The Make Meaning Podcast

Lynne Golodner

What does it actually look like to live a purpose-driven life?

How exactly do company leaders, educators and entrepreneurs make decisions from a meaning-first perspective?

All Episodes

Steven Wingate writes to learn foundational truths such as: Who are we? And, why do we behave the way we do? A resident of South Dakota, Steven sets his novels in the center of America, known as the heartland, flyover country or a big open expanse of unbridled wilderness. He writes about this place that he calls home to showcase its beauty and its people. Two of his books, The Leave Takers and Of Fathers and Fire have found acclaim in the Nebraska Flyover Fiction series. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Steven speaks with host Lynne Golodner about teaching writing at South Dakota State University, his writing process, family and finding his voice. He believes we have many authentic voices inside us, and writing is all about tuning into the voice that speaks best for each story. He says good writing is when you feel resonance between the stories and yourself. 

Nov 15

34 min 14 sec

In a way, every person is a storyteller, according to Jake Neher, senior producer for Detroit Today on 101.9 FM WDET in Detroit. As co-host of the weekly series and podcast MichMash,  not only does Jake have storytelling gifts, but he brings a huge passion for gardening to guide his curiosity when choosing guests and asking questions. As his radio career took him to Barrow, Alaska, New York City and finally Detroit, Jake nurtured this interest in growing things, via a little hydroponic garden in the dark and cold of America’s northernmost reaches to a lone tomato plant on a fire escape in NYC. Living in Detroit with his wife and two sons allows Jake to spend his off-the-air hours in a backyard filled with vibrant produce and plenty of space to garden!    In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Jake speaks with host Lynne Golodner about how he combined his passion for gardening and radio into a special series, WDET: At Home, offering tips for people learning to garden during the pandemic. He talks about how gardening can teach us to find value in underappreciated things like soil - something we tread upon every day feeds our plants and therefore feeds us. Just as he nourishes his passion for gardening, Jake suggests that we all engage with our passions unabashedly and see where they lead us.   In this episode, Lynne and Jake discuss:  How everyone is a storyteller Ways to get the whole family involved in gardening How what we read impacts the way we write How gardening can be revolutionary Tips for gardening newbies The importance of geeking out about your passions   Links and Resources: You are a Storyteller Podcast with Brian McDonald Michigan Public Radio Network Central Michigan University Aero Hydroponic Gardens Minnesota Midget Cantaloupe Joan Cherry Isabella Program Director for 101.9 WDET Ron Finley Ted Talk: A guerrilla gardener in South Central LA University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop Michael Carey WDET Series: Rooted by Annamarie Sysling Charles Dowding   Find Jake Neher: Twitter  LinkedIn Facebook Instagram

Oct 15

36 min 53 sec

Dean Stark began working at Sacramento Waldorf School when he was 21. That was 37 years ago, and when he began, he had no intention of staying so long because he imagined he would go on to coach at bigger and bigger schools until he possibly landed an opportunity to coach college basketball. But staying was a great decision - perhaps the decision of his lifetime, Dean says. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Dean speaks with host Lynne Golodner about how coaching SacWaldorf teams turned into his dream job because of the depth of his relationship with the students and the style of the education. Dean has written two books about his experiences and coaching philosophy, with the most recent one, Uncommon: Inside my Coaching Career at Sacramento Waldorf, one of the focuses of this interview. In this book, Dean emphasizes the importance of developing a philosophy for your life - by reflecting upon what has brought you success, where you need to improve, and using those questions to identify your strengths and how to achieve your goals moving forward.

Sep 10

34 min 37 sec

Nancy Sharp experienced an exceptional grief when her husband died from brain cancer at the age of 39, when their twins were toddlers. She eventually left New York City for Denver to start over amid the mountain air. She left a public relations career and became a Guided Autobiography instructor, as well as the author of the bestselling memoir, Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Bold Living. Her writing and her work inspire resilience. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Nancy speaks with host Lynne Golodner about her writing process, her passion for teaching Guided Autobiography, how life and death can collide, and her daily practices for building a life of meaning. She says, “In order to be resilient, you have to move beyond the things that hold you back. You have to be able to transcend challenges and sometimes that means re-writing your story or a part of your story.”

