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Sylvia & Me

Sylvia & Me

Author: Sylvia Beckerman

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Sylvia & Me, conversations with extraordinary women who are changing the world by making a difference in their lives and the lives around them. Life changing events can be frightening, exciting, overwhelming; a range of emotions. They are usually followed by decisions made by some bold, strong, independent, persevering women who open the door to a new journey. We’ll be taking journeys through conversations with these women. ‘Sylvia & Me’ can be found on most popular podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play and iHeart Radio. And our website, Listen, subscribe for free and take us with you wherever you are.
111 Episodes
For most of us (especially women), our relationship with food is complex, as is our perception of what we should look like. To break it all down, I spoke with Cole Kazdin, Award-winning journalist and author of What’s Eating Us: Women, Food, and the Epidemic of Body Anxiety. Women of all ages and backgrounds struggle with a preoccupation with food and body anxiety. Cole was one of those women. She suffered from disordered eating. People would tell her how great she looked and asked for her secret. Her secret was quite a secret…she purged after eating.
‘Troublemaker: A Memoir of Sexism, Retaliation, and the Fight They Didn’t See Coming’ written by Lisa along with Tucker Booth. Lisa tells her story of a toxic working environment. It’s a story that so many have lived through. A story that not many have the courage or the ability to take the repercussions that come along with using your voice. Lisa Cornwell is an Award-winning on-air sports media reporter. The trouble came to a head after seven years with the Golf Channel. December 31, 2020 was her last day at the Golf Channel. So on January 1, 2021 Lisa was ‘free to speak up for the many women who have been marginalized, belittled, berated and treated like second class citizens’. She had been one of those women. Now she was giving a voice to women. And not just in the field of sports media, but to all women working in a toxic environment.
We're Back! It's almost the end of summer. Labor Day is around the corner and so our hiatus is coming to an end. And a new season of my podcast is upon us. Tuesday, September 5th, Sylvia & Me is back with more extraordinary and inspiring women: Lisa Cornwell - Award-winning on-air sports reporter and author of Troublemaker: A Memoir of Sexism, Retaliation, and the Fight They Didn't See Coming  Cole Kazdin - Four-time Emmy winning television journalist and author of What's Eating Us: Women, Food and the Epidemic of Body Anxiety Jaclyn Geller, PHD - Associate Professor of English at Central Connecticut State University and author of Moving Past Marriage: Why We Should Ditch Marital Privilege, End Relationship-Status Discrimination, and Embrace Nonmarital History And this is just the beginning. There's nothing I love more than having conversations with extraordinary, inspiring women.
What better way to give thanks to being able to use your voice. International bestselling author Wendy Walker sets out to interview me, Sylvia Beckerman, CEO & Founder Life Après and Après Divorce. Author of psychological thrillers, Wendy has been a guest on the podcast numerous times and a speaker at several Life Après and Après Divorce events. So the question is...who better to uncover the story behind the story? Why the journeys? And what was the beginning? 135 episodes later...135 extraordinary women and now for some answers. How a shy, divorced, single working mom of two found her voice and in turn, created a platform for so many women. A journey that started at the age of 65 and I'm still going strong six years later. Who knows what's next.
Tova Friedman, 'Daughter of Auschwitz', is one of the youngest survivors of the Holocaust. She wants us to never forget. Never forget the innocent children who were murdered during the Holocaust.  Together with Malcolm Brabant, Tova is the co-author of 'The Daughter of Auschwitz', her story of resilience, survival and hope. From the age of one, Tova lived through the Holocaust. In 1945 at the age of 6, along with other children in her barrack in Auschwitz, Tova entered the crematorium. A glitch took place and the children were told to get dressed and return to their barracks.
We continue our conversation with Laura Kaplan, author of The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service. A member of the Abortion Counseling Service, code name Jane, Laura recounts the evolution of the organization. And the power of women helping women. Jane was a feminist underground of  diverse women who provided low-cost abortion services, counseling and referrals before abortion was legalized in 1973. With the Dobbs decision and the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the story is one that we are reliving. Part 2 of our the women took control after learning the doctor wasn't a real doctor. The arrest of 7, the passing of Roe v. Wade and the underground.
Laura Kaplan was one of the members of the 1970’s underground abortion service, Abortion Counseling Service of Women’s Liberation. Code name ‘Jane’, the Chicago based organization was a place for women seeking an abortion. There they could find a level of protection and financial help. Laura is the author of The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service.
