“I want to paint. I want to paint!”. After veering away from a fine arts career path, Michael’s inner voice kept nagging at him. So, he began with a class at the Art Students League. In our conversation, Michael offers practical advice about following your inner promptings.
Michael was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and was introduced to the art-making process by his two grandfathers: one was a carpenter and the other a dressmaker. They both took Michael to museums where they would draw together. They both dreamed of being artists and they passed that dream onto him. Michael’s grandfathers also impressed him with the importance of service and giving back to the community. Along with being a Visual Artist, Michael continues to explore all creative aspects of himself as an Art Educator, a Coach and Trainer. Michael’s sense of purpose is expressed through all these experiences.
As a creative person, Jeff Berman’s purpose is to connect with others and have a positive impact on his world. At a deeper level, his desire is to collaborate in the co-creative flow between his endeavors and the larger energies of the universe. What helps him do this? Awareness and intentionality. Take a listen.
Jeff Berman is a New York City-based composer, guitarist, and percussionist, with a background in ethnomusicology and a B.A. in Music from Wesleyan University. Jeff brings together his many musical influences to make work that amplifies the relationship between humans, society, and the natural world. He has composed music for Keely Garfield Dance, and his work has been performed at venues including The Rubin Museum of Art, The Chocolate Factory Theater, and Big Reuse Brooklyn. In addition to writing music, he plays in clubs around the city, and accompanies dance and movement classes. Jeff also freelances in media production, and works at Middle Collegiate Church, a community that is committed to love, equity, inclusivity, and the arts. For the latest information about Jeff go to https://www.jeff-berman.com
Steve Porcaro is passionate about helping leaders and teams achieve their goals through game-changing sales, marketing, and business development strategies. his clients come from a wide variety of industries, including medical device, service, and hospitality.
Steve’s mission is to empower improvement and growth by providing tools, techniques and support to businesses, teams, and individuals who want to level up.
Steve is an executive coach, trainer, and inspirational speaker with over 25 years of experience. He is Past President of the Connecticut Chapter of the International Coach Federation, a Certified Master OASIS Trainer, and a DISC Behaviors Facilitator.
Phone Steve at 860.243.9757.
Max Thomas is an advisor to start-ups and growth companies on executive leadership, business development & sales, digital analytics, and mergers & acquisitions. Max is a serial entrepreneur who has built, sold and transitioned several companies in the fields of digital marketing, online retail, and publishing.
Max is a member of the angel-investor syndicate Gaingels, a mentor at StartOut, and an advisor at ERA NYC and Innovation Norway. He holds a BA from Columbia University and an MBA from Yale University. Max lives in NYC and Amsterdam.
Peyton Pugmire is the founding director and owner of Creative Spirit, a center for creativity and personal transformation in Marblehead MA. Peyton first connected with his own creative spirit as a child in Georgia when he would paint, color, write, cook, dance, sing…AND mount full blown theatre productions in his family’s basement! Since then, the strength he acquired through his art has fueled his personal journey of embracing his full self. Today, Peyton strives to live as authentically and creatively as possible, and he is passionate about inspiring others to do the same.
Peyton holds a BA degree in Theatre (College of Charleston) and a MA degree in Theatre Education (Emerson College). A member of the North American Drama Therapy Association, he is currently studying to become a Registered Drama Therapist. He has held top leadership positions with The Boston Conservatory at Berklee (Associate Director of Theater), the Watertown Children’s Theatre (Producing Artistic Director), and Wheelock Family Theatre (Director of Education). From 2005 to 2013, he founded and ran Divine Stage Works, a small Boston theatre company. Peyton has taught across generations, including inner-city youth, college students, and adults. Peyton is an accomplished actor, theatre director and trained painter, as well as a certified spiritual intuitive with clients from coast to coast. He also has enjoyed studying shamanism and meditation.
