53 episodes

Host Marie Gettel-Gilmartin of Fertile Ground Communications scouts out and helps people share their stories of grit, resilience, and connection. I interview immigrants, people from marginalized communities, cancer survivors, and others who have overcome hardships in their lives and emerged on the other side stronger and fiercer.

Finding Fertile Ground Podcast Marie Gettel-Gilmartin

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 13 Ratings

Host Marie Gettel-Gilmartin of Fertile Ground Communications scouts out and helps people share their stories of grit, resilience, and connection. I interview immigrants, people from marginalized communities, cancer survivors, and others who have overcome hardships in their lives and emerged on the other side stronger and fiercer.

    Terri Kozlowski: From sexual abuse and abandonment to raven warrior transcending fear

    Terri Kozlowski: From sexual abuse and abandonment to raven warrior transcending fear

    If you like what you hear or read, visit my Fertile Ground Communications website.
    This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Terri Kozlowski. She is a proud Native American warrior of the Athabascan, Tlinglet Tribe and Raven Clan. When she was just 11 years old, her mother sold her for drugs and shut her out on the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  
    After many years of trying to process what had happened to her through therapy, Terri has learned to transcend her fears. She believes that life experiences or abuse may instill fear and break the connection with our authentic selves. Author of Raven Transcending Fear and host of the Soul Solutions podcast, Terri shares the lessons she has learned from her spiritual journey. Now she inspires and supports others who are struggling with fear.
    Next week I interview Lara Smith from Dad’s Garage theater in Atlanta, Georgia, on the Companies That Care podcast.
    If you enjoyed this podcast, please give us a rating and subscribe to hear our next episode. 
     Contact us if you can use some help with your writing, editing, communications, or marketing. With 30 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry, I am passionate about sustainability and corporate citizenship, equity & inclusion, businesses that use their power for good, and doing everything I can to create a kinder, more sustainable, and just world. We help organizations and people discover what makes them special and help them share that with the world.

    As a podcaster for justice, I stand with my sisters from the Women of Color Podcasters Community. We are podcasters united to condemn the tragic murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and many others at the hands of police. 

    Fertile Ground Communications LLC is a certified women-owned business enterprise, disadvantaged business enterprise, and emerging small business.

    • 28 min
    Mini-episode: How my podcast guests are like octopus

    Mini-episode: How my podcast guests are like octopus

    As a podcaster for justice, I stand with my sisters from the Women of Color Podcasters Community. We are podcasters united to condemn the tragic murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and many others at the hands of police. 
    If you like what you hear or read or would like to see photos of Leslie, visit my Fertile Ground Communications website.
    This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I reflect back on the last 13 months. My little podcast is now one year, one month old after starting on July 6, 2020.  I’ve interviewed over 70 amazing individuals. 
    I’m grateful to my guests for letting us have a little glimpse of their lives. As I describe this podcast in a nutshell, it’s about people who have gone through a shit ton in their lives and have survived, resilient, on the other side.

    I recently watched the documentary “The Octopus Teacher,” about a man who befriends an octopus in the ocean. Craig Foster is a free diver, who dives without a wetsuit or oxygen. He is able to hold his breath for up to 6 minutes. The movie, and the friendship he develops, is miraculous and exquisite.
    At one point the octopus has one of her arms bitten off by a pajama shark. She retreats into her den, traumatized, stunned, and in pain. Eventually she comes back out, with a tiny new arm. Over the course of three months, the arm completely regenerates itself. 
    Watching this exceptional part of the story, I realized: the people I have interviewed on my podcast are like octopus. (For you word nerds like me, the plural of octopus is not octopi; it is octopus.)
    So many of them have been deeply traumatized in one way or another: from political strife, racism, illness, sexual assault, homophobia or transphobia, childhood abuse, xenophobia, body shaming, anti-semitism or Islamophobia, substance abuse, death of a loved one, or sexism. 
    They have grieved losses and hurts deeply, but found a way to rise up again.
    They have regrown their arms and regenerated their hearts. For whatever reason, they have developed backbones and resilient spirits, and they are stronger than ever before. I’m fascinated by this incredible resilience, and I’m aware that it does not come naturally. Some people seem to have higher-than-average levels of resilience, while others need to actively cultivate it.
    How can one person experience horrible abuse and hardship as a child, not knowing love and affection, yet emerge as a positive, upbeat, and resilient person? While another person could feel slighted as a child, but overall have a good life, yet they end up feeling cheated and sad? 
    I’ve discovered that I love interviewing Black women. I find that they are so real, honest, and direct, and in spite of the fact that they have no real reason to trust me, a white woman, they are incredibly open and authentic. I guess it’s because of all they face in life…they simply have no f-bombs left to give. I admire that quality so much.

