Skip to main content
How to Build a Village

How to Build a Village

By Jill Martin Wrenn
How to Build a Village is a podcast about creating a community when you move to a new place. We'll hear from people who have moved for jobs, love, or just the need for a change. In this podcast, we’ll talk about how to find the jobs, friends, schools, coffee places and whatever you need to make a new place feel like home. We look forward to hearing your story, too. I’m your host, Jill Martin Wrenn. I've been a journalist for the past twenty years. I’ve moved between New York, London, Atlanta, and back again. Along the way, I’ve met many amazing people who have created new lives in new places.
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


Currently playing episode

Prolific author Isabel Allende shares with Jill Martin Wrenn her new way of connecting with her global community of fans

How to Build a Village

Los Angeles-based artist London Kaye shares how she got hooked on crochet
London Kaye tells Jill Martin Wrenn how she tackles big topics in a lighthearted way through street art. She creates murals celebrating peace, gender equality and other issues through Love Across The USA (, a community of makers crocheting public murals. She also designed her own crochet hook, so she could streamline her art creation process. You can find her here: and on Instagram:
July 21, 2022
Entrepreneur and journalist Bernadette Brown shares how a community of candlemakers inspired her company-creating journey
Atlanta-based entrepreneur and journalist Bernadette Brown explains how she juggles a full-time job in television alongside her beauty brand, Baubles & Beeswax. She also shares how she made Atlanta her home, after years of moving. You can find out more here:
July 07, 2022
Prolific author Isabel Allende shares with Jill Martin Wrenn her new way of connecting with her global community of fans
Celebrated Chilean-American author Isabel Allende has published more than 20 books over the past four decades, including such bestsellers as  The House of the Spirits, Of Love and Shadows, and her newest novel, Violeta. She also founded The Isabel Allende Foundation to empower women and girls around the world. In this episode, she shares with Jill Martin Wrenn how she's changed the way she connects with her readers. You can read more here:
June 23, 2022
BBC journalist Egon Cossou shares how he’s creating a community of carers with Generation Care
Egon Cossou, a long-time BBC producer and presenter based in London, joins Jill Martin Wrenn to share how he is creating a community of carers with the site, Generation Care. He’s highlighting the work of the millions balancing busy lives with the lives of ageing loved ones. You can find out more here:
June 09, 2022
Bestselling author Helen Hoang tells Jill Martin Wrenn how her journey with Autism Spectrum Disorder helps inform her storytelling
Helen Hoang, author of the romantic comedies, The Heart Principle, The Bride Test and The Kiss Quotient, joins Jill Martin Wrenn from San Diego. She describes how she creates characters from a range of backgrounds and communities, who grapple with romances steeped in realism. You can find out more here:
June 02, 2022
How to find a career path that fits with bestselling author and coach Marianne Cantwell
Find out how to create a career you want. Marianne Cantwell, author of the bestselling book, Be A Free Range Human: Escape the 9-5, Create a Life You love and Still Pay the Bills, shares tips on how to use your weaknesses as strengths, and create a career that works with your personality, and your schedule. Originally from Australia, Marianne joins How to Build a Village from Los Angeles. Find out more about Marianne here:
May 19, 2022
NHS nurse and midwife Anna Kent shares with Jill Martin Wrenn her journey as a Frontline Midwife
NHS nurse and midwife Anna Kent describes her role as an international humanitarian aid worker, and how writing her book, Frontline Midwife: My Story of Survival and Keeping Others Safe, has been cathartic.
