We've been fortunate to talk with some remarkable folks in the past two years but none has had a story of perseverance like that of today's guest, Hanifa Nakiryowa. The native of Uganda was the victim of a horrific acid attack in December of 2011. But to characterize Hanifa solely as a victim would be a mistake. As would be to say she is just a survivor. She is a woman who has determined to thrive, to advocate, to champion others, and most importantly, she is a strong parent to her two daughters so that they will do the same. The founder of the The Center for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Acid and Burns Violence (CERESAV) takes us through her remarkable journey from that day in Kampala to her work here in Pittsburgh. Please visit https://ceresav.org/ to learn more about Hanifa's mission.
Leah Lizarondo gave us a lot to chew on for today's podcast. A native of the Philippines, Leah came to Pittsburgh to attend Carnegie Mellon and has made her mark as a writer, entrepreneur and food activist. You may have seen her 2014 Ted Talk, “Why the Farm Is Not Getting to the Table.” Today, we discuss with the Founder of 412 Food Rescue the scene in Pittsburgh: the good, the bad, and the wasted. Bon appetit.
Growing up, Jocelyn rarely followed the expected or easy path. Her rebellious spirit and curiosity took her around the world where she collected unique life experiences and empathy for how people interact with their environment. Join us for an inspired, lively discussion including how Jocelyn has applied her insights and energy to leading and mentoring young women in Pittsburgh. Check out the great work of SWSG at: https://swsg.org/
Our guest today is designer/strategist/truth-teller Laurie Mizrahi. A born contrarian, Laurie comes from a family of accountants and naturally went into creative design. We talk calligraphy, Israel and get Laurie’s unique take on the #MeToo moment. Enjoy!
Architecture can define a city. But as our guest Rob Pfaffmann explains it, architecture can also choke off the social spaces that connect a community. On the podcast, we discuss the immense value that comes from preserving our architectural failures. For two guys who always wanted to pretend to be an architect, it was a treat to actually interview one as fascinating as Rob.
The author Dorothy Parker once said, “Creativity is a wild mind, and a disciplined eye.” On today’s show, we pay tribute to our friend Dave Vissat who had the wildest mind, the most disciplined eye and all the other elusive tools to become arguably the finest art director in Pittsburgh advertising history. Dave died late last year, but his work — and more importantly his contagious creative spirit — will be felt for years to come. See for yourself at DaveVissat.com while you listen to some of the people who knew him best: Michael Brunner, Scott Morgan, Tom Cwenar, Maria Tarquinio, Dan Magdich and Meade Johnson. Don’t worry, it’s not sad; it’s Dave.
Today, we go a few rounds with Jim Christoforetti from CraveLabs. Jim’s a true Fighting Irish, having boxed at Notre Dame before going on to a career in media and tech. We talk about how users interact with brands and each other in the age of screen fatigue and the newly discovered “Phantom Phone” phenomenon.
As an artist, Christiane Dolores (aka Madame Dolores) prefers to ask the questions rather than give the answers. Today, it’s Brian who poses the questions and Madame D does not disappoint. She’s an award-winning, genre-bending artist. A poet who sings. A songwriter who makes films. And a podcast guest we’ll never forget.
We’d also like to share Madame D’s link to her indiegogo fundraiser: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-pantry-of-salt-and-sugar-a-micro-song-project-iphone#/ please check it out and support the Madame Delores Movement.
Illustrators aren’t usually known for their conversational skills. But John Hinderliter fills a podcast as colorfully as he fills a canvas. John paints a very vivid picture of growing up in Atlantic City, the satisfaction of being an art mercenary, and the inspirational power of Tom Waits.
Nina Chase obsesses about connecting people with public spaces. First in Boston, and now on the aggregate walkways of Pittsburgh, Nina sees possibility to improve the quality of life in small and grand ways. On today’s podcast, we discuss the 446 bridges, 700 steps and 3 rivers we navigate every day, but rarely give the consideration they deserve.
The podcast returns from our fall hiatus and welcomes James McNeel to the studio. In a city bursting with live theater options, Pittsburgh’s City Theatre takes on the challenge of championing new and original plays. We explore the cultural importance of showcasing these new works with James, as well as his personal journey from his Marlinton, West Virginia roots. It feels good to be back.