Aug 15

31 min 6 sec

When Ramona Pintea turned 40, she decided to close her interior design business and start a new path following her true passion — art. During the beginning of the pandemic, she created a piece called Mother Earth which looks at the hope amongst all the terrible things happening. She shared it on Facebook and discovered a huge audience of supporters which spurred her to create the art series Urban Queen. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Ramona speaks with host Lynne Golodner about the importance of making art about women, for women. Her bright and colorful paintings explore the desires, experiences, emotions, and inner worlds of women. Ramona is a perfect example of how it is never too late to change your career path.

Jul 15

26 min 30 sec

The reason John Wynn has built an entertainment empire and impact school children is because he begins each day with daily devotion and family check-ins. That, and the way he keeps his father’s legacy front of mind. The Reno, Nev.-based third-generation pastor and entrepreneur says he watched his father become the first African-American to host a local religious TV show and be the first Black man to sit on the Governor’s cabinet – and he knew that he would follow in his footsteps. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, John speaks with host Lynne Golodner about eliminating mental roadblocks, empowering youth to succeed, and finding mentors who look like you to show you what is possible. As the only boy among nine siblings and the father of eight, John says, “Sometimes you’ll find your purpose in the pathway passed down from your parents. Your purpose is identified to you young.”  

Jun 15

34 min 18 sec

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world in so many ways. For some people, the past year has led to a major shift in the work they do, either by necessity or by desire – both of which are reasons that propelled Rebecca Jeffreys to end her 35-year career as a professional flutist and launch Sprouting Health Families. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Rebecca speaks with host Lynne Golodner about how she turned her journey parenting a child with autism into an effort to support parents along their autism journeys. Her new coaching company provides one-on-one and group settings to shore up parents’ self-care and emotional strength as they guide their children through school and life.

May 31

21 min 2 sec

Margaret Trimer has created a varied and fascinating career with a focus on building educational opportunities for children and girding communities with value and voice. She does this, she says, by following her personal core values.  Beginning at the Detroit Free Press as a reporter covering education, Margaret has moved through roles as founder and director of one of the highest performing charter school districts in the region, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Southeast Michigan, communications director at the Michigan Education Association and most recently, as VP of Strategic Partnerships of Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, host Lynne Golodner speaks with Margaret about corporate caring for communities, what it takes to run extraordinary schools, and the beauty of driving across America with time to enjoy the scenery.

May 17

27 min 55 sec

For Michael Ziman, life has been relatively easy. He grew up enjoying the nature of the Jersey Shore, and built a career building vacation homes in his favorite place. But when the COVID-19 pandemic shut the world down last year, he started to realize how damaged nature had been by human intrusion – and how clear and beautiful it became when humans stepped away. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, host Lynne Golodner speaks with Michael about how the pandemic inspired him to be more climate-conscious in his work building new homes along the Atlantic Ocean. They discuss how the pandemic inspired him to research climate change and find ways to become part of the solution. In the past year, Michael has planted more than 100,000 trees to offset the carbon emissions of the homes he builds. He’s also introduced new sustainable practices and materials to his building practices.

May 3

25 min 6 sec

The past year was a challenge in so many ways, and relationships were impacted in many ways by long lockdowns, economic turbulence, and the need to work at home while guiding children in doing school remotely. But there was a sunny side for some relationships as couples settled in to more time together without the distractions of “normal” life. While some relationships reached a breaking point during the coronavirus pandemic, many grew stronger. Research shows trends in both directions, with a flurry of quarantine babies and a backlog of divorce cases facing the courts. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, host Lynne Golodner speaks with her husband of 10 years, Dan Golodner, and her best friend and client, divorce attorney Alisa Peskin-Shepherd, of Transitions Legal. In this episode, Lynne and Dan talk about how they fell more in love and grew closer during the pandemic, and have come to cherish their time at home together. Alisa shares what she’s seen in her law practice – how cases already in process became more intense, while the court system slowed down. Divorcing couples stuck at home together experienced more tension and anxiety. Alisa’s legal practice fielded a lot of inquiries during this time, but not necessarily people filing for divorce – until recently.

