Intersections podcast advocates the idea of activating our best self by dissolving boundaries – between profit and purpose, theory and practice, east and west, science and spirituality, inner and outer, and more. I'm Hitendra Wadhwa, Adjunct Professor of Business at Columbia Business School and Founder of Mentora Institute and Mentora Foundation. I strive to bring a mathematician’s rigor and a truth-seeker’s spirit to some of today’s most vexing questions about authenticity, success, leadership and human potential. Welcome!
Jason Bryant on Translating Life's Worst Setbacks into Miraculous Comebacks
How can we translate life’s worst setbacks into miraculous comebacks? Can prison inmates and the formerly incarcerated be role models for those on the outside? How can we cultivate a single-pointed focus for personal growth despite the cards we have been dealt with in life, and the choices we may have made in the past? And what can someone’s twenty years in prison teach us about life’s possibilities?
Find out from Jason Bryant’s incredible story of redemption and societal transformation, as recounted in conversation with Dr. Hitendra Wadhwa on Intersections Podcast.
Jason Bryant is the Director of Programs at CROP (Creating Restorative Opportunities & Programs), a non-profit dedicated to reforming California’s criminal justice landscape. With 20 years of lived experience within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation center, Jason has dedicated his term of incarceration to higher education and serving other people through thoughtful conversations and coaching about new possibilities for people’s lives. While incarcerated, Jason earned a master's degree, two bachelor's degrees, an associate degree, a paralegal certificate, became a certified alcohol and drug counselor and has participated in extensive self-help programming. In 2020, Jason’s sentence was commuted along with his immediate release from prison due to his remarkable contributions in transformative and rehabilitative work while incarcerated. He has also co-authored, Men Built for Others: Life Lessons from Those Serving Life Sentences, a powerful book that shows how one can transform life's worst setbacks into miraculous comebacks and be happy regardless of where they are.
In this episode, Jason reveals:
- What 20 years of prison time can teach us about life’s possibilities
- How we can translate life’s worst setbacks into miraculous comebacks
- How to create a virtuous cycle of paying our gratitude forward
George Mumford on Unlocking the Masterpiece Within
How can we create a group of selfless teammates that works purposefully towards a collective, positive goal? What conditions allow an individual and team to perform extraordinarily? What power do our thoughts hold in the unfolding of our own legacy, and how can we mindfully work with our mind to unlock the masterpiece within us?
Find out from “The Performance Whisperer,” George Mumford, in conversation with Dr. Hitendra Wadhwa, on Intersections Podcast.
George Mumford, also known as “The Performance Whisperer,” is a globally recognized speaker, sports psychologist, mindfulness coach and an influential author. For the last three decades, he has taught the art of performance and mindfulness to people from every walk of life—from CEOs, Olympians and NBA superstars to the chronically underrepresented. George has helped many of his champion clients transform their careers and leadership, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal; and has presented to some of the world’s top brands including Nike, Google, PayPal, American Express and Lululemon. His books include The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance and Unlocked: Embrace Your Greatness, Find the Flow, Discover Success, published recently in May 2023. With a passion for teaching, and helping others learn about resilience, social responsibility, and navigating uncertainty, George conducts weekly classes through his YouTube channel, and created several Master Classes including "The Mindful Athlete Course" for his online community, and "Playing The Inner Game" for high-school and college students. George has been featured in leading media including 60 Minutes, ABC News, The Huffington Post, and The Boston Globe, and was included on Good Morning America's "Inspiration List" for Black History Month in 2021.
In this episode, George reveals:
- Why we need to forget ourselves before we can begin to find our true selves
- The difference between peak performance and pure performance
- How our thoughts determine what we become and what actions we take, and a profound parable on how to course-correct
Ellen Agler on Finding Fulfillment in Serving Humanity
How do we live a life that is aligned with our highest values? What transformative power does the role of service hold in our lives? When we feel a deep concern for humanitarian issues, how can we move from inaction to action and make a meaningful, positive contribution towards building a healthier and happier society? And how can we mobilize resources, intelligence and support networks, not just for individual and organizational success, but for humanity’s success?
Find out from pioneering changemaker and public health leader, Ellen Agler, in conversation with Dr. Hitendra Wadhwa, on Intersections Podcast.
Named as one of Fortune Magazine’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” in 2019, Ellen Agler is a renowned changemaker and public health leader who has worked in the global health and humanitarian response for over 25 years in more than 70 countries, for organizations including Operation Smile and International Medical Corps. She is the CEO of The END Fund, a private philanthropic initiative set-up to control and eliminate the five most commonly Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the world, affecting about 1.5 billion people. During her tenure at Operation Smile, Ellen managed international programs across 4 continents; worked on “health as a bridge to peace” initiatives bringing together Israeli and Palestinian surgeons; and organized medical programs in partnership with the government, civil society and guerilla groups in conflict zones in Colombia. She has also led international operations for International Medical Corps, with a focus on international disaster response and delivery of medical care in complex humanitarian emergencies in over 20 countries. Ellen serves on the board of The Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank that promotes policies that lift people from poverty to prosperity, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Health Security Advisory Board. She is also the co-author of Under the Big Tree: Extraordinary Stories from the Movement to End Neglected Tropical Diseases, through which she has managed to make these overwhelming and complex health problems understandable to everyone.