    For more information about the people I mention in this episode, go to my website and look for Finding Fertile Ground podcast tab.

    • 13 min
    Lisa Marie Simmons: Resplendent and creative after abandonment and abuse

    Lisa Marie Simmons: Resplendent and creative after abandonment and abuse

    Note: This episode contains a racist epithet.

    This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Lisa Marie Simmons. Lisa grew up in Boulder, Colorado, but now lives in Lake Garda, Italy. I contacted her when I read her post on the Huffington Post, As A Young Black Girl, I Loved My Grandfather. Then I Found Out He’d Been A KKK Member.
    I have interviewed 75+ people since I started podcasting. I’ve made incredible connections and new friendships. But this one feels different. Lisa feels like a soul sister. 
    Lisa has written extensively, as have I, so that makes it easier to get to know each other. It took multiple tries to get this interview to happen because of technical issues, so when we finally spoke it felt magical in many ways.
    Lisa is magical herself. So many times during this interview I felt goosebumps, marveling at her resilience and positive spirit. She draws amazing things into her world. 
    As a child, Lisa was adopted into two families who abused her. The first was a white family who took her to Malaysia before sending her back on a Pan-Am jet with a note in her pocket. Then she was adopted by a white mom and Black dad in Boulder. Although Lisa fell in love with her adopted siblings, her mother repeated her own pattern of abuse with her children…and she never felt accepted into her mom’s family.
    Music saved Lisa’s life. After she began singing at a young age, she became a featured soloist with the Boulder Youth Choir. At 19, she moved to New York City to study theater and music at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and perform in the Manhattan club circuit at night.
    Lisa is now an accomplished singer/songwriter, essayist, and published poet. (Read her blog posts here or check out her Linktree, which also includes links to performances.) Her music (Hippie Tendencies and the poetic/musical project NoteSpeak) can be found wherever you listen online. 
    She has performed as a musician and speaker all over the world, most recently at the Jaipur Music Stage in India in January 2020. She performs and produces with her partner, arranger, keyboardist, and songwriter Marco Cremaschini. Lisa’s music is deeply informed by the experiences in her life.
    Lisa shared about her adoptions, growing up in Colorado as a Black girl in mostly white spaces, what it’s like to live in Italy, and how she found her birth mom. 
    What I found the most stunning about Lisa is that she endured such trauma in her childhood , yet she positively glows. Lisa believes what happened in her childhood has made her into the strong, creative, and resilient person she is now. 
    She loves people and this wonderful world in spite of the way she was treated as a child. She uses those difficult experiences as a tool to power her creativity and art. Lisa epitomizes the notion of “post-traumatic growth,” as we discussed on the podcast. She is magic. 
    Next week I interview Erin Shakespeare from the Macquarie Foundation on Companies That Care. 
    If you enjoyed this podcast, please give us a rating and subscribe to hear our next episode. 
     Contact us if you can use some help with your writing, editing, communications, or marketing. With 30 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry, I am passionate about sustainability and corporate citizenship, equity & inclusion, businesses that use their power for good, and doing everything I can to create a kinder, more sustainable, and just world. We help organizations and people discover what makes them special and help them share that with the world.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Leslie Batchelder: Childhood trauma and abuse made her resilient

