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Our Voices Matter Podcast
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Our Voices Matter Podcast

Author: Linda Lorelle

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Our stories have the power to bring us closer together, if only we will listen. Emmy Award-winning journalist and entrepreneur, Linda Lorelle, guides guests through insightful, intimate conversations that reveal our common humanity. This show is not about politics; it is about finding a way to reclaim civility in the context of the contentious times in which we live, by sharing our personal and professional stories, in hopes that others might find a glimpse of themselves.
85 Episodes
What does it mean to be human?  This question is at the forefront of my mind.  I didn't expect it to be there on the second day of this new year.  I expected to come out of the blocks with a fresh take on the usual message of hope and inspiration.  But we are not living in usual times. I will stop writing now and invite you to watch and listen to my raw, unfiltered thoughts, brought about by a Twitter post from a previous Our Voices Matter guest.How much longer will it take us to recognize and accept our common humanity?  It's 2021, people.   Time to do the work and get our s**t together.Support the show (
Even in the age of COVID and the relentless assault on civility, art finds a way.  It finds a way to heal, to inspire, to engage and to elevate.   It connects us to each other and reflects our common humanity, while it illuminates and captures the power of our stories.My guest this week understands this at her very core.   Jessica Green has dedicated her life to creating, collaborating and sharing art.   She led the famed Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem for ten years before taking on her current role as Artistic Director of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival.  She is also the daughter of Ernest Green, one of the Little Rock Nine.  Their story of integrating a high school in 1957 is highlighted in the acclaimed PBS series, "Eyes on the Prize."Jessica's family connection to the civil rights movement helped inform and inspire her love of storytelling.  She and her team are in constant search of stories yet to be told, determined to give them voice and their rightful place in our collective narrative.  From Hong Kong to Nigeria and points in between, this year's Houston Cinema Arts Festival features 40 such stories.  The Festival kicks off November 12th and runs through the 22nd.  Film buffs can watch online and at select Houston drive-in theaters.  Click here to see the lineup and purchase tickets.  There is literally something for everyone.So, as we to muddle our way through COVID and post-election chaos, why not take a breath...and take a break to watch some beautiful films that reflect the breadth of what makes us human.  To all of the artists who continue to remind us of our common humanity, thank you for always finding a way.  Here's my conversation with Jessica Green.  Enjoy!www.ourvoicesmatterpodcast.comwww.lorellemedia.comThis podcast is devoted to empowering us all to better understand each other's story at a time.  Emmy Award-winning journalist, Linda Lorelle, guides guests through insightful, unexpected conversations that reveal our common humanity.  This show is not about politics per se; it is about finding a way to reclaim civility in the context of the contentious times in which we live, by sharing our personal and professional stories, in hopes that others might find a glimpse of themselves.Support the show (
“Being able to get over yourself and listen to a different perspective is important, not just from a social perspective but also in business.”  Add an insatiable love of learning and a work ethic on steroids, mixed with a heavy dose of empathy, and you have all the ingredients necessary to create a  career as one of the most successful General Managers of a BMW dealership in the country.  Never mind that you started as a receptionist and  you’re a woman of color in a male dominated industry.   Maria Moncada Alaoui isn’t one to back down from a challenge, even when she feels like “the other”.  Instead, she says “bring it on!”   What a perfect message to kick off a new year and a new decade, especially during these challenging times.  This is not the time to stick our heads in the sand and shy away from conversations that matter, whether at the kitchen table or in the workplace.  Our Voices Matter and our future is in our hands. This is the time to show up, step up and listen.Support the show (
I didn't know what to expect.  It isn't every day that one gets to sit down and talk with a  former recruiter for Al-Qaeda and ISIS.  What led him down that path; why did he ultimately leave that life; what is he doing now to make amends, if one can make amends for such heinous acts committed; and perhaps most important, what can we learn from him to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our nation?The answers to these questions and more are revealed in this timely interview with Jesse Morton, a one-time suburban kid who became, in his words, The Ivy League Terrorist.   The conversation I had with him just five days before this 18th anniversary of 9/11, is part of a larger project Lorelle Media is producing about how to counter violent extremism.  Morton's chilling words about the divisiveness gripping our nation, and its connection to terrorist strategy, will stop you in your tracks.  At least I hope it will.    Support the show (
Light and Love. Those are the two words that immediately come to mind when I think of Grammy Award-wining Gospel singer, Yolanda Adams. Yes, she has the voice of an angel that can bring one to tears with its power and its glory. And yes, that voice resonates around the globe, gifting her with millions of fans and awards too numerous to count. But to me, it is her luminescence that lifts her God given talents into a higher stratosphere. With her extraordinary voice and her laser sharp intellect, Yolanda embodies and emanates the light and love this world so desperately needs. When you are in her presence, you can’t help but feel hope. So listen...feel the hope...and then share your thoughts on this question: How will you spread the love?Support the show (
“Leading from hurt rather than leading from heart means we’re working our shit out on other people.” Nobody like Dr. Brene Brown to keep it real and help us understand how to be better humans.It is her mission in life, and it strikes at the very core of what Our Voices Matter is all about. How do we learn to disagree without demonizing, have conflicting viewpoints while maintaining mutual respect and begin to bridge the divide that’s tearing us apart? For starters, we have to stop working our shit out on each other. Brene was at the top of my interview list when I decided to launch this podcast. To say that I am humbled and honored that she agreed to be a guest is the understatement of the century. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know what a rock star she is — credentialed out the wazoo, for sure; but it’s her heart, her humor and her willingness to be vulnerable that have forged an unbreakable bond with legions of her followers across the globe. From Netflix to TedTalks to Oprah’s orbit, Brene is spreading her message, based on reams of research data, to show us a path toward greater connection and humanity. We couldn’t be more excited to help spread her message here. Enjoy, then engage with the OVM community in conversation.Support the show (
It's hard to believe that in his 40+ years as a broadcast journalist, KPRC-TV Anchor, Bill Balleza, had never sat for an extended interview -- until now. As his former co-anchor, I thought I knew Bill pretty well, but our in-depth conversation revealed themes and emotions that even he didn't know were there, especially regarding his military service. From covering countless, seminal stories across the globe to his pre-journalism days as a Marine sniper in Viet Nam, we covered a lot of ground. This first part of our conversation is all about the media and our divided nation. Bill doesn't pull any punches and offers his unvarnished perspective. What are your thoughts? Does the media share any responsibility in the deterioration of our civil discourse? How do we pull out of this spiral? What are the long-term repercussions for the media as an industry, and even more important, for our democracy? Join our conversation in the comments section below.Support the show (
Difference Matters