Apr 19

45 min 9 sec

After 20 years as a teacher and school principal, Jan Tinetti knows the damage period poverty can do to young girls and women seeking to build a better life. Children as young as six would miss a week of school each month due to a lack of products to support their monthly cycle. When she became Minister for Women in the New Zealand Parliament, Jan partnered with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in launching an Access to Period Products pilot program in 2020 to provide free products to schools. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, The Hon. Jan Tinetti speaks with host Lynne Golodner about the 2021 nationwide rollout of an effort to provide free period products to all New Zealand schools. This joins other efforts to eliminate child poverty, including a universal healthy lunch program, free breakfasts, milk and fresh fruit in schools, social workers and more. “We want to focus on making New Zealand the best country in the world to be a child,” she says in the episode.   

Apr 5

31 min 27 sec

When Lynne Golodner pivoted from journalism to public relations and marketing, she had a love-hate relationship with the PR field; it felt like crossing over to the dark side, she recalls. But Nancy Marshall, founder and CEO of Marshall Communications in Maine, never had such misgivings about the field of public relations. She loved it from a young age and has been thrilled with her decades-rich career in the industry. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Nancy speaks with host Lynne Golodner about understanding yourself and your passions enough to find meaningful work. Nancy helps companies to understand how to best tell their story. A connector, she says, “Gratitude is the key to all happiness,” and she encourages people to “notice the things in daily life that you’re good at and which bring you joy.”

Mar 22

23 min 49 sec

“The future doesn’t have to be about more stuff,” says Gina Nicholas. “It can be about sharing experiences with others.” When the World Trade Center twin towers came down in a terrorist attack, Gina saw it as a sign that she should leave her corporate career to return home to the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan, surrounded by the cold waters of Lake Superior, and focus on preserving the natural lands she loved for future generations. Through this work, she met Helen Taylor, the Michigan director of the global Nature Conservancy, and their friendship grew out of conservation collaborations and a passion for preserving the natural world. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Helen and Gina speak with host Lynne Golodner about finding shared values between industry and conservation, trading an extraction mentality for an evolution of awareness, and realizing that the common enemy is actually fragmentation and development, not nature vs. the corporate world.  

Mar 8

44 min 42 sec

Sometimes meaning comes out of the tiny obligations and routines of daily life. We find meaning in the mundane as easily as preparing a meal and sitting down with people we love to enjoy it. As a celebrity chef, author of two books and mom to two young children, Crystal Blanchette is dedicated to making meal prep easy and making food a priority, not a chore. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Crystal speaks with host Lynne Golodner about her internship at Lucas Films, her career cooking for such celebrities as, Prince, George Lucas, Mike Tyson and Jessica Simpson, and how she believes the secret to building a healthy family is not feeding your kids anything you won’t eat yourself.

Feb 22

34 min 27 sec

“A mural cannot be a band-aid on a society that puts Black and Brown people at the bottom every single day,” says Katie Yamasaki, muralist and children’s book artist who uses art as a platform to build dialogue and tell stories of communities. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Katie speaks with host Lynne Golodner about her early influences (including her famous grandfather, architect Minoru Yamasaki, who designed the World Trade Center), collaborating with former students and incarcerated mothers on important mural projects, and how she always cobbled together jobs to make ends meet so she could focus on her art.

