Featuring guests you care about sharing stories of the fork-in-the-road moments in their lives, so that we can examine what it means to change, be changed and face change in life.
Marilet Martinez: Actress, Educator and Improviser
In this episode of The Changed Podcast, professional performer and teaching artist Marilet Martinez shares her thoughts on the relationship between the Arts and activism, maintaining flexibility in our thinking, and coming of age!
Born and raised in San Francisco, Marilet Martinez describer herself as a queer, bilingual, multi hyphenated artist, Leo Sun/ Scorpio rising, bruja homegirl.
She prioritizes collaborations that practice intersectionality and community empowerment.
As a trauma-informed, student-centered teaching artist, she has developed national programing for community wellness through arts intervention for over 15 years, and her Bay Area acting credits include originating roles in over 10 world premieres with envelope pushing companies such as Magic Theatre, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Crowded Fire, Cutting Ball, Impact Theatre and more. She performed with Leela Improv’s faculty team- the Armando Company, the all-female Harold team Sorry Not Sorry and her duo, Pura Pocha.
More recently Marilet (who has relocated to Chicago) is ¼ of the award winning all Latina improv and sketch team Ratas De Dos Patas. These hermanas del improv have performed and taught workshops across the US, spreading their message of comedy, cultura, y corazon; which is how we met, at the San Francisco Femproviser Fest where we were both faculty members.
She is also an ensemble member at ComedySportz Chicago!
In this episode she had thoughts, stories and anecdotes to share on everything from the beauty of creating a better world through activism, how the Arts can shift and change people to be more inspired in their own creativity or to think differently about the world around them, and so much more.
In choosing a story to share from a fork in the road moment in her life, Marilet Martinez chose the quite literal fork in the road of turning 18! This of course makes it hard to ask the question, what if that had never happened… but it helped to illustrate the simple beauty of getting excited about the unknown and embracing what is possible instead of worrying about what is not.
Takeaways from this episode
Two things can be true at the same time. This theme came up several times:
Activism is a celebration and a rebellion. An excellent quote from this episode from Marilet, “If it’s all rebellion all the time, that’s a burnout. If it’s all celebration all the time: that’s a passout”Change is easy and change is hard. Even having a ‘positive mindset’ won’t necessary take the difficulty away but perhaps make it feel less damagingImprovisers who practice flexibility on stage, can actually be quite rigid in “real life” and often worry about not doing improv right!Feelings are complicated. You can feel grief and joy at the same time. You can feel fear and excitement at the same time. You can feel sad and find things funny at the same time.Every day is the same. Every day is completely different.
As young people we are taught that things are black and white, but actually so much is actually grey. As Marilet Martinez says, “life happens in the grey areas“
If you want helpful mantras to help you cope with change that is dropped on your head we identified a few that may or may not have come from Weight Watchers (and may or may not be helpful, depending on context)
“That just happened”“It’s just new information”‘
The book that Marilet recommends? In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Marchada, a memoir of entering into, living through and then leaving an abusive relationship.
Marilet Martinez is a performer… AND you can watch her shows online!
Checkout Marilet Martinez’s Ratas De Dos Patas here: https://www.facebook.com/RatasDe2Patas/Catch a CSz Chicago show here: https://www.twitch.tv/csznchicago
If you’re interested in checking out some of the improv an
Luann Abrams, Founder of CEOx
In this episode of the Changed Podcast, CEOx Founder Luann Abrams talks about tactical changes, women led business, the nature of inspiring ideas, and beating unconscious bias.
Luann Abrams is the founder of CEOX, an organization with a mission is to elevate women into CEO and board roles. From her time in venture capital as a partner at FoundersPad, an early-stage venture fund, she was compelled to find a solution to the inequities in leadership she saw at growing startups.
She is a founding board member of Strengthening Central Oregon Political Action Committee (SCOPAC) with the mission of recruiting and supporting under-represented individuals to run for political office. In the 2020 election, five of their six endorsed candidates were elected to office, ensuring diverse representation in the local community.
She is the inaugural member of the Women in STEAM group led by the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO), whose mission is to support and encourage women in male-dominated industries for a gender-balanced future. Here she created a mentorship program matching experienced business executives with up and coming women to help them achieve their career goals.
Luann has a background in aerospace engineering and spent most of her 15 years in aviation working for a start-up aircraft company in Bend, OR. Here she led the certification engineering program at Columbia Aircraft where she oversaw the certification of several aircraft models and ensured that all designs met applicable regulations. Due to her diligence and integrity she was granted the authority to sign off on regulatory compliance on behalf of the FAA prior to aircraft delivery. In 2017 she was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame as part of the Golden Eagles, the winningest intercollegiate flying team.
