Episode Twenty-One: What We Learned (Episodes 12-20)

 My sister Ryann, with whom I'd be lost without...

My sister Ryann, with whom I'd be lost without...

 She's been a favorite for over 15 years now...

She's been a favorite for over 15 years now...

Time for another recap episode!  Every 9-10 episodes I'll pause and sit down with some listeners to discuss what they (and I) learned from listening to others through these conversations.  This time I'm talking with my sister, Ryann Kehoe and long-time friend Sarah Ruger to discuss the conversations in episodes 12-20.  We discuss what they learned from listening to these conversations, common themes that emerged and things that challenged us.  Ryann and Sarah are thoughtful, insightful women and it was really neat to see what emerged from their reflections on the conversations!



Episode Twenty: School Choice with Ashley Frasier


This week I'm sitting down with teacher, coach and all around amazing woman, Ashley Frasier.  Ashley is one of my oldest and dearest friends.  She's been in education for more than 15 years and has worked in both public and charter schools.  We sit down this week to discuss school choice.  

School choice has been a hot button issue lately with the idea of vouchers being a polarizing topic in education.  Ashley and I break down the different choices in school and talk about what school choice does and could look like in communities who don’t currently have many options.


Also discussed in this episode

Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee



Episode Nineteen: #ChurchToo and What to Do with Caryn Rivadeneira

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This week I sit down with author and ministry worker Caryn Rivandeneira to talk about what happens when sexual harassment happens in church. Do we treat it the same as when it happens in secular workplaces? Is there room for grace and redemption for the perpetrator? What is the best way for churches to support victims? Caryn and I delve into all of this and more on this week's episode.

The #MeToo movement has opened our eyes to the prevalence of harassment in the workplace, and #ChurchToo helped us see that it wasn't just a problem for the secular world.  It seems that in the church the problem has both greater capacity to harm and also a greater call to respond in a way that loves and protects the victim first and foremost but also loves appropriately the perpetrator.  It's messy, challenging work, but Caryn and I explore what that might look like this week.

Connect with Caryn!  You can find her information at her website or follow her on Twitter and FaceBook.

Also discussed in the show:

The Age of Innocence by Edit Wharton

Wonder by R.J. Palacio



Episode Eighteen: Empowerment and Equality are Not Zero Sum Games with Jennifer Iannolo


This week's guest is Jennifer Iannolo, a speaker, entrepreneur, and all around go-getter who sat down with me to discuss empowerment, equality and equity.  Jennifer is the founder of the Concordia Project, a non-profit designed to disrupt the conversation about empowerment through think tanks, salon dinners and global studies.  Jennifer has a new way of thinking about empowerment that focuses on self-direction and empowerment for everyone freely.  There isn't a limited amount of power that we're passing off between each other.  What I appreciated most about this conversation was that it addressed the growing concern I have about the effect our current dialogue about empowerment is effecting young boys.  In man ways this conversation furthers the one that Melissa Agnes and I had a few months ago.


Find out more about Jennifer on her website.  And check out The Concordia Project and consider how you might get involved with this incredible work!  You can find Jennifer on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.


Also discussed in this episode:

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

The Physiology of Taste by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin




Episode Seventeen: A Conversation about President Trump with Boone Cutler


This week we brought back episode thirteen's guest, Boone Cutler.  You'll remember Boone as a veteran, radio host, author, and creator of the Spartan Pledge, a pledge for Warfighters designed to combat the epidemic of veteran suicide.  Boone is also a long time supporter of President Trump.  He and I sit down to chat about President Trump.  Ultimately this conversation had less to do with Trump and more to do with how we talk about this polarizing figure, the assumptions we make about people who disagree with us, and how we can move forward as a country.

I'll be very honest, I'm nervous to put this episode out into the world.  From every side, this conversation leaves room for someone to be angry, disappointed, frustrated or unhappy.  There are plenty of people who will hope this conversation is a winner take all situation, with one person laying out the exact perfect argument that will leave the other side speechless, defeated.

But that's not real life.  And that wasn't the point of this conversation.  Neither one of us was ever going to convince the other person of our "rightness."  The point of this conversation was to listen.  To speak our truth and viewpoint as kindly as we know how.  To stay in even if there's tension or disagreement.  To learn something from the other person.

This conversation was two humans trying to do just that.  We didn't do it perfectly.  I'm sure there are a million things people wish both of us said differently.  But this was the very real conversation we had.  And I think it was a worthwhile one.  Because we left it well.  We found some middle ground.  We held the tension and sought peace.  