May 05, 2022
Author, producer, speaker and activist Angie Thomas shares with Jill Martin Wrenn how she builds a global community
Bestselling author Angie Thomas shares with Jill Martin Wrenn how she cultivates a community of readers around the world through her virtual and in-person events. Angie’s young adult novels, The Hate U Give, On the Come Up, and Concrete Rose, are New York Times bestsellers. A former teen rapper, Angie was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, where she still lives. You can find more on Angie's website:
March 31, 2022
Certified Nurse Midwife Betsy Freeman shares her journey to single parenthood
Certified Nurse Midwife Betsy Freeman tells Jill Martin Wrenn how she become a single mother by choice, and how she's helping others to become single parents. She also shares her journey as a midwife, from New York to Portland, Oregon, and her heroic work with Doctors Without Borders. You can find more on Betsy's website:
March 17, 2022
Top tips for moving across the country from science journalist Liz Landau
Science journalist and NASA communicator Liz Landau shares her journey from Atlanta to LA to Washington DC. Liz shares tips on how to meet people in new cities, how LA traffic can dictate your social life, and what's so special about Dragon Con in How to Build a Village's first episode of 2022. You can find out more about Liz's writing and music here:
February 10, 2022
Reading recommendations from 2021 with Jill Martin Wrenn
In the last episode of season 1, we share some books that made us smile in 2021. We would love to hear from you. Please reach out with your reading recommendations, feedback, guest ideas and other suggestions on We look forward to more conversations about community building in season 2. Thanks for listening.
December 16, 2021
How to make yourself 'a little bit famous' with British author and coach Penny Haslam
British visibility coach and author Penny Haslam shares with Jill Martin Wrenn how she helps business leaders become 'a little bit famous'.
December 02, 2021
Journalist Ginanne Brownell shares her journey through surrogacy to motherhood with Jill Martin Wrenn
London-based American journalist Ginanne Brownell describes her path to motherhood, through IVF and surrogacy. Her writing has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Financial Times, CNN, Conde Nast Traveller, Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Scientific American, Salon, Foreign Policy and the Washington Post. You can find out more on
November 16, 2021
How Helen and Shaninga Marasha started BIGKID Foundation to help at-risk young people achieve their full potential
Helen and Shaninga Marasha, the Development Director and the Founder/CEO of BIGKID Foundation, share with Jill Martin Wrenn how their London charity offers young people opportunities to develop leadership skills and a sense of belonging through sports, media, the arts and much more.
November 04, 2021
Master trainer Saidah Jones CSCS tells Jill Martin Wrenn how she creates healthy communities
Atlanta-based fitness expert Saidah Jones CSCS shares how she creates healthy communities by developing health education and physical activity regimens. A track and field All-American, this University of Tennessee alum has worked as a fitness professional for more than 15 years. Saidah also reveals how she reinvented herself after an Achilles injury, creating a sustainable coaching career.
October 21, 2021
Alison Baum OBE tells Jill Martin Wrenn how she founded the charity Best Beginnings
Alison Baum describes her inspiring journey from science filmmaker to charity CEO. Following her own challenges as a new mother, she founded the charity Best Beginnings in 2006 to support parents of all backgrounds to give their babies the best start in life. She spent almost 10 years as a Producer/Director in the Science Department at the BBC, then chose to use her skills and experience as a teacher, scientist and filmmaker to help drive positive social change in the UK. She was awarded an OBE in 2017 for her services to tackling child health inequalities in the New Year honours list.
October 07, 2021
Journalist Hazel Sheffield tells Jill Martin Wrenn what's behind her award-winning reporting
British journalist Hazel Sheffield travels the UK, finding and investigating stories of resilience and entrepreneurialism. She tells Jill Martin Wrenn how she launched and funded, which documents local projects and people building alternative economic systems in the UK, and what inspires her.
September 30, 2021
Travel writer Michelle Jana Chan tells Jill Martin Wrenn what inspires her debut novel, Song
Michelle Jana Chan, award-winning journalist and Travel Editor of Vanity Fair, shares how her global travels helped to inspire her debut novel, Song. Bernardine Evaristo calls Song, "A wonderfully lush and atmospheric odyssey of survival against all odds."
September 16, 2021
Irish broadcaster Joe Lynam shares how he built a global media community in London
Joe Lynam, presenter and moderator who was the BBC’s Business Correspondent for a decade, tells Jill Martin Wrenn about his adventures in broadcasting, from Dublin to London, and how his son surprised him and his wife with an early arrival outside a London hospital. 