Difference Matters


Linda Lorelle interviews Katie Mehnert Support the show (
Joy Sewing is the girlfriend you just want to hang out with. Caring, insightful, fun and funny, not to mention whip smart, being in her presence makes you believe that anything is possible; that there is always hope. She's a rock star in so many aspects of her life; journalist, author, advocate, new foster mom, compassionate friend, and countless other hats she wears oh so stylishly. For all her accomplishments, Joy has had her share of struggles, too. Like all of us.In her current role as Fashion Editor of the Houston Chronicle, Joy brings her whole self to every interview, giving readers so much more than a designer's take on the latest trends from the runway. Her questions reveal the human at the core. Occasionally, she writes from a very personal space, taking readers along on her jagged journey filled with peaks, valleys, unexpected detours, and the nuggets learned along the way. Her ability to write with such authenticity is one of the reasons why I wanted to add her voice to our conversation about civility and respect for our common humanity. Hers is a voice worth listening to as we seek to heal the divides that separate us.Support the show (
Update on Ruby Powers

Update on Ruby Powers


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Hope Stone

Hope Stone


Jane Weiner    Graduated from Bowling Green State University with a degree in deaf/elementary education/minor in dance.  She had the unbelievable opportunity to work with the Doug Elkins Dance Company for a decade + of fine dancing, touring and experiences before her move to Houston, TX in 1996.  She presently is the founder and director of Hope Stone, Inc.  Jane founded Hope Stone with a dream of unlocking the innate creativity of children and adults and improving their quality of life through the performing arts.  At present Jane continues to run Hope Stone, Inc. creating a vision of Art for All. Founded in 1997, Hope Stone celebrates 20 years of artistic excellence and recognition, and is dedicated to nurturing our the creative side through the positive, empowering experience of the arts. For two decades, Hope Stone has committed itself to improving the quality of life for Houstonians through art.  Her arts outreach program The Hope Project  touched the lives of 40 children when it began in 2002. This coming year, The Hope Project will reach over 1000 underserved students through dance, theater, and music classes in their schools and facilities. Over 3,000 children and teenagers annually have the exciting opportunity to see a performance by Hope Stone’s professional dance company, Hope Stone Dance, which stages compelling and accessible new works that challenge, entertain, and educate audiences. Whether a child or adult is participating in our arts education classes or watching our compelling performances, the body and mind of each is engaged in a mindful experience that promotes awareness and presence – skills needed for the success of our communities, families, and businesses.Outside of her work, Jane enjoys gardening, sitting motionless on the couch with her three cats, dreaming of rescuing dogs, dolphins, elephants, lions…(you name the animal), being married to the awesome Eric Mallory and naps.  She hopes you have a beautiful day.Support the show (
When I decided to launch this podcast, I knew that I wanted to interview Kelly. I knew that the message and mission of Holocaust Museum Houston are desperately needed in our increasingly divided, hate-filled world. What I didn't know is that between the time we taped this interview and the time I posted it, there would be yet another shooting at a synagogue in the U.S., this one in Poway, CA. What is it going to take for us to stop "othering" and hating each other? Perhaps open and honest dialogue is a good place to start. Let's get to it...Support the show (
OVM21-Mathew Knowles