Feb 8

43 min 21 sec

Learning how to write and channel your voice is an act of bravery, says Patrick Hicks, which may lead you to become more adventurous in other parts of your life. The author of more than 10 books, including The Collector of Names, Adoptable and This London, Patrick is the latest guest on the Make Meaning Podcast. In this episode, Patrick speaks with host Lynne Golodner about whose history is real history, how to pay homage to the possibilities, and why an American whose ancestors came from Northern Ireland writes about the Holocaust. A professor at Augustana University in South Dakota, Patrick lived in Northern Ireland during The Troubles and he says it’s important to view history from different vantage points.

Jan 25

37 min 48 sec

Sometimes a meaningful life and a purpose-driven career grows out of a step-by-step approach to accepting opportunities and seeing where they take you. Margaret O’Gorman, President of the Wildlife Habitat Council and author of the book, Strategic Corporate Conservation Planning, could not have charted her life’s course from her childhood in Ireland – she simply embraced the opportunities that came her way and a meaning-rich life unfolded. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Margaret speaks with host Lynne Golodner about being a nonprofit professional with more than two decades of experience in environmental consciousness, teaching smaller NGOs how to fundraise, and what it’s like taking part in peaceful marches on matters of great importance.

Jan 11

20 min 37 sec

Growing up in the Chabad Lubavitch community, Bassie Shemtov always knew she’d devote her life to service. So when she married and moved to Michigan, she and her husband set about dedicating their life and family to building friendships with people in isolation. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Bassie speaks with host Lynne Golodner about the origins of the Friendship Circle, her husband’s role as “the Friendship Rabbi,” and the next phase of the Friendship Circle’s growth, acquiring the Dakota Bread Bakery in West Bloomfield, Michigan, as a way to build a vocational training program for adults with special needs.

Dec 2020

29 min 8 sec

When many people receive life-altering medical news, they don’t see it as opportunity. Keisha Greaves does. As founder of Girls Chronically Rock and an inspiring advocate for the disability community, Keisha embraced her situation and let it motivate her to live her best life. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Keisha speaks with host Lynne Golodner about being diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy while in graduate school and using such initially devastating news as motivation to start the fashion brand she’d always dreamed of.

Dec 2020

27 min 25 sec

She calls herself an eco-warrior, and her mission started early in life. By the age of 8, Kehkashan Basu was already advocating for sustainability, and now as a university student in Toronto and the founder of the Green Hope Foundation, she shows no signs of slowing down. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Kehkashan speaks with host Lynne Golodner about why children are perfectly positioned to move the needle on climate justice, social equality, gender issues and more. She shares her inspiring family background that encouraged her to speak up and stand for something, and she explains how her work earned her the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize and the title of National Geographic Young Explorer. At 12, she became the youngest person to be involved with the United Nations Environment Programme. Her ultimate goal? To become the first female U.N. Secretary General.

Dec 2020

23 min 55 sec

Eric Hale says he’s not trying to be the best teacher; he’s trying to be the most impactful educator in the country. As Texas Teacher of the Year, and the first African-American man to be awarded this honor, Eric raised more than $100,000 in the last two years for his economically challenged school district in the “red light district” of Dallas – in addition to teaching some of its youngest students. “I may be the first to receive it, but I know I’m not the first African-American educator who deserves this award,” he says. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Eric speaks with host Lynne Golodner about advocacy, accountability and action as an educator, and what it takes to build the self-esteem of children in schools where 99 percent of students live below the poverty line. “You cannot educate the masses with a playbook designed for one segment of the population,” he insists.

Dec 2020

23 min 58 sec

Sabrina Colosimo has been productive during this year’s coronavirus pandemic. Her interior design business exploded online, as people stayed home and found renewed energy and inspiration for renovating and redecorating. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Sabrina speaks with host Lynne Golodner about spending a month in Bali to find precious housewares and fabrics, creating rooms that are globally inspired, and how to find new purpose for vintage furniture amid contemporary design.

