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Serenbe Stories

Author: Serenbe

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A podcast for those seeking stories about having an impact and building a better life. From the original Serenbe story of how Founder Steve Nygren and his family discovered and developed the land that is now the leading wellness community, to stories featuring many of the people that inspired, encouraged and influenced how Serenbe was created. Steve Nygren and host Monica Olsen talk about how we resist or ignore issues out of fear vs. discovering common sense solutions and discuss the biophilic connection to nature and each other that is vitally important for individual and community wellness. Join us as we tell the story of Serenbe and interview friends, residents and leaders from around the world who are doing the essential work to build and grow an essential biophilic movement.
67 Episodes
Meghan and Patrick Sharp carried around a Cottage Living Magazine featuring a Serenbe home on the cover long before making the move, but the moment they drove in and saw the sign "Children & Adults at Play," they decided this was their place. Interior design is what they do, creating beautiful spaces within the neighborhood and beyond. In this episode, the Sharps talk about designing homes at Serenbe, moving to San Francisco and back again, and what you'll miss if you don't look up.Biophilic Solutions Promo
Patrice Sumpter is an award-winning real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Georgia Properties, receiving the Chairman's Circle Award in 2018, 2019, and 2020, and consistently performing in the top 1% of agents in the country. As a self-professed "city girl," she and her husband, Ron first chose the Mado neighborhood for it's city energy. In this episode we talk about their avid support of Serenbe's restaurants, her dream of living in Spain, and her new desire of owning a horse (but we'll see what Ron has to say about that). Biophilic Solutions Promo
Stacy Simmonds had a long career in retail, branding, and sales, all the while with a lifelong dream of opening her own store. Before settling in Serenbe, Stacy, and her husband, Jason, lived in cities all over the country. She didn't know it at the time, but everywhere she lived she was acquiring the inspiration for what is now Hamlin, her modern lifestyle store in the Selborne neighborhood. The relaxing in-store atmosphere, the curated "necesary(ish)" products, and the amazing experiences she creates, including an Adult Big Wheel Race, are all about "making adults feel like kids again."Biophilic Solutions Promo
Today we're talking with Penny McPhee, who is the former President of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, a well known philanthropic nonprofit that has donated over $800 million to initiatives from early childhood development to the arts.She knew from an early age that she wanted to change the world and that writing was her talent. In this episode, we talk with Penny about her career in journalism and media, her influence in making the art collection at Atlanta's Mercedes Benz stadium worthy of a fine arts museum, and what she's looking forward to for her next adventure. Penny first visited Serenbe before homes had been built, and he and her husband even joked about wondering if Steve's vision could work. Nearly 20 years later, the vision is realized and the McPhee's have found a happier healthier life living at Serenbe.Biophilic Solutions Promo
Our neighbor Gemmie Dayrit has worked with traveling museum exhibitions throughout Asia and the U.S., including iconic shows RMS Titanic and Bodies: The Exhibition. Her specialty is curating museum gift shops,  and she recently launched Wild Tribe Productions that is also creating pop-up retail experiences. In this episode, we talk about how a trip to a haunted New York hotel room led her to Serenbe, how living here opened a dimension of life she never expected, and the gift of being a Godmother.Biophilic Solutions Promo
Today we have another great guest, Dr. Kate Edwards who founded Precision Physical Therapy.Running is where is all started for Kate. Her first race was the Hyannis Half Marathon back in 2003. She said she had no idea what she was doing and did everything wrong: trained inconsistently, did a nine-mile-long run, wore brand new shoes, went out too fast...the list goes on. Since then she has completed multiple marathons, went back to school to become a Physical Therapist, and then subsequently opened two successful offices. She's also written two books and just launched a podcast focused on endurance athletes, and if that's not enough she's also launching online courses and planning a retreat at Serenbe later this year.Take a listen to this dynamic episode with Kate and learn all about her incredible journey and how she got to Serenbe.Biophilic Solutions Promo
