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When Gabriel Escobar was a young boy, he immigrated from Colombia to America without knowing a word of English. What follows is the story of how Gabriel went from working as a local paperboy to becoming one of Philadelphia's most seasoned journalists, He has been involved in the coverage of some of the most challenging news stories of the 21st century, including the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Washington D.C. snipers, and COVID-19. Most recently, Gabriel was given the Philadelphia Inquirer, where it is his job to lead the newsroom into a new era.
Chris Hytha is a digital artist and photographer whose work focuses on architecture and the built environment. Before that, he was an aspiring architect at Drexel University. While he was a student, Chris began urban exploring, which led him to discover his passion for photography. What follows is the story of how Chris's photos have sold for thousands of dollars online after he became one of the first local artists to get in on the NFT craze. You'll also learn how he's using his platform to advocate for historic building preservation in Philadelphia.
Eli Kulp is an award-winning Philly chef and podcaster who has overseen local restaurants such as Fork, and a.kitchen. One night, while he was, was at the top of his game, Eli was in an Amtrak derailment that led them that left him unable to walk, unable to use his hands, and unable to cook. What follows is the story of how, despite his severe injury, Eli fought to recover and was able to revitalize his career as a chef and hospitality industry thought-leader. Want to hear the complete, unedited interview with Kevin and Terrill? Subscribe to Philly Who? on Supercast for access to that, to the Philly Who? Community Discord, for free event tickets, and more!
Due Quach is the founder and CEO of Calm Clarity, a social impact organization that helps people overcome adversity through nurturing a mindset of growth, leadership, and resilience. She's also the founder of Collective Success Network, a nonprofit that provides support to low-income first-generation students.  When Due was a toddler, her parents moved her family from a Vietnamese refugee camp to an impoverished Philadelphia neighborhood. She overcame adversity and went on to graduate from Harvard and pursue a successful corporate career. However, she soon learned the high-flying corporate life wasn't for her. After going on a journey to discover her life's purpose, she decided to return to Philadelphia to help people from underserved neighborhoods recognize their potential.  Want to hear the complete, unedited interview with Kevin and Due? Subscribe to Philly Who? on Supercast for access to that, to the Philly Who? Community Discord, for free event tickets, and more!
Terrill Haigler is the Founder and face of Ya Fav Trashman, which is an online brand and Instagram account with over 30,000 followers. However, Terrill's story begins when he was working as a Philadelphia sanitation worker at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. He originally created the Instagram account in 2020 when trash was piling up in the city due to the Coronavirus, and people were taking it out on him and his colleagues. Terrill wanted the account to show people how strenuous the job is so that they might have more patience with their trash collectors. What follows is the story of how Ya Fav Trashman has exploded in popularity, leading Terrill to organize neighborhood cleanups, start a nonprofit, and even develop an app.  He's done all of this with one goal in mind. Terrill is working to make Philadelphia litter-free by the year 2025. Want to hear the complete, unedited interview with Kevin and Terrill? Subscribe to Philly Who? on Supercast for access to that, to the Philly Who? Community Discord, for free event tickets, and more!
Jeannine A. Cook is the Founder and Shopkeeper at Harriett's Bookshop, named after Harriett Tubman. In February 2020, Harriett's was born to celebrate women authors, artists, and activists. The space was immediately beloved, but when the Coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, everything Jeannine had worked for was in jeopardy. What follows is the story of how her incredible grit and intuition helped Harriett's survive and thrive during one of the most tumultuous years our country has ever seen. Want to hear the complete, unedited interview with Kevin and Jeannine? Subscribe to Philly Who? on Supercast for access to that, to the Philly Who? Community Discord, for free event tickets, and more!
At the time this episode was recorded, Connor Barwin was an NFL Linebacker. He has played for the Houston Texans, LA Rams, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles. In 2014, he led the NFL in sacks, and was selected to the Pro Bowl. Connor played for the Eagles from 2013-2016. While he has moved on to play for other cities, he and his family have made Philly their permanent home. Here, Connor's Make the World Better Foundation is working to revitalize Philly's underserved public parks. He discovered his passion for local parks while biking around Philadelphia. mtwb.org @connorbarwin98 on Instagram
Madeline Bell is the President & CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The Children’s Hospital-- more commonly known as CHOP-- receives more than 1 million visits every year. And Madeline is the one making many of the big decisions: like whether to try and complete the world’s first double hand transplant. But when she first walked into CHOP as an employee, Madeline was a pediatric nurse, fresh out of college, who had just scored her dream job. 35 years and many different roles later, she's the captain of the ship. And while the journey wasn’t always glamorous, for Madeline, it was a way to make life better for kids.
