The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast provides a platform to empower individuals and the community by showcasing stories of resilient people who have defied the odds and refused to let life's challenges prevent them from achieving their dreams. The Empowerment Talks also highlights work happening in the community that will help to shift this nation’s trajectory. Defying the odds, overcoming obstacles, digging deep and being the change we deserve to see are the focal points for The Edwards Empowerment Talks that will inspire listeners to do the same. Visit www.amandakedwards/podcast.html
Episode 14: Conversation with Denise Hamilton, President & CEO of WatchHer Work
In Episode 14 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has a motivational conversation with Denise Hamilton, author, speaker, and Founder & CEO of WatchHerWork.
Denise grew up of modest means in New York. During her childhood, Denise watched her hard-working, resilient mother pursue the American dream by working a variety of jobs and projects. Through her own academic journey, Denise learned that talent is equally distributed, but it is opportunity that is not.
While in college, Denise was discovered by El Debarge, and she moved to Los Angeles to perform as a backup singer. She decided to pursue her education so she returned to college and began a career where she allowed her strengths to guide her path. Denise has worked in many spheres - modeling, as a marketing executive, in commercial real estate and even as a magazine executive before she became a public speaker and founded WatchHerWork. Her varied career path was the result of her openness to new opportunities and her willingness to say yes when those opportunities emerged.
Denise formed WatchHerWork to help women and employers navigate diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, among other things. As a motivational speaker, she inspires audiences of all sizes with her personal journey, as well as with her motivational skills and authenticity. In this episode, Denise will encourage the audience to keep the door open for opportunities they may not be familiar with or already know. Denise is a collaborating partner on An Evening of Women's Empowerment: The 2021 Women's Renaissance, so we discuss her involvement in the event, along with a special announcement of her upcoming business venture. In this interview, Denise will inspire the audience to dare to explore the possibilities and to seek out ways to make them come to fruition. Denise is energetic, honest, motivating and encouraging, which makes this episode one that you do not want to miss!
Episode 13: Conversation with Rhonesha Byng, Founder & CEO of Her Agenda
In Episode 13 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has an intriguing conversation with Rhonesha Byng, Founder & CEO of Her Agenda, a digital media platform that elevates millennial women by bridging the gap between ambition and achievement. In elevating other women, she has blazed a trail that has propelled her to speak at places like the White House and be recognized on lists like Forbes' 30 Under 30.
Rhonesha grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Although she was a high academic achiever, her goals did not tie to the classroom. She had her sights set on making waves in the world in a very public way through the media. Although she faced a setback as she attempted to launch her first print magazine as a teenager, she did not allow that setback to stop her dreams. Rhonesha honed her journalism skills in college, and went on to work at The Huffington Post, and as a field producer with NBC New York (WNBC-TV) where she earned an Emmy award as part of team coverage for a breaking news story.
While Rhonesha was developing her skills as a journalist, she was also becoming a true entrepreneur. She formed Her Agenda to help change the ratio of women in positions of power. At first, Her Agenda did not gain instant notoriety, so Rhonesha made significant sacrifices to push through the challenging times often faced by entrepreneurs. At first, she had to work to support herself while building Her Agenda. In this interview, Rhonesha shares advice she has used that enabled her to continue to persevere and achieve her dreams. Rhonesha is honest, encouraging and grounded, which makes this episode one that you do not want to miss!
Episode 12: Conversation with Jonathan Sprinkles, Author & Motivational Speaker
In Episode 12 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has an engaging conversation with Jonathan Sprinkles, an author and motivational speaker. He has channeled his own challenges into creating messages that uplift and encourage others to bet on themselves.
Jonathan grew up in California, and lost his father as a teenager. After his father's passing, Jonathan and his mother moved to Austin, Texas. With a nagging sense that he did not fit in, he knew that something big was in store for his life. After becoming a student leader at the University of Texas, he began to focus on public speaking.
He eventually took a job at a large company, and realized he needed to take the leap and bet on himself to become a full time professional public speaker. Jonathan has published many books, hosted numerous conferences, and coached numerous professionals. During this episode, he described the challenges of 2020, and how he has had to pivot and create new entrepreneurial opportunities. Check out this episode!
Episode 11: Conversation with pastor Juanita Rasmus, author, speaker & co-pastor, St. John's Church
In Episode 11 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has a soul-touching and raw conversation with Pastor Juanita Rasmus, an author, speaker and pastor. Pastor Juanita Rasmus seemingly had it all - a loving family, a great church congregation, strong faith and a supportive community until her depressive episode she describes as her "crash" changed the treadmill course of her life. In her recent book, Learning To Be, Pastor Juanita uses her personal testimony to help people take better care of themselves and how to learn to be human beings rather than just humans doing. At an early age, Juanita grew up in 5th Ward and in Alief in Houston, Texas as an overachieving student. After years of being in the insurance business with her father, Juanita life began to take a different course. She married Rudy Rasmus, answered her calling to the ministry, and they became co-Pastors of St. John's Downtown.
When they agreed to take on this mission, the church was not what it is today. In fact, under their leadership the church grew from 9 members to thousands of members. This daughter, wife and mother of two, was on the fast track of serving her church and the broader community where she remained in high demand - until everything came to a screeching halt. One day as Pastor Juanita was preparing to start her day, she fell ill. Her nerves felt like uncooked spaghetti snapping from pressure. She went back to bed and began to sleep for 18-20 hours a day for months. This depressive episode she calls her "crash" required to emerge as a new Pastor Juanita. Her journey before the crash and the lessons she learned as she began her journey of healing are priceless, powerful insights that we all need to hear.