Nov 2020

28 min 19 sec

Seeing people as solutions to problems, Froswa’ Booker Drew says she wants her funeral to be a networking session. Relationships are critical for success, Froswa’ says, they teach us how to become leaders, how to interact with the world, and how to transform what we do and who we are. Froswa’ holds many roles: Vice President of Community Affairs for the State Fair of Texas Co-Founder of HERitage Giving Circle (the first African American women’s giving circle in Texas) Professor at Tulane University Author of 3 books CEO of Soulstice Consultancy In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Froswa speaks with host Lynne Golodner on the power of young people to create movements and make real change, developing your personal mission statement and creating a personal board of directors, and how 2020 is the year of vision, a time to wake up from our complacency.

Nov 2020

30 min 5 sec

When asked which role he prefers – teaching high school, coaching soccer, serving as a blended family expert, or being a husband and father – Joel Hawbaker has a hard time choosing. All of these roles combine to form his personal purpose, says the Alabama native. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Joel speaks with host Lynne Golodner on having a growth mindset, the purpose of education (hint: it’s to become a better human being and better understand the world), taking time to blend families, banishing the divorce stigma, his love of soccer and so much more.

Nov 2020

45 min 39 sec

It makes total sense to form a consortium connecting the 17 colleges and universities in our nation’s capital. The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, led by Andrew Flagel, develops financial efficiencies and better delivery of higher education core services as well as making it easier for students, staff and faculty in the region to access the great offerings of its members. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Andrew speaks with host Lynne Golodner on how he chose higher ed for his career, how to create pathways and equity to higher ed for all Americans, and why students so desperately want to get back in the classroom with their professors as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

Nov 2020

46 min 58 sec

From living with monks to leading a consciousness-raising website, Harry Sherwood has done a deep dive into meaning and purpose in his young life and built a career based on what he believes. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Harry speaks with host Lynne Golodner about feeling suffocated by the life he was living and going on a journey for something more, something meaningful. Harry studied with yogis, martial arts masters, professors and psychologists, devoting thousands of hours to meditation and earning a religious studies degree from the University of Michigan. He and his life and business partner Melanie McDaniel founded to help people find fulfillment, transform their lives and expand awareness.

Oct 2020

33 min 18 sec

As chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee of the Michigan PTA, and past PTA President at Norup International School, Jennifer Johnson is living out her purpose – to advocate for all children, and to take steps toward building true equity in education. Growing up in a family committed to Civil Rights and accompanying her mother to rallies from before she could walk, Jennifer feels purpose in her bones – and lives it out by speaking up and modeling for her children and her community. On the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Jennifer talks with host Lynne Golodner about how her post-Civil Rights childhood led her to a purpose-driven life. She’s spent a decade advocating for children and families, and recently earned a certificate in diversity and inclusion from Cornell University. The mom of a teenager and a 9-year-old, Jennifer leads by example, because, as she says, “The children are watching us.”

Oct 2020

40 min 14 sec

What does a high school teacher do after retirement? Teach about Ethics, of course. At least that’s Rabbi Yonason Goldson’s journey, from a “repentant hitchhiker” to an ordained Orthodox rabbi to a jolly grandfather who converts ancient wisdom into modern-day lessons on operating by a set of ethical imperatives.   On the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Yonason talks with host Lynne Golodner about how purpose is the key to happiness and how biblical Hebrew has 8 words for joy or happiness – and all come from a root word meaning “growth.” Yonason draws from classic philosophers and ancient Jewish text to create curricula through his company, Ethical Imperatives, LLC – inspiring entrepreneurs to build a profession from a place of ethical decision-making.

Oct 2020

25 min 51 sec

From spreading out the learning calendar more evenly throughout the year to shifting from grades and ages as benchmarks to educational success toward competencies, David Hornak has revolutionary, smart ideas for how to transform education. As superintendent of Holt Public Schools, and executive director of the National Association for Year-Round Education, David is passionate about making American education equitable and far-reaching. For everyone.   In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, David speaks with host Lynne Golodner on how he came to his 27-year (and counting) educational career, starting as a Kindergarten teacher and rising through the ranks in the same mid-Michigan district to his current role as “lead leaner,” and his work on a national scale in changing the academic calendar to benefit all kids.