Chill Moody (@chillmoody) is a HipHop artist, entrepreneur, and activist. Born and raised in West Philadelphia, he started by making beats in his parents' basements and quickly rose to the top of the Philly hip hop scene. He was named 'Best Rapper' by PhillyMag and is the official Philadelphia Music Ambassador as named by City Council. He also founded lifestyle brand "nicethings," which includes a consulting firm, clothing line, record label, and even an IPA. In this discussion, we hear stories of his beginnings in the rap scene, we dive into his decision to build his music career in Philly rather than locating to LA or NY, and we talk about the challenges that Philly Artists face today.
Rakia Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Skai Blue Media, a public relations agency that's worked with clients such as Serena Williams, Ashley Graham, and M. Night Shyamalan. In the mid 2000s Rakia was a TV producer whose life was turned upside down when she was unexpectedly laid off. With a child on the way and the economy in recession, she decided to bet on herself and start her own firm. Today, she's one of the most sought after communications specialists in the country.
Tony Luke, Jr. is a cofounder of Tony Luke's, a cheesesteak franchise with multiple locations. He's also an actor, TV personality, musician, and an anti-addiction-stigma activist. In the early 90s, Tony, his brother, and his father built and opened a small sandwich shop in South Philly. Back then, Pat’s, Geno’s, and Jim’s were the only names synonymous with Philly Cheesesteaks. But pretty soon, everyone was talking about Tony Luke’s. Tony Luke’s would turn into a household name, and Tony Luke Jr would become the face of the franchise: starring in TV and radio commercials, and even getting his own show on Spike TV. But, before his father even had the thought to build a sandwich shop, Tony Luke Jr’s story had already taken several shapes: from being a rough-and-tumble South Philly kid, to a budding Hollywood movie star rubbing shoulders with the cast of Rocky, to scoring a record deal as the crooner of an R&B band. In this episode, you’ll hear how a small sandwich shop on a random corner in South Philly - that didn’t even sell cheesesteaks when it first opened - became the Philly cheesesteak sensation of the 90s. But, the highest of highs would soon become the lowest of lows. Tony’s family would have a falling out about the direction of the franchise, which would be followed by a devastating lawsuit, the end of Tony’s TV show, and the heart-wrenching accidental overdose death of his son, Tony Lucidonio III. Tony, Jr. now serves as an anti-addiction-stigma activist, educating and guiding addicts and their families towards better times.
Over two decades ago, one wardrobe stylist had an ambitious dream to see her beloved hometown become the movie metropolis she always knew it could be. Now, after more than $5 billion of economic impact to the southeastern Pennsylvania region, Greater Philadelphia Film Office Executive Director Sharon Pinkenson has successfully elevated the GPFO from the little-known permit office it once was to one of the most well-respected film commissions in the industry. In doing so, Sharon has cemented Philadelphia’s reputation as one of the best media production centers in the country, and has helped Philly land such hits as Philadelphia, The Sixth Sense, and National Treasure, among countless other films, TV shows, and commercials.
At the time of this episode's release, Jesse Ito was the Co-owner and chef of Royal Izakaya and Royal Sushi, a 2-in-one restaurant combo in Queen Village. Jesse’s claim to fame is his exclusive 10-seat omakase sushi bar, which is one of the very few restaurant experiences in Philly to get a 4-bell rating from the Inquirer. In 2017, Jesse was honored by Eater as a Young Guns Award Winner and made Zagat's 30 Under 30 list. In this episode you’ll hear how Jesse got his start as a sushi chef working at Fuji, his father’s restaurant in south Jersey. When he was 24, Jesse and his family would sell Fuji and go all-in on bringing the omakase and izakaya experience to Philly. That bet would pay off, as 3 years later they’ve received the covered Philly Inquirer restaurant rating of 4 bells.
Michelle Angela Ortiz is a visual artist, skilled muralist, and community arts educator who uses her art as a vehicle to represent people and communities whose histories are often lost or co-opted. Through painting, printmaking, and community arts practices, she creates a safe space for dialogue around some of the most profound issues communities and individuals may face. Her work tells stories using richly crafted and emotive imagery to claim and transform spaces into a visual affirmation that reveals the strength and spirit of the community. This Episode is supported by Crossbeam. Crossbeam is hiring! Check out their available positions here.
Michael Nutter served as the 98th Mayor of Philadelphia from 2008 through 2015. Before that, he had been a Member of City Council since 1992. When Nutter decided to run for mayor, the odds were stacked against his campaign. That didn’t deter him. In 2007, he ended up winning the election in a landslide, with a plan to boost Philadelphia’s graduation rate, lower its homicide count, and make the city greener. Minutes after he was sworn in, he introduced what he referred to as “the new Philadelphia.” But any plan comes with surprise detours, twists, and turns - especially when the economy unexpectedly collapses. This Episode is supported by Crossbeam. Crossbeam is hiring! Check out their available positions here.