September 02, 2021
How Californian Katie Hellwig took a leap of faith and moved to Italy
Katie Hellwig, a Californian living in Italy, shares stories, book recommendations, travel tips and what she’s learned about cooking from the lake region of Northern Italy with Jill Martin Wrenn.
August 19, 2021
American executive Allyson Zimmermann joins Jill Martin Wrenn from Zurich, Switzerland to share visions and tips on meditation
From meditation to mindfulness, how to feel present wherever you are with Allyson Zimmermann. The diversity and inclusion executive has lived abroad for more than half of her life, and calls Zurich, Switzerland her home.
August 05, 2021
Former Olympics volunteer Misha Santa Barbara joins Jill Martin Wrenn for our Olympics Special
How tens of thousands of volunteers from around the world formed a global community at the Olympics. Rio 2016 volunteer Misha Santa Barbara shares her Olympics volunteering experience with Jill Martin Wrenn.
July 22, 2021
Brazilian broadcaster Evelini Quarrell shares what inspires her Foreign Mum podcast
Hear how love and loss helped to inspire Evelini Quarrell to launch The Foreign Mum Podcast. She also shares her journey from Fortaleza, Brazil, to London, and how she made a new city her home.
July 15, 2021
How to launch a hit podcast with LA host Kris Kosach
From MTV to Text, Prose & RocknRoll, Kris Kosach shares her journey from TV through radio and podcasts. Join us on this trip to Los Angeles for tips on how to start your own hit podcast, and how to interview like a pro.
July 08, 2021
The Wimbledon special with tennis journalist Simon Cambers
As the Wimbledon Championships start, tennis journalist Simon Cambers shares an off-the-court look at the global community of tennis reporters, which he has cultivated for more than 20 years. We'll hear about resilience, anxiety, and how Wimbledon will look different in 2021.
June 28, 2021
From Lagos to London, how technology investor June Angelides MBE breaks boundaries for women in technology
June Angelides tells How to Build a Village host Jill Martin Wrenn how the coding school she launched, Mums in Tech, taught more than 250 women how to code, and helped to earn her an MBE for her services to women in technology. June also shares why she calls London her home, while her heart is still in Lagos.
June 24, 2021
From Ireland to Taiwan, how yoga helped Tara Duffy build a village around the world
Journalist and storyteller Tara Duffy tells Jill Martin Wrenn what it's like to live in Taipei, Taiwan, during the pandemic, and how teaching Iyengar Yoga has helped her to build a community around the world. She also shares which part of Taiwan reminds her of her adopted home of the west coast of Ireland.
June 10, 2021
Filmmaker Angela Tucker shares how she covers serious topics with a bit of levity, and how her adopted city of New Orleans inspires her work
Angela Tucker is a prolific filmmaker. She is a writer, director, and Emmy-nominated producer. Her most recent project is "The Trees Remember", a fiction series in collaboration with REI Co-op Studios: Other recent work includes “All Styles,” starring Du-Shaunt "Fik-shun" Stegall, about a talented hip-hop dancer from Las Vegas. In the film, he puts together a group of dancers who excel at all styles of dance. Angela's work also includes “All Skinfolk Ain't Kinfolk,” about the runoff race for mayor of New Orleans between two very different black women; “Black Folk Don't,” a documentary web series that challenges stereotypes; and many more. A former classmate of Jill Martin Wrenn's, Angela shares how she made New Orleans her home after moving from New York.
May 27, 2021
Journalist Katie Pisa shares her tips on how to make new cities feel like home
London-based journalist Katie Pisa has moved more than 20 times, including diplomatic postings to Athens and Kuala Lumpur. She tells Jill Martin Wrenn how she manages to make each new city feel like home; how she answers the question, "Where are you from?"; and how to make goodbyes easier.