Vasilios Scoumis left a relatively stable and upwardly mobile position with the Pine Richland School District to start working for the Manchester Academic Charter School, a role which eventually posited him as the CEO of the entire organization. Our discussion centers around the role and debate the charter system inhabits, his unique leadership approaches, the north shore development and the upcoming partnership with MuseumLab – an initiative of The Children's Museum. And how he almost ended up in Vegas. To learn more about Vasilios and MACS please visit http://macsk8.org/
The native of Wicklow Town, Ireland – a fact you’ll pick up on immediately – is currently a midfielder for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds soccer club but also a very talented graphic novelist who will be pursuing a post-playing career in that art form as well. Danny patiently and with good humor explains the finer points of the beautiful game from his perspective as a player in the USL, MSL and the Premiership with Aston Villa FC’s reserve team.
To learn more about Danny, check out these links: http://www.riverhounds.com/danny-earls
To the list of disrupted industries in our new economy, add the polling and research business. And you can thank today’s Corps340 Podcast guest John Dick for being a major disrupter. In possibly our first bona fide NSFW episode, John and Gordon discuss politics, the virtue of manly men and how to successfully cold-call Mark Cuban. Check out how Civic Science powers opinions and brings them to decision makers at https://civicscience.com/
Our conversation with Afro-Haitian artist Corrine Jasmin traces her upbringing as one of the few girls of color in her Erie, PA neighborhood through her time here in Pittsburgh – a city she has unbridled enthusiasm for while still providing an unflinching perspective on the societal conditions and challenges that are present here for women of color. We cover labels, the cultural biases at play with the definitions of beauty, the role skin color has played in her identity, fluid sexuality and how all of this has influenced her art. She is a refreshing and vibrant voice and displays a thoughtfulness that is well beyond her 22 years. To see Corrine’s work please visit http://www.corrinejasmin.com/
We pick up part two by diving into Scott’s release of his new book, “Dirty Hippies” beginning with his unvarnished critique of how it sounds on tape to him currently (he’s not pleased) and then explore the people, places and music that were the inspirations behind the characters and the stories in the book. We finish up with why we are both drawn to history, a little dip into politics and end on some Warren Zevon thoughts.
Again, you can still catch Scott on the airwaves occasionally and to order a copy of his book, visit his page on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Dirty-Hippies-Scott-Paulsen/dp/1532329695/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498053726&sr=8-1&keywords=dirty+hippies
This week’s guest on the Corps340 podcast is Scott Paulsen. Scott’s self-described job title lists him as the former dishwasher for The Waterford Inn but most people will probably remember him for his 30-plus years as a thoughtful, intelligent and entertaining radio personality with the likes of WDVE, WRKZ and ESPN1250.
In addition to the writing he did for radio, Scott has been pursuing other literary paths as well by writing a weekly newspaper column and authoring several books, most recently his new one titled “Dirty Hippies”, which is about how a disparate group of eccentric characters from a small town deal with a Woodstockian-style rock concert that descends upon their town one summer in the early 70’s and is drawn from his days growing up in Chester, WV.
We had a lot of fun talking with Scott – so much so we’ve decided to split the dialogue into two parts. Part one covers his broadcast path, the early influences and seismic industry changes that occurred over his still on-going career in the medium. Part two delves into the craft of his writing, the rhythm of writing dialogue and bringing his characters to life.
You can still catch Scott on the airwaves occasionally and to order a copy of his book, visit his page on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Dirty-Hippies-Scott-Paulsen/dp/1532329695/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498053726&sr=8-1&keywords=dirty+hippies
One of the earliest employees of the innovative Pgh-based company 4Moms, Damon sits down with us to discuss the heady early days of the company he was intimately involved with for over 6 years and his decision earlier this year start down his own entrepreneurial path with the formation of Castus Consulting.
He’s been a Hampton Talbot, a Virginia Tech Hokie, a band roadie and a sound engineer – all of which prepped him to lead the expansion of the 4Moms product lines into international markets – it’s quite a journey. We also geek out a bit on golf – dissecting the country club culture as well as a shared frustration and joy with how freaking hard it is to play.
To learn more about Damon and Castus Consulting, check out http://castusglobal.com/
Karla Boos is more and more pursuing a lack of control. She has become increasingly comfortable and confident with using the phrase “I don’t know”. She works every day as an artist – which has manifested itself most passionately through her role as Founder and Artistic Director for Quantum Theater. She takes us through the process she employs to advance the intimate and progressive experiences Quantum contributes to the Pittsburgh cultural scene and what has attracted her to the physical buildings and landscapes this region has to offer and the parts they play in the eclectic presentation sites for their work.