When she is not working and living the Bend life with her husband and two sons, you will find her curled up with a good book and a hot cup of coffee.
Speaking of book recommendations…
During our rapid fire round, Luann suggested:
Ahab’s Wife: Or, the Star-Gazer: A Novel by Sena Jeter Naslund
Born a Crime: Stories from a Southern African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Takeaways from this episode:
Women led companies get results: financial results, and positive workplace culture results. Choosing a woman to lead the charge in your organization… that’s just smart business! You can learn more about the mission of CEOx, find resources, and nominate women leaders you know by visiting https://projectceox.com. They frequently offer training and events to help leaders up level their skills. Last month I was invited to share some of my wisdom with my program: Reason in an Outraged World, a program that you can bring to your organization too!
Inspiration often strikes in the unlikeliest of times... like when we are enjoying downtime to the tune of some Netflix, doing some dishes or taking a stroll through the neighborhood. (By the way if you need down time and are looking for a Netflix recommendation… absolutely check out The Mitchell’s vs. The Machines who’s head of story Guillermo Martinez sat down and shared a story with us last season!)
Executing on ideas takes work, which is probably why ideas aren’t stolen as often as you might think. For example I have been trying to get somebody to create an improv comedy-troupe called Laughter Circus USA for over a decade now! Still no takers. (I have no idea why not… the posters make themselves!)
Even though study after study tells us how many benefits there are to having a diverse network and workforce…busting our biases takes effort. In this episode I shared one method that has been helpful to some of my clients, that you might use to think about mitigating your own blindspots. Have other tried and true methods for busting your own biases? Come share
Marybel Martin, Artist, Illustrator & Wellness Coach
This week in episode 32 of The Changed Podcast, artist, illustrator and wellness coach Marybel Martin joins host, Aden Nepom in thinking about how our opinions of ourselves change our outlook, health and resourcefulness.
Marybel Martin is an incredible artist and illustrator. Perhaps you’ve seen her work on Instagram, or are already familiar with her work on Etsy. But she is also a wellness coach who utilizes art as an important part of nurturing and healing. She is also a first generation American, born in California, and having lived in Argentina for 9 years. Her art has been shown in galleries around the world, and what’s particularly cool about that, is that she didn’t begin her art career until she was already 42 years old. Now almost a decade into her work, she is living and creating with full heart and it shows!
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Marybel Martin (@marybelmartin)
Artist Marybel Martin’s home studio with her prominently featured art piece representing the birth of her sons
In Marybel Martin’s studio, above her desk hangs an incredible painting. I asked her to share the story of the painting and if you are a creator you’ll appreciate perhaps more than anybody the significance of hanging this piece in the place where she births her creations.
This painting carries symbols of creation, represents her children but is also a piece which received harsh criticism when it was first brought from brain to brush to canvas. Hanging the painting represents embracing her creative intuition and herself! If you watch our episodes as a member of our Patreon, or our story excerpts on the Art of Change YouTube channel, then you’ll have already seen it. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a picture of this artwork.
Her story of change, of her own fork in the road, was a story of experiencing a panic attack and realizing that the feeling of suffocation was a message from her body that she needed to do things differently. This meant self love and acceptance, but it also meant adventure because the message received loud and clear, was that life is short.
Takeaways from this episode
You either get busy living, or you get busy dying. If you want to get the most out of life, you have to go out and live it! Waiting for someone to validate you, to tell you that you have good ideas, or that you have talent… it’s wasteful.
Your value as a creator is completely subjective. Want proof? Look around you! While there may be lots of people out there doing what you do better and succeeding… there are also lots of folks out there doing a ridiculously terrible job by your measure who are immensely successful. I like what Marybel said here which is, that even if one person is excited to buy what you’re selling, then there are thousands more just like them who simply haven’t found you yet.
Life is filled with secret menus. We often view people who are really successful and wonder how they thought of that great idea, gamed the system, or did it so uniquely… and it’s because they were ordering off the secret menu! I wrote more about this idea, which you can go read on LinkedIn.
During our ridiculous 2nd season segment: Aden Asks You a Bunch of Questions And You Answer Them As Quickly As Possible, Marybel identified The Artists Way as a book worth recommending. She is not the first! Author Amy Gentry, also suggested this book in our first episode of the season. You can listen to that here.
You can order a copy of The Artists Way from Powells Books
Interested in learning more about Art Journaling? Marybel Martin teaches classes. You can go here to learn more and of course access all things Marybel Martin on her website.
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Aoife O'Brien - Happier at Work
Aoife O’Brien, host of The Happier at Work Podcast, gets on the other side of the mic as guest in episode 31 of The Changed Podcast with Aden Nepom. We discuss, adventure, risk taking, taking yourself by the hand instead of waiting, and of course… what it means to be changed.