Oct 2020

34 min 39 sec

It’s hard to forget being bullied. In fact, it can alter the whole course of your life – if you let it. Knowing this first-hand, Rasheda Kamaria Williams founded Empowered Flower Girl and became an advocate speaking out against bullying to build up confidence and mentorship for young girls so they don’t let harsh early experiences dictate their futures. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Rasheda speaks with host Lynne Golodner on where bullying comes from, PTSD that occurs from prolonged bullying, and how Reality TV contributes to a systemic bullying problem that is only getting worse. Plus, she offers resources for standing up to bullies and helping girls and women find the support they need to realize their own brilliance and worth. October is Bullying Prevention Month – listen to this episode and let it inspire you to stand up for better behavior!

Sep 2020

31 min 36 sec

Joshua J. Smith was humbled and honored to be selected to serve on Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 Task Force on Education. As a high school counselor in Spring Arbor, Michigan, and a three-time cancer survivor, Josh knows how precarious health and wellness can be while also realizing the very real pressures of children not being able to go to school. In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Josh talks with host Lynne Golodner about how the state of Michigan is making decisions regarding return to learn, how to support families and youth maintain sound emotional health during the pandemic, and how to find your purpose and let it pour over the rest of your life.

Sep 2020

23 min 31 sec

In this episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, Michele talks with Lynne Golodner about how “the arts teach us we are all in this together” and hold up a mirror to our societies and ourselves. They touch on the struggle to achieve universal access and equity in Higher Ed, democratizing the classroom, and the challenge to help people understand the value of Higher Ed in a changing world.

Sep 2020

34 min 7 sec

Leading with the belief that education is transformation, Andrew Meloche did an exemplary job as principal of Berkley High School in Berkley, Michigan, during the months of shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sep 2020

39 min 34 sec

Adrian Tonon is an example of what happens when people believe anything is possible. The first-generation son of Italian immigrants, Adrian is now Director of Customer Service and the first 24-hour Economy Ambassador for the City of Detroit. But before that, he was an inspiring leader of the entertainment economy in Detroit, as co-founder of Sick Em Records with hip hop artist Kid Vishis, co-founder of the Detroit Music Foundation and a manager of bands during his years at Michigan State University.

Aug 2020

25 min 9 sec

For decades, we’ve heard that Americans are losing interest in formalized religion – while at the same time seeking spiritual connection. This episode’s Make Meaning podcast guest, Jessica McCormick, is part of an effort to reimagine how American Judaism can be. As director of the Jewish Emergent Network Rabbinic Fellowship, Jessica oversees seven innovative Jewish communities across America.

Aug 2020

25 min 42 sec

From a young age, John Hartig knew he wanted to work toward protecting the environment, especially waterways and the quality of water in the Great Lakes region. Today, he is a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor and the Great Lakes Science Policy Adviser for the International Association for Great Lakes Research. He’s the author of five books and more than 100 articles about the environment, and for 14 years he served as Refuge Manager for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. Considering that 80% of people in the United States and Canada live in urban settings, it’s especially important, says John, to encourage relationships with the natural world among young people and toward grooming the next generation of conservationists.

Aug 2020

25 min

Meaning has directed Iris Lee Underwood along the many paths of her life – from her childhood in Appalachia, hailing from the McCoy part of the Hatfield-McCoy legend, to raising three daughters in Michigan, to losing her eldest daughter to drug addiction and farming lavender as a way to heal from that devastating loss. Along the way, she’s served as president of Detroit Working Writers and writer-in-residence at the Troy Public Library, published three books and authored a weekly column for her local newspaper. She also opened her home to the public as a lavender farm, baking lavender scones and making lavender lemonade as guests clipped the fragrant branches under the bright sunshine.