And for me, I had some big takeaways.  First and foremost, I've got to stop dehumanizing people with whom I disagree.  I have to be able to believe the best about them.  Even if I don't want to.  Listen, it would have been much easier to just assume the worst about Boone and try to argue my way through that conversation.  Hell, it would have been easiest to just avoid the conversation and Boone all together.  I can live in peace and harmony with every one who agrees with me all the live long day.  But I don't think that's the way forward and I don't think that's helpful for the bigger picture.  There is a tension that needs to be held in these conversations.  I can absolutely believe that President Trump has used racism and bigotry to gain power, but I don't have to believe that Boone is racist because he doesn't see it that way.  Calling him a racist doesn't get us anywhere.  Believing the worst about him doesn't continue the conversation.  

Another takeaway is listening respectfully to what someone says doesn't mean I agree with them. There was plenty of stuff I said that I'm sure Boone vehemently disagrees with.  But he listened respectfully.  And that matters.  If we can continue showing up to conversations like these without shutting down stuff we don't agree with, we can continue having the conversations.  These are conversations that happen over time, with thoughtful dialogue.  No one is persuaded away from their beliefs by bullying or 140 characters.

And, Boone made a comment towards the end of our conversation that stuck with me.  He said something to the effect that if we start our conversation around the polarizing thing we're going to get stuck.  We should approach these kinds of issues around where we agree.  I loved his idea of listing what is important to us for our country.  I think he's right that our priorities around these lists will be different, but there will be agreement and that's a good place to start.

I am very thankful to Boone for being willing to have the conversation.  I hope and trust that my listeners will be respectful and appreciative as well.  It is no small thing to put oneself out there like he did.  It was risky and vulnerable and I'm thankful he showed up to the conversation.  


Find information about Boone on his website.  Connect with him on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.  

Episode Sixteen: Gang Bangers as Saviors with Mark Culliton


This week I chatted with Mark Culliton, the brainchild behind College Bound Dorchester and the Boston Uncornered Initiative.  CBD and BCI use education to end systemic generational urban poverty.  By providing mentoring and stipends for gang leaders to attend college Mark and his organization are changing the lives of gang members and who in turn go back to change their own neighborhoods.  It's a totally new way to think about how we approach urban poverty and gang involvement, one that uses members most destructive to the community to ultimately transform it.

It was a fascinating discussion, one I thoroughly enjoyed.  

Connect with Mark on twitter, instagram and facebook.  And check out College Bound Dorchester at their website here or on facebook!  It's an amazing organization, doing some really cool things!

And, it's true, Mark really does run marathons in crocs.  Here's the proof:




Also mentioned in the show:

Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh

Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari



Episode Fifteen: The Problem with Helping with Laura Gassner Otting


This week I sat down with speaker and leader Laura Gassner Otting, who wants you to stop asking "how can I help?"  This was a fascinating and humbling conversation that flips the script on how we engage with problems.  Rather than trying to figure out how we can be the solution to the problem Laura wants us to ask, "what needs to be done?"  This simple switch can lead to more effective solutions and the right people providing them.  This conversation made me rethink how I engage with problems and helped me realize how important it is to take myself out of the center of the solution.


You can see Laura's TEDx talk on the topic here and find out more information at her website.  Follow her on instagram, twitter and facebook!


Also discussed in this episode:

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair



Episode Fourteen: Unconscious Bias with Tony Chatman


This week I sat down with author, speaker and recognized thought leader Tony Chatman to talk about unconscious or implicit bias.  Tony helped me to understand what an unconscious bias is, how to tell what yours may be (because everyone has them) and how to check and challenge our unconscious biases.  He also helped me to understand what happens when, as a society, we don't start to recognize and counter our unconscious biases.

In this episode Tony and I both referenced an online test to see what your implicit biases might be.  You can go here to find more information and take an implicit bias test.

I also mentioned on the episode that I use social media to help me follow and engage with different types of people.  On twitter and instagram this week I'll be sharing some of my favorite follows in this category.  Check A Year of Listening's instagram and twitter feeds for that info.  (And also, follow A Year of Listening on the socials!!)

I highly encourage you to check out Tony's webpage and to follow him on twitter, instagram and facebook!  And read his book The Force Multiplier!