Biophilic Solutions is a new nature and science podcast from the Biophilic Institute at Serenbe. Biophilia is the innate connection that human beings seek with the natural world and this podcast will help understand, elevate, and amplify biophilic solutions across a broad range of industries. Because we believe nature has the answers.Serenbe resident Dr. Phill Tabb is the first guest on Biophilic Solutions and we wanted to share his unique point of view with the Serenbe Stories audience by asking the question "How Do We Build Resilient Communities for the Future?"Join the growing biophilic movement to understand, elevate, and amplify biophilic solutions across a broad range of industries. Find out how can we take local and global actions that nurture the living, social, and economic systems that will sustain future generations. Listen in every other week, as hosts Monica Olsen and Jennifer Walsh pose questions centered around finding common-sense solutions to some of society's biggest problems.They'll speak with experts in the growing field of biophilia and environmental research about everything from offsetting your personal carbon footprint to putting pressure on the corporations and policy-makers that can affect major, systemic change. We hope you'll join them on their biophilic journey. Subscribe, follow and listen to Biophilic Solutions today on Apple, Spotify and all the podcast places.Biophilic Solutions podcast is brought to you by The Biophilic Institute, creating a world in which individuals take local and global actions that nurture the living, social and economic systems that will sustain future generations. Learn more about programs, research and the Fall 2021 Biophilic Leadership Summit at
Dr. Eden Hinds came to Serenbe to lead and grow Acton Academy at Serenbe and ended up finding home. As the Head of School and CEO she embodies the Acton ideal of a curious, lifelong learner - she holds multiple degrees and certificates in education and never stops asking questions. In this episode, we talk about instilling practical life skills in children and the benefits of place, specifically how the school thrives in community by having the opportunity to benefit from Serenbe's assets, especially of nature as a learning environment. She and Steve also share the first details of a new campus being built in the Mado neighborhood.Biophilic Solutions Promo
Pierre Ferrari is the President and CEO of Heifer International, an organization on a mission to end hunger and poverty by supporting and investing alongside local farmers and their communities. He has worked or held board roles at Coca-Cola, Ben & Jerry's and the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund, and he has a Master’s degree in economics from Cambridge and an MBA from Harvard. Pierre's 40 years of business experience are being put into his passion for social issues at Heifer. You can find his recent opinion pieces in TIME magazine with Chef Tom Coliccio about the fixes we need to food system, and in Fast Company on ethical meat standards. Pierre and his wife Kim have been fans of Serenbe for years and recently made the move full time.Biophilic Solutions Promo
Today we're talking with Juliet Cutler, a teacher, author, and Serenbe resident, whose memoir, Among The Maasai, documents her time teaching English at a Maasai girls' school in the late '90s and she addresses the challenges inherent in tackling issues of extreme poverty across vastly different cultures. In this episode, we talk about the power of educating women and girls, how Juliet has continued to advocate for Maasai girls over the last 20 years, and the importance of having a community. Juliet Cutler is a writer, an educator, and a designer of award-winning exhibits for museums, parks, and cultural centers throughout the world. Her teaching career began in Tanzania in 1999, and since that time she has been an activist for girls’ education worldwide.Cutler’s literary and professional publications now number more than two dozen, and she has taught writing in many settings including as adjunct faculty for the College of St. Scholastica in Minnesota. Her first book, Among the Maasai, has received critical acclaim through several national and international awards including the Independent Publisher Book Award, the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, and the National Indie Excellence Award.In 2009, she was selected by Orion Magazine to participate in their annual writing workshop, and in 2013, she participated in a writer’s residency at La Muse in Labastide-Esparbairenque, France. In 2019, The Serenbe Institute for Art, Culture, and the Environment honored Cutler as a Serenbe Fellow—a distinction given to nationally recognized thought leaders, scholars, and artists.Biophilic Solutions Promo