Karla has built an extraordinary theater as laboratory that is constantly forging new and inspiring creative ground. To learn more about Karla and Quantum, visit http://www.quantumtheatre.com/
Today is quite possibly one of the most important days of Michael Killen’s professional life. First, he makes his podcast debut on Corps340. Then later tonight, the network premier of Michael’s ABC series Downward Dog on which he is co-creator, co-writer and executive producer. We talk with Michael about his early days at CMU, how he discovered his passion for filmmaking and the improbable, unpredictable path to getting Downward Dog from concept to prime time.
To see all of the great work Michael and his team creates, go to https://www.animalstudio.com/
Alice Greene is constantly listening. It’s a habit she developed early on when she started a newspaper at the age of 10 that reported on the daily happenings in her Winchester, Massachusetts’ neighborhood and has continued through her forays into journalism, radio and of course, parenthood. She has honed all of this into a highly successful career trajectory at Campos with focus group moderation, survey design, big data analysis and user experiences work.
However, she really enjoys employing her listening chops in the area of emerging trends – where she is responsible for Campos’ annual trend watching reports. We cover a wide range emerging currents including gender fluidity, social warfare, user centricity, artificial intelligence as potential co-workers, managers and even, gulp, as elected officials and the burgeoning digital detox influence. All in all, it’s a good listen.
To see more of the Alice’s and Campos’ ongoing reporting in this space, check out their blog at http://campos.com/
Mark Chambers managed to arrange for a seat at one of Pittsburgh’s most exclusive locations: around the podcast table with Gordon and Brian. In this episode, we chat with Pittsburgh’s only inductee of the prestigious Les Clefs d’Or, the national association of professional hotel concierges. Mark enlightens us in the subtleties of his unique profession with his natural class and humor. He has enjoyed a front row seat watching the cultural and culinary growth of Pittsburgh, and has the thick black book to prove it.
Michael is particularly interested in pursuing creative joy. It comes in the form of his singing, which he does with his band Chupacabra. It comes in the form of design projects, a discipline he started with one-time partner and still close friend, Rick Bach. But it manifests itself most remarkably and demonstrably through his paintings, which are showcased in both national and international galleries and forums and are almost purely based on self-expression vs. commissioned work.
He talks about his 17 – yes, 17 – different moves he made as a child growing up between Ohio and Florida and how he pretty much ran into the same type of kid no matter where he lived and basically treated the whole experience as akin to camping. He discusses how art shouldn’t be a committee experience, compares the process to cooking, that the art of creating everyday is an act of defiance and reveals to us his favorite part of the day.
Our conversation with the VP of Community Affairs for Highmark and President of the Highmark Foundation begins with her upbringing in Homewood with parents who dealt with the hardships of poverty but never let them feel like they were poor. She earned her undergraduate degree at PITT and her master’s degree from CMU all the while holding down a full-time job with Mellon. It was the influence of one of her teachers at PITT, Dr. Lawrence Howard, which initially fueled her interest in public management and eventually led her to her current position.
Yvonne candidly discusses how she faces down and deals with the issues that are still commonplace surrounding white privilege in the corporate and governmental environments by pushing hard everyday with passion, optimism and no fear. She speaks to the “ROI of empathy” and how that is integral to any organization’s CSR policies.
A fervent supporter of the Pittsburgh arts scene, she has been inspired and awed by the talents of the local artists and has helped promote them through development and participation of forums and gallery openings. And it turns out that Yvonne Cook, does indeed, love to cook. We are all invited over to her house for the dinner and conversation question.
Sean O’Connor grew up outside of Richmond, VA with actual Civil War earthworks in his backyard. Fighting off a strong urge to geek out on that bit of mid-nineteenth century awesomeness alone, we instead engage with Sean about his just-starting-out path in both the strategy and writing disciplines as well as his fairly recent move to Pittsburgh.
A product of the VCU Brandcenter, where he cultivated “the whatever happens to you won’t kill you” credo, an understanding of the power of constructive criticism, the art of reading body language and the critical insight that being an asshole benefits no one – along with several other mature beyond his years attitudes towards the challenges the communications business throws at everyone.
We explore how he was hired by his current agency, deeplocal, and how he defines what that agency does and the collaborative structures they employ. We also get insight into some early work he did with “mega church, UFC style, octagon matches”. Which is worth the price of admission alone.