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Arts & Culture Podcasts

GIRL Talk is a podcast for girls, hosted by Girl Scouts River Valleys. Join Hannah and Shanna as they dive into topics like careers, STEM, culture, advocacy, nature, failure, and what it takes to be a leader. Featuring interviews with subject-matter experts, community leaders, women with cool careers, and girls like you who are out there doing amazing things. G.I.R.L.—Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader


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GIRL Talk is a podcast for girls, hosted by Girl Scouts River Valleys. Join Hannah and Shanna as they dive into topics like careers, STEM, culture, advocacy, nature, failure, and what it takes to be a leader. Featuring interviews with subject-matter experts, community leaders, women with cool careers, and girls like you who are out there doing amazing things. G.I.R.L.—Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader






Episode 026: Why We Endured the Darkness – a short story by Maddy Dietz

In this episode Idelle is joined by returning guest Maddy Dietz. Maddy is a fiction writer and aspiring journalist, a Gold Award Girl Scout, the National Student Poet representing the Midwest region, a YoungArts Finalist in Short Story, and is a candidate for US Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She is also a recent recipient of Girl Scouts River Valleys' Changemaker Award for her work in arts and journalism education. Maddy talked with Idelle about what she's up to now and her plans for after graduation this spring, and shares an on-air reading of her short story Why We Endured the Darkness, which was published in the short story anthology Triangulation: Dark Skies. Idelle and Maddy discuss the story's themes of love, freedom of religion and thought, women who are engineers and physicists, and representation. Maddy talks about her love of the short story medium and how she fits so much background into such a short time. She also talks about why she identifies with the story's characters and how she set out to write a story that reflects her own identity in hopes that other young women will see themselves in it. Make sure you listen to our first episode with Maddy - Episode 18: Becoming a Writer. This will be the last GIRL Talk episode for a few months - but we'll be back soon! Stay well and enjoy your summer :-)


Episode 025: Mindful Meditation

For this episode we welcomed a returning guest, Karla Benson Rutten. Karla joined Idelle to talk about a passion of hers, mindful meditation. Karla practices mindful meditation herself and with her family, but she has also incorporated it into her business as a life coach, and into our meetings at Girl Scouts. If you've been thinking about trying meditation for yourself, Karla has some great insight. Mindfulness gives us a chance to think about how we want to be in a day. It's helpful when we're overwhelmed, or when we just need to find a place of calm within ourselves. It's a practice - just like sports, music, or art, you need to practice being present and focus on what's happening right now. Being mindful is about being fully present to enjoy the things around you that are happy, and also sit with things that might be uncomfortable. Karla talks about how meditation is based on breathing. It calms our minds and bodies, and helps us make better decisions. Taking a breath physically calms your body, and when you do it intentionally it can help you through times of anxiety or nervousness. The world and our lives have changed so much throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Karla talks about using all this time at home to practice mindfulness, breathing, and meditation, and feeling like she needs it now more than ever. We're all stuck inside with our families and everything is on screens, and with all that screen time, mind breaks are important. Little breaks from school, work, TV, and social media can help set us up for a different kind of mood. Think about taking time to focus on things other than the stressors that come from dealing with COVID and everything that comes with it. Meditation can come in many forms and can look different for everyone - there's no one way or right way. Karla talks about discovering mindfulness when she was growing up, without knowing it, while fishing with her dad. Being still just to be still, noticing things in nature, being patient in order to enjoy what's around you, learning to pause and breathe. There can be some barriers to mindful meditation, like feeling like things have to be a certain way. You might think you need to have candles or special music, set aside a specific amount of time, or have someone to lead you. Karla talks about meditation being much simpler: all you really need is your breath; to intentionally breathe and notice what's going on in your body. And it can be short, like just a minute or two, or even 30 seconds. You might also feel like your mind is just too crowded. For people with anxiety or busy minds, it can be hard to take those quiet times. Karla talks about using running or other physical activity as meditation, or using music or a mantra to help you focus. It's all about being in the present. Karla had some advice for getting started: turn off your devices and sit or stand quietly - just for a minute. Listen, notice your breathing, notice what's going on around you in the space you're in. Focus on doing one thing at a time. To wrap up our conversation Karla leads us in a guided meditation. Try it out and see how it makes you feel! As always, we hope you're safe and healthy. See you next time. P.S. Here are a few mindfulness-related apps we like: Relax Melodies ThinkUP affirmations Headspace