Wendy Wollner is the Founder and CEO of Balancing Life’s Issues (BLI). With over 25 years of experience she has built and overseen a network of over 1,500 BLI trainers who bring work/life balance programs to corporations, not-for-profit organizations, employee assistance programs, and educational institutions. BLI trainers create custom-tailored curriculum for programs that focus on topics that include: emotional intelligence, managing stress with humor and health and wellness. https://balancinglifesissues.com
Wendy passes her honest, straight forward approach combined with her high energy and sense of humor, through to her trainers who encourage program participants to think differently in order to cope with the stresses of today and boldly face the challenges of tomorrow.All BLI trainers bring their own personal experiencesaswellastheirexpertisetotheprograms,bringingadeeperlevelof understanding and human connection to help reach all individuals. BLI trainers have worked with a wide range of diverse industries including biotech, and major manufacturing companies, as well as service and professional organizations, reaching everyone from the shop floor and administrative personnel up to the C-Suite and boards of director across the United States and Canada.
In 2016, Wendy received The Business Council of Westchester’s Business Hall of Fame Award in the category of Women Business in Success. In 2015, SmartCEO honored BLI as one of the fastest growing companies in New York, and Wendy and Wendy was a nominee for the 2012 Enterprising Women of the Year Award. She has been featured in Entrepreneur’s Start-Up, HR Magazine, The New York Post, The Journal News, CBS News Radio 880 with Joe Connelly, Westchester Parent, the Chicago Tribune, ExecuNet’s Career Smart Advisor, More magazine, and SHRM Magazine. She is a past board member of The United Way, and currently holds a board position for VolunteerNY.
Wendy received a master’s degree in industrial psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. In2014, Wendy completed an Executive MBA program through WBENC and Tuck Business School. In 2012, she graduated from Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small BusinessProgram.
The proud mother of three adult children, including an eldest son who is in medical school, Wendy lives in the lower Hudson Valley of New York.
Shalini Rikhi describes herself as a human being who tries to live by some basic spiritual principles that she practices each day.
Shalini began her Yoga practice over 20 years ago and has lived her purpose by sharing space and the practice of Yoga with the amazing community she serves.
She believes that the core of what humanity stands on includes compassion, empathy, truth, love and service.
Gretchen M. Michelfeld is an eclectic writer, a sheepish Mets fan, a hopeful feminist, and a proud mom. Her essays and poems have appeared in TalkSpace, The Good Men Project, Real Simple and Open Thought Vortex. A former actress and member of the comedy troupe, Lesbian Pulp-O-Rama!, she is now a playwright and screenwriter. Her feature film As Good As You is available on iTunes.
Priya Kaul brings a spunky energy and compassion to her work in talent development. Early in her career with at-risk populations in hospitals, Priya discovered her calling when she was invited to facilitate a program for aspiring leaders. Priya finds her professional rhythm in being a strategic partner and collaboratively working with teams to unlock leadership potential. Having worked globally, Priya uses her academic base in Psychology to center her work with people in their leadership development. Believing in purposeful growth, Priya has taken up running as a recent step in her own transformational journey.
Michelle Clayton’s story about purpose is a personal one, which has led her on a ‘scenic path’ of experiences and major milestones. Born in Dallas to an American father and Irish mother, she grew up in a bicultural family, eventually living on two continents. The dual nature of her background felt like the two sides of a coin, fostering her belief that, in order to grow and evolve, we have to recognize the merit in our challenges as much as in our successes, the melancholy as much as the happiness, the yin as much as the yang. This duality became starkly evident to her during a trip to India, where she witnessed the profound richness of community and generosity amidst material poverty.
Michelle reached a significant milestone in the aftermath of her divorce. During a period of depression, she woke up and realized that she was going to rewrite the outline for the second half of her life. As a life-long student, Michelle maintains that the most significant lesson she is learning is that life is not a race. After all, who wants to be the first to the finish line anyway?
