Outspoken Speaker Brad Jenkins Gets 'Fired Up' for New Podcast

Brad Jenkins is stepping up to the mic. His new podcast, Fired Up with Brad Jenkins, aims to give listeners a fresh perspective into the hearts and minds of political leaders, artists, influencers, and everyday heroes.

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“There are very few places in the media where political leaders, artists, or journalists can just be themselves,” Jenkins said. “Our podcast is a place where audiences can actually get to know who these people are without a soundbite agenda.”

With the 2020 United States presidential election quickly approaching, Jenkins has had the opportunity to sit down with numerous candidates and find out what gets them fired up.

“We have had the chance to go to many of the Presidential candidates’ homes and interview them at their most honest and personal. Before every interview, we ask our guests to pick a ‘fired-up topic’ that is a jumping off-point for the conversation,” he added. “We like to give our audiences that feeling of being in the room and listening in on a conversation between two friends.”

Before Jenkins was Managing Director and Executive Producer of Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die, he served four years as President Obama’s Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement. You may have seen one of his projects with the Obama administration - the Emmy-award winning “Between Two Ferns” interview on the Affordable Care Act.

It’s no surprise that Jenkins dreams of having the former president and First Lady Michelle Obama on the podcast. "They are the reason that I got involved in politics," Jenkins said. "We have had a couple Fired Up interviews with couples that haven’t been released yet and they are hilarious. So yes! A Barack and Michelle interview is the dream!”

This isn’t the only new venture for Jenkins. He recently launched Enfranchisement Productions, a DC-based creative and consulting agency. The agency will work with electoral campaigns, non-profits, start-ups, and brands, and will be involved in creative and political strategy.

If you’re looking forward to hearing these one-on-one interviews, look for new episodes available every Tuesday. And you’re in luck, there are already six episodes available for streaming. Listen in as Jenkins talks with presidential candidate Cory Booker, actress Chloe Bennet, and more.

Click here to listen to Fired Up with Brad Jenkins.

Click here to learn more about Brad Jenkins.

#ICYMI: Samantha Nutt Op-Ed for The Globe and Mail

The lessons women are asking men to learn

The entire circus around Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation was an unwanted refresher for women and girls of the lessons forced upon us throughout our lives.

As girls, we learn that:

To have opinions is to be angry,

To be angry is to be unattractive,

To be smart is to be threatening,

To speak up is to be shut down,

To have confidence is to be demeaned,

To have strength is to be intimidated,

To be difficult is to be lonely.

As women, we learn that:

To have ideas is to be ignored,

To ask questions is to be discounted,

To be ambitious is to be obnoxious,

To tell the truth is to be accused of lying,

To have expertise is to be dismissed,

To be successful is to be judged,

To be in the spotlight is to be attacked.

Read the rest of the piece here.

Borrowing a little message on empathy

The divisiveness we're seeing these days, especially online, has turned us off from sharing some of our insights and understandings on many topics in a post-election era of President Trump. Not because we don't have an opinion, the experience, or the passion for certain subjects, but rather the magnetic pull towards arguments, staying on the defense, and lack of engagement in hearing the other side has left us (and many others) exhausted. When there's little compassion shown for others despite our shared values, it's hard to determine where many stand in support of humanity as a whole.

When reading this recent piece from Amy Jo Martin, the ideas of empathy (although obvious to some) speak to how we move forward and create a conversation, rather than an argument, around understanding our differences and finding a way to operate and coalesce together as a United States of America.

Here's an excerpt:

"I came across this video that brings science into the equation. Yes, science! It’s refreshing after an abundance of subjective opinions floating around. I spoke with Poppy Crum, neuroscientist and Chief Scientist at Dolby Labs, and she explained how we literally and physiologically have different realities. We discussed the power and opportunity in understanding that what we see, hear and feel differ. Literally. If we realize we all have slightly different information going into our equations, there’s a chance we can be more human and empathetic.

While some of this is intuitive, the knowledge allows us to potentially transcend our emotions when we’re encountering a challenging opinion and realize the opposing opinion we’re facing was formed based on different information than we have. In the talk, Poppy also explains that immersive technologies can be extremely beneficial in linking our unique sensory perceptions with shared human understanding. Science can serve as a common language. Try watching the video and discussing it with someone who may have a different point of view than yourself. There’s a great deal of exploring left to do around the science of empathy."

- Published by The Huffington Post on February 18, 2017. Full article here.

Taboo Talks: President Trump - Where do we go from here?

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As a reminder of this monthly series (we took a break in December), we invite our speakers to discuss their points of view and/or expertise on a taboo topic to offer up an opportunity for conversations on very much relevant, but avoided subjects. Although the subject matter at hand may be considered taboo for some, there are important messages and viewpoints to engage upon for future understanding and learning.