Aoife O’Brien has had many adventures, having travelled to all seven continents… even Antartica! However, she is quick to confess that even as an adventurous person change can feel rather difficult at times.
She has a Masters in Organizational Behavior, a degree which she completed during lock down, and is passionate (like I am) about creating happier workplace dynamics. In fact, when Aoife and I spoke on her show (you can listen to that episode of the Happier at Work Podcast here!) it felt very much like meeting my long lost twin but with different areas of expertise. While I have a background in improvisation, play and facilitation, Aoife has a background in data and analysis.
In our conversation on the Changed Podcast which we recorded back in February of this year (2021), Aoife O’brien talks a bit about what it means to be an entrepreneur, both the inspiration and the reality behind the choice to leave working in a corporate environment in order to pursue being one’s own boss. We also discuss the helpful practice of journaling through difficult changes; and the realization that when it comes to the big bold moves, you cannot wait for someone else to come take you by the hand and lead you where you want to go.
Takeaways from our conversation
For all you solopreneurs out there… we see you. We are you! You’re working hard. Harder than you might have expected. But if you’re like us, doing what you love doesn’t really feel like work. Still, strive for balance! Don’t let yourself get stuck on defining yourself as ‘busy!’
And for those of you considering leaving your salaried positions to venture forth on your own, here are some things to consider
How much of your burnout is because of how you are choosing to work vs what your employer is asking you to do?What is the story you are living inside of?The market for what you want to offer people as a service or product is already saturated. That being said you are certainly the only you out there, and that is its own unique value proposition. Reaching your ideal customers or clients though, means that just knowing what value you can provide to people isn’t enough on its own. You’ll need other important skills or resources! So, What do you know about marketing, PR, web design and maintenance, creating contracts, creating a business plan and more. How much are you willing to learn and do and/or what kind of budget do you have to hire all of the people needed to perform these tasks?
Not everyone wants the same things that you do. Not everyone interprets the options in the way that you do. You are the only one who truly understands what you want and need or who can view your particular moment or situation with your instincts for action. Like in improv, when you have the thought that something should be happening, or that somebody ought to be making something happen… that somebody is you!
Journaling is great way to process change. I tried desperately to find the journaling process that I found so impactful when my first marriage came to a close, so that I could share it with you. Unfortunately too much time has passed and I cannot find the original piece! BUT here is my rough memory of the prompts that were most helpful.
Journaling prompts to help you heal from a divorce or breakup (These prompts (minus #3) can be used to process the end of any kind of relationship… even business. the idea is to simply create lists that you could refer back to and reflect. Embarking on this kind of process can take days or weeks. It is recommended to fully compl
"Say It With Me," Nancy Torres
Nancy Torres, an early childhood educator and author of Say it With Me (Dilo Conmigo), sits down with Aden Nepom in episode 30 of The Changed Podcast. She shares her thoughts about about cats, kids, G-d, and the power that pausing to breathe can have in changing our fears.
Nancy Torres is a childhood Educator, Meditation Guide and author of, Say It With Me (Dilo Conmigo): A Dual-Language / Bilingual Spanish-English Affirmation Book for Children (of all ages) from Wheatpenny Press
She loves inspiring and supporting children in their academic and social-emotional development. A little about her background, Nancy Torres received a B.A. in Corporate Communications from Baruch College, City University of New York, and received an M.A. in Childhood Education and Special Education from New York University. Nancy speaks both English and Spanish, and lives in New York with her husband and son whom they are raising bilingual.
She is funny, relatable and spiritual, and her story about overcoming a fear of cats is an excellent example of how knowing a fear is irrational doesn’t actually weaken the fear. Overcoming fear is motivated differently, and we discuss some of these motivators in this episode.
Takeaways from this episode
Becoming a parent is a profound motivators of change. When your choices are suddenly thrust through the realization that what you say and do will have a very specific effect on a life that you are responsible for developing… suddenly you find yourself doing things differently. For Nancy, this applied to approaching one of her fears.
Breathing is a powerful tool for combatting fear. The amount of time it takes to exhale, inhale deeply and exhale once more is much longer than you might think. Certainly long enough to pause mentally and reassess. Still alive? Tick. Still intact? Tick. Ready for this next cleansing breath? Tick.
Changing your relationship with your fears, will open things up for you. What will it open for you? I don’t know! Your fear, and overcoming of it will be specific to you! That being said, in the story of Nancy Torres and all the cats… or my own story of overcoming a fear of heights, I definitely see that whether big or small, knowing that you are capable of something you did not know you were capable of makes you capable of trusting yourself more deeply. Trusting your own strength and abilities is always a good thing. I’m reminded of another author, Amy Gentry’s story in episode 26 of trusting her instincts over fear (they’re different!) has served her well.