May 13, 2021
How citizens grapple with their countries’ World War II legacies, with Dr. Jelena Subotić
Georgia State University Professor Dr. Jelena Subotić shares the surprises she uncovered when researching her book Yellow Star, Red Star: Holocaust Remembrance After Communism, with podcast host Jill Martin Wrenn. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Subotić studies international relations theory, human rights, international ethics, state identity and the politics of the Western Balkans.
April 29, 2021
Broadway events producer Suzanne Tobak shares her mother's extraordinary escape from the Holocaust
New York-based special events producer Suzanne Tobak tells How to Build a Village about her mother, Erika (Schirok) Tobak, who escaped from the Holocaust as a child on the Kindertransport in World War II.
April 15, 2021
Comedy in the time of Covid with New York-based entrepreneur and culture changer Lynn Harris
Lynn Harris, founder of GOLD Comedy, shares with podcast host Jill Martin Wrenn how her startup creates a community where young women and non-binary folks get to be their funniest selves. 
April 01, 2021
Author Sara Hammel unveils her new book about women in the US military
Award-winning writer Sara Hammel tells How to Build a Village host Jill Martin Wrenn about her role in a groundbreaking US Army study that helped to change the role of women in the military. She formed close friendships with her fellow pioneers and found the inspiration for her new book, The Strong Ones: How a Band of Civilian Women Made Their Mark on the Army.
March 18, 2021
From Singapore to Seattle, author Ruchika Tulshyan shares her recipe for success
Ruchika Tulshyan is an author, activist, educator and foodie. She tells Jill Martin Wrenn how she finds the flavour of cities where she's lived, including Singapore, Seattle, London, New York and Atlanta. The author of The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality in the Workplace and founder of Candour, an inclusion strategy firm with global clients, Ruchika is a regular contributor on creating inclusive workplaces to Harvard Business Review.
March 04, 2021
How to make a financial hub feel like home with Alessia Giustiniano
Media specialist Alessia Giustiniano shares how she made global cities from Hong Kong to New York to London feel like home, and why Amsterdam feels like such a magical place. 
February 25, 2021
From the newsroom to the novel with Sarah Sultoon
London-based novelist Sarah Sultoon describes how her years as a media executive in the CNN International newsroom inspired her new thriller, The Source, in this episode of How to Build a Village with Jill Martin Wrenn.
February 11, 2021
How lockdown led Irish journalist Fionnuala Sweeney back to Ireland
From Eurovision host to CNN presenter to Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health, Fionnuala Sweeney tells Jill Martin Wrenn how she juggles changing work demands while she creates equity-focused global communities in this episode of How to Build a Village.
January 28, 2021
How an Australian novelist fell in love with London, with help from Wimbledon and the West End
Australian novelist Leisel McKenzie showed How to Build a Village host Jill Martin Wrenn how to score Wimbledon tickets, find the best West End shows and most importantly, make London feel like home when they met nearly twenty years ago. Now, while London grapples with lockdown, Leisel and Jill look back at what the city has to offer - and what to hope for in the coming months.
January 14, 2021
How Leone Lakhani launched her international broadcast career
Leone Lakhani's career has taken her around the world, from the Arctic to South Africa, Shanghai to LA. She has two decades of international experience at the CNN and BBC. In the last episode of How to Build a Village in 2020, Leone shares with host Jill Martin Wrenn how she got started in the competitive career of broadcast journalism in London - and how she found a family of friends in the newsroom. 
December 31, 2020
Longing for London while you're living in lockdown, with Isabelle Roughol
In the debut episode of How to Build a Village, Jill Martin Wrenn talks to Isabelle Roughol, host of the Boderline podcast and community for defiant global citizens, about living in lockdown London as Brexit looms. How to Build a Village is a new podcast about creating communities when you move to a new place, hosted by journalist Jill Martin Wrenn. 
December 17, 2020
Introducing: How to Build a Village - the trailer
Welcome to How to Build a Village, a podcast that will take you around the world to hear stories from people who have made new places feel like home. 
December 09, 2020