In this episode, Ellen reveals:
- The role of service to others in our own lives, and how to move from inaction to action in our current spheres of influence
- Why solving complex global problems requires the use of a systems leadership mindset
- How to live a life that is aligned with our highest values and do the greatest good for the greatest number of people
Paul Hawken on What the Climate Challenge is Actually Trying to Teach Us
What are climate issues actually trying to teach us? Are these purely external changes in weather patterns, or are they more deeply connected with our values and lifestyles? How can one frame this in a way that is highly meaningful to every individual’s life choices? Find out from one of the environmental movement’s leading voices, Paul Hawken, in conversation with Dr. Hitendra Wadhwa on Intersections Podcast. Paul discusses the mindset that is critical to transforming how we live and work today to ensure that our planet’s ecosystem thrives tomorrow – and the mindset that is at the root of all strife, division and polarization in the world.
Paul Hawken is a renowned environmentalist, entrepreneur, author, speaker and activist who has dedicated his life to environmental sustainability and changing the relationship between business and the environment. He is one of the environmental movement’s leading voices, and a pioneering architect of corporate reform with respect to ecological practices. His work includes founding successful, ecologically conscious businesses, writing about the impacts of commerce on living systems, and consulting with heads of state and CEOs on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy. Paul is the founder of Project Drawdown, a non-profit dedicated to researching when and how global warming can be reversed. The organization maps and models the scaling of one hundred substantive technological, social, and ecological solutions to global warming. He authors articles, op-eds, and peer-reviewed papers, and has written eight books including five national bestsellers. His most recent book, Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation, was a New York Times and Washington Post bestseller. Paul has appeared in leading media including the Today Show, Bill Maher, Larry King, and has been profiled or featured in hundreds of articles including Esquire, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Business Week.
In this episode, Paul reveals:
- The source of all strife, division, and polarization in the world
- What the climate emergency is actually trying to teach us, and its intricate connection with our our values, feelings, thoughts, beliefs and intentions
- The wisdom in moving from an extraction mindset to a regenerative mindset, and how to place life at the center of our every action and decision
- How the business ecosystem today needs to be reformed for the planet’s ecosystem to thrive tomorrow
Rajmohan Gandhi on the Power of Gandhi's Inner Practices for Today’s Charged Times
What is the source of Mahatma Gandhi’s enduring appeal? What kind of inner and outer practices did he cultivate that have made him such a revered figure in history? How can we, like Gandhi, successfully create a daily pathway to our Inner Core? And how can we, in our own spheres of influence, learn to quell people’s passions, bring them together, and move humanity forward in a unified way even in the divisive social conditions we are confronted with today?Find out from Gandhi’s own grandson, Rajmohan Gandhi, in conversation with Dr. Hitendra Wadhwa on Intersections Podcast.Following in the footsteps of his illustrious paternal grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi, and maternal grandfather, Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari (the last Governor-General of India), Rajmohan Gandhi is an internationally renowned peace activist, acclaimed historian, biographer, journalist and educator. He currently serves as Research Professor at the College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Through writing, speaking, public interventions and dialogues, Gandhi has been engaged for sixty years in efforts for peace-building, reconciliation and democratic rights across the world. He founded the Indian branch of Initiatives of Change (formerly known as Moral Re-Armament) and is the former president of Initiatives of Change International. A distinguished journalist, Gandhi also founded the weekly journal, Himmat, through which he fought for democratic rights during the 1975-77 Emergency in India. A former politician, Gandhi has also served in the upper house of the Indian Parliament. An award-winning author, Gandhi has written more than a dozen books, including Mohandas: A True Story of a Man, His People and an Empire, and Rajaji: A Life.In this episode, Rajmohan Gandhi reveals:- The source of Mahatma Gandhi’s mystique, and what made an entire nation listen to him and ultimately follow him- How to create a pathway to our inner core and cultivate a practice of both inner and outer listening- Three effective practices to quell people’s passions, bring people together and move humanity forward
Erika Irish Brown on the New Metrics to Drive Systemic Change, Inspire Well-Being and Retain Talent
At a time when the power to dictate the rules at work is no longer retained by the C-suite or boardroom, what metrics can leaders bank on to build trust with their people, inspire well-being and retain talent? How can we get key stakeholders to commit to our cause and co-lead systemic changes in our organizations and in our communities? And what can business leaders do to set the stage for ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’ training to actually work, and bring real, measurable impact?Find out from Erika Irish Brown, Global Head of Talent and Chief DEI Officer at Citi, in conversation with Dr. Hitendra Wadhwa on Intersections Podcast.Erika Irish Brown is Citi’s Global Head of Talent and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, responsible for driving Citi’s agenda on talent planning, succession planning and leadership development and developing its global DEI strategy. Prior to joining Citi, Erika served as Chief Diversity Officer at Goldman Sachs; Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Bloomberg; and led executive and diversity hiring efforts at Bank of America and Lehman Brothers. Erika's background also includes a range of banking and finance roles, including Head of Business Development for Black Entertainment Television, Senior Associate in High Yield Capital Markets at Morgan Stanley, and Senior Policy Analyst for Domestic Finance for the United States Department of the Treasury. Erika is Vice Chair of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, a community development corporation based in Brooklyn, New York; and serves on the Boards of Columbia Business School and Riverside Hawks, a youth basketball program in Harlem, New York City.In this episode, Erika reveals:- Five key metrics for selecting, developing, supporting and growing talent to enable the employer-employee relationship to thrive in these fast-changing times- Powerful techniques for influencing key stakeholders and getting their buy-in for leading systemic, scalable change across organizations and communities- What leaders need to do to make ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’ training to actually work, and bring real, measurable impact
Loved the aesthetics of joy episode. Will listen to more
As a business owner I’ve gained a lot of new insights into how to better respond to difficult situations
This podcast is a game changer for me
I found this at a perfect time when I needed it the most. Thank you