Affirmations are more than a silly SNL Sketch from the 1990s may have led some of us to believe. No offense to Stuart Smalley, but affirming for ourselves, and our children is a beautiful way to think about what makes us. Like many things a little can go a long way, and too much of a good thing can be toooo much. BUT taking a moment to appreciate what is truly wonderful about you, that’s a practice worth adopting!
Nancy Torres had two Book Recommendations for listeners of the Changed Podcast (aside from her own)
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummings, which takes on the topic of immigration and is recommended by Oprah’s Book Club. This book is available to order from Powell’s Books.
Where The Crawdad Sings by Delia Owens, a story of a girl abandoned by the entire world, and how she survives. Order from Powell’s Books.
And of course… if you’re interested in purchasing Say It With Me (Dilo Conmigo) you can order directly from Wheatpenny Press, or you can always order it from Powell’s Books.
This is the third episode where we’re trying out our *new* segment called, Aden Nepom Asks You A Bunch of Questions and You Answer Them As Quickly As Possible!
… and we want to know what you think! Leave a comment on this post, or shoot an email to email@example.com and
Maraya Brown, Founder of Beyond The Red Tent
Maraya Brown, Founder of Beyond The Red Tent, Certified Nurse Midwife, and Women’s Health Coach is this week’s guest on The Changed Podcast
Maraya Brown create safe containers to discuss the taboo topics in women’s lives including anatomy, sexuality, hormonal changes, miscarriage and more.
Just in time for Mother’s day I am sharing this conversation with Maraya Brown. In Maraya’s words as a health coach, and Nurse Midwife, she doesn’t just help women birth babies, she helps women birth themselves.
Make no mistake about it, she also has birthed many babies, including three beautiful children of her own. But the work that she does goes well beyond the birth process, creating safe spaces for women to explore all phases and stages of the female experience including birth, hormonal changes, pregnancy, miscarriage menopause and more.
As a woman she has experienced many shifts in her own right, from being a care free, adventurous, risk-taking young person, to the mid-life, scheduled owner of three businesses that she is now.
Reflecting back on experiences that have changed her lens on herself on the world brought her to not one, but two stories. One from being bold, being brave and surviving the Almeda fires in the Fall of 2020, and one from the sudden loss and grief of having her expectations for her future shattered in an instant with the loss of job and home along with the miscarriage of her first pregnancy in one fateful adventure.
Takeaways from this episode
As a parent, kids can serve as a reflection to us of how the experience of change, and making decisions look. When we’re appalled by how bonkers they are, we can remember that we are familiar with their experiences, decision fatigue not withstanding, and allow that empathy guide how we empathize with and teach them.The feeling of being burned by past experience leaves very real scars. Having these scars doesn’t mean that we stop taking risks, or that we must leave off fully embracing life. Instead they serve to make us more aware. Blindly jumping may go by the wayside, but we can still jump.Taboo topics in the lives of women like miscarriage, menopause, sexuality and anatomy need safe spaces to be aired. Women can learn from each others stories and teach each other what they know. On a personal note I wish that sharing my own experiences through pregnancy and miscarriage didn’t feel like a raw nerve. I am deeply grateful for the women who so bravely shared theirs so that I did not have to feel so all alone in processing my loss.
Links, Resources and Mentions
Maraya wrote a thorough telling of her journey through miscarriage. You can read that here.
If you’re a woman who is feeling ready to move from exhausted to energized, balance your hormones and feel turned on by your life, your lover and yourself, then click here to see if Maraya is just the person to help you make that happen, or better yet register for her free workshop that starts on May 24th (maybe I’ll even see you there!).
Books and Resources Maraya Brown is consuming and maybe you want to enjoy too!
Get Rich Luck Bitch by Denise Duffield-ThomasChillpreneur also by Denise Duffield-ThomasUnderstanding Women by Alison A. ArmstrongCelebrating Partnership by Alison A. Armstrong
While I do not have photos of the two of us playing Oboe together at 12 years old, I DO have this amazing conversation with award winning motivational speaker Lou Radja (Episode 10 of the Changed) who also graduated from our high school. Perhaps someday we’ll all write a book together called “Growing Up Ashland…”
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Members of the Changed Podcast Patreon Page enjoy all kinds of benefits, including enjoying ad-free content and getting early access to episodes just like t
Delightful and insightful
The best stories are about people being changed. Host Aden Nepom tackles this concept head on by asking her guests about the moments in their life that changed them. The show is upbeat, poignant, and often hilarious. A great way to see some very accomplished people in their before and afters.
Refreshing take on change
I love listening to regular yet exceptional people and their stories. The focus on change draws out interesting perspectives.
Really interesting interviews that go beyond the typical questions. Worth checking out!