Also mentioned on the show:

Authentic Christianity by Ray Stedman

Episode Thirteen: Veteran Care and Suicide Prevention with Boone Cutler


This week I chatted with Boone Cutler, a veteran, radio host, author, and creator of the Spartan Pledge, a pledge for Warfighters designed to combat the epidemic of veteran suicide.  In this conversation we discussed suicide prevention among vets, medical care for veterans and the "Warfighter mentality."  He also explained some new ways of thinking about PTSD among those in the Warfighter community.  It was an illuminating conversation for me, one that informed and reframed how I think about the Warfighter community.

Find information about Boone on his website.  Connect with him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  Information about The Spartan Pledge.

Check out Boone's book Voodoo in Sadr City.

Also discussed in the show:

The Art of War by Sun Tzu (Denma translation)

Ken Burns: America Lives (Elizabeth Cady Stanton documentary)




Episode Twelve: How to Have Polarizing Conversations Well with Phil M. Jones


This week's episode is a good one!  I sat down with author and speaker Phil M. Jones to talk about the how tos of having good conversations about polarizing topics.  What can we do and say to drive conversations that lead to openness and positive impact?  Phil had so much grace and insight and will leave you feeling able to tackle even the most polarized conversations in a way that keeps the relationship in tact.  For those of us who want to enter into discussions with friends and loved ones well, this episode is for you!


Find Phil's website here.  Follow Phil on Twitter, too!


Information on Phil's book Exactly What to Say.


Also discussed in the show:

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie



Episode Eleven: What We Learned (Episodes 1-10)

 Kelly, Charity, me, and Lauren.  They've been making me a better person for years.

Kelly, Charity, me, and Lauren.  They've been making me a better person for years.

It's a recap episode!  Every 10 episodes we're going to pause and take stock in what we've learned from listening well to people's knowledge and opinions about these polarizing topics.  I'm going to sit down with some listeners to chat about their thoughts from each episode, what challenged them or changed their mind, and what surprised them.  

This week I chatted with a few of my nearest and dearest friends, Lauren Lindberg, Charity McClure and Kelly Phillips.  These smart, thoughtful women had interesting insights and thoughtful commentary on the conversations from episodes one through ten as well as on the greater issues themselves.



Episode 10: Mental Health and its Stigmas with Dom Gaskin


This week I'm chatting with Dom Gaskin about mental health, stigmas surrounding it and how to help loved ones who are struggling with mental health issues.  Dom works in the mental health field and has dealt with her own struggles when it comes to this issue.  She shares honestly and vulnerably.  We also talked about how the stigmas attached to mental health can be particularly strong in certain communities and how the health insurance system can get in the way of good services.

Discussed in this episode:

National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org)

The Giver by Lois Lowry



Episode Nine: Gun Control


On this week's episode I am talking with Mark Olson a formal naval officer and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran about the issue of gun control.  Mark is a gun owner whose perspective includes a good understanding of the history of the second amendment and gun control thus far, as well as the bigger picture of gun violence beyond the mass shootings that garner the most media attention.  

This conversation was recorded before the most recent deaths in Parkland, FL but will still be incredibly timely.  I really appreciated the way Mark gave insight into the mindset of law abiding gun owners as well as provided some ideas to advocate for real change surrounding gun control and gun violence.  After our conversation I include some thoughts from Mark in light of the recent events in Parkland, so listen to the end to hear what I think is incredibly applicable suggestions for people who want to move the ball forward on gun control as this discussion progresses post Parkland.

Connect with Mark on Instagram! And check out his podcast Port Calls and Politics!  (You can also follow the show on facebook or instagram.)

Also discussed in this episode:

Gun Fight by Adam Winkler

Blog post from Rage Against the Minivan regarding some mental health measures that can be taken with regards to gun control.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

Freeway Crack in the System




Episode Eight: The Taboo of Swearing with Leslie Ehm

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This week I'm chatting with Leslie Ehm about the taboo of swearing.  Leslie is a speaker, author, founder and chief fire starter of Combustion Training.  I know, I know.  You're probably thinking, is this really a hot button issue?  However, like all good conversations, this conversation about swearing was really a discussion about authenticity, respect, judgement and communication.  Even if you don't think you have strong opinions about swearing, I think this conversation could spark some thought on these bigger topics.  And if you do have strong opinions about swearing, I encourage you to keep an open mind and listen to what Leslie has to say.

You can find info about Leslie here.  Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  

Discussed in this conversation:

The Night Circus  by Erin Morgenstern

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The Magicians Lev Grossman

The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey

House of Cards

Altered Carbon

The OA


Episode Seven: Gender Equality with Melissa Agnes

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February 13th marked one of my personal favorite holidays, Galentine's Day.  (God Bless Leslie Knope)  In honor of this hallowed holiday I'm chatting Gender Equality with Melissa Agnes.  Melissa is a renowned crisis management expert who's often been the only woman in the room. During our conversation we chatted about how she's overcome obstacles she's encountered in her career with regard to gender inequality and some ways we thing society can work towards changing the systems of inequality for good.  


