100 episodes

On Life and Meaning is a podcast about what matters most in our lives. We host conversations with compelling personalities about their lives and work. We explore human brilliance: our talents, endeavors, motivations and higher purposes. The show focuses on art, philosophy, leadership, literature, civic life and culture – seeking to inspire a more generative and humane world.

On Life and Meaning Mark Peres

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 19 Ratings

On Life and Meaning is a podcast about what matters most in our lives. We host conversations with compelling personalities about their lives and work. We explore human brilliance: our talents, endeavors, motivations and higher purposes. The show focuses on art, philosophy, leadership, literature, civic life and culture – seeking to inspire a more generative and humane world.

    Richard Thurmond | A Story of Discovery

    Richard Thurmond | A Story of Discovery

    Richard Thurmond is Senior Vice President of Community and Economic Development for Charlotte Center City Partners, a place-making organization for the Center City of Charlotte. He guides special projects and business recruitment efforts that help make the Center City of Charlotte a more livable, memorable, viable, and sustainable place. Previously, Rick spent 21 years with Charlotte magazine. He served as publisher for 4 years and editor for 13 years. During his tenure, the magazine won national and regional awards for excellence. He has served on numerous community boards, including on the board of Historic South End and Theatre Charlotte. Rick earned a B.A. in English from Davidson College.
    This episode is perfect for anyone interested basketball, editing and publishing a city magazine, staying and leaving, and the value of curiosity and humility.
    IN THIS EPISODE
    Rick describes his home growing up, family influences, how he came to think of himself as a writer, and the significance of basketball in his life. He reflects on his time at Davidson College, study-abroad in Avignon, his start as a sports journalist, and becoming an assistant editor and writer at Charlotte magazine. He talks about why the relaunch of Charlotte magazine succeeded, taking the magazine personally, becoming editor at the age of 26, and being his own harshest critic. Rick discusses the role of the editor of a city magazine, the story of Charlotte, taking readers where they would not have gone, and his proudest moment at the magazine. He addresses whether Charlotte magazine was a magazine for the whole of the city, and why he did not pursue editorial positions in larger media markets. Rick reads from an article he wrote about whether Charlotte could make someone happy, and shares his regret as a writer and why he left Charlotte magazine. He discusses joining Charlotte Center City Partners, the community and economic development work he is doing now, and why it is important to him. Rick shares the moments in his day that are the most meaningful to him, the most important decisions he has made, and how he would write the story of himself. plus Mark's personal word essay: The End and A Beginning
    To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Claude Alexander, Jr. | The Park Church

    Claude Alexander, Jr. | The Park Church

    Claude Alexander, Jr. is bishop and senior pastor of The Park Church, a Baptist church headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has led The Park Church since 1990. Under his leadership, The Park Church has grown from one local congregation of 600 members to a global ministry of thousands of members with three locations and weekly international reach. Bishop Alexander works with government and community officials to address the community’s most critical issues. He serves on many local and national religious, civic, leadership and university boards of directors. He is the chair of the board of trustees of the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and the Second-Presiding Bishop of the Kingdom Association of Covenant Pastors. Bishop Alexander earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Morehouse College, a Master of Divinity Degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
    This episode is perfect for anyone interested in leading a church, redressing racial difference, our responsibilities to each other, and our relationship to God and mystery.
    IN THIS EPISODE
    Bishop Alexander describes The Park Church, its history, the qualities that distinguish it, its business enterprises, and its mission in the world. He talks about the 400-year anniversary of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and racialization in America, being a cultural translator, and what responsibilities we have redressing racial differences and disparities. He makes a connection between social capital, ethnicity, privilege, and the Good Samaritan parable. Bishop Alexander addresses charges of sexism and homophobia in the black church, issues an apology, and considers how history might judge his position on gay marriage. He discusses the arc of the history of the people of God, the bracketing of the best and worse of humanity, and Simon Peter. Bishop Alexander explains why Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America. He reflects on growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, what was important in his family, the volume and weight of the religious calling he felt as a teenager, and studying philosophy at Morehouse College. Bishop Alexander shares a crisis of faith that challenged his sense of value, emotions about the death of his brother, and what he wants people to truly know. plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Seeing Fully What We Now See in Part
    To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Jess George | Hope and Optimism