In this Episode, Pastor Juanita shares life advice that can apply to any person who has a hard time saying no, taking breaks or creating balance for themselves because of their relentless pursuit of their dreams. Pastor Juanita not only provides advice about warning signs she experienced before the crash, but she advocates for a combination of clinical, therapeutic and spiritual support for those experiencing mental health challenges. Pastor Juanita is open, honest and heartfelt in desire to use her personal testimony and lessons learned to benefit those who are living life in the fast lane. This is one Episode you do not want to miss!
Episode 10: Conversation with Bo Porter, former MLB Player, coach and manager
In Episode 10 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has a motivational conversation with Bo Porter. Bo Porter defied the odds growing up in Newark, New Jersey to find success as an MLB player, coach and manager. He now uses his experiences as an MLB player, coach and manager to help him find success in the world of broadcasting and in running his own media company.
At an early age, Bo was a standout talent from a household of modest means. Born to a teen mother, Bo was able to appreciate the importance of a strong ethic displayed by his single mother. However, he also simultaneously learned first hand about the challenges of having limited resources. In fact, in his early days, Bo had to play "stick ball" rather than baseball because of the lack of resources in his community. Bo's potential as a future baseball player was revealed after he repeatedly broke the windows of his neighbor, Mr. Taylor, while playing stick ball. Mr. Taylor believed in Bo's potential, which led him to introduce Bo to little league baseball across town. Eventually, the community believed in and supported Bo so much that they paid for him to travel to a special tournament in Puerto Rico, which was a turning point for Bo along with his visit to the Yankee Stadium under the leadership of Coach Miller. Bo's exposure to baseball in this way marked the beginning of Bo's unlikely journey that would be filled with both trials and triumphs.
Bo's work ethic, focus, talent and mindset helped to propel him forward to becoming a champion. Bo explains during the podcast that his reference to "champion" is not about just being #1. Rather, he defines a "champion" as someone who has the ability to continue to fight until they become #1 or achieve his/her goal. Champions do not allow the journey to defeat them. Bo's life has been a testament to this. Not only did Bo persevere beyond numerous setbacks and challenges to become an MLB player, but he also pivoted to coaching in the MLB and became an MLB manager. Bo has successfully pivoted again, as he is now involved in broadcasting and runs CORE Media.
In this Episode, Bo shares so much wisdom and life advice that can apply to any person's career path - especially those seeking to pivot in their career trajectory. Bo shares detailed accounts of setbacks he experienced as an athlete (both circumstantial and sports-related), lessons he learned when making career pivots and the importance of investing in others rather than just oneself so that the return on the investment carries forward to others. Bo reveals the special ingredients for his recipe for success that enabled him to "make it" to and in Major League Baseball. Bo will inspire you to dream big, focus, work hard, and keep the right mindset in order to succeed. Bo's passion for empowering others by using his own experiences will motivate you to do what it takes to realize your dreams. This is one Episode you do not want to miss!
Episode 09: Conversation with Lex Frieden, author of the Americans with Disabilities Act
In Episode 09 of The Edwards Empowerment Talks podcast, Amanda Edwards has an extraordinary conversation with Lex Frieden, also known as the architect of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After becoming part of the disabled community and facing discrimination, Lex Frieden dedicated his life to making the community better for the disabilities community through the passage of the ADA and through his life-long advocacy.
Lex Frieden's journey to becoming a disabilities community advocate began in his youth. He was involved in a nearly fatal car accident, in which he sustained a spinal cord injury that left him as a quadriplegic and wheelchair-bound. Despite having been the valedictorian of his high school and a strong record of high academic achievement, Lex faced rejection when seeking admission into college. When he asked the dean about the basis for his rejection, he was told that he had been denied admission because of his disability since the school was not equipped to fit his needs. However, upon seeking admission at another college, they were willing to accommodate his disability by moving his classes into an accessible building. From this experience, Lex embraced the notion that being solutions-oriented for issues facing people with disabilities would be his approach.
With incredible mentors by his side, Lex used his life to impact millions of people. Lex recommended the creation of a national blue ribbon panel to address what was needed by the disabilities community. Ultimately, Lex helped shape and write a free-standing bill known as the Americans with Disabilities Act that would impact millions of people. He did not go without challenge along the way. He had to navigate challenges ranging from the small business lobby to federal legislators who refused to acknowledge ableism in order to ensure that ADA would ultimately pass. After the historic passage of the ADA, he then set his sights on making sure that the law did not just sit on the books but instead would be enforced throughout the country and across spheres.
Through this Episode, listeners and viewers will appreciate how Lex used his own life-changing challenge and the discrimination that ensued to develop his motivation to make the community better for those who faced the challenges and discrimination he faced. Listeners and viewers will take away from this podcast that sometimes we must go through the challenges we face to become the best advocates possible to impact the change that is needed in the world. In listening to Lex's journey as a disabilities rights advocate, you will be inspired to use your own challenges and the discrimination you may face to help change the world. This is one Episode you do not want to miss!
All about authentic empowerment!
Loved the conversation with Lauren Anderson! It was so real and so empowering. From her dancing to her teaching, Lauren is truly inspirational and Amanda guides the conversation with such joy.
It is so fun to listen to Amanda Edwards interview such great talent. We are learning how great people care and make a difference in community. Thank you for taking the time to share your insights and talents with us.
It is an excellent show!
Take a Listen - It’s Worth It!
It took me a minute to start listening to the Edwards Empowerment podcast, but I’ve always admired Amanda Edwards and her work in the Houston area. So glad I started listening! Great guests, great interviewing! I appreciate that she mixes widely known individuals like Beto O’Rourke and Bakari Sellers with lesser known (at least to me) like Hon. Curtis Graves and Dr. Roger Mitchell. This podcast is now in constant rotation on my playlist! Keep up the great content!