Camille Lowe thought she'd stay on the West Coast when she left Georgia after college. Not only did Serenbe draw her back, she was inspired by the place and people to get involved in determining its future, and is now our city council representative for Chattahoochee Hills. In this episode, we talk with our neighbor Camille about the gift of nature homebuyers get when they move here, her favorite time of day to explore Serenbe, and the city's future. Camille was raised in Macon, Georgia, attended the University of Georgia where she received a BBA in Risk Management/Insurance, and was a four-year starter for the UGA Women’s Basketball Team. Her 20-year career in biopharmaceuticals has involved a lot of travel, working from a home base on the west coast, then back to the Atlanta area. Prior to moving into sales, Camille was an Account Executive for Marsh in San Francisco, CA, a global leader in insurance and risk management. Camille moved to Serenbe in 2015 as she looked for a place she could enjoy her love of nature and connect with community in a place that is beautiful, healthy, and environmentally sensitive, and currently serves as Chattahoochee Hills City Council Member for District 4.Biophilic Solutions Promo
Today we have resident Jason Geter, who is the co-founder of Grand Hustle Records and most recently, Heavy Sound Labs that is a music incubator for emerging artists. We talk about removing the gatekeeper model in music, finding creativity in nature and how a serendipitous golf cart ride made his move to Serenbe a no brainer. A natural leader, Jason Geter embraces the blue collar intersection of music, art, fashion, technology, and sweat equity, taking cast-off remnants and reimagining them as brands that could only exist today. Jason, a serial entrepreneur and investor, is the founder of Heavy Sound Labs and Strivers Row, a lifestyle brand; co-founder of Grand Hustle, AKOO, and Hustle Gang Apparel; co-owner of All Def Digital; and advisor to several multimedia artists and brands. Through his venture Grand Hustle, he’s had the pleasure of launching the careers of acts such as T.I., Travis Scott, Killer Mike, B.O.B., Iggy Azalea, DJ Drama, Young Dro, and more. Geter has even had the honor of managing the solo career of Big Boi, of the legendary Outkast, and co-producing the #1 premiering film Takers.Jason’s partnerships are effortless because of his culture of innovation, superior product development capabilities, integrated multichannel infrastructure, and significant scale to offer an unmatched combination of authenticity, quality, and value. In a world guided by focus groups and facts, Jason admires those inspired spirits who believe that ideas of the future don’t exist in the past. Jason is dedicated to curating a global lifestyle, leveraging his core capabilities to innovate, curate, and integrate new businesses.Biophilic Solutions Promo
Imagine if your car were powered by solar roads made out of recycled tires? Today we talk with Allie Kelly, the Executive Director of The Ray, a highway that is the future for sustainable roads and transportation. She talks about how her family found Serenbe and Steve challenges listeners with a Serenbe scavenger hunt to find the chair placed in memory of the highway's namesake Ray C. Anderson that features a box with his book hidden inside.In the five years since its conception, Allie has helped The Ray to implement and build nearly a dozen ground-breaking, world-leading technology demonstrations, including the first solar road in the United States and the world’s first public demonstration of a drive-through tire safety station. Allie has over 15 years of experience working in public policy, first as a lobbyist for UPS in Washington, D.C. then founding Georgia Watch in Atlanta, the state’s only consumer watchdog organization. Allie earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Georgia.Biophilic Solutions Promo
We talk with Heather Ruth about leaving a high-stress career to gain multiple yoga certifications and to launch the Serenbe Yoga & Bodyworks studio. Her journey began as a way to manage stress and gain physical strength. Listen to her story and hear how she became Mom to five Nigerian dwarf goats. Heather received her Thai Yoga Therapist certification and 200 RYT in Costa Rica specializing in Restorative and Breathework, and attained her 300 RYT through The Maze Method, which focuses on alignment.  She is also certified in Aerial Yoga and Yoga Nidra. Heather's classes are light hearted and meditative in nature.Biophilic Solutions Promo
Stop any resident on the streets of Serenbe, and they’ll have a story to tell you about how they got here. How they first discovered Serenbe and the friends they’ve made. Parents will share why they’re raising their children, and others share how they’ve built their own extended family. Some have started a business, built a new home, or found creative inspiration to write a book or create art. Others have found solace on the trails or taken up a new hobby with new friends. All of these stories have a common thread: a curiosity and a willingness to learn, an openness to new people, ideas, and a desire for connection, to build a community and a hope for a better world. In past seasons we’ve told stories about what Serenbe is, how it was built and how Steve Nygren’s vision has inspired a biophilic movement. This season goes straight to the best source for Serenbe Stories, Serenbe residents. Subscribe today to hear their stories and learn why the best reason to live here are the people here.Biophilic Solutions Promo