    Jess George | Hope and Optimism

    Jess George is Government and Community Affairs Manager for Google Fiber in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jess works with government officials, community leaders, organizations and neighborhoods to advance innovation and address issues of access, opportunity and digital inclusion. Prior to joining Google Fiber, Jess worked for 15 years in the nonprofit field. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the Latin American Coalition, North Carolina’s largest Latino immigrant integration and advocacy organization. She has served as director of the United Way of Central Carolinas. Jess earned a B.A. in International Politics from Penn State University.
    This episode is perfect for anyone interested in deploying new technologies, being an ally to immigrants, whether the personal is political, and living with hope and optimism.
    IN THIS EPISODE
    Jess explains her role at Google Fiber and updates the roll-out of fiber optic deployment in the Charlotte market. She addresses why high speed internet access is important and whether the internet is overrated. She discusses bridging the digital divide, the negative impacts of device addiction, and where we are going with the advent of new internet-based technologies. Jess shares what she is obsessed with, the town she grew up in, and how her parents’ values and career choices influenced her. She reveals wanting to be Nancy Drew, Mata Hari, an intrepid reporter and a spy, recites a poem her godfather wrote about her, and tells a defining story about interacting with bullies. Jess talks about moving from Tully, NY to Uniontown, PA during her senior year of high school, attending Penn State University, and a pivotal internship in Paris. She discusses wanting to become an ally of immigrants, serving as executive director of the Latin American Coalition, the challenges and rewards of leading the organization, and whether ‘the personal is political.’ Jess shares her feelings about joining Google Fiber, what hope and optimism mean to her, and a poem by Hafiz about dropping keys to beautiful rowdy prisoners. plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Systems Intelligence
    To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Sonya Pfeiffer | A Life in Full

    Sonya Pfeiffer | A Life in Full

    Sonya Pfeiffer is owner and creative director of the Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, a fine arts gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina. She leads the gallery’s strategic planning and programming.  Sonya is also a criminal defense attorney and partner in the Rudolf Widenhouse Law Firm, specializing in wrongful conviction litigation. She spent many years as a general assignment and investigative reporter at television stations in Boston, Raleigh, Omaha and New York. Sonya earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Journalism from Ohio University and J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
    This episode is perfect for anyone interested directing an art gallery, criminal defense, television reporting, the practice of Ahimsa, and the once chance we have in life.
    IN THIS EPISODE
    Sonya describes the Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, how she goes about creatively directing, the topics that interest her, and what she hopes the Gallery becomes.
    She considers whether a fine arts gallery that sells at a price point that only a few people can afford is in fact inclusive.
    She discusses her law firm’s statement of values, why standing up to the power of the state is personal to her, and seeing the humanity and perspective of another person.
    Sonya talks about politics, Catholicism, Olympic development soccer, and a playground incident that taught her lesson about empathy and privilege.
    She explains why she and her sibling became storytellers, her desire to become a foreign correspondent, and what taking unconventional paths says about her personality.
    Sonya talks about the Michael Peterson case, how other reporters would have described her, her significant scoops, and the Owl theory.
    She shares how her relationship with David Rudolf came about, what drew them together, and answers whether she thinks of her and David as a power couple.
    Sonya reflects on her spiritual journey, her concept of God, her practice of Ahimsa and Yoga, and the one chance she has in this life.
    plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay: Partial to the Defense
    To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Beatriz Friedmann | Conscious Evolution

