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The Changed

Author: Aden Nepom

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Featuring guests you care about sharing stories of the fork-in-the-road moments in their lives, so that we can examine what it means to change, be changed and face change in life.
37 Episodes
Chandler Elizabeth Adam is a, golden-locked goddess and curly hair genius who just so happens to be my actual hairdresser! In Episode 35 She’s sharing her decision to begin utilizing hormone therapy as she quite literally facilitates her body changing. Not everyone is as open and embracing of dumb questions and picky hair preferences as Chandler. If you’re on Instagram, she is sharing glimpses as she transitions @transgenderagenda, AND if you have curly hair, you’ll particularly enjoy her lovely haircutting as well in her professional @portlandcurlroom. I met Chandler after several years of only having my hairs cut when I would fly back to Austin, Texas for work. (Big shout out to my original @sweetgeorgiabee at Honeycomb… I’ll always have a place in my heart for you!). I’ll never forget sitting at Shalom Ya’ll, when this waitress walks up wearing the best curly cut I had seen in awhile. It turns out the young bright-eyed apprentice hairdresser (at that time) who had worked magic on her hair (that very day!) was Chandler! And the rest is history… Chandler graciously sat down over zoom to chat with me about the relationship between hair change and life change, her own transition and choice to move forward with hormonal therapy, and the role that love support and happy endings to stories play in our mental health. She also graciously agreed to do a curly hair Q&A together, which we will be bringing to you live on July 1st! Make sure you’re a member of our facebook group CLICK HERE TO JOIN to catch the event live! Submit your curly questions to me directly by emailing and putting “CURLY Q” in the subject line. Takeaways from this conversation There is definitely a relationship between life change and hair change, but as for which comes first, well that’s a real chicken and egg question. Quitting drinking can be good for your skin! When I spoke to Chuy Zarate last year about having to quit drinking forever, he actually mentioned this kind of incentive that you see written about often. For Chuy he had to stop as a matter of life and death. For Chandler stopping mattered to her mental health and physical health as well… but the most noticeable change in the shortest amount of time, was how her skin looks. Hormones are magic. Chandler joked that she has the hormones of a pregnant woman, but the truth isn’t far from that. The amount of estrogen and progesterone needed to help Chandler’s body mirror her identity is a strong amount of hormone! As a woman in perimenopause, I’m hyper-aware of how hormones shape and change us. But in talking to Chandler I’m also see how like a polyjuice potion hormone therapy can be. A mother’s love can be magic. In Chandler’s story, her mom knew what was happening and how to support her daughter and it was a tremendous gift! Mother’s can serve all kinds of roles in the story of our lives. In the first episode of this podcast, Mary Jo Pehl shared a moment of standing up to her own mother. But when one is fortunate enough to have a mom who can support your life and your choices and understand the choices ahead of you it really is a beautiful thing. Stories of change, of survival, and of transgender transitions can be happy, can be filled with love. AND it’s good for the soul to hear happy stories. As Chandler pointed out, stories of overcoming challenges, of having to risk everything and build your support structures from the ground up, can certainly inspire… BUT it can also make it hard for people to move forward in their own decision making because if all we here are those stories, the world can feel incredibly scary. There is a much needed role for happy stories to play. A book to check out based on Chandler’s recommendation: I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya. A best-selling that explores how masculinity was imposed on the author as a boy and continues to haunt her as a girl—and how we might reimagine gender for the twenty-first century.
In this episode of The Changed Podcast, professional performer and teaching artist Marilet Martinez shares her thoughts on the relationship between the Arts and activism, maintaining flexibility in our thinking, and coming of age! Born and raised in San Francisco, Marilet Martinez describer herself as a queer, bilingual, multi hyphenated artist, Leo Sun/ Scorpio rising, bruja homegirl. She prioritizes collaborations that practice intersectionality and community empowerment. As a trauma-informed, student-centered teaching artist, she has developed national programing for community wellness through arts intervention for over 15 years, and her Bay Area acting credits include originating roles in over 10 world premieres with envelope pushing companies such as Magic Theatre, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Crowded Fire, Cutting Ball, Impact Theatre and more. She performed with Leela Improv’s faculty team- the Armando Company, the all-female Harold team Sorry Not Sorry and her duo, Pura Pocha. More recently Marilet (who has relocated to Chicago) is ¼ of the award winning all Latina improv and sketch team Ratas De Dos Patas. These hermanas del improv have performed and taught workshops across the US, spreading their message of comedy, cultura, y corazon; which is how we met, at the San Francisco Femproviser Fest where we were both faculty members. She is also an ensemble member at ComedySportz Chicago! In this episode she had thoughts, stories and anecdotes to share on everything from the beauty of creating a better world through activism, how the Arts can shift and change people to be more inspired in their own creativity or to think differently about the world around them, and so much more. In choosing a story to share from a fork in the road moment in her life, Marilet Martinez chose the quite literal fork in the road of turning 18! This of course makes it hard to ask the question, what if that had never happened… but it helped to illustrate the simple beauty of getting excited about the unknown and embracing what is possible instead of worrying about what is not. Takeaways from this episode Two things can be true at the same time. This theme came up several times: Activism is a celebration and a rebellion. An excellent quote from this episode from Marilet, “If it’s all rebellion all the time, that’s a burnout. If it’s all celebration all the time: that’s a passout”Change is easy and change is hard. Even having a ‘positive mindset’ won’t necessary take the difficulty away but perhaps make it feel less damagingImprovisers who practice flexibility on stage, can actually be quite rigid in “real life” and often worry about not doing improv right!Feelings are complicated. You can feel grief and joy at the same time. You can feel fear and excitement at the same time. You can feel sad and find things funny at the same time.Every day is the same. Every day is completely different. As young people we are taught that things are black and white, but actually so much is actually grey. As Marilet Martinez says, “life happens in the grey areas“ If you want helpful mantras to help you cope with change that is dropped on your head we identified a few that may or may not have come from Weight Watchers (and may or may not be helpful, depending on context) “That just happened”“It’s just new information”‘ The book that Marilet recommends? In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Marchada, a memoir of entering into, living through and then leaving an abusive relationship. Marilet Martinez is a performer… AND you can watch her shows online! Checkout Marilet Martinez’s Ratas De Dos Patas here: a CSz Chicago show here: If you’re interested in checking out some of the improv and play centered guests from last season, you might start with episode 7 with Head of Story on The Mitchells vs the Machines, Guillermo Martinez, episode 8 with 12 Monkeys Actor Todd Stashwick, or episode 11 with Improv On and Off the Stage‘s Shannon Stott. The get excited about something challenge Marilet is a trauma informed educator, and in choosing a story to share, brought us the story of the day she turned 18. This story serves as a reflection on truly owning and believing that the future of our dreams is within our control and is worthy of our excitement. AND… I found it to be super inspiring. SO, I’m giving myself the challenge to see if I can tap into the excitement of my naive youth. To find a moment to tell myself something exciting is about to happen. To walk down the street knowing that everyone is impressed that I tied my shoes…. and just see what happens to the rest of my thoughts as a result. I invite you to join me in this challenge and as always to share your thoughts as the show up! Click here to join the Change Hub on Facebook, this challenge and the conversation about this episode! Click here to support the show on Patreon.
