As a child, Phyllis felt embarrassed by the food her mother packed in her lunchbox, and rebelled against the Chinese school she had to attend on Sundays. But now, she seeks these same experiences for her young son, striving to find the right balance between her parents’ culture, her husband’s culture and American culture.
Phyllis Huang is a Taiwanese-American born in Queens, New York but raised in Northern New Jersey. She is the Global Vice President of Change & Organizational Effectiveness for PVH Corp in New York City, as well as being a wife and a full-time mother to a young son. Phyllis consults business leaders on change and transformation to ensure that employees at all levels have healthy mental mindsets, behavior and skills to ensure success. Her position is often described as being a “corporate therapist”. Her experience has been with fashion/apparel and media industries. Past companies include: Gap, Levi Strauss & Co, and Viacom.
“There’s that piece of you, and then there’s the other piece of you.” (Phyllis, 35:49)
Phyllis has a BA from New York University and an MA in Leadership and Organizational Psychology from the University of San Diego.
She currently lives in Jersey City, NJ with the Statue of Liberty as her backyard! Personally, Phyllis is super passionate about traveling and all aspects of food – learning, cooking and eating. She is happiest when she can travel and eat.
When Emily Powers was in 5th grade, her mother Nicole Powers (S11, E2) turned herself in for forgery, after stealing from her employer to support her drug addiction. Incredibly, the way Emily responded to this crisis was to lean into her studies, to such an extent that she was honored with a nomination to West Point. She ultimately chose to attend Hanover College, where her tuition is covered thanks to merit scholarships. She hopes to double major in Biology and Sociology, with a possible minor in Philosophy.
While she is still unclear about what the future holds, she has no doubt that she wants to work with people. Some of her favorite pastimes include journaling, personal fitness and reading. Big things lie ahead for this incredible young woman!
“You can take what happened to you and grow from it, or you can be bitter about it.” (Emily, 33:42)
This interview was a real eye-opener. Ana described what a life-changing experience it was to leave her native Spain for Finland, where she finished her architectural studies and worked designing learning environments. She also talked us through the overwhelming influence of built space on the behavior and well-being of all humans.
“Space is a teaching tool.” (Ana, 39:28)
For a more comprehensive look at her work, check out these links:
Ana is an enthusiastic architect who believes in innovation through built space. She graduated from CEU Architecture School in Spain in 2014, but she actually finished her Architecture training at Aalto University in Finland. There, she worked designing learning environments and started her research about NeuroArchitecture. Between 2014 and 2016, she did her online training in Neuroscience and Perception at Duke University while she was an interdisciplinary teacher at Colgate University in NY.
Nowadays she combines her research titled “The Neurological impacts of built space and its relationship with human behavior” with her job as a high school teacher. She truly believes that the foundation of architecture is to ensure the emotional health of its dwellers.
PSAAP – Platform of Somatics for Architecture and Landscape
Website by the award-winning young Spanish architect Maria Auxiliaroda Galvez. She has created an experimental lab where she studies how our body shapes space and how to use spatial design to improve the experience of living.
Atlas of Emotions
Research project by Paul Ekman. Getting to know our emotions is key to knowing our bodies. Emotions, feelings, and space are all connected, that’s what NeuroArchitecture is about. This website is a dynamic tool that can be used to learn about emotions. It’s very useful for teaching kids social-emotional intelligence.
ANFA – Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture
Non-profit organization where Architects and Neuroscientists meet sharing their research on NeuroArchitecture and Design.
Michelle and I used to tell other people’s stories as actors in NYC, but she has found her own voice as an author, and she’s using it! My son loved the first two books in her trilogy The Girl, the Pendant and the Portal, and is eagerly awaiting the release of the final novel. She worked for 15 years on the first installment in her trilogy, first focusing on adult characters, but then discovering that the characters’ voices carried more effectively as teenagers.
“What if?” (Michelle, 10:19)
For a more comprehensive look at her work, check out these links:
Jane Friedman: janefriedman.com/blog
Highlights Foundation: highlightsfoundation.org/blog
Nathan Bransford: nathanbransford.com/blog
ShelfTalker by Publisher’s Weekly:
Funds for Writers: fundsforwriters.com
Already from a very young age, Derick considered himself an artist. He used to tell everyone around him about his dreams of making it in the art world. However, as Derick got serious about his future in the arts, his relatives expressed concern, which in turn planted the seeds of doubt and made him second guess his own plans.
After taking a break from his work as an artist, a hiatus which lasted 10 years, he returned to art school, completing his studies at the School of Visual Arts. But after that, he found himself in a rut and decided that it was time to get unstuck! He set up a coffee date with an artist friend and together they soon starting creating projects together. Today, Derick is a visual artist who creates artwork that examines the intersection between global consumerism and the intimate connection we have with what we wear. He creates large, geometric sculptures from carefully folded and stacked second-hand clothing. You might wonder… “why use this material?” To Derick, it is quite clear that it’s the material that chooses the artist… Not the other way around.