You can find out more about Melissa at her website melissaagnes.com.  Follow her on facebooktwitter, and instagram.  And check out her new book!  Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World  It's available for pre-order today!!

Discussed in the Show:

Exactly What to Say by Phil M. Jones


We didn't discuss this video specifically in the episode, but this video of Ellen Pompeo discussing gender equality and the wage gap definitely pertains to our conversation.


Episode Six: The Refugee Ban with Daniel O'Rourke


This week I'm chatting with Daniel O'Rourke a member of the U.S. Foreign Service, currently serving in Pakistan, about the refugee ban, extreme vetting and the plight of refugees.  We chatted about Dan's experience working with refugees, why he thinks accepting refugees as a country is important and how his opinion has changed on more extreme vetting measures in the last year.  


This episode also includes a brief conversation with Anne Elliot who shares about her family's experience hosting a refugee family in her community.


Discussed in the show:


Six Against the Rock

World Relief

Refugee One

International Red Cross




Episode Five: The Opioid/Overdose Epidemic with Christopher Moraff


On today's episode I sat down with Christopher Moraff, a Philadelphia based reporter who has spent the past year immersion reporting on the opioid crisis.  Chris and I discussed our nation's approach to attacking the supply side of drug addiction at the cost of treating the demand side, the use of Medication Assisted Treatment programs as a counter to abstinence based rehab in treating opioid addiction and Philadelphia's ground breaking announcement last week regarding supervised injection sites.  We also talked about rethinking how we as a nation think about drugs.

Connect with Chris on Twitter @cmoraff.


Discussed on today's episode:

This is the article Chris wrote about supervised injection sites in Philly.

Short story author John Cheever

Short story author T.C. Boyle 

Short story author Paul Bowles




Episode Four: The Alabama Special Election and Evangelical Voting with Erin Moon

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This week I chat with writer, director, producer, and Alabama resident Erin Moon about that special senatorial election that took place last month in Alabama.  We chatted about Roy Moore's problematic candidacy, Evangelical voting and why we need to turn off the 24 hour news cycle and start talking to each other.

Follow Erin on Instagram and Twitter @erinhmoon, I promise you'll be entertained.  Also, check out Erin's novels!  She and her co-author Megan Beam have written two books in their fantasy-adventure series called The Last Beholder.  More info here.


Discussed in today's episode:

The Daily Podcast (Look for Episodes from Tuesday, December 12, 2017 and Wednesday, December 13, 2017)

Lonesome Dove

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

The Popcast



Episode Three: Talking about Race with Alicia and Jacob Ross

 Jacob and Alicia and their adorable daughters.

Jacob and Alicia and their adorable daughters.



Today I sat down with Alicia and Jacob Ross, an interracial couple, to talk about how they talk about race and issues surrounding the subject, challenges they've encountered as a couple and the ways they've learned to be better communicators and listeners to each other.  


Alicia and Jacob have been married for five years and have two beautiful girls.  They are a beautiful couple inside and out and I really enjoyed talking with them!


Discussed in this episode 

The Bible

The Shack

Dr. Dolittle 



Episode Two: The Supreme Court Case of the Cake Shop and the Same Sex Couple with Erin Beddall

 My guest, Erin, is the beautiful bride on the right.  Her wife, Molly, is the beautiful bride on the left.

My guest, Erin, is the beautiful bride on the right.  Her wife, Molly, is the beautiful bride on the left.

On today's episode I'm sitting down with Erin Beddall to talk about the Supreme Court Case between Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission.  This is the case dealing with the cake baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple on the grounds of freedom of speech.  

Erin Beddall is a wife, sister, daughter, friend and auntie who currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA.  She loves reading, Pittsburgh sports, writing and travel.  She met her partner while teaching English in rural Japan and got married in the summer of 2017.

As a newly married woman whose same sex wedding took place just a few months ago, Erin has a unique and personal perspective on what this decision could mean for her and her family.  In this episode we talk about the implications of this case, whether it's a freedom of religion issue and whether just finding another cake shop is the solution or not.


Discussed in this episode:

The Daily Podcast (look for the Tuesday, December 5, 2017 episode)

The Supreme Court decision of Obergefell v. Hodges  (scroll down to page six to read Justice Kennedy's opinion of the court)