In this episode of the Changed Podcast, CEOx Founder Luann Abrams talks about tactical changes, women led business, the nature of inspiring ideas, and beating unconscious bias. Luann Abrams is the founder of CEOX, an organization with a mission is to elevate women into CEO and board roles. From her time in venture capital as a partner at FoundersPad, an early-stage venture fund, she was compelled to find a solution to the inequities in leadership she saw at growing startups. She is a founding board member of Strengthening Central Oregon Political Action Committee (SCOPAC) with the mission of recruiting and supporting under-represented individuals to run for political office. In the 2020 election, five of their six endorsed candidates were elected to office, ensuring diverse representation in the local community. She is the inaugural member of the Women in STEAM group led by the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO), whose mission is to support and encourage women in male-dominated industries for a gender-balanced future. Here she created a mentorship program matching experienced business executives with up and coming women to help them achieve their career goals. Luann has a background in aerospace engineering and spent most of her 15 years in aviation working for a start-up aircraft company in Bend, OR. Here she led the certification engineering program at Columbia Aircraft where she oversaw the certification of several aircraft models and ensured that all designs met applicable regulations. Due to her diligence and integrity she was granted the authority to sign off on regulatory compliance on behalf of the FAA prior to aircraft delivery. In 2017 she was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame as part of the Golden Eagles, the winningest intercollegiate flying team. When she is not working and living the Bend life with her husband and two sons, you will find her curled up with a good book and a hot cup of coffee. Speaking of book recommendations… During our rapid fire round, Luann suggested: Ahab’s Wife: Or, the Star-Gazer: A Novel by Sena Jeter Naslund Born a Crime: Stories from a Southern African Childhood by Trevor Noah Takeaways from this episode: Women led companies get results: financial results, and positive workplace culture results. Choosing a woman to lead the charge in your organization… that’s just smart business! You can learn more about the mission of CEOx, find resources, and nominate women leaders you know by visiting They frequently offer training and events to help leaders up level their skills. Last month I was invited to share some of my wisdom with my program: Reason in an Outraged World, a program that you can bring to your organization too! Inspiration often strikes in the unlikeliest of times... like when we are enjoying downtime to the tune of some Netflix, doing some dishes or taking a stroll through the neighborhood. (By the way if you need down time and are looking for a Netflix recommendation… absolutely check out The Mitchell’s vs. The Machines who’s head of story Guillermo Martinez sat down and shared a story with us last season!) Executing on ideas takes work, which is probably why ideas aren’t stolen as often as you might think. For example I have been trying to get somebody to create an improv comedy-troupe called Laughter Circus USA for over a decade now! Still no takers. (I have no idea why not… the posters make themselves!) Even though study after study tells us how many benefits there are to having a diverse network and workforce…busting our biases takes effort. In this episode I shared one method that has been helpful to some of my clients, that you might use to think about mitigating your own blindspots. Have other tried and true methods for busting your own biases? Come share them in our facebook group, where we’re keeping the conversation going! I should get Sallie Krawcheck of Ellevest onto the show! If you have the connection… feel free to introduce us! Share your thoughts, feelings, stories and sarcastic remarks here: Click here to support the Changed Podcast on Patreon
This week in episode 32 of The Changed Podcast, artist, illustrator and wellness coach Marybel Martin joins host, Aden Nepom in thinking about how our opinions of ourselves change our outlook, health and resourcefulness. Marybel Martin is an incredible artist and illustrator. Perhaps you’ve seen her work on Instagram, or are already familiar with her work on Etsy. But she is also a wellness coach who utilizes art as an important part of nurturing and healing. She is also a first generation American, born in California, and having lived in Argentina for 9 years. Her art has been shown in galleries around the world, and what’s particularly cool about that, is that she didn’t begin her art career until she was already 42 years old. Now almost a decade into her work, she is living and creating with full heart and it shows! View this post on Instagram A post shared by Marybel Martin (@marybelmartin) Artist Marybel Martin’s home studio with her prominently featured art piece representing the birth of her sons In Marybel Martin’s studio, above her desk hangs an incredible painting. I asked her to share the story of the painting and if you are a creator you’ll appreciate perhaps more than anybody the significance of hanging this piece in the place where she births her creations. This painting carries symbols of creation, represents her children but is also a piece which received harsh criticism when it was first brought from brain to brush to canvas. Hanging the painting represents embracing her creative intuition and herself! If you watch our episodes as a member of our Patreon, or our story excerpts on the Art of Change YouTube channel, then you’ll have already seen it. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a picture of this artwork. Her story of change, of her own fork in the road, was a story of experiencing a panic attack and realizing that the feeling of suffocation was a message from her body that she needed to do things differently. This meant self love and acceptance, but it also meant adventure because the message received loud and clear, was that life is short. Takeaways from this episode You either get busy living, or you get busy dying. If you want to get the most out of life, you have to go out and live it! Waiting for someone to validate you, to tell you that you have good ideas, or that you have talent… it’s wasteful. Your value as a creator is completely subjective. Want proof? Look around you! While there may be lots of people out there doing what you do better and succeeding… there are also lots of folks out there doing a ridiculously terrible job by your measure who are immensely successful. I like what Marybel said here which is, that even if one person is excited to buy what you’re selling, then there are thousands more just like them who simply haven’t found you yet. Life is filled with secret menus. We often view people who are really successful and wonder how they thought of that great idea, gamed the system, or did it so uniquely… and it’s because they were ordering off the secret menu! I wrote more about this idea, which you can go read on LinkedIn. Resources During our ridiculous 2nd season segment: Aden Asks You a Bunch of Questions And You Answer Them As Quickly As Possible, Marybel identified The Artists Way as a book worth recommending. She is not the first! Author Amy Gentry, also suggested this book in our first episode of the season. You can listen to that here. You can order a copy of The Artists Way from Powells Books Interested in learning more about Art Journaling? Marybel Martin teaches classes. You can go here to learn more and of course access all things Marybel Martin on her website. Watch or listen to episodes before anybody else… Join our Patreon Community! Become a Patron! Members of the Changed Podcast Patreon Page enjoy all kinds of benefits, including enjoying ad-free content and getting early access to episodes just like this one.
