Season 1 Episodes & Guests
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Episode #1: Be Connected and Powerful Together
Ai-Jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Ai-Jen Poo is an award winning organizer, social innovator, author, and a leading voice in the women's movement. She's the executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, co-director of Caring Across Generations, cofounder of Supermajority and trustee of the Ford Foundation.
Ai-Jen is a nationally recognized expert on elder and family care, the future of work, gender equality, immigration, narrative change, and grassroots organizing. She is the author of the celebrated book, The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America.
The conversation that Julia and Ai-Jen had focused around a theme of integrating healing and action. Ai-Jen told us the story of recovering from her own experiences of both harassment and assault and what an important part of her healing journey it was to get into action. She also talked about how important it was to have a community of people who could hear her story and believe her story and get into action with her to help change the conditions that so many workers like herself still face on a daily basis.
Episode #2: Leading From the Heart
Karine Jean-Pierre, MSNBC Political Analyst & Chief Public Affairs Officer, MoveOn.Org
Karine Jean-Pierre is the author of “Moving Forward,” a story of how she found her call to action and how you can, too. Jean-Pierre’s roots are in politics, from grassroots organizing to running presidential campaigns. She worked in the Obama White House, managed political campaigns nationally and locally, and now serves as an MSNBC Political Analyst for MSNBC and MoveOn’s Chief Public Affairs Officer.
In June 2019 while Karine was co-hosting the Big Ideas Forum in San Francisco, a male audience member rushed the stage and came towards Senator Kamala Harris, who Karine had been interviewing at the time. Karine jumped up and put her body between the man and Senator Harris - a stunning, tear-jerking moment of selflessness and strength that the world talked about for days and days.
It was also the moment that landed Karine on the Solving #MeToo podcast, as Julia and Karine discuss.
Episode #3: Triumph Over a Harasser
Meredith Holley, Esq. Founder of Eris Conflict Resolution
Meredith Holley is a lawyer, power dynamics facilitator, and bestselling author. She helps employees stop sexual harassment without quitting their jobs. Early in her legal career, Meredith got her dream job at a civil rights law firm representing women in sexual harassment lawsuits. The problem was she was being sexually harassed herself. It took her over a year to find tools that worked to stop the harassment. Once she did, her harasser apologized, stopped touching her, and they worked together safely for years after. Meredith founded Eris Conflict Resolution, where she helps other employees build careers they are passionate about after experiencing sexual harassment.
Episode #4: Seeing the Child Inside the Monster
Christian Picciolini, Founder, The Free Radicals Project and former neo-Nazi skinhead
In his memoir, Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead, Christian details his time as a leader of the white power movement in the U.S. and how he got out in his 20's. In 2010, he co-founded Life After Hate, a peace advocacy and counter-extremism consulting group. In 2017 he left that organization and went on to co-found The Free Radicals Project, a global network of people who are working to prevent extremism and helping people disengage from hate movements and other violent ideologies.
He came on the show to discuss personal transformation: what it takes for abusers to truly change, and when (or even whether) they deserve our forgiveness.
Episode #5: Reforming Justice
Daniel Epstein, candidate for IL Supreme Court
Daniel Epstein ran for the Illinois Supreme Court in 2020 - the youngest person to do so in 100 years. In his career as a lawyer, Daniel has taken particular interest in clients who have been abused - abused by governmental tyrants in East Africa, abused by the courts and abused by romantic partners.
He also co-founded Zeyo, a socially responsible online dispute resolution platform attempting to reduce legal costs so much that nobody can’t afford to seek legal justice. This platform proudly refuses to allow non-disclosure agreements to protect people who commit sexual assault or discrimination.
Daniel and Julia discussed a number of the shortcomings of our current criminal justice system - especially in Illinois, but also around the country - as well as specific recommendations for reforming them. They discussed everything from cash bail to the widespread use of private arbitration courts and NDA's.
As the conversation turned to a discussion of how to implement transformative justice inside of American workplaces, Daniel had a number of interesting recommendations.
Alicia Garza, Civil Rights Activist & Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter
Alicia Garza is an American civil rights activist and editorial writer from Oakland, California. She has organized around the issues of health, student services and rights, rights for domestic workers, ending police brutality, anti-racism, and violence against trans and gender non-conforming people of color. In 2013 she co-founded Black Lives Matter, a Black-centered political will and movement building project, in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman.
Julia and Alicia went deep fast in this conversation! They talked about transforming anger into love; went deep into the topic of redemption (citing Bryan Stevenson's notion that none of us should be defined by the worst thing we've ever done); and Alicia presenced for listeners the idea that black communities are a part of the antidote to the poison that is spreading throughout this country.
Episode #7: Healing From Shame
Jennie Willoughby, Writer, Speaker, Singer, Healer
Jennie Willoughby became a symbol of forgiveness and compassion in early 2018 when she wrote a blog post that became a viral sensation - and sparked the global hashtag #AndSoIStayed - detailing the abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband, a top aide to President Donald Trump.