Jul 2020

29 min 1 sec

In this episode, Laura and Lynne Golodner talk about writing past the fear of exposure, writing as practice, prayer, meditation, a way of life and a way TO life, and so now what?, the next logical step from pandemic or other life-changing events. They also discuss the courage to face the empty nest, and how cultivating a self-definition that is productive and creative during motherhood can help women transition through the time that their children leave the nest.

Jul 2020

26 min 48 sec

What do you do when you’ve worked hard to ascend the academic ladder, put in the time, sparked great research and debate, and you’re denied tenure? You ask yourself some hard questions, turn to your personal board of directors for guidance, and redirect your career into the direction it was really meant to go. That pivotal pause was groundbreaking for Dr. Sibrina Collins, this week’s guest on the Make Meaning Podcast, a story she humbly shares in this interview.  As Executive Director of the Marburger STEM Center at Lawrence Tech University, renowned in her beloved field of chemistry for far-reaching papers inspired by contemporary culture and modern living, Sibrina started in community college and rose to become a thought leader and a role model, inspiring girls, women and people of color to choose STEM careers. In this episode, she speaks with host Lynne Golodner about discovering her love of STEM in a basic-level science class, starting at community college because it was free, and using her personal meaning to drive her professional successes. She also talks about how STEM impacts daily life and why we need better messaging about STEM disciplines to attract enterprising students into these fields.

Jun 2020

26 min 55 sec

Jason Kadlitz dropped an engineering career to become a barber, morphing his engineering skills and creative passion into vintage precision haircutting. As he built a one-of-a-kind business, he drew upon personal values to create a culture of kindness.  Jason has created in the Berkley Chop Shop a retro-style clubhouse of community and fellowship where everyone matters. Jason joins Lynne Golodner on this episode of the Make Meaning podcast to share what inspired him to find a new path, create a welcoming space, and encourage his children to be who they’re meant to be, the way his own father supported him. 

Jun 2020

24 min 48 sec

In this episode of the Make Meaning podcast, Lynne Golodner speaks with former Your People team member Kirstin Karoub explore the power of volunteering to instill meaning, reveal purpose, create connections and build mutually beneficial relationships, all while making a difference.

Jun 2020

38 min 32 sec

Growing up with dyslexia can lead children to feel stupid, misunderstood, or as if they don’t fit in. Jacob Blumenstein knows this well. His own transformation from a 5th-grader who tried to skip out on reading aloud in class to a 9th grader earning summa cum laude accolades led him to create KidsRead2Kids with his sister, Alana.  Now graduating from Detroit Country Day School and heading to the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in the fall, Jacob joins his sister in a special Make Meaning episode about how their startup nonprofit, completely run and led by fellow teens, supports children struggling with reading challenges.  In this Make Meaning podcast episode, Jacob and Alana talk about how their entrepreneurial parents inspire them and continue to guide their way, how having classic novels read aloud to them as children helped to develop a love of reading, and how kids relating to kids is the best way to bring understanding and compassion to students struggling to progress.

May 2020

17 min 57 sec

Our world is one of beautiful, powerful diversity. We can find many differences in race, culture, and religion, and yet there are many similarities, too. To appreciate and understand each other, we seek bridges connecting us to shared perspectives and practices. Building bridges for marginalized communities is where Deanna Singh, the daughter of an African-American mother and Sikh immigrant father, finds her purpose. Deanna is an author, social entrepreneur, and founder of Flying Elephant Foundation and is Lynne Goldner’s guest on this episode of the Make Meaning podcast. She shares her inspiration for helping others thrive, whether it’s working in her community, promoting positive representation for youth of color, or coaching others on how to find their purpose.

May 2020

21 min 3 sec

Jim Reese says readers connect most with his “failures and screw-ups,” because they reveal the humanity that lives within each of us. The author of four books, including a beautiful collection of essays called Bone Chalk, and director of the Great Plains Writers Tour, Jim teaches writing at Mount Marty College and as part of a writing-as-healing program at Federal Prison Camp in Yankton, S.D., where he is “passionate about helping people come to terms with their emotional instabilities through writing.”