Aoife O’Brien, host of The Happier at Work Podcast, gets on the other side of the mic as guest in episode 31 of The Changed Podcast with Aden Nepom. We discuss, adventure, risk taking, taking yourself by the hand instead of waiting, and of course… what it means to be changed. Aoife O’Brien has had many adventures, having travelled to all seven continents… even Antartica! However, she is quick to confess that even as an adventurous person change can feel rather difficult at times. She has a Masters in Organizational Behavior, a degree which she completed during lock down, and is passionate (like I am) about creating happier workplace dynamics. In fact, when Aoife and I spoke on her show (you can listen to that episode of the Happier at Work Podcast here!) it felt very much like meeting my long lost twin but with different areas of expertise. While I have a background in improvisation, play and facilitation, Aoife has a background in data and analysis. In our conversation on the Changed Podcast which we recorded back in February of this year (2021), Aoife O’brien talks a bit about what it means to be an entrepreneur, both the inspiration and the reality behind the choice to leave working in a corporate environment in order to pursue being one’s own boss. We also discuss the helpful practice of journaling through difficult changes; and the realization that when it comes to the big bold moves, you cannot wait for someone else to come take you by the hand and lead you where you want to go. Takeaways from our conversation For all you solopreneurs out there… we see you. We are you! You’re working hard. Harder than you might have expected. But if you’re like us, doing what you love doesn’t really feel like work. Still, strive for balance! Don’t let yourself get stuck on defining yourself as ‘busy!’ And for those of you considering leaving your salaried positions to venture forth on your own, here are some things to consider How much of your burnout is because of how you are choosing to work vs what your employer is asking you to do?What is the story you are living inside of?The market for what you want to offer people as a service or product is already saturated. That being said you are certainly the only you out there, and that is its own unique value proposition. Reaching your ideal customers or clients though, means that just knowing what value you can provide to people isn’t enough on its own. You’ll need other important skills or resources! So, What do you know about marketing, PR, web design and maintenance, creating contracts, creating a business plan and more. How much are you willing to learn and do and/or what kind of budget do you have to hire all of the people needed to perform these tasks? Not everyone wants the same things that you do. Not everyone interprets the options in the way that you do. You are the only one who truly understands what you want and need or who can view your particular moment or situation with your instincts for action. Like in improv, when you have the thought that something should be happening, or that somebody ought to be making something happen… that somebody is you! Journaling is great way to process change. I tried desperately to find the journaling process that I found so impactful when my first marriage came to a close, so that I could share it with you. Unfortunately too much time has passed and I cannot find the original piece! BUT here is my rough memory of the prompts that were most helpful. Journaling prompts to help you heal from a divorce or breakup (These prompts (minus #3) can be used to process the end of any kind of relationship… even business. the idea is to simply create lists that you could refer back to and reflect. Embarking on this kind of process can take days or weeks. It is recommended to fully complete one step before moving to the next.) What do you love about this person?What will you miss about the relationship?What was the sex like?What are the memories you want to keep?What are elements of your relationship that you are eager to say goodbye to?What was broken in your relationship that you successfully repaired?What did it take to repair those things?What were the elements of your relationship that were broken beyond repair?What were all the things you tried in order to fix what was broken, that did not work?What are things you are unwilling to try to save the relationship?What have you learned about yourself by being in this partnership?What can you thank this relationship for giving or teaching you?Moving forward, what would an ideal partnership look like for you?What are you excited about? Book Recommendations Aoife O’Brien recommended two books: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands. Whatever your feelings are about the current brand and it’s global presence, this book will certainly give you a lot to think about regarding business growth and taking big bold risks.How Women Rise by Sally Helgeson and Marshall Goldsmith. Sally and Marshall identify the twelve habits that hold women back as they seek to advance, showing them why what worked for them in the past might actually be sabotaging their future success. I will throw in one more: Waking Up by Sam Harris. Throughout this book, Harris argues that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally allow, and that how we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the quality of our lives. looking to order books? I suggest Powell’s Books here in Portland, Oregon, or Book Woman in Austin, Texas. Did you enjoy this conversation? You might also enjoy episode 14 with Apryl Zarate Schlueter or episode 9 with Gary Ware, both of whom are entrepreneurs out there finding balance for themselves and their clients. If you are enjoying our content, please consider supporting our show through Patreon! Once we hit our goal of 50 members we will begin adding listener stories to our content! Exciting! Have a few minutes to spare, fill out this listener survey.