We opened up the opportunity for some to share not only observations and objections towards the new Presidency, but also tangible ways in which we may create more meaningful conversations about the aftermath of the election and the present state of the nation, including the backlash involving the first few weeks of this Trump administration. These people are teachers, fundraisers, technologists, doctors, and leaders. Their political affiliations should take a backseat to the understanding of their focus on supporting humanity. We've asked them to be outspoken after all, and that is what they've done.

Dr. Samantha Nutt {Founder of War Child USA}:

“A friend of mine - a successful business entrepreneur - once gave me what I thought to be the soundest advice on managing difficult, irrational people: there's no strategy for crazy. ‎I keep coming back to this in the wake of Trump's Presidency. He's already demonstrated that he will do and say (and tweet) just about anything, with a shameful disregard for the truth, and with a narcissism that should be career-ending rather than career-making. So what can anyone who believes in tolerance, compassion, empathy, inclusiveness and evidence-based decision making do? If there's an answer, it may be this: always do the opposite. When he cuts humanitarian aid to poor countries, refugees and those living with war (and he will), pick an international charity and donate as much as you can, as often as you can. When he dismisses, demeans and degrades women, minorities, immigrants and civil rights icons, celebrate them loudly and passionately. Support public media, and share articles and features by journalists who focus on substance, instead of hype. For every brick in his wall, tear one down.  Millions of acts of daily defiance. No strategy here, as my friend aptly pointed out, is guaranteed. But when confronting a bully, it helps to have a crowd of friends standing beside you.”

Natalia Petrzela {Professor of History and Author of Classroom Wars}:

"Very few people expected the outcome of this election, and because of that, it seems even fewer know how to move forward in its aftermath (and I include the full range of the political viewpoints in that claim). If social media defined this election in an unprecedented way, it's pretty clear that even if we were communicating more, it was largely an illusion that we were doing so beyond our own "echo chambers." Actually, the volume of content probably only served to solidify these barriers to productive communication even as it perpetuated the illusion that we were transcending them. But hindsight is 20-20, and there is no way to move but ahead, and we must do so on the level of our day to day interactions as well as in the demands we make of our political structures. What does that mean? Mostly, it means getting ready to invest a whole lot of energy in conserving, and I hope even improving, the quality of our lived experiences and the institutions that govern them. It means reaching out to like-minded people to organize, and to the not-so-like-minded to try to understand if not empathize with their positions. It means relentlessly pressuring those in power to live up to their roles as leaders of the free world and to empower us to participate meaningfully by modeling transparent, ethical, and civil behavior. Perhaps the fact that all these assumptions have been cast into doubt during these months is an opportunity for us, collectively, to reaffirm their importance to American life."

Michael Slaby {Former Chief Integration and Innovation Officer for the 2012 'Obama for America' Campaign}:

"To promote better priorities, we must take the next steps from media and attention and marching. More civic engagement is good. Building community and awareness is good, but these are our first steps. We have to talk to people who don’t agree with us. And we must be visible to our leaders, not just loud — show up at town halls, ask for meetings with staffers in your Congressional offices. Our leaders are people who live in bubbles of their own surrounded by donors, lobbyists, and other politicians. We must invade these spaces if we’re going to change their perspectives and priorities, and then be ready to do more than describe the water, we must work to actually shape their priorities and map paths forward. Come to the table with ideas and ready to help, not just oppose." [Excerpted from Medium piece]

Brooke Hauser {Author of The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens}:

"Not so long ago, I wrote about immigrant and refugee high school students in Brooklyn organizing their first-ever prom—a classic American rite of passage. Today, many of the amazing and inspiring students I got to know would be barred from entry to the United States. Like so many people, I am stunned and saddened by President Trump's immigration ban. I'm also determined to act. One of the most important questions we can ask our affected neighbors right now is also the simplest: "How can I help?" You can donate money to a refugee-resettlement agency such as the International Rescue Committee. You can also donate time by volunteering. If you are a college student, consider tutoring a local refugee student learning English. If you are a lawyer, consider providing legal assistance to someone who needs it. If you have or work with kids, turn these trying days into teachable moments. Read children's books about the refugee experience, make protest signs together, share your family's immigration story with others. If you don't live in a sanctuary city, be the sanctuary yourself."

Disclaimer for this particular topic: We are not (as a company) necessarily making a declaration of political affiliation, policy support, or the like, but rather hope to share and engage with our followers, friends, and speakers in meaningful dialogue about how we as a nation, and as a world, will move forward after a very divisive election. Let's open our minds to sharing more content and actionable steps to make the world a better place.

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