May 2020

23 min 9 sec

A personal bout with asthma at the age of 18 led Monica Mae Leibson to learn about a variety of ways to create good health – which ultimately inspired her to build a career in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Today, working with Michigan Associates of Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine, Monica plays detective to get to the root cause of troubling symptoms for her patients, leading them to lifestyle, diet, and perspective shifts that contribute to long-term wellness.

Apr 2020

30 min 33 sec

When Adri Smith, founder of Moss Floral Design in Fort Worth, Texas, was a child, she loved sitting in her mother’s garden, smelling the hyacinths and admiring the irises. She began her career as a teacher but knew it wasn’t her calling and it wasn’t until her own wedding that she reconnected with her early love of florals and realized she wanted to bring that beauty and delight to others. In this episode, Adri shares her experiences innovating when times suddenly change and weddings are put on hold; doing right and taking action to make life meaningful; and the incredible art of floral design to bring joy and beauty to others. Adri joins Lynne Golodner on the Make Meaning podcast to talk about balancing artistic vision with fulfilling client dreams, bringing joy during the coronavirus pandemic through floral arrangements, and how to learn from your mistakes to stay grounded and find your purpose.

Apr 2020

17 min 54 sec

What did your younger self want to be when you grew up? Elena, 6th-grade book blogger of, wants to be a writer and is well on her way to realizing that dream. Celebrating her 2-year anniversary as a youth-book-blogger this week, Elena combines her passion for reading and writing on her avidly-read blog, where she reviews and recommends kid books, with a particular focus on diversity of race, religion, gender and abilities. She interviews authors, as well. Elena is bummed that the libraries are closed due to the pandemic stay-at-home mandate, but she sees this as an opportunity to ramp up her online presence with a “Storytime with Elena” weekly effort to read picture books to children ages 4-7. She’s definitely a self-starter! Elena joins Lynne Golodner on this episode of the Make Meaning podcast to talk about her passions, her dream to become a writer, and why diversity in literature is important.

Apr 2020

15 min 10 sec

For high school graduates, the expectation to obtain a college degree seems higher than ever, but greater still is the pressure to pursue a marketable course of study to offset the heavy price tag. The student loan crisis signifies that it’s time for a change in how we view higher education, and Philomena Mantella, a leader in higher-ed innovation and the new president of Grand Valley State University, has a plan to redefine higher education. The first female president of GVSU, Philomena joins Lynne Golodner on this episode of the Make Meaning podcast to share her vision for fusing earning with learning, making education more accessible to a diverse group of students, and why viewing education as a linear path is old-school.

Apr 2020

24 min 33 sec

“It’s not like I set out to be a poet,” explains M.L. Liebler, Fulbright Specialist, Wayne State University professor and Poet Laureate of St. Clair Shores. And yet, this self-described product of working-class upbringing did what came naturally, cultivating a life of writing, teaching, and performing, making poetry accessible to the average person. He speaks with Lynne Golodner on this episode of the Make Meaning podcast about how his passion for writing and teaching, his world travels as a Fulbright Specialist, even to war zones, and his passion for the Beatles have impacted and informed his path as a literary arts activist. He also reads an original work from his collection of poems, “I Want to be Once”.

Mar 2020

32 min 36 sec

Whether he’s talking with Tony Hawk, gathering with Make Meaning podcast guests, or convening with close friends over coffee, Clay Carnill knows when someone shares their story, it is a sacred moment. This skill makes him the invaluable sound engineer of the Make Meaning podcast as well as our expert producer, and an incredible listener. Clay regularly practices the discipline of quieting oneself to listen and to honor speaker and story. In this episode of Make Meaning, Clay talks with Lynne about the storytelling power of podcasting, why podcasts are popular, and the connections and opportunities that arise in this Golden Era of Podcasting.

Mar 2020

35 min 12 sec