Nancy Torres, an early childhood educator and author of Say it With Me (Dilo Conmigo), sits down with Aden Nepom in episode 30 of The Changed Podcast. She shares her thoughts about about cats, kids, G-d, and the power that pausing to breathe can have in changing our fears. Nancy Torres is a childhood Educator, Meditation Guide and author of, Say It With Me (Dilo Conmigo): A Dual-Language / Bilingual Spanish-English Affirmation Book for Children (of all ages) from Wheatpenny Press She loves inspiring and supporting children in their academic and social-emotional development. A little about her background, Nancy Torres received a B.A. in Corporate Communications from Baruch College, City University of New York, and received an M.A. in Childhood Education and Special Education from New York University. Nancy speaks both English and Spanish, and lives in New York with her husband and son whom they are raising bilingual. She is funny, relatable and spiritual, and her story about overcoming a fear of cats is an excellent example of how knowing a fear is irrational doesn’t actually weaken the fear. Overcoming fear is motivated differently, and we discuss some of these motivators in this episode. Takeaways from this episode Becoming a parent is a profound motivators of change. When your choices are suddenly thrust through the realization that what you say and do will have a very specific effect on a life that you are responsible for developing… suddenly you find yourself doing things differently. For Nancy, this applied to approaching one of her fears. Breathing is a powerful tool for combatting fear. The amount of time it takes to exhale, inhale deeply and exhale once more is much longer than you might think. Certainly long enough to pause mentally and reassess. Still alive? Tick. Still intact? Tick. Ready for this next cleansing breath? Tick. Changing your relationship with your fears, will open things up for you. What will it open for you? I don’t know! Your fear, and overcoming of it will be specific to you! That being said, in the story of Nancy Torres and all the cats… or my own story of overcoming a fear of heights, I definitely see that whether big or small, knowing that you are capable of something you did not know you were capable of makes you capable of trusting yourself more deeply. Trusting your own strength and abilities is always a good thing. I’m reminded of another author, Amy Gentry’s story in episode 26 of trusting her instincts over fear (they’re different!) has served her well. Affirmations are more than a silly SNL Sketch from the 1990s may have led some of us to believe. No offense to Stuart Smalley, but affirming for ourselves, and our children is a beautiful way to think about what makes us. Like many things a little can go a long way, and too much of a good thing can be toooo much. BUT taking a moment to appreciate what is truly wonderful about you, that’s a practice worth adopting! Nancy Torres had two Book Recommendations for listeners of the Changed Podcast (aside from her own) American Dirt by Jeanine Cummings, which takes on the topic of immigration and is recommended by Oprah’s Book Club. This book is available to order from Powell’s Books. Where The Crawdad Sings by Delia Owens, a story of a girl abandoned by the entire world, and how she survives. Order from Powell’s Books. And of course… if you’re interested in purchasing Say It With Me (Dilo Conmigo) you can order directly from Wheatpenny Press, or you can always order it from Powell’s Books. This is the third episode where we’re trying out our *new* segment called, Aden Nepom Asks You A Bunch of Questions and You Answer Them As Quickly As Possible! … and we want to know what you think! Leave a comment on this post, or shoot an email to and let us know what you like about it, what you hate about it, what other segments you’d love to hear become part of the show… or whatever you want to share! Watch or listen to episodes before anybody else… Join our Patreon Community! Become a Patron! Members of the Changed Podcast Patreon Page enjoy all kinds of benefits, including enjoying ad-free content and getting early access to episodes just like this one.
Maraya Brown, Founder of Beyond The Red Tent, Certified Nurse Midwife, and Women’s Health Coach is this week’s guest on The Changed Podcast Maraya Brown create safe containers to discuss the taboo topics in women’s lives including anatomy, sexuality, hormonal changes, miscarriage and more. Just in time for Mother’s day I am sharing this conversation with Maraya Brown. In Maraya’s words as a health coach, and Nurse Midwife, she doesn’t just help women birth babies, she helps women birth themselves. Make no mistake about it, she also has birthed many babies, including three beautiful children of her own. But the work that she does goes well beyond the birth process, creating safe spaces for women to explore all phases and stages of the female experience including birth, hormonal changes, pregnancy, miscarriage menopause and more. As a woman she has experienced many shifts in her own right, from being a care free, adventurous, risk-taking young person, to the mid-life, scheduled owner of three businesses that she is now. Reflecting back on experiences that have changed her lens on herself on the world brought her to not one, but two stories. One from being bold, being brave and surviving the Almeda fires in the Fall of 2020, and one from the sudden loss and grief of having her expectations for her future shattered in an instant with the loss of job and home along with the miscarriage of her first pregnancy in one fateful adventure. Takeaways from this episode As a parent, kids can serve as a reflection to us of how the experience of change, and making decisions look. When we’re appalled by how bonkers they are, we can remember that we are familiar with their experiences, decision fatigue not withstanding, and allow that empathy guide how we empathize with and teach them.The feeling of being burned by past experience leaves very real scars. Having these scars doesn’t mean that we stop taking risks, or that we must leave off fully embracing life. Instead they serve to make us more aware. Blindly jumping may go by the wayside, but we can still jump.Taboo topics in the lives of women like miscarriage, menopause, sexuality and anatomy need safe spaces to be aired. Women can learn from each others stories and teach each other what they know. On a personal note I wish that sharing my own experiences through pregnancy and miscarriage didn’t feel like a raw nerve. I am deeply grateful for the women who so bravely shared theirs so that I did not have to feel so all alone in processing my loss. Links, Resources and Mentions Maraya wrote a thorough telling of her journey through miscarriage. You can read that here. If you’re a woman who is feeling ready to move from exhausted to energized, balance your hormones and feel turned on by your life, your lover and yourself, then click here to see if Maraya is just the person to help you make that happen, or better yet register for her free workshop that starts on May 24th (maybe I’ll even see you there!). Books and Resources Maraya Brown is consuming and maybe you want to enjoy too! Get Rich Luck Bitch by Denise Duffield-ThomasChillpreneur also by Denise Duffield-ThomasUnderstanding Women by Alison A. ArmstrongCelebrating Partnership by Alison A. Armstrong While I do not have photos of the two of us playing Oboe together at 12 years old, I DO have this amazing conversation with award winning motivational speaker Lou Radja (Episode 10 of the Changed) who also graduated from our high school. Perhaps someday we’ll all write a book together called “Growing Up Ashland…” Watch or listen to episodes before anybody else… Join our Patreon Community! Become a Patron! Members of the Changed Podcast Patreon Page enjoy all kinds of benefits, including enjoying ad-free content and getting early access to episodes just like this one.