“Artists don’t choose their materials, their materials choose them.” (Derick, 39:33)
Derick Melander is a visual artist who creates artwork that examines the intersection between global consumerism and the intimate connection we have with what we wear. Derick creates large, geometric sculptures from carefully folded and stacked second-hand clothing. These works often take the form of columns, walls and enclosures, typically weighing between eight hundred pounds and two tons.
He recently completed commissions for The Chapman Perelman Foundation, Eileen Fisher, Diesel and Swire Properties in Hong Kong. He created special projects for Scope, Miami, The City of San Francisco, Columbia College, Chicago and The City of New York.
When we invited Rachael to join us on The Listen Podcast, we had no idea that her interview would be recorded against the backdrop of powerful protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As a self-described social justice minister, Rachael had much to share about first becoming politically aware while at seminary, examining what it means to be a white woman, and taking to the streets and raising her voice in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I found myself pulled out into the street by my heart.” (Rachael, 47:57)
Like most others, Rachael’s path has not been a straight one. She was raised in a Catholic home in Louisville, KY, left home to study theatre, sold cheese in a NYC farmer’s market, and spent time on a remote monastery where she ultimately decided to apply to seminary. Now a Unitarian Universalist minister with her own congregation in Amherst, MA, Rachael sees herself leaning in to her work in social justice. And it’s fair to say we’re all a little richer for it.
Rachael Hayes is a Unitarian Universalist minister serving a congregation in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is spending the pandemic learning how to minister to people she can’t share space with, and walking her dog Yuly a lot.
J. Edward Kruft, or Joey, as we prefer to call him, was an actor who became a writer who became a psychoanalyst, who is now a writer and a psychoanalyst. To date, his flash fiction pieces have appeared in over 30 online and print journals. He remembers having always written. In fact, he wrote his first piece, “The Little Italian Boy” when he was in first grade. While writing, he learned to live vicariously through his characters.
Writing his novel in grad school was so excruciating that he turned away from the pen for a full decade… until he discovered flash fiction, which means that he tells a story in 1000 words or less. Joey truly believes that using more words only leads to increasingly bad writing, so he finds joy in editing his pieces to reach a distilled form of prose. When writing and reading flash fiction, it’s not only about what is said, it’s about what is not.
“I hate writing, but I love having written.” (Joey, quoting Dorothy Parker 19:25)
In his interview, Joey also shares some highly interesting insights about the current publishing world, which is drifting towards independent and online publishers. His multidimensional perspective sees the industry, not only as a writer, but also as an editor and as a reader. He also reads for us his most recent piece published in Potato Soup Journal: 12 O’clock, Youngsville
J. Edward Kruft is editor-at-large at trampset. He lives with his husband, Mike, and their adopted Siberian Husky, Sasha, in New York City and the Catskills of upstate New York. He currently takes flying lessons. You can find him on twitter @jedwardkruft.
Thom and Penny are two ordinary people, like you and me, who needed a break from their lives and decided to go and walk the Camino de Santiago, in Northern Spain. In a nutshell, the Camino is a network of routes across Europe that ultimately lead to Santiago de Compostela. Sound extraordinary? It is! However, this adventure is accessible to anyone.
“Any ordinary person can be a pilgrim.” (Thom, 10:00)
After watching the film The Way, Thom and Penny were convinced that they needed to walk the Camino. And what did that look like, practically speaking? Every day for six weeks, they would wake up, start walking and continue on for hours, following the yellow arrows marking the way leading to Santiago, their ultimate goal. They met incredible people from all over the world who reminded them to “stay awesome” and who are close to them still today.
In the full interview, you will learn about the so-called “Camino Magic” and whether you can also find it off the trail. This is a truly heart-warming episode of The Listen Podcast, where you will discover how the Camino changed Thom and Penny… and even your host Kate Jetmore, who also walked the Camino back in 2001. Who knows, maybe they’ll inspire you to take the Camino, too! Like Thom said, anyone can be a pilgrim…
Thom Sesma is a New Yorker and an actor who has appeared in many productions on- and off-Broadway, and on US television. His work has also been seen in many American regional theaters. In 1999, he appeared in the national tour of TITANIC THE MUSICAL with your host, Kate Jetmore. He also teaches acting at the Einhorn School for Performing Arts at Primary Stages, one of New York’s notable off-Broadway theatres.
Penny Daulton is the Company Manager for the Roundabout Theatre Company’s upcoming production of Caroline, or Change (which will be her 26th Broadway show). She is the Vice President of the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers and is an adjunct Professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (the alma mater of your host, Kate Jetmore).