    Leslie Batchelder: Childhood trauma and abuse made her resilient

    As a podcaster for justice, I stand with my sisters from the Women of Color Podcasters Community. We are podcasters united to condemn the tragic murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and many others at the hands of police. 
    If you like what you hear or read or would like to see photos of Leslie, visit my Fertile Ground Communications website.
    This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview my friend Leslie Batchelder. We both sing soprano in our local Rock Voices choir. I’ve always loved her spirit and spunk. 
    Leslie’s life is one of grit and resilience. One of five children, Leslie’s childhood was full of abuse and her parents’ addiction problems. She left home at 17 to go to college. By age 19, she was in a psychiatric hospital when the abuse caught up with her. She went sober in her 20s when she saw what addiction had done to her parents.
    Leslie also shared the way men preyed on her when she was young. She was sexually assaulted in the boys’ bathroom, yet she was punished instead of the boys.
    Fast forward several decades later, Leslie earned her Ph.D. in German cultural studies and became a professor at Portland State University. She married later in life and got pregnant after two miscarriages.
    Her son was born 10 weeks early and landed in the NICU, an experience full of trauma. 
    Right before she took her son home, Leslie was diagnosed with melanoma. After receiving treatment, the melanoma came back and some of her doctors gave her a death sentence. Leslie wasn’t ready for her life to end, so she found health care providers who gave her hope (and clinical trials). 
    Her body was not done challenging her. A few years later she battled anal cancer. 
    The challenges Leslie has faced in her life are stunning. She talks about her mental health challenges and how she’s learned the value of medication. Leslie believes her childhood trauma gave her the resilience she needed to survive. 
    Her life and resilience are an inspiration.
    Next week on the Companies That Care podcast, I interview Naama Barnea-Goraly, who has invented an app called Girltelligence that empowers young women. 
    If you enjoyed this podcast, please give us a rating and subscribe to hear our next episode. 
     Contact us if you can use some help with your writing, editing, communications, or marketing. With 30 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry, I am passionate about sustainability and corporate citizenship, equity & inclusion, businesses that use their power for good, and doing everything I can to create a kinder, more sustainable, and just world. We help organizations and people discover what makes them special and help them share that with the world.
     Fertile Ground Communications LLC is a certified women-owned business enterprise, disadvantaged business enterprise, and emerging small business.

    • 46 min
    Amira Stanley: Finding her place and voice as a Black activist

    Amira Stanley: Finding her place and voice as a Black activist

    Read more about Amira and see photos on this blog post.
    Amira Stanley is a mindset & intention coach, end-of-life doula, and anti-racism educator and community activist. She grew up Black and gay in mostly small cities or towns, has lived with pain from hip dysplasia and lost a huge amount of weight so she could have hip replacement, supported her beloved husband through his transition, and has dealt with the emotional trauma of racism all her life, only to discover this one year ago through education and studying. She’s always been an LGBTQIA+ activist, but now she’s also become an anti-racist and community activist. 
    “It's a mission of mine to help people be okay with sitting in discomfort. We're not going to get to the other side without sitting in discomfort.”
    Amira knew she loved women and female energy from the age of seven or eight. She had crushes on all her little white girlfriends. When her mom made her go to church, she started receiving the message that liking the same sex was bad. At age 18 she finally had the nerve to come out as bisexual. Every time she’d bring male friends home, her mom would get her hopes up…so finally Amira decided to make a choice and be with women. 

    When Amira got older and began volunteering with the Living Room Youth, an organization that celebrates and supports LGBTQIA+ youth in Clackamas County, Oregon, she realized she was pansexual (not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity).
    Amira shared a phenomenal story about her husband coming out as transgender. I asked her if she has any advice for people whose partners are transitioning.
    “Allow them to be who they are, but also take care of you. If it's something you can't handle, follow your own heart, but do it in a way that is loving and supportive to that person. If you can, walk them through this journey, especially if they have no one else. It's not easy, but if you can support them being who they are, that's priceless.”
    Amira has been shocked to discover the extreme racism in Salem, Oregon.
    “Salem is extremely racist. I've never been in a space where I've been very uncomfortable. I'm used to giving people eye contact and smiling. I don't do that anymore...It makes me sad but at the same time it made me sadder six months ago.”
    Living in such a racist town made her into an anti-racist and community activist. Attending a vigil for Breonna Taylor at the state capitol, she was inspired by Julianne Jackson, founder of Black Joy Oregon, to step it up. 
    Julianne said, "if you're Black and you live in this city, there's basically no excuse. We need you out here. We need you. And I was crying and saying, okay Amira, you're terrified. But this chick is calling you out and you live here and this is what you need to do.”
    We talked about the ambitious “End White Supremacy by Way of Black Experience” event Amira and her team put in in April. We also talked about progressive Christianity, after she recently left a position at a local church, and her journey to get to wellness with hip dysplasia and weight loss. 
    You can reach Amira on her website . Also, listen to her latest video podcast episode with her friend Rayah Dickerson on the topic of “Protesting: What’s the Use of It?”
    Meeting and befriending Amira is one of the joys of the last  for me. And we need all the joys we can find right now!
    Contact us if you can use some help with your writing, editing, communications, or marketing. 