Emily Neustadt is an Executive Coach, Leadership Consultant and Meeting Facilitator with 20 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies and non-profits. She helps individuals and groups have courageous conversations to create a path forward toward high performance, innovation and full team engagement. She designs and facilitates off-sites and meetings for team development. She teaches the Masterclass in Coaching at NYU’s School for Professional Studies and has been a guest lecturer at Columbia University, New York University and Hunter College.
Jenn is a listener of souls. She spent twenty years as United Methodist clergy before she honed her listening skills and moved into the counseling field. She works as a therapist with adolescents in a residential treatment facility helping them through mental health and substance addiction struggles. She also sees clients in her Spiritual Direction Practice, helping people ask some fundamental questions about “Life, Love, and other Mysteries.” Underlying all of her work is a deep belief in healing through relationship – relationship with each other, relationship with God (or the Holy), and relationship with self.
You can learn more about her work at www.jenniferolin-hitt.com
Sean Harvey is currently the Chief Compassion Officer & Founder of Symponia Studios & The Compassionate Masculinity Project. His work in personal, organizational, and societal transformation is inspired by over 20 years of Talent and Organization Development consulting combined with a decade of college teaching experience at Cornell, NYU, and Baruch College CUNY in the areas Organizational Behavior and Change. Sean is contributing as a writer, speaker, and consultant to a new narrative around creating a healthier gender balance in organizations to transform people, cultures, and systems. He engages men in personal transformation experiences around the areas of authenticity, connection, purpose, and well-being as a means to foster greater gender balance in the workplace. Sean most recently served as the head of Purpose, Personal Transformation and Wellbeing as well as the Internal Change Agent for Creative for EILEEN FISHER.
Find Sean at:
Maeve Callagy is a staff attorney at Part of the Solution (POTS), a non-profit organization whose mission is to be a loving community in the Bronx, which acts as a “one stop shop” for those who seek its services. At POTS, Maeve is an advocate on behalf of poor and indigent clients who are facing eviction in housing court, and with regard to benefits like food stamps and public assistance. Through her work she also advocates on behalf of clients with other governmental and charitable agencies. Maeve is also a member of the Saint Vincent de Paul society group of St Barnabas Parish in the Bronx, which provides spiritual and financial assistance in creative ways to those in need. Finally, Maeve is a mentor for a high school student through the iMentor program.
Find Maeve Callagy on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/maeve-callagy-69357b34/
Lesley Mazzotta is the founder and executive director of One World Girl, a nonprofit organization, working in NYC and Long Island, to empower and champion girls to reach their full potential, build leadership abilities and become changemakers in the world. For over 20 years, she has worked as a producer, educator, workshop facilitator and spiritual director, conceiving and producing unique programming, imaginative events and creative learning opportunities on Broadway, in entertainment and in religious communities around the country. Lesley also serves as the educational specialist for the RCA Women’s Transformation and Leadership, a national initiative that encourages and equips women for leadership and worked for 6 years as Producing Director of Camp Broadway, an award-winning children’s theater company in New York City. Lesley has a BA from Tufts University, a Certificate of Creative Arts Therapy from The New School and a Certificate of Spiritual Direction from General Theological Seminary.
Lesley can be reached at email@example.com Visit One World Girl at www.oneworldgirl.org
In this episode, I speak with John Steele. Though in the early stages of his professional life, John profoundly articulates his sense of purpose as the process of growing into oneself. John supports this by paying rigorous attention to his inner life, attempting to strike a balance between his desire to push forward and allowing things to unfold organically.
John Steele is a founding member and senior associate at The Diversity Quotient™, a firm that seeks to empower organizations and communities through facilitating courageous conversations about what diversity, equity, and inclusion means to them, and by partnering with clients to clarify what changes they can make in their spheres of influence to advance their DEI vision. There he conducts culture assessments, coaches individuals, and facilitates workshops on topics such as understanding social identity, privilege and marginalization, whiteness, and more.