In this episode storytelling expert Marsha Shandur, shares a few of the key ingredients to an excellent story and shares a story of her own that demonstrate our how our willingness to leap into the abyss of love can change us Marsha Shandur has been listening to, and telling stories her whole life. Perhaps you’ve even seen or heard Marsha tell a story yourself! If you do not already know Marsha and you’re wondering who the heck she is… perhaps this keynote from the 2019 World Domination Summit is a particularly charming, relatable and inspiring introduction to Marsha! We dove into the anatomy of storytelling for a bit during her interview. Even though The Changed Podcast is all about one idea change… obviously, storytelling is a key element of how we get there. And if you’re interested in the story of how the podcast was born (with storytelling in mind…) then I suggest you go take a quick peek at our origin story! All of this is to say, it seemed worth spending a chunk of time thinking about what makes stories so compelling, relatable and engaging. Takeaways from our conversation The ingredients of a compelling story are less about the plot, and more about the picture. In order to create a ‘freaky-friday brain-swap’ with your stories, focus less on the takeaways and spend time on some of the details that you take for granted, like the time of day, or the smell in the air, or the color of your shirt etc… There is an extent to which stories are “different horses for different courses,” so your compelling stories won’t necessarily be a match for every audience without making adjustments Regarding change, If you’d like to get really excellent at processing internal changes don’t underestimate the value of therapy! Stories don’t have to be about overcoming obstacles to be compelling. And perhaps Really great stories move people. If we want to move people to action and inspire change… stories will be part of how we get there. “It’s how we change everything. All the big issues: global change, social justice and all of this. We need to have the stories so that we can actually be, ‘Oh I’m moved by this in a way that if you showed me a data set, I would not be.’ Anybody can be a good storyteller! And being a good storyteller is how we’re going to beat evil.” – Marsha Shandur About Marsha Shandur Marsha Shandur (of Yes Yes Marsha) is a Storytelling, Communication and Speaker Coach who has taught hundreds of executives, entrepreneurs and professionals across the world. She is the host, organizer and Storytelling Coach for True Stories Toronto, the city’s largest storytelling show. Before launching Yes Yes Marsha and her career as a Storytelling Coach, Marsha spent 15 years working as a Radio DJ, where she gained a powerful understanding of how to tell stories in a way that fosters connection, trust, engagement and loyalty. Her work has been featured in Forbes, the BBC and Mashable. Links, Resources and things Referenced in the Course of Marsha’s Interview IF you love stories, then you likely already know this resource, but if you don’t and want to… you *must* dig into The Moth. One of the easiest ways to do that is their podcast, The Moth Radio Hour Martha’s favorite book: Cry The Beloved Country by Alan Paton Martha Shandur’s favorite movie: Desperately Seeking Susan (I never would have guessed this in a million years!) Check out True Stories Told Live! Here’s the link to the YouTube Channel for the Toronto chapter as mentioned by Marsha Shandur. Something fun to try: start your day with a drawing! For inspiration checkout Marsha’s secret Insta @yesmarshadraws View this post on Instagram A post shared by Yes, Marsha Draws (@yesmarshadraws) BONUS RESOURCE Marsha has generously put together a page of resources just for The Changed Podcast listeners! In fact, all guests of this season (whom I spoke to following her interview) have been given this page as a resource. Go check it out, and upgrade your stories! Here’s the super secret, not so secret link. Watch or Listen to episodes before anyone else… Join our Patreon Community! Members of the Changed Podcast Patreon Page enjoy all kinds of benefits, including enjoying ad-free content and getting early access to episodes just like this one. Become a Patron!
The Vice President of the Alliance for Safety and Justice, Jay Jordan, sat down on the Changed Podcast to talk about what motivates change, get a little personal and share thoughts about where we *might* be headed as a country If you’re not familiar with the important work of the Alliance for Safety and Justice, a National organization bringing together state leaders, advocates and crime survivors to reform justice policy to prioritize safety over punishment. this video provides an overview. In our conversation, Jay Jordan and I covered a lot of territory thinking about change in the past, present and future, luck vs perspective and pulling back from these broad concepts to get a little personal. Jay shared a lovely story of a moment in his childhood that really motivated him to change something on a personal level that was holding him back. His story really illustrated how a little patience, and a little heart can be hugely impactful on changes down the line. It also left me with a craving for strawberries and deeply nostalgic for my own schoolyard memories. Takeaways from our conversation “Just know that the pink pony is going to come back around again. You just have to be ready to hop on.”– Jay Jordan One of the things that really stayed with me from this conversation was the perspective, similar to previous guest insights shared by Madeleine Ryan in episode 16, that certain opportunities will keep showing up for us throughout our lives until the point that we embrace them. Jay used the colorful metaphor of a pink pony on the carousel. Maybe you miss the first or even the second time that pink pony comes around… but eventually you’re going to get that pink pony. When it comes to luck vs perspective and seizing the opportunities within arms reach, maybe it’s helpful to remember that from up close things can seem bleak (like the guy arguing over being double parked in New York), but if you can zoom out and get a high-level view you realize that there are all kinds of opportunities (for example a parking space just around the corner). Take time to develop your ability to get that big picture view. When it comes to the question of the future of this country while the future is not certain, it is also far from bleak. There is no doubt that 30 years from now this world will look, feel and operate in ways that are completely different from today. The only question is… how do we want to get there? Because the choices we make today, will influence those outcomes. This reinforced for me the deeply important need to be able to have tough conversations with each other. