Helpers Wanted

When what I thought was anxiety and depression was diagnosed as PTSD last fall, I suddenly saw trauma and its impact all around me: I noticed how little we talk about it, and remembered Fred Rogers’ oft-repeated mantra, “What’s mentionable is manageable.” And when my friend and neighbor, Senator Sarah McBride, reminded me on our…

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Irving Washington: Purpose Driven

The very first thing outgoing Online News Association CEO, Irving Washington, remembers buying with his own money was a $400 video camera for a local Indianapolis thrift store. “The big camera with VHS,” he tells me, laughing. “The one you put on your shoulder.” For “hours and hours,” Irving would “create shows” and sketch comics…

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Jeff Berner: Out There

Whether as touring guitarist for the avant garde rockers, Psychic TV, or producer for artists like Boy George, Lenny Kaye, Pharoahe Monch, Jeff Berner makes a safe, creative space for those around him to make great art.  “Unless you’re the most self-assured, confident person in your own artistic capability, at some point, you’re going to…

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Wherever You Go

It wasn’t until Friday morning, some 35 years after writing my first song and scarcely eight hours prior to the first on-stage performance of my new album, Constellations, that it occurred to me that songwriting is (for me, anyway) pure alchemy.  What begins in and is typically an expression of sadness and isolation, becomes, with…

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Lily McKown & Hayden Chance

In college, my favorite rock shows were blurry, buzzy, glorified keggers with three-dollar Solo cups, a rickety attic and a winning lineup of bands. By the end of the night, we were all playing together, the audience was onstage, and the bands were in the audience. Singer/songwriter Lily McKown grew up not far from me…

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Tyler, Texas

“Tyler, Texas” was born on the outdoor patio of Pinewood Social, a trendy cocktails and bowling hangout overlooking the Cumberland River, just southeast of downtown Nashville.  It was August, hot, muggy. Maybe 9pm or so. My friend, country music journalist, Annie Reuter, and I were just sitting down after catching a few songs at the…

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Noreen Gillespie: Transformer

Real transformation – the kind of shift that inextricably alters the very DNA of a person, organization, or culture – takes years. This is a lesson hard fought and well-learned by the Associated Press’ Global Business Editor, Noreen Gillespie. When Noreen walked through the Media Transformation Challenge at Poynter Institute‘s front door as AP’s Deputy…

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Chris Bullard: Sound Mind

At some point during Chris Bullard’s first stay in the psych ward, the musician and entrepreneur picked up a guitar and began strumming. Soon, patients emerged from their rooms and began to sing along. “A homeless guy off the street as well as an executive type,” he remembers. “And I was just like, ‘Wow! This music thing…

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The Secret Song

There was a stencil on the sidewalk outside of my old Hell’s Kitchen apartment that read, “Being impatient won’t get you the secret song.” We all have secrets, truths that gnaw at us, crush our spirit, and kill us from the inside out. Here’s mine. Like millions of Americans, adverse childhood experiences (divorce, assault) left me hypervigilant. Chronic…

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Alberto Mendoza: Bridge Builder

Alberto Mendoza is a master class in turning challenges into opportunities. As a Mexican-American teenager growing up in San Diego, California, Alberto was flummoxed by the lack of representation at Montgomery High School. “The high school was about 65% Mexican kids,” he explains. “But the Filipino kids ran all the activities: they ran the newspaper,…

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