Cindi Bigelow is the 3rd generation President and CEO of the family-owned Bigelow Tea company. She was born with the name. But name alone does not make for sustainability at the top. It takes the skill and determination to make themselves better every day. For over 25 years, Cindi has made sure that she’s better and better every day. Bigelow Tea is the national market leader of specialty teas. Cindi’s initiatives have included leading the company’s greening efforts.  Conserving water and natural gas earned Bigelow Tea’s 2012 designation of being a ‘Zero Wat to Landfill’ company.
Reimagining Jane Austen's 1813 Pride & Prejudice, New York Times bestselling author Sayantani DasGupta gives us her debut YA novel -  Debating Darcy. Sayantani moves the story to the 21st century. It's set in the ultra competitive world of high school speech and debate tournaments. Debating Darcy explores the class conflict between private and public schools and the diverse world of American high school culture. Pride vs persistence. Sayantani allows her female characters to do all the things that their 1813 counterparts couldn't. Sayantani DasGupta is the author of the critically acclaimed, Bengali folktale and string theory - inspired Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond books. She is also the author of She Persisted: Virginia Apgar, a part of Chelsea Clinton’s She Persisted series. A pediatrician by training, Sayantani currently teaches at Columbia University.
Rachel Vail's picture books explore the power of Big Feelings. The pandemic has turned the lives of children and parents upside down. We're in the midst of a mental health crises. For some children the start of the school year across the United States can be terrifying, Most have been out of the loop of social interaction with other children. Rachel's latest picture book Sometimes I Grumblesquinch explores, in just a few words the emotional metamorphosis of growing up. It's a book to be read by parents to their children with parents learning the complexity of helping children dealing with big feelings by exploring the key to Social Emotional Skills. It's okay to share thoughts and seek comfort from adults.   A must read for parents as they read to their children.
Lisa Bradshaw - author, storyteller, cancer survivor, TEDx speaker, mom and TV host. Lisa is the founder of The DON’T WAIT Project®, a nonprofit organization. Its purpose - raising community awareness about the impact of positive life choices. Lisa is all about empowering youth through positive media. She has built a career as a storyteller by searching for the balance between loss and trauma and what can be gained from the lessons learned before, during and after these experiences. She is the author of Big Shoes: A Young Widowed Mother's Memoir.  Lisa hosts a television talk show and travels throughout the country meeting people who have their own Don't Wait story. She's been a guest on national television and radio. Lisa's story has been featured in multiple print media outlets and online, including, The Rachael Ray Show, Oprah Radio, The Good Life, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms and more.
Swimwear and women. Let's go to the archives with Melanie Travis, co-founder of Andie Swim. Melanie had a need to find a swimsuit that made her feel empowered. It was for a business weekend. She needed empowered, awesome and appropriate all rolled into one. And so the beginning of Andie Swim. A recent collaboration has taken place with actress Demi Moore. A new swimsuit line of glamor, vintage and sexy has been added. Challenging the way we view aging women with swimwear. That episode was #60 having aired January 20, 2021. I’d read about Melanie’s vision to create a positive experience for women and swimsuits. Her vision turned out to be a winner and so the creation of Andie Swim. You know, swimsuits for all women, all shapes, and sizes. Suits that were suitable for lounging, company parties or just feeling good about yourself.  Take a listen. If you have a vision, go ahead and try to make it happen. And if you’re dreading the swimsuit experience…
Robin Benoit, Sorority Alumna, Author, Sisterhood Robin's first-two books were non-fiction. The Eighty-Year-Old Sorority Girls is her third book, a novel. Based on sisterhood, Robin Benoit’s inaugural work of fiction is rooted in reality. Reality of her mother’s Alzheimer’s and her knowledge of the necessity of support and sisterhood. There are many stereotypes of what a sorority is. Sorority = friendship, sisterhood, support and always showing up. With a degree in Journalism/Public Relations, Robin established her career in public and community relations for non-profit agencies and corporations. Robin’s first book followed the success of her daughter Jillian’s vision therapy, Jillian’s Story: How Vision Therapy Changed My Daughter’s Life. Her second Robin co-authored with her daughter, Dear Jillian: Vision Therapy Changed My Life Too. Both books are stapes in optometry offices across the country and around the globe.
Award-winning author Annie Hartnett and UNLIKELY ANIMALS. Annie's first novel,  RABBIT CAKE was listed as one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2017. RABBIT CAKE is currently under option with Amazon Studios. Annie's second novel, UNLIKELY ANIMALS published this April, was Good Housekeeping magazine and Amerie's Book club April selection. And an April Indie Next pick. Annie is a writer with a passion. Sometimes you stumble across the unexpected. For Annie that stumble resulted in UNLIKELY ANIMALS. Annie has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Sewanee Writers' Conference, and the Associates of the Boston Public Library. She holds degrees from the MFA program at the University of Alabama, Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English, and Hamilton College. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog.