Jennie is now a writer, speaker, healer and singer whose message encourages us all to strive for empathy, connection and self-compassion.
Episode #8: Sexism in the media, then and now
Joan Esposito, radio host; former TV anchorwoman
Joan has been a fixture in the Chicago media landscape for more than 35 years. She first came to Chicago in 1981 as a 27-year-old reporter and weekend anchor at WGN-Channel 9, then became a Monday-Friday anchor star at both the local ABC and NBC affiliates.
Since leaving NBC-5 in 1999, Joan formed J2 Strategic Communications, a media training firm. She is now back to her roots in radio. In Feb 2020 she took over as host of WCPT AM 820's afternoon talk show, after the legendary Ben Joravsky stepped down from that slot.
Joan was the victim of false accusations back in the 90s - not about sexual harassment, but terrible character assassination. We talked about how she sued the local shock jock who fanned the flames of the allegations on air, and how she found - and he earned - forgiveness.
We also talked a lot about beauty, and what a double edged sword it is. As she said, "You wanted the boss to think you were pretty ... but not too pretty." And how neither of us ever felt that our beauty was a tool in our arsenal, something we could wield as we saw fit.
Sharmili Majmudar, Executive Vice President of Policy and Organizational Impact at Women Employed
Sharmili has been committed to advancing gender justice and equity through an intersectional lens for over 25 years, and is a recognized expert on gender-based violence issues.
Before joining Women Employed, Majmudar served for almost a decade as the Executive Director of Rape Victim Advocates (now Resilience), Chicago’s only independent rape crisis center. Majmudar’s writing has appeared in several online and print publications, and she has been a frequent radio and television guest, commenting on issues of gender equity and gender-based violence.
Alaina Hampton, Democratic political consultant and strategist
Ms. Hampton began her political career in 2012 working for the Democratic Party of Illinois and the Speaker of the Illinois House, Michael J. Madigan. Hampton worked on multiple Illinois state house races while mentored by Madigan’s top political advisor and 13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn. She managed the successful state representative campaign for Juliana Stratton in 2016, now the Lieutenant Governor.
In March 2018, Hampton filed a federal retaliation and failure to hire lawsuit against four of
Madigan’s political committees after Madigan and Quinn mishandled her reports of sexual
harassment. The suit settled in November 2019. She has become an outspoken advocate for victims of sexual harassment and survivors of sexual violence in Illinois.
Jennifer Welch, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood IL
PPIL is proud to be the leader in providing and promoting compassionate, comprehensive reproductive health care, education, and rights. Before coming to PPIL, Jennifer was First Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS), which serves the city’s most vulnerable populations, including children in poverty, at-risk youth, seniors, people who are homeless, and domestic violence survivors and their children. Previously, at the Office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, she worked first as the Women’s Policy Advisor and then as the Policy Director. Ms. Welch holds a JD from the Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Sheerine Alemzadeh, Esq. and co-founder and co-director, Healing to Action
Sheerine collaborates with worker leaders across Chicago to ignite innovative, community-sustained strategies to address the endemic rates of gender-based violence in low-wage workplaces and neighborhoods. Led by the voices of workers and survivors, she writes, teaches, educates, and organizes to create safe, just workplaces and stable economic futures for people of all genders.
In 2011, Sheerine received the Skadden Fellowship to pilot a project focused on achieving workplace justice for survivors of sexual violence. In addition to litigating sexual harassment, unemployment, sexual assault, and civil rights cases, she co-founded the Coalition Against Workplace Sexual Violence, a collaboration between rape crisis agencies, civil rights organizations, workers centers, and government agencies.
Dr. Julian Thompson, Asst professor at UIC in the department of criminology, law, and justice (PhD completed)
Julian is a social scientist with extensive experience studying and teaching about crime, incarceration, and racial inequality. Having both personal and professional experience in these areas, his work often centers on questions of criminalization, rehabilitation, and transformative and social justice.
Shannon Kavanaugh, Writer
Shannon Kavanaugh is a former corporate ladder climber turned writer. She's a single mother of two living in Seattle. She has been published in The Washington Post, Longreads, The Rumpus, Dame Magazine, and elsewhere. She writes about relationships, sex, feminism, pop culture and abuse.
She has just completed her memoir called "The Conservative Slut." It tells the tale of how she was sexually harassed at work; and how she was fired after telling her company's HR department about the harassment.
Dr. Cathryn Lavery, Assistant Chair & Graduate Coordinator, Iona College
Dr. Lavery's interest in student welfare and success began with her dissertation research that focused on sexual violence on campuses. This built on her undergraduate degree in Sociology and post-graduate training in counseling and sexual victimization and trauma. She used this foundation to construct new courses programs and rebuild the criminal justice club at Iona. She has also published in areas including community based corrections, sexual assault and violent crime.
