and they talked about it for the first time with us. Our conversation with Mandy and Carly was raw, emotional and real! Listen to what's popping with the Just Pop In twins!
32:35
March 30, 2020
Jessica DiSanto talks about United Way's COVID-19 relief fund and being a mom and a PR professional during this crisis
Jessica DiSanto talks about being a mom and a PR professional during COVID-19. As Director of Communications for United Way of Central Indiana, we were interested in the $16.5 million Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund and what they're doing to support human services organizations and the individuals and families they serve who are affected by the Coronavirus. She also talks about a four-hour Cross Fit inter-gym competition, skydiving, and keeping our humanity during this time. Stay safe, healthy and kind!
39:06
March 19, 2020
Indy Maven co-founders talk about careers, fears and not giving a F---!
These badass women took a small idea and made it big in just a few short months. They had the audacity to just do it and didn’t ask for permission. As storytellers they saw major gaps in storytelling for women and they created Indy Maven to fill those gaps. Along the way – and throughout their lives – they’ve dealt with hardships, heartbreaks and overcome some incredible challenges to achieve great successes. Indy Maven is a way for these women to take all of the things they wanted to see happen for women in their city from a media and community perspective and bring them to fruition.
31:54
March 16, 2020
Jamie Little talks about being the first woman in the pit, outworking the next person, dogs, and her favorite bundt cake
This badass woman learned from her mom to "say yes first and figure it out later".  With that advice in mind, Jamie became the first pit reporter to cover the Indy 500 - and the first to cover the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 in the same year - and was the first female reporter in X Games history. But being the “first female” isn’t necessarily what drives her. She’s also a dog lover, cake baker and a franchisee (she and her husband own two Jimmy John’s in Las Vegas and Nothing Bundt Cake in Indianapolis). She’s a wife, a busy mom of 2 young kids and 4 rescue dogs. She's also a sideline reporter for America's Top Dog on A&E. But what really makes her happy? Having happiness, joy and balance.
33:25
March 1, 2020
Cassandra Tanner Miller talks about the horrific tragedy that led to her son's death and the strength she found to make change
This badass woman is on a mission to make sure others don’t experience the violence she did when her estranged husband beat her, shot and killed their baby, and then turned the gun on himself. She is courageously speaking up and telling her story to make change in domestic violence policies. She feels law enforcement, the Illinois National Guard and the judicial system all let her down – and she’s doing something about that.
41:06
February 16, 2020
Emily Longnecker talks about her attack, her career, Babyface, and more
This badass woman is living her most badassery life as an award-winning reporter for WTHR - one of Indianapolis’ top news stations. Her passion for storytelling has earned her 7 Emmy Awards, multiple Emmy nominations and recognition by the Society of Professional Journalists. But a few years ago, the news turned in a different direction for Emily when she was attacked in broad daylight and her station covered the story - her story. She talks about that attack and the people who helped chase the man down. She also opens up about her career (including covering the crash of Flight 93 on 9/11), her tribe, her crush on Babyface, and much more.
34:30
February 2, 2020
Jennifer Rubenstein talks about Edible Indy, farm-to-table and her favorites
This badass woman is the publisher and co-owner of Edible Indy.  She is the head recipe creator in the Edible Indy Test Kitchen and loves bringing the Midwest comfort food to the table with a fresh and farm-to-table twist. She also is the co-founder of a nonprofit, a wife, mother and an artist wanna be. She dishes the dirt with us in this episode. 
35:30
January 26, 2020
Cassie Stockamp talks about traveling the world in search of truths
This badass woman has been a business owner, president of a non-profit, yoga instructor, social activist, mom to two amazing women, and more. Meet Cassie Stockamp. She talks with us about traveling around the world in search of truths. Truths about herself. Truths about ways to live. Truths about the  "other."  In the past year, she has had incredible experiences in places like Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, India, Argentina, South Africa, Ecuador and Zambia. 
36:50
January 24, 2020
Gail Payne talks about unapologetically pursuing a professional career as an actor
This badass woman is tenacious, determined and passionate – but it took her several decades of living a comfortable life before she set out to live her badassery life! Meet Gail Payne. She is unapologetically pursuing a professional career as a performing artist in New York City. She's all in 110%. She's exposed, vulnerable - and she loves it. Performing makes her feel alive. She shares some career setbacks, emotional heartbreaks and incredible experiences with us AND ends the podcast by sharing her talent with us. 
34:05
January 20, 2020
Jenni White talks about The Vagina Monologues, living and working in the LGBTQ community, and more
This badass woman has a special gift and ability to create a brave space for people to feel more at ease, to become the best version of themselves, and to spread that feeling within and among others. She does that by being the best, most authentic version of herself! Did we mention she's known as "The Moaner" in The Vagina Monologues?!?  Meet Jenni White. Jenni is living her most badassery life as the founding executive director of Trinity Haven, Indiana’s first and only home for LGBTQ youth who are experiencing homelessness and housing instability. 
36:11
January 13, 2020