Mary Ann Jacob, a library clerk at the school, lived the horror of Sandy Hook 10 years ago.  There was an announcement over the school’s public address system. Not hearing it clearly, Mary Ann called the office. From under her desk, the secretary said: ‘There’s a shooter in the building.’ Boom, boom, boom! Mary Ann and a colleague sheltered 18 children in a closet. It’s a public safety issue, not a political one. Mary Ann is a volunteer with Moms Demand Action, the grassroots arm of Everytown for Gun Safety. She is also a Survivor Fellow with the Everytown Survivor Network. Her husband is a hunter and a sports shooter. Their two boys were required to take a gun safety course with him.  Their guns are in their house under lock and key. The gun owners that Mary Ann knows believe that gun ownership comes with a grave responsibility. There is a ripple effect of the mental destruction to survivors, educators, first responders, communities and the children and educators whose lives include lockdown and active shooter drills. A conversation with Mary Ann Jacob that advocates for public safety – gun safety. It’s not political. Hear why we need to act.
'Girlhood' and the unending assaults that young women face. What is the story that we tell about ourselves? Is it our own or is it what someone else has told us? Award winning author Melissa Febos, gives us first hand insight into what happens when we learn to adopt stories about ourselves. A physical metamorphosis at the early age of eleven changed how the world around her perceived her. Melissa Febos is the author of four books, including the nationally bestselling essay collection, GIRLHOOD, which is a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist and won the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism. GIRLHOOD was named a notable book of 2021 by NPR, Time, The Washington Post, and others. Her craft book, BODY WORK (2022), was also a national bestseller and an Indie Next Pick. Her essays have won prizes from Prairie Schooner, Story Quarterly, The Sewanee Review, and The Center for Women Writers at Salem College. She is a four-time MacDowell fellow.
Rachel Linsky has found a new way to keep the history and the story of the Holocaust alive through dance…one step at a time. Using stories from survivors, Rachel choreographs and performs their stories. Her dancers come from all backgrounds and religions and their own interpretation is incorporated in the dance. ‘We hold this history of the Holocaust and the importance of keeping it alive. But if we all remain in our own community bubbles, studying only our histories how can we learn and keep the histories alive?’
Society tells us that we love our mothers. But what happens when that love isn’t there? Justine Cowan felt no love for her mother. No matter how she tried, she couldn’t feel that emotion. What Justine felt for her mother started out as fear. Over time the fear turned to anger and the anger turned to hatred. Hatred that held her back from learning a secret that her mother had tried to tell her. A secret that Justine’s mother had kept for decades. Justine was in her 50’s when her mother died. She had grown up knowing a couple of things about her mother: her mother was illegitimate, and she came from aristocracy. Throughout her life, there was never any discussion about family. Her mother’s death changed all that. The woman who was known as Eileen Thompson was in fact Dorothy Soames. For the first 12 years of her life, Dorothy had lived at the Foundling Hospital short for London’s Hospital for the Maintenance and Education of Exposed and Deserted Young Children. Established in the 18th century, its mission was to save “bastard” children from death or a life on the streets. In reality, they were treated to a life of physical and emotional abuse. Justine Cowan is the author of The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames – A True Story.
A Mother's Day Special with Kate Swenson, a very special mom. Kate dreamed of being a mother from a very young age. While other young girls dreamed of being a ballerina or president, being a mother was hers. And that dream came true 11 years ago with the birth of her son, Cooper. Kate and her husband now have two more sons and a daughter. Her dream though came with an unexpected path. At the age of three, Cooper was diagnosed with nonverbal autism. Kate is the creator of the blog and Facebook page Finding Cooper’s Voice and the author of the newly released Forever Boy: A Mother’s Memoir of Autism and Finding Joy. Yes, the word is JOY. Listen to a woman who exceeds our expectations of what motherhood is. Cooper now has a vocabulary of 20 words.
Dr. Klodas is a cardiologist who is looking to put herself out of business, as she would say. Why? Because, according to the CDC, 80% of all heart disease should not exist. It’s proved by people who live in what’s called ‘Blue Zones’ around the globe. They’re home to some of the oldest, healthiest, and happiest people. A large reason comes from how they manage what they eat. After years of treating her patients with statins, she noticed that the overarching cause of their heart issues were not because of a deficiency of the right drugs, but deficiency of eating the right foods. With tenacity and willpower in her blood, she decided to go out on her own and do something about it.
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