    Beatriz Friedmann | Conscious Evolution

    Beatriz Friedmann is a school counselor, yoga instructor, IT consultant, researcher and traveler. Her school counseling incorporates mindfulness to help students develop self-awareness and self-control. She recently completed a 27-year career at IBM, where she held numerous positions, including as a business value consultant, project executive, application development manager and systems analyst. She worked for IBM in Brazil, Canada and the United States. Beatriz earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Technology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Institute of Financial Markets in Rio de Janeiro, and Master’s degree in Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
    This episode is perfect for anyone interested emigrating to new countries, balancing the mind with the heart, finding new purpose, and becoming present one step at a time.
    IN THIS EPISODE
    Beatriz describes growing up in Brazil and her brother having Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LSG is is a complex, rare, and severe childhood-onset epilepsy). She talks about when she was 9 years old losing her mother to cancer and how she internalized her mother’s death. She explains the role of Logosophy in her life (Logosophy is a philosophy of conscious evolution and metacognition). She shares a memory of sharing a diary with a friend and what it revealed. Beatriz describes beginning her career at IBM Brazil, the life she lived, and choosing to leave Brazil behind. She tells a story about saying the name of her daughter. She describes emigrating to Canada, the challenge of being an immigrant parent, and how she felt about leaving her country of origin behind. Beatriz discusses emigrating again to the United States and adjusting to life in Chappaqua, New York. She describes turning 40 years old, entering therapy, coming to terms with the death of her mother, and questioning her career. She talks about moving again, this time to Charlotte, in search of belonging. She shares a summer of emotional pain when her career ended, her father died, her dog died, and her youngest daughter left home. Beatriz discusses finding solace and meaning in yoga, meditation, and a new career as a school counselor. She shares her plan to emigrate again, this time to Portugal, and the metaphor of walking as a way of living. plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay: The Second Mountain
    To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning
     

    • 46 min
    Ken Lambla | Interdisciplinary Design

    Ken Lambla | Interdisciplinary Design

    Ken Lambla is founding dean of the College of Arts + Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he has served on the faculty since 1983. The College of Arts + Architecture is comprised of academic units in Architecture, Art, Art History, Dance, Music and Theater. Ken’s teaching has focused on architectural design, design process, and social history. He has worked as an architect and urban designer in Belfast, Chicago, San Francisco and throughout North Carolina. Ken received a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from the University of Kansas, and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
    This episode is perfect for anyone interested in arts and architecture, interdisciplinary design, community development, stewardship, and how arts inform a life.
    IN THIS EPISODE
    Ken reflects on a 3-month camping trip to Patagonia and what the trip was about. He considers who he found himself becoming in Patagonia and what he is bringing back from his trip. He describes the academic units of the College of Arts + Architecture and how the idea for the College began to form. He states the case he made to his colleagues to form a new college at UNC Charlotte. Ken addresses whether the goals of the College of Arts + Architecture were met during his tenure as dean, what he thinks he and College got right and what he and the College could have done better. He answers whether the College of Arts + Architecture is today what he hoped it would be and why the College of Arts + Architecture is important. He talks about growing up in New Jersey and what was important to his family. He discusses the high school teacher who inspired him, descriptive geometry, being attracted to the abstraction of architecture, and the concept of struggle. Ken shares what drew him to Environmental Design at the University of Kansas and how an interdisciplinary approach to learning became a seed for the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture. He notes how living and working in Belfast, Chicago and San Francisco intensified the role of arts in his life. He shares the core of what he values that he wants his students to learn. He talks about what social values should guide what we build and where he goes where is most happy. Ken notes what’s on his mind as he passes the baton of leadership to a new dean, whether he has led the life he has wanted to live and what’s next for him. plus Mark’s Personal Word Essay: A Life Revealed in One Scene
    To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning

    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
19 Ratings

19 Ratings

Preinfeld ,

Engaging and thought provoking!

Listened to a few of the On Life and Meaning podcasts over the last few months, but recently listened to the Don Taylor episode and really enjoyed it. Found it engaging, thought provoking and informative. I shared the experience with several people since listening to the episode :)
Thank you Mark and Don!

Cartersauce ,

Not truth

They just talk in circles about how people feel. No real truth.

LauraCNeff ,

Riveting Content AND Questions

From the first episode of “On Life and Meaning,” I was hooked on the guest content *and* on Mark’s keen listening and questions. The guests are diverse and fascinating, offering an insight into what makes them and our city tick. And Mark is clearly both well prepared and fully present for each conversation. His “Personal Word” at the end allows for his own reflection and input but also creates space for the interview to be completely about the guest. So well done! 100 episodes just won’t be enough. 😊

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