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson  Links and Resources Want to read the same book that Jay was reading at the time of his interview? Check out Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinski Interested in developing the skills needed to have the important, tough and critical conversations necessary to steer humanity towards a better future? Check out these workshops from The Art of Change skills for Life, or if you’re looking for insight and advisement about a particular question, feel free to reach out to me directly. If you resonate with the value of shifting the focus of the justice conversation from ‘crime and punishment,’ to ‘creating safe communities,’ one way to get involved is to back the efforts of the Alliance for Safety and Justice, and you can do that here. About Jay Jordan Jay Jordan is the Vice President & National Director of TimeDone for the Alliance for Safety and Justice —- Jay Jordan has worked at the intersection of social justice and politics throughout his career. He serves as ASJ’s Vice President, overseeing all of ASJ’s state-based teams and reform advocacy efforts, as well as the #TimeDone National Director. Jay co-founded the organization’s #TimeDone campaign to organize people living with past conviction records to eliminate the barriers to opportunity that block them from success. He previously served as executive director of ASJ’s flagship state-based program, Californians for Safety and Justice (CSJ). Prior to his time at ASJ and CSJ, Jay was instrumental in recruiting and training church congregations in the South Los Angeles area for LA Voice PICO. He served as one of the lead organizers for the Campaign to Ban the Box for the city of Los Angeles and co-founded Faith in Action, a group of crime survivors in the Westmont area of Los Angeles working to transform their community by employing an asset-based community development strategy. As Special Projects Manager for the California Applications Research Group in Stockton, California, Jay spearheaded the launch of the widely successful anti-graffiti mobile app, Clean Up Stockton. He also established a first-class call center that was instrumental in securing victories on several political and social campaigns across the West Coast. Jay was compelled to create his own non-profit that focused on teen diversion and civic engagement because of his experience as a troubled youth who served time in prison. With the help of Stockton City Councilman Michael Tubbs, law enforcement, and several other allies, Jay launched the innovative youth organizing program, The First50 which in its first year saw both 100% high school graduation and college enrollment. He has been recognized over 20 times for his organizing talents including the American Red Cross’ 2014 Hero of the Year, the Literacy Foundations’ Innovative Library Concept Award, and a Special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding Youth Program. In addition, Jay Jordan served as co-chair of San Joaquin County’s Boys and Men of Color Alliance Juvenile Justice Committee and was a Board member for the African-American Chamber of Commerce of San Joaquin. He made history by becoming the first and only formerly incarcerated Field Director for Congressman Jerry McNerney’s successful reelection campaign. Watch or Listen to episodes before anyone else… Join our Patreon Community! Members of the Changed Podcast Patreon Page enjoy all kinds of benefits, including enjoying ad-free content and getting early access to episodes just like this one. Become a Patron!
Amy Gentry, best selling author of novels Good as Gone & Last Woman Standing, sat down to talk with, The Changed Podcast host, Aden Nepom at the end of last year. Since talking, her newest novel Bad Habits has taken the world by storm! Author, Amy Gentry. Photo credit: Matt Valentine Author Amy Gentry is what I like to call a ‘practical dreamer.’ While she is attracted to the magical, spiritual, intuitive elements in life she recognizes that there is typically a pragmatic approach to get where you want to be. She is the author of the thrillers Good as Gone, a New York Times Notable Book, and Last Woman Standing. She also wrote a book on Tori Amos’s album BOYS FOR PELE for the 33 1/3 series. Her book reviews and essays have appeared in numerous outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, Salon, The Paris Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Austin Chronicle. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Chicago and lives in Austin, Texas. In this episode of the Changed Podcast, Amy shares with us that becoming a novelist of female-driven thrillers, wasn’t initially what she set out to do. Amy lays out that getting to a place of success is a mix of elements… including luck and privilege and but not exclusively beholden to those qualities and points out that there can be a practical dollars and cents approach to pursuing your dreams, including breaking your life into quarters to get after smaller goals. In examining her own relationship with change, Amy Gentry shares a bittersweet story of recognizing when something isn’t the fit you think it is… even when that thing was a person whom she believed to be her soul mate. There is an interesting balance between fear, excitement and patient knowing that influences how people feel about change. Each persons balance between these elements is specific to their perspective and experiences. And somehow, knowing change is inevitable, isn’t always enough to tip the scales from fear to excitement. It’s all contextual! And often it is in retrospect that we can look back on the experiences, the choices we’ve made, and the opportunities that have crossed our paths to see what the change elements that have shaped our view of the world. Links to things we talked about in this episode Hey there humans identifying as women… Looking for fun ways to move your body in a low pressure way?! Learn more about Dance Dance Party Party! Here’s the link: Amy’s book recommendation, The Artists Way, is an excellent way to seek your creative center. You can pick up a copy from Powell’s Books by visiting this link While you’re there, make sure to grab a copy of Amy’s latest novel! Order Bad Habits! We mentioned the amazing baking images of our friend Karen Jane… but taking a peak at Insta, it looks like she is now posting images of inspiringly healthy meals. Ah well… we all grow up don’t we! Still if you want some meal inspiration, give @shamelessmealbrags a follow on Instagram for meal pics like this: View this post on Instagram A post shared by Karen Jane DeWitt (@shamelessmealbrags) About Amy Gentry Amy Gentry is the author of the thrillers Good as Gone, a New York Times Notable Book, and Last Woman Standing. She also wrote a book on Tori Amos’s album BOYS FOR PELE for the 33 1/3 series. Her book reviews and essays have appeared in numerous outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, Salon, The Paris Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Austin Chronicle. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Chicago and lives in Austin, Texas. Amy Gentry is also a really excellent cake decorator! Aside from having a background in academia, an exciting career as a novelist and being a mom… Amy can decorate the heck out of a cake! I mean just look at this incredible Abby Cadabby cake she put together! Neat right? Watch or Listen to episodes before anyone else… Join our Patreon Community! Members of the Changed Podcast Patreon Page enjoy all kinds of benefits, including enjoying ad-free content and getting early access to episodes just like this one. Become a Patron!
Season Two Trailer

Season Two Trailer


Curious about the Changed Podcast? Nothing like a podcast trailer to do the trick! This short listen will give you just the tiniest sneak peek into what the Changed Podcast is all about! If you want more than a sneak peek the good news is that any episode will do. The show is not serialized and you can enjoy episodes in any order! Whether you start at Season 1, episode 1 featuring MSTK’s Mary Jo Pehl, or more recently with Season 2, episode 27 featuring Alliance for Safety and Justice Vice President Jay Jordan you’ll be in for an honest and human look on the experiences that change us.