    • 56 min
    Lisa Schroeder: Working twice as hard as the guys, now an award-winning chef in Portland

    Lisa Schroeder: Working twice as hard as the guys, now an award-winning chef in Portland

    Read more and view photos here.

    Lisa Schroeder is a mother, grandmother, chef, restaurateur and author devoted to providing better-than-authentic renditions of traditional home-cooked dishes at her popular, award-winning restaurant, Mother's Bistro & Bar. Lisa is an incredibly hard worker, as all executive chefs are, and she had to work twice as hard as a woman in the kitchen, to be taken seriously. Tragically, five years ago her beloved daughter died in a hiking accident. Now she’s a mother without a living child, which is especially bittersweet given that she’s built an outstanding brand around being a mother and honoring mothers. 
    Mother’s was not an overnight success, even though it opened to rave reviews. Back in 1992, while juggling a marketing and catering career and raising her daughter, Lisa realized no restaurants were making comfort food. She dreamed of a place that would serve “Mother Food” – slow-cooked dishes, such as braises and stews, made with love. From that moment on, Lisa was determined to open such a restaurant and spent the next eight years working toward that dream.
    A gem on Portland’s restaurant scene (they serve 1,000 people between 8:00 a.m and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays), Mother’s has always been a personal favorite of mine. 
    Lisa also kept herself fully occupied during the pandemic by homeschooling her grandchildren. Tragically, Lisa’s daughter Stephanie, mother of four, died in a hiking accident in 2016 at the age of 36. Lisa shares guardianship with their father.
    “It's hard enough to be a mother the second time around, but then again, to have to be the teacher was brutal, but they are such good boys and such good kids that it couldn't have gone any better, thanks to them and their sweet nature. I'm grateful I had the time to be able to spend with them and get them through this tough time in a positive way…without them I probably wouldn't have a reason to go on.”
    The whole city mourned when Lisa, mother of mothers, lost her beloved daughter at such a young age.
    “It’s really hard to have a restaurant called Mother’s and I don't even have my daughter…it's especially hard at Mother's Day when everybody is celebrating mothers. My whole raison d'etre is to celebrate mothers, and I have nothing to celebrate on that day. It's a very tough day for me, so when COVID was still here this Mother's Day, I actually was glad I didn't have to go to work and get through that day.”
    I asked Lisa what it’s like to be a woman in the food industry.
    “Everybody doubts you. They think you're not capable. You won't be able to lift. You won't be able to hang and you always start from a disadvantaged position where people have preconceived notions about your abilities, and then, especially working in four-star kitchens as an older woman in my 30s. I had people expecting me to fail and wanting me to fail and so if there was a pot to carry, I never asked for help. If I had something on the stove, they might turn the burner down for their fellow males, but they'll let mine burn on the stove. I was put to the test a lot and had to be the best, twice as good as the next guy, just to show how good I can be. It's very challenging to be a woman in a kitchen, and that's why anytime a female cook comes to me, I'm eager to give them a chance because I think women are amazing in a kitchen. We were born to juggle many balls, have the baby on our arm, answer the phone, make the dinner and you know, talk to the gardener or something. We're made to multitask.”

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

prmm** ,

Finding Fertile Ground

I love Marie’s openness, honesty, integrity, and optimism and all her interesting guests.

Itsjennaslaughter ,

A great find!

I’ve been loving this show so far. Thanks for putting these resources out into the world!

Jackie Capers-Brown ,

Sharing Is Caring

Marie Gettel-Gilmartin demonstrates her sincere care and concern from others by searching for people who have been able to overcome traumatic experiences, and, yet rise up and take back their power. It is through their experiences, listerners are inspired and empowered to believe they can do the same.

I highly recommend this podcast to all who seek to be the change makers our world need now, and in the future.

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