OVM21-Mathew Knowles


https://mathewknowles.comFrom surviving racism and segregation in rural Alabama, to accomplishing a series of “firsts” in corporate America, to launching the career of a music icon, it’s been quite a journey for Mathew Knowles. Like most journeys, there have been twists and turns and lots of bumps along the way. To many who don’t know him, he’s simply Beyonce’s dad. But he is so much more than that. He’s also the proud father of Solange, a successful recording artist in her own right, a music mogul who has helped shape the careers of numerous artists, and the driving force behind legendary girl group, Destiny’s Child. During this episode, he breaks the news that there will soon be a Destiny’s Child musical headed for Broadway. What else is he up to these days? Plenty. Here’s my conversation with the man behind the music .Support the show (
Imagine you are diagnosed as HIV positive.  You feel every hope and dream you ever had for your life..come crashing down around you.  Now imagine that your apparent misfortune turns out to be a beacon of light that could literally help change the face of how AIDS is treated across the globe.  Zachary Barnett doesn't have to imagine it; he is living it.  And he's sharing his story here.  Joins us on this remarkable rollercoaster ride that gives us a glimpse into the future of eradicating AIDS..and the shame that comes with the diagnosis.Support the show (
Jean Becker - OVM19

Jean Becker - OVM19


One year ago today, Barbara Bush passed away.  In honor and memory of the former First Lady who was loved and admired by so many, a very special episode with a woman who had a front row seat to the remarkable lives of both Barbara and her beloved George, the 41st President of the United States.  Jean Becker worked along side the Bushes for the past 30 years, 25 of them as the former President's Chief of Staff after he left office.  Just two and a half weeks ago, she closed the doors of the Office of George Bush for the last time.  In her first sit down interview since then, Jean shares just a few of the treasure trove of stories rolling around in her head.  Some will make you laugh, some might bring a tear to your eye, and some, regardless of your politics, will remind us all how the former President and First Lady embodied civility.Support the show (
“Life is like diving off a 30 foot platform.  You can’t just stick your toe in the water.  You have to dive in with both feet," Who better to speak that truth than Olympic Gold Medal diver Laura Wilkinson.  Fearless and fabulous at 41, Laura is primed to once again jump in with both feet, coming out of retirement to train for the 2020 Olympics.  As awesome and inspiring as that is, it’s her personal story of faith and family that will have you cheering for her as never before.  It’s a story of embracing our differences, building bridges and finding our way to what really matters.  Love."Support the show (
“The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.”  Then one day, the sugar plum fairy went to jail.   Not exactly the fairytale ending Lauren Anderson was looking for when she broke barriers to become the first African American principal dancer at Houston Ballet.  But it is her truth, and it was her answer when I asked her to share a story about when she felt like “the other”.  It was a painful, public wakeup call that she now uses to help others learn from her experience, and help herself re-create the ending she deserves.Support the show (
Josh Levs - OVM 16

Josh Levs - OVM 16


There's something about Josh Levs that makes you believe anything is possible!  Where to begin... He's a highly decorated, highly accomplished journalist, keynote speaker, best selling author, entrepreneur and global activist.  He is also a dedicated father of three, and it's that role which has made the world sit up, take notice and affect change.  From going toe to toe with a broadcast media titan to delivering one of his children (for real!), there's no denying that Josh is "All In" no matter what he takes on.  And he does it all with integrity, grace, humility and humanity.   As the leading voice for modern dads in the workplace, I couldn't wait to add Josh's voice to our conversation as we grapple with accepting and respecting each other for who we are as human beings, and what each of us has to offer our families and the world.Support the show (
I continue to be inspired by passionate, engaged citizens who roll up their sleeves and do their part to help bring Americans together across divides -- political, racial, economic and religious. As Director of the One America Movement, Andrew Hanauer and his team are doing more than their fair share to foster constructive dialogue that leads to action.  In less than 2 years, the organization has started chapters in 11 states with plans to grow to 40 in the next few years.  Clearly, there is a hunger and a need for methodologies that work.  What a pleasure it was to meet Andrew and get his perspective on how we can respect each other's differences while addressing critical issues that demand attention and solutions.  Listen or watch and enjoy!Support the show (
NBA fans know him as "Clyde the Glide", a reverential nod to his silky smooth moves on the hardwood that landed him in all the record books -- 10-time NBA Allstar, one of the 50 greatest players of all time, Olympic Gold Medalist, NBA Champion and member of the NBA Hall of Fame.  He also happens to be one of the nicest guys on the planet, someone who truly cares about others.  He is also someone who isn't afraid to speak his mind -- about anything.  If you ask him a question, no matter how controversial, he'll give you a straight up answer.  And what I admire most about him is that he always leads with love.   Sit back and enjoy a little slice of life through the eyes of "the Glide"!Support the show (
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