There’s a whole lotta gratitude in the final episode of the Changed Podcast season one! It’s Thanksgiving today and despite 2020 being one massive experiment in just how much people can handle, I have a lot to be grateful for. I started my day today thanking people for being in my life and it felt amazing. So instead of waiting until next week to record and publish the closer for season one, I decided that closing the Changed Podcast should be part of this giant gratitude emanating from my heart out into the world. After all, Thanksgiving isn’t just about this amazing pumpkin bread… or is it?! (#nofilter #delicious!) So while Season one of the Changed Podcast is my love-letter to the world inviting everyone to have more curiosity about each others stories, to examine how we think about change and flexibility and to simply spend a little time thinking… this close to season one is my, Aden Nepom’s, love letter to you the audience as well as my amazing guests. I have spent one of the most difficult years I can remember connecting with strangers and it has been amazing! LINKS??
This week on the Changed Podcast, guest Chris O’Connell gets vulnerable. And I mean really vulnerable. Talking about mental illness, health and well-being is challenging. Though thanks to people like Chris, maybe a bit less so… As a NED and consultant on leadership, change management and recruitment, Chris is on a mission to help leaders build purpose led businesses that perform while making room for vulnerability and good mental health in the workplace. In this very important conversation on the Changed Podcast we talk about removing the mask, and understanding the role of mental health in the workplace. This includes the topic of surviving suicide. This topic isn’t easy, and we do not dance around it, but it is crucial that we de-stigmatize these kinds of conversations so that more people can get the important help they need to find the resilience they want. I am grateful to Chris for being honest, for being open, and being willing to answer my questions. This conversation took some unexpected turns for me. Takeaways from this conversation: Suicide is more common than most of us care to admit, ideating suicide even more so, and 2020 has seen a steep increase in the number of people opting out. I cannot think of a more pivotal experience, then thinking you are ready to die, and choosing to live instead. When it comes to surviving suicide, or thoughts of suicide, there are a couple of mental frames Chris and I discussed. Don’t just think about the people in your life and whether or not you think they’d be better with or without you. Instead, imagine yourself in their shoes. Really try and see it from their point of view. Perhaps the desire to spare them from the intensity of pain they might go through with your loss, might be enough to stall you until you can seek help.Consider that the idea of relief through suicide, might be an unkind, temporary lie your brain is telling you. The truth is we have no clue what happens to our souls when we die. Perhaps there is heaven and hell. Perhaps it all just stops. Maybe we get reincarnated. The point is… we don’t know. There simply is no way to verify. And that means, there is no guarantee that things improve in anyway for you. There may be no relief. It could be worse.We think it is unet
Estevan J Zarate who goes by Chuy, is an actor, director and coach from San Antonio TX that has been improvising for audiences for 29 years. Currently a resident of Austin, Chuy specializes in improv-singing and grounded/character-driven scene-work. He doesn’t just perform, he’s coached hundreds of kids, teens, students and adults for years to multiple successes. He’s also my friend. As of this post on Nov. 5th, 2020, Estevan J (Chuy) Zarate has been sober for 1352 days. Estevan J Zarate, or Chuy as I call him. Photo by Steve Rogers Photography This month, I’ve made the decision to have a no-drink-November. I do this occasionally, typically during stressful times, and our current political situation in the US has been stressing me out! So… here I am. For me, and for many of you alcohol is fun… but not necessary. Periodically you might over consume, but you’re able to balance the scales by having an Octsober, or no-drink-November like I am doing. For others… and it’s a surprisingly high number (alcohol related disease and death is more common in the US than heart disease), alcohol use isn’t a thing. It’s all or it’s nothing. It’s Alcohol abuse and it has consequences. In this episode of the Changed Podcast, Estevan J Zarate, or Chuy as I’ve always known him, shares the story of being diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, and how that changed everything for him, for his family… and for his survival. Takeaways from this conversation There are some warning signs that go with abusing alcohol: hiding your drinking, sneaking sips between tasks, and using alcohol as your go-to strategy for everything; from coping with stress and handling heartbreak to celebrating the mundane as intensely as the triumphant. There are some warning signs that go with cirrhosis of the liver including yellowing of the skin, nose bleeds or bruising easily, and bloating or swelli
In this special Halloween Edition of the Changed Podcast, co-hosted with Eric Nepom, we’ve invited Kevin Miller to talk to us about ghosts, tell stories…. and see if maybe we can relate things back to making things better for the living before we all transition to the ultimate life change… death. Kevin Miller is an 18 year veteran of the improvised theatre and classroom with several commercial appearances under his belt, including as a storyteller on The Mortified Guide (he’s the one with the big ol’ Starship Enterprise). Watch the trailer to the Mortified Guide to… all the things (warning: adult language) In his spare time he also gives the occasional ghost tour in his home base of Austin, Texas. This year we were lucky enough to tag along (and so can you!) because, thanks to a global pandemic making travel and gatherings super-risky, he did his ghost tour digitally! Halloween is a mega-event in my household… but not because of me. Every year my husband, Eric Nepom, decks our house out with creepy decor, halloween lights, and a giant inflatable pumpkin… with ghosts inside!