John is also pursuing a master’s in Organizational Change Management at The New School. The program combines the study of psychology and sociology in an organizational context with experiential learning through client-based work. Through the program he has worked with clients in the for-profit and non-profit space on projects such as diagnosing breakdowns in communication norms, assessing a multi-center volunteer program, and conducting a stakeholder analysis on how a leadership transition affected the organization to name a few.
In his spare time, he enjoys getting to know other people who are wrestling with the complexities of being a human on this planet, whether that is by listening to a podcast, seeing a performance, or just sharing some time with a good friend. He is also a former collegiate squash player who likes to stay physically active through dance and step aerobics.
He can be found on LinkedInand can be contacted through The Diversity Quotient website
Although Kasey Bergh spent the early years of her life paralyzed by shyness, by the time she reached her twenties, she was determined make a shift. She spent the better part of the next 30 years boosting her self-awareness through therapy and reading, listening to powerful speakers and aligning herself with dynamic people.
Throughout her life, Kasey has met with multiple challenges, and found unexpected delights. She faced a diagnosis of kidney disease at 28, a kidney transplant at 35 and an unexpected divorce at 46.
But, in 2012 Kasey found new love when she sent a text to the wrong number. On the receiving end was the man who would ultimately marry her, despite their big age difference. Henry also became her next kidney donor in April 2019 after Kasey spent 2 years in dialysis.
Throughout all of these experiences, Kasey practices and hones her principles to help her grapple with the ambiguities of life and all the feelings they bring. She embraces living in the present, come what may.
Kasey Bergh tells her story through speaking engagements, her upcoming podcast and Facebook. Learn more about her at https://www.facebook.com/kaseyandhenry/
Patrick Paul Garlinger is a writer on spirituality and human consciousness. He is a former professor of Spanish literature who specialized in gender and queer theory. After teaching as a professor at Northwestern University, he embarked on a career in the law. In 2009, he graduated magna cum laude from NYU School of Law, and began to practice law at a litigation boutique in Manhattan. In 2010, he experienced a powerful spiritual awakening that led him to his teacher, Mirabai Devi, the renowned international healer, with whom he apprenticed for many years. During that apprenticeship, Patrick’s kundalini was awakened and he began to channel works of spiritual wisdom. Patrick has published 3 works of spiritual wisdom, When Thought Turns to Light: A Practical Guide for Spiritual Transformation, Seeds of Light: Channeled Transmissions on the Christ Consciousness and Bending Time: The Power to Live in the Now. His next channeled book, A World Without Identity: The Sacred Task of Uniting Humanity, is forthcoming later this year. He lives in NYC, where he teaches meditation, leads workshops on a variety of spiritual topics, and works with individual clients to heal their inner child and connect with their true self. Visit www.patrickpaulgarlinger.com
Deborah Madelaine - “I am a prototype.”
Deborah worked for over ten years as a packaging scientist in FMCG but she somehow always knew it wasn’t her calling. She had ambitions to have a positive impact on those around her, but like many of us felt too small, paralyzed to take action.
An unexpected gift provoked a journey of self-exploration that led to surprising results including a collaboration with the former prison guard of Nelson Mandela, writing a personal development book, dying her hair pink and an ambition to create her own job, to move the empathy needle in her workplace.
Luckily, Deborah works for Mars, a family owned global business with a gold standard reputation for innovation, an ironclad commitment to employee development and an award-winning company culture. In a few short months Deborah was spearheading Mars’ global movement - User Centricity - promoting empathy and human-centered design throughout Mars’ 115,000 employees.
Deborah’s story perfectly parallels the movement she and the Mars family want to share with the business world; that through empowering people - by giving them permission to innovate - incredible leaps can occur. Deborah now guides her fellow Mars associates, customers and consumers within the people centered collaborative framework that is User Centricity, all the while acknowledging the vast untapped potential in the idea that we are all, at the end of the day, prototypes. Find Deb on LinkedIn as Deborah Madelaine and on Instagram as magic.deb