Dr. Lavery is a professor, Graduate Coordinator and Chair of Criminal Justice at Iona University. She received her PhD in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Forensic Psychology and Ethics from CUNY.
Carmen Juneidi, LCSW
Carmen is a domestic violence counselor at Life Span who also works with victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. She has lived experience in domestic violence and has been the target of sexual harassment in the past. Carmen is a native of Spain.
Umoh Luna is a highly gifted speaker, writer and Brand Intuitive. One of her superpowers is channeling sexual energy. While she uses this gift with her business clients to help them be more attractive - to clients, to money, to opportunity - she also taps into it when offering healing energy for people who have suffered sexual and other forms of trauma. She is a master at understanding and being able to articulate the power dynamics of sex - how to use these dynamics in healthy, appropriate ways and how to avoid using them in toxic, abusive ways.
Sean Tenner, Political Consultant and Human Rights Activist
46th Ward Democratic Committeeman Sean Tenner has spent his career working for organizations and officials dedicated to social justice and the public interest. Tenner served on President Obama’s campaign staff during both his U.S. Senate and Presidential campaigns and has worked for 20 years to successfully elect Democrats at every level of government. In addition to leading the Uptown-based consulting firm KNI Communications, he has held leadership roles in a wide variety of innovative non-profit organizations addressing issues important to 46th ward residents.
One of Tenner’s personal passions is addressing the alarming rise of hate crimes, bigotry and intolerance in our current political climate. He helps lead Illinois public policy for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the world’s leading anti-hate groups. The Center runs the acclaimed Museum of Tolerance and carries on the legacy of the Holocaust survivor and acclaimed Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal. Tenner has done work related to post-conflict reconciliation in both Rwanda and Northern Ireland, and has also been profiled by CNN for his work founding the Uptown-based Abolition Institute, which successfully advocated for $4.5 million in federal funding to fight modern day slavery in West Africa.
Amanda Kingsley, certified life coach & doula
Amanda is a Certified Life Coach and Birth, Postpartum, and Abortion Doula. Her commitment to women's physical and emotional health has been a lifelong calling. She speaks Light into Abortion!
She is a mother of three, is married to her high school sweetheart, and is raising her family in the hills of Massachusetts.
Nancy Allen, President & Founder, Tail of the Bell
Nancy is a father-daughter incest survivor. Her focus is to help create a world where incest survivors have a different life experience than she did. She wants to champion others to say “I am an incest survivor” without shame, guilt, or fear of repercussions, and to open a dialogue which removes the societal taboo of acknowledging and discussing incest.
A strong voice for those shamed to silence and the long-term impacts of child sexual abuse, Nancy hosts Tail of the Bell podcast available on iTunes and other platforms. Each week it focuses on a specific topic interpreted through a featured incest survivor’s personal story and, where needed, further explored by experts. A life coach, Nancy helps incest survivors help themselves through Tail of the Bell, Inc's individual and group programs. She is also available for speaking engagements adapting content to audience needs and size.
Dr. Heath Grant
Dr. Grant is an associate Professor and Deputy Chair of the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is an expert in youth resiliency and crime prevention, having implemented social and emotional learning programs internationally that have reached millions of youths.
Colin Daymude, Entrepreneur & Marketing Professional
Divorced father of two grown boys; living in the Atlanta area. College drop out turned entrepreneur who became a student of marketing after starting his own business. Colin has authored multiple books for business promotion and traveled the world teaching other entrepreneurs to do the same.
For the past 10 years, Colin has been the head of marketing for multiple tech start ups focusing on product-market messaging and demand generation.
Colin lives his best life by regularly seeking new challenges including completing his first Ironman Triathlon at the age of 54.
Amanda is a military spouse and veteran who served in the Air Force for six years as a Civil Engineer including a deployment to Afghanistan. She traded in her combat boots for a diaper bag to stay home with her two boys and follow her husband’s military career. She is the host and creator of the Women of the Military Podcast sharing the stories of women who have served or continue to serve in the military. You can learn more about Amanda at her blog Airman to Mom.
Aaron Goldstein, Chief of the Civil Division at the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender
Before coming to the Public Defender’s Office, Aaron was in private practice where he handled all types of federal and state criminal and civil rights cases including representing former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and former Chicago Alderman William Beavers.
Mr. Goldstein graduated from the University of Iowa, College of Law in 2000. At the University of Iowa, his journal article was published in the Journal of Gender, Race & Justice. He is also the Democratic Committeeperson of the 33rd Ward in Chicago, having defeated 40 year incumbent Dick Mell. He recently ran for Illinois Attorney General in 2018. Mr. Goldstein also teaches Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at North Park University and recently taught Trial Advocacy at DePaul College of Law.
Leah Carey is a sex educator who helps adult "good girls" who struggle with sex and sexuality to identify their desires and effectively communicate them to a partner so they can experience connection, intimacy, and a happier home life.