We planned on recording 12 episodes of this biophilia-focused season, but we couldn't end without talking to Jeff Tkach, the Chief Impact Officer at Rodale Institute, about the place where life begins: The Soil. As Rodale has proven, Healthy Soil equals Healthy Food, which makes Healthy People, and the healthiest soil is organic and regenerative. Not only is healthy soil important for us, it's important for the planet.Jeff is responsible for expanding Rodale Institute's global influence to heal people and the planet by unlocking the transformational power of regenerative organic agriculture. He was in Chattahoochee Hills this November to open Rodale Institute's Southeast Organic Center - one of three research hubs being opened across the country to increase the number of organic farms and acres in production through training and education.In this episode, we talk with Jeff about training new farmers, why J.I. Rodale hated the word "sustainable," and how Rodale is putting $2 million into the future of food.Biophilic Solutions Promo
Diandra Marizet stopped through Serenbe in December 2019, while on a road trip from New York to her family's home in Texas. She found us while searching for farm stays she could visit along the way, and was drawn in by Serenbe's design intention. Her afternoon here made an impression, and her subsequent work on Intersectional Environmentalist made an impression on us. Diandra Marizet is a founding member of Intersectional Environmentalist, which is a platform with the goal of dismantling systems of oppression in the environmental movement. The founding group created a Council of environmental activists and sustainability advocates that are committed to identifying the ways in which injustices happening to marginalized communities and the earth are interconnected. In this episode, we talk with Diandra about her background in fashion, most recently with Kate Spade, and how that lead to climate and environmental activism. Biophilic Solutions Promo
Did you know that when we're in cities, it's hard to relax because we're taking in all the stimuli around us. In contrast, when we're in nature - even with our eyes open - the quiet and peaceful environment allows us to relax, which is imperative for human health and de-stressing.Today we are talking with Florence Williams, who is a journalist and author, whose most recent book is The Nature Fix: How Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. She is also contributing editor at Outside Magazine, and a freelance writer for the New York Times, National Geographic, Slate, Mother Jones and numerous other publications. Her work focuses on the environment, health and science. In this episode we talk about her immersive research that proves the connection between nature and human health. She also shares content from her next book, which was partially written while in residence at Serenbe.Biophilic Solutions Promo
Design is a powerful tool in addressing climate change, but what IS design? And what is a design museum? The Museum Of Design Atlanta - or MODA -  defines design as "A creative process that inspires change, transforms lives, and makes the world a better place." Today we talk with MODA Executive Director Laura Flusche and Exhibitions Manager Veronica Klucik about the role of museums in the 21st century. What if museums looked forward instead of backward? What if they prioritized active engagement instead of passive observation? These are the questions MODA sets out to answer by curating exhibits that show how design can solve real world problems.MODA had big plans in 2020 for their Year of Climate & Change. In this episode, we discuss how they successfully implemented virtual programming, including education more than 3,000 kids worldwide. They are looking forward to 2021 and continuing to offer virtual access to exhibits focused on regenerative design and alternative transportation.Biophilic Solutions Promo
What kind of world are we going to leave our children? That is the question Principal Patrick Muhammad asks himself as he leads Chatt Hills Charter School. With a tri-focus curriculum of Arts, Agriculture, and Environment, he's teaching them the value of life from a ladybug to a human.Education is a pillar of our Biophilic Principles, and Serenbe is proud to support our local charter school since its founding. Today we're talking with Principal Muhammad, who is affectionately known as The Principal Farmer by his students, about how their outdoor programming has improved student health, how they've increased test scores, and why they have a wait list each year to enroll in this innovative K-8 school.Biophilic Solutions Promo
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