Judy Wicks is the founder of the White Dog Cafe, a restaurant in University City that she started in the first floor of her house in 1983. What started as a muffin shop quickly grew into a renowned 200-seat restaurant that was among the first to feature farm-to-table local food.  In this episode, which was originally published in 2018, Judy will share how, before starting White Dog, she and her then-husband opened Free People, a general store specifically for people under 30. The store would find quick success, but, as a woman, she wasn’t being taken seriously. So, she left the business and her marriage and literally crashed the restaurant industry. She would become a community and sustainability leader for four decades, and here she’ll share what we can do to ensure a happy, healthy Philadelphia. Judy's Memoir: Good Morning, Beautiful Business: http://judywicks.com/book/ judywicks.com: http://judywicks.com/ This Episode is supported by Crossbeam. Crossbeam is hiring! Check out their available positions here.
Todd Carmichael (IG: @todd_carmichael) is the co-founder and CEO of La Colombe Coffee Roasters. He and his cofounder JP Iberti started the first La Colombe Cafe in Rittenhouse in 1994, and as of when this episode was recorded, it had 30 locations nationwide. Todd also invented the Canned Draft Latte, which took only 1 year to be found in 60% of all stores in the US. Todd holds the world record for the fastest solo trek from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole, and he hosted Dangerous Grounds on The Travel Channel for three seasons. In the first half of this show, which was first released as two separate episodes, we dive deep into Todd's origins in the Pacific Northwest, and we hear the firsthand account of what it's like to face death at the hands of Antarctica's minus-100 degree temperatures. Later, we hear stories of Todd's adventures sourcing coffee as the host of Travel Channel's Dangerous Grounds. We also dive into his invention of the Canned Draft Latte, and we get his perspective as an outspoken Philly-based CEO. This Episode is supported by Crossbeam. Crossbeam is hiring! Check out their available positions here.
Alex Scott was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was just a few months old. She would undergo various cancer treatments her whole life. When she was four years old, she thought it was time for her to give back. She decided to raise money to fund cancer treatments for other kids, and she wanted to do so by holding a lemonade stand. This idea started a national movement that would thrust her into national fame, including appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Today Show. As of 2018, when this episode was recorded, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over $150 million since Alex's first stand. ALSF is headquartered right outside of Philadelphia, in Bala Cynwyd. The foundation is operated by her parents, Co-Executive Directors Jay and Liz Scott. In this episode, Liz tells Alex's story from the very first stand up to her goal of raising $1 million to fight childhood cancer. This Episode is supported by Crossbeam. Crossbeam is hiring! Check out their available positions here.
William Tyrone Toms is the Founder and Head of Strategy at REC Philly, a creative agency and incubator for local artists and creative entrepreneurs. In 2019, after this episode was recorded, REC Philly opened up a new, state-of-the-art facility that features podcast and music studios, a coworking space, a visual lab, and more. In this episode, you’ll hear how Will and his cofounder, Dave Silver, would make a name for themselves throwing concerts as Broad Street Music Group. That is, until Will started to see a bigger need: artists could put on a great show but had no idea how to network and market themselves. What follows is the story of how REC Philly would be born to provide creatives with the tools and network they need to build a business around their creative craft. The community quickly grew to serve over 200 creatives, some of whom would immediately find life-changing opportunities.  And, for the first time, you’ll hear how Will has recently opened up about his troubled family past, and how he looks to set an example for those like him who are born into adversity. This Episode is supported by Crossbeam. Crossbeam is hiring! Check out their available positions here.
Bon Ku, M.D. (@BonKu) is the Assistant Dean for Health and Design and an Associate Professor at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. He is the founder and director of JeffDESIGN, a first-of-its-kind program in a medical school that teaches future physicians to apply human-centered design to healthcare challenges. Since we recorded this episode back in 2018, Bon has started his own podcast, Design Lab, co-authored a book, and practiced medicine through a global pandemic. Bon has spoken widely on the intersection of health and design thinking (TEDx, South by Southwest, Mayo Clinic Transform, Stanford Medicine X, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture) and serves on the Design and Health Leadership Group at the American Institute of Architects. In 2016, he received the Health Care Innovators Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal. In addition to all this, he still practices emergency medicine, serving in the Emergency Room 2 nights a week. In this episode, Bon tells the story of his immigrant family beginnings, how he became inspired to turn medical school on its head using Design Thinking, and what he and his program is doing today to solve Philadelphia's biggest health problems. This Episode is supported by Crossbeam. Crossbeam is hiring! Check out their available positions here.
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