Mike Shethar (just call him Mikey, everyone does) is a Culinary Consultant, a Podcast Host, a Men’s Fertility Coach, and an all around delightful human being – this week on the Changed Podcast! He’s a super fun person to talk to, and he had me smiling and laughing through our entire conversation. Mikey Shethar’s primary job title is Culinary Consultant. That means he gets to use his imagination to help food brands both big and small think up delicious, new and interesting food, that they then put on the shelves for you and me to consume! But his creativity doesn’t stop there, and in this episode we get to hear one of the early stories in Mikey’s journey through his own imagination. And it’s a story with a title: The Rad Cafe. “We can dream all the dreams. We can think all the things!” Mike Shethar His latest project is becoming a dad with he lovely wife, with whom he co-hosts the podcast, Mikey and Rinne Stay In. It’s a fun, funny, silly look at their fertility journey which features interesting guests along their particularly goofy senses of humor. Changed Podcast Takeaways There is joy to be had in thinking all the thoughts and dreaming all the dreams. The story of the Rad Cafe shows us that implementing great ideas is satisfying in one way, but simply letting your imagination go big carries its own particular joy. And sometimes you may land on something you actually want to try and do… Bonus! Avocado Toast started as an idea! Truthfully, it had never occurred to me that the innovative foods that become the foods we take for granted somewhere. It may seem obvious but foods have trends, and much of what we think of in terms of “yum, yum!” started out as a ‘crazy’ idea before it ever hit our palates. But for me the epiphany that food begins as an exercise in imagination was a lovely one to have. The world needs more joy, silliness and fun now more than ever… and 5% more of that counts! This is a view I already hold, you’ve heard me talk about it many times, but this conversation certainly reinforced that for me. The conversation itself was so much fun, that my own day was more than 5% better for having had a l
Jen Ables shares the importance of separating career and interests from self through two extremely personal examples that demonstrate how dramatically everything can change. Jen has worn many hats in her life, from insurance underwriter to professional dancer to the founder of a charity. This journey took her from a cubicle in Philadelphia to a guest of the White House, and includes a flag being flown in her honor in Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan. Throughout her roller coaster one thing has made itself abundantly clear, a successful career does not equate to happiness, nor does it guarantee continued success. When it comes to identity, Jen is more than familiar with the need to find intrinsic internal value in oneself… because everything else is subject to change. Takeaways from this conversation If you are the kind of person who cannot separate what you love doing from how you achieve success then Jen’s storytelling offers a cautionary tale. Understand what value you have to offer beyond skills that you’ve learned or businesses that you have built. Knowing this (or being vulnerable to ask someone else) can be helpful when life asks you to pivot, or you decide to make a big leap. Understand what you value in life, in experience, in relationship and in work. If you love dancing… what is that you love about dancing? Why is that important to you? If you know what you truly care about it, then if the way you have been actualizing that value suddenly shifts, you’ll be better poised to find new ways to live in a way that fulfills what matters to you. Understand what your body needs... and then give your body what it needs. This takeaway has now shown up in more than one of our storytellers experiences, and is beginning to become a theme! It’s a hard lesson for me personally but it’s abundantly clear how critically important it is. We often pretend that Body us there to merely fulfill all of Brains wishes… but Body has needs too, and sometimes Brain has to take a break so that Body can be better ready to serve… Want some sweet links?? Well, ok! Jen has a 6 week course in the works, designed for those who have found themselves frustrated and overwhelmed by a society that defines us by what we do instead of who we are. When it launches, it will be available at Y
In this episode of the show, you’ll meet Reshanda Yates, whose goal, having overcome binge eating, is to empower women to be confident, love their bodies and love their relationships with food. She is also the host of “Better Late Than Never” a podcast on, intended to be a place for people who are ready to move forward after addiction, procrastination, chronic negative thinking and other distractions that have kept them from living a life they can be proud of. As she says, “Late bloomers welcome!” After years of disordered eating including binge eating followed by punishing herself by NOT eating, Reshanda Yates lost 60lbs by doing the most counterintuitive thing you can imagine: she stopped trying to lose weight, quit dieting, let go of control and began seeking the support that she truly needed to love and accept herself. Takeaways from this episode In making positive changes in your life, it’s really never too late to forgive yourself, regroup and refocus on what you do want instead of don’t want. There is a weird relationship between getting what you want and letting control to get there. Like walking and chewing gum, we benefit from being able to hold the space for the outcome we want, and let go of the path to get there… allowing ourselves to be human along the way. If driving and texting is a wake up call (which it was in Reshanda’s story) what might be your wake up call waiting to happen? What are you unconsciously prioritizing in your life, while endangering the lives of those around you? And what might you shift to have a better outcome? You came for links? Well… here are your links! Curious about my first podcast that I co-hosted with my dear friend Margery, and which I briefly mention here? Well, “Positive Thinpact” is also on, and you can listen to it if you CLICK HERE CLICK HERE to listen to Rehsanda’s podcast “Better Late Than Never.” Reshanda Yates special offer for listeners of the show is a FREE 3 Part mini training called Stop the Binge Before it starts CLICK HERE  This episode is also available to watch on video fo
Andrew Williams, the author of book: ‘Survive and Thrive: 120 Ideas to Cultivate Your Leadership Agility,’ is a leadership enthusiast, facilitator and coach who first and foremost considers himself an experimenter in life. In this episode Andrew shares some of the results of his more recent experiments and offers an important perspective on the change process for all of us. Takeaways from this conversation Andrew suggests that part of processing change is about grieving loss. Loss of what was supposed to happen, loss of the identity you thought was yours, loss of a job, loss of a habit. I often tend to put emphasis on energetic choices and moving forward with what you do want instead of dwelling on what you don’t want. However, I think taking time to grieve, even if it’s for a solitary breath does indeed offer an important perspective on allowing ourselves to be human… and I am always a fan of making room to be human. One foot in front of the other is Andrew’s motto–a motto useful in helping businesses enact change, in learning new skills and in running a marathon at Mt. Everest. It is a theme that comes up often. Rather than try to go from 0 – 100 in all things… sometimes small increments (0 to 10… now 10 to 20) are much more effective. Though not quite so dramatic as a bounding leap, a step is still moving in a direction, and movement beats stagnation. Our world is simultaneously a massive place and a small one. I am grateful to be able to have meaningful conversations such as this one with a colleague sat on the other side of the globe. Links! Andrew’s business is called Cultivate Agility. Click HERE to visit the website. Andrew’s book “Survive and Thrive: 120 Ideas to Cultivate Your Leadership Agility” can be found on Amazon. Click HERE.
Mimi Bishop and Jackie Ghedine are both certified life coaches who focus their work on Generation X women. Co-founders of The Resting Mind, they are co-hosts of the podcast Make Your Life Magnificent with Jackie + Mimi available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher and have been featured in Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Thrive Global, Tiny Buddha, TEDx and are VIP Experts at FairyGodBoss.  Jackie GhedineMimi Bishop Many of their clients have the skills, experience, and accomplishments, but they find themselves getting tongue-tied when having to answer the age-old questions, “tell me about yourself.” Using The Resting Mind’s proprietary tools combining brain science and energy leadership they help Gen-X women create sustainable change.  In this dual-guest episode these women share their thoughts on the impact of our thoughts, what energy leadership is and how we can make choices about how we show up, as well as their own stories of moments from their lives where the understanding of the world and their relationships changed as a result of important loss, or fear of loss. Take aways from this episode While our
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