Thom and Penny live in Manhattan with their dog Willie and cat, Xavier. In 2016 and again in 2019, they walked the Camino de Santiago.
As a child, Lidia grew up with a sense of invisibility. She used to be the quiet child at the table and often found it hard to be listened to in her hometown. However, these early experiences fueled her desire to go off and explore the world.
“If you want to be listened to, you have to be loud.” (Lidia, 01:48)
At the age of 18, Lidia moved to Salamanca, where she earned a degree in Translation and Interpreting. At 21, she moved to Germany on an Erasmus Scholarship. There, she realized how humbling it can be to surround yourself with people who don’t speak your mother tongue. This Erasmus experience was so thrilling that she went back for more. In 2017, she began her master’s degree in Conference Interpreting at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. There, she honed her skills as a simultaneous and consecutive interpreter. Want to know how? Listen here to find out!
You will also discover where she is now and what the future holds for her.
Born in the city of Cuenca, Spain, Lidia Muñoz Solera studied Translation and Interpretation at the University of Salamanca. After finishing her degree, she moved to Heidelberg, Germany, where she began a master’s degree in Conference Interpretation. Today, she is based in Burgos, Spain, where she works as a German teacher.
Lisa and Juan are one of those marvelous bicultural couples who live between cultures, between countries, between lifestyles. Juan met Lisa because he was trying to keep up with his English. He was born and raised in Spain, while she was born in the UK and raised by an Italian mother and British father.
After several years together in Spain, they decided to pursue their teaching careers in the UK. The decision was easy at that point, since there were no kids involved yet. Having worked in several countries, Lisa and Juan tell us about their experience in the educational system in the UK, compared to the Spanish system, which is made up mainly of civil servants.
Being a bilingual couple living in the UK, they inevitably address the elephant in the room: Brexit. Are they planning on coming back to Spain or are they staying? Their mindset, as they see it, is to wait and see what happens. However, they find the situation painful, given their personal environment.
This is why Brexit hurts so much! I feel European. (Lisa, 16:34)
Luckily, as they are both teachers and have long vacations, they come to Spain as often as they can to visit friends and family. If you want to get to know them better, have a listen here.
Juan Sedeño Zamora grew up in central Spain, while his wife Lisa Porter was raised in the UK by an Italian mother and English father. In 2002, they met in Spain while teaching and studying foreign languages, then later decided to pursue their teaching careers in the UK. Currently, they are both teachers at Framlingham College in Suffolk. They return to Spain several times per year with their children to visit family and friends.
Dolka is a cheerful and friendly Colombian woman with a lot of energy! Currently, she teaches Spanish in Richmond, Indiana, but before that, Dolka owned a small business selling food, juices and smoothies. Over time, she not only nourished the locals, but she also built a small community around her.
Driven by her desire to improve her English when she arrived in the States, Dolka started browsing through the books that she could find; namely, cookbooks! These cookbooks sparked such joy in her, that with time she ended up opening her own establishment: Dolkalicious!
There, in the heart of Richmond’s historic district, she started off by selling fruit juices and smoothies three days a week. Eventually, she began to sell wholesome, home-cooked meals and earned a place in the hearts of the people who would go and eat at her beautiful, cozy restaurant.
“How I cook for my family is how I cook for my customers.” (Dolka, 21:50)
Today, as a teacher, she continues to cook and bring food to her students. If you want to find out more about Dolka and Dolkalicious, go ahead and tune in! She even shares some of her cooking hacks… What are you waiting for?
A native of Colombia, Dolka Lina Vazquez holds degrees in Bacteriology, Linguistics and Business Coaching. After meeting her husband while traveling, she moved to the United States. She followed her innate sense of well-being and opened Dolkalicious, an all-natural juice bar. Today, her son is away at college and her daughter, Gabriella, is still at home. Dolka lives in Richmond, IN, where she teaches Spanish full time.
The Silver Lining –
When mothering abroad, it isn’t only about getting one’s point across and getting things done one’s own way. Our Season 3 guests also learned to appreciate certain Spanish ways of life, especially when it comes to their children.
Raising children abroad has the obvious benefit that they will grow up bilingual and will learn that there is more than one option when it comes to living a fulfilling life.
For our third guest, Michele, it was more than just bilingualism. In her interview, she shares with us some interesting insights on how bilingual (and bicultural) children are better at focusing, at recognizing the values and manners of each culture, and are more open minded and tolerant.
“[Being] bilingual is praised now.” (Michele, 16:41)
Michele Franche is a native of Ottawa, Ontario. After graduating from McGill University and the Université de Montréal, she moved to Spain where she earned a further degree in English Philology. Michele currently lives in Cuenca with her twin daughters and her son.