Episode 024: Peace & Happiness through Stoicism with Sarah Mikutel

In this episode we welcomed a special guest, Sarah Mikutel, to talk about Stoicism. Sarah runs her own business as a transformation coach, using the Enneagram and Stoicism to help women replace anxiety, overwhelm, and procrastination with calm, confidence, and fast action. She is a location-independent world traveler, entrepreneur, writer, and experienced podcaster, but what makes Sarah a particularly special guest, is that she works behind the scenes on GIRL Talk as our editor! Sarah’s newest podcast, Part of Something Greater, is devoted to Stoicism and the Enneagram, and she and Idelle had a great conversation about how we can use tools from Stoicism to reduce anxiety and live happy, peaceful lives. Sarah breaks down the difference between the common understanding of what it means to be stoic, versus Stoicism. She talks about how Stoicism isn't about suppressing emotion, being the "strong silent type" or having a "stiff upper lip," but that it's actually the opposite. Stoicism is about empathy, listening, being in tune with your body and mind, and gaining tools for understanding your emotions in order to manage anxiety and react more positively to tough situations. Stoicism is also about staying in the moment and bringing presence to your life, which most of us would probably agree we could use a little more of. Sarah shares her personal strategies for bringing this type of mindfulness to her day, which include morning journaling and a practice of reflecting on her day before bed in order to let go of negative feelings that she might be hanging onto. We hope you'll find something in this conversation that resonates with you! And as always, we hope you're safe and healthy. See you next time :-) Sarah hosts three podcasts of her own: Podcasting Step by Step, Part of Something Greater, and the Postcard Academy, which you can find on your favorite podcast app. Find out more about Sarah and her work on her website,


Episode 023: Hmong Shamanism – Kalue’s Experience

In this episode we welcomed our Girl Scout colleague Kalue Her to the podcast to talk about Hmong Shamanism through her personal experiences. Shamanism focuses on health and balance in body and soul, and helping and healing individuals, families, and communities. It's all about love, healing, and a connection and respect for nature and living things, and is rooted in the belief that everything has a soul. Shamanism is a practice of healing and protecting family members - providing balance. Shamans have many duties and a variety of specific skill sets for helping their families. It's a huge responsibility and doesn't come with material wealth or a lot of recognition, but it's important and rewarding. Kalue talked about the increase in women taking on the shaman role, including herself, and shared the surprising story of how she came to accept it as her path. Shamanism can sometimes be seen in the wrong way - as barbaric or outdated, and not as the traditional practice of religious healing, spiritual care, loving, and light that it really is. This can make it challenging for young people to be open about their family's practice of Shamanism. Kalue is hoping to change this with her own kids, sharing her experience and passing it on to them in a positive way. We talked about stereotypes related to what Shamanism is and the impression we had of what it means. Kalue talks about working to change the face of Shamanism and breaking through stereotypes and stigma within the Hmong community. She shared with us what the practice of Shamanism looks like in her family and the importance of having a spiritual leader. It isn't always easy, she and her husband walk a fine line with their own kids of teaching them about Shamanism but not wanting them to feel like they are different or outsiders in their school or neighborhood. As our takeaway, Kalue shared some advice for Hmong girls: Find people who support you, learn, ask questions. Seek out a wise person like a teacher, caregiver, parent, troop leader - someone you trust. Shamanism is evolving and changing, and in order to experience the love and healing it offers, you have to first love and accept yourself. What a great message! For those of you who are new to learning about Hmong Shamanism, We hope you find this conversation as interesting and eye-opening as we did. Take care of yourselves out there, GIRL Talk listeners.


Episode 022: Midwest Dirt Legion – Building Equity in the Mountain Biking Community

In this episode we're talking with two guests, Ash Murray and Steph Aich, who are the founders of Midwest Dirt Legion - a riding club for cisgender women, gender non-conforming, and transgender mountain bikers. Ash also works with Girl Scouts River Valleys’ Girls in Gear mountain bike program, teaching Girl Scouts technical skills and taking them out to tear up the trails on our new mountain bike course at Camp Elk River in Zimmerman, Minnesota. Ash and Steph started Midwest Dirt Legion with a goal to build more gender equity in the mountain biking community in the Twin Cities. They saw what a big difference it made to have spaces for a diverse set of genders (not just male or female, but non-binary and trans folks as well) when they were doing track bike racing, and they wanted to create that same space for mountain bikers. They started with pretty much nothing but an idea, and found that there were a ton of other people interested in what they were doing. Part of the work they do with their organized rides and events is providing skills clinics and an introduction to mountain biking to new riders. They start where people are at, and help them get comfortable. We talked about how they have both had experiences in the broader mountain biking community with other riders' elitism and a masculine culture getting in the way of riding certain trails, taking certain skills clinics, or even just feeling like they're seen as "real" mountain bikers. They try to eliminate those barriers for their own participants, creating experiences that encourage a lifelong love of the sport. Another goal of Midwest Dirt Legion is to make mountain biking more accessible. It can be an expensive hobby, requiring lots of gear and ability to travel. Ash and Steph focus on making their events as local as possible and helping people get there, and work to break through the common belief that you need a lot of expensive top-line gear to be legit (not true!). They also do broader advocacy work through social media to expand their reach. We talked about what it takes to start a club or organization like this to address a need in a community, and how hard work and gaining support are more important than money. One of our big takeaways was that you can solve a problem without having a lot of money or experience - you can get started, run with an idea, and learn along the way! Especially if you put together the right team. You can learn more about Ash and Steph and Midwest Dirt Legion on their website, or in this great article on The Radivist. You can follow them on Instagram @midwestdirtlegion and join their social group on Facebook called Friends of Midwest Dirt Legion. Girl Scouts River Valleys would like to say thank you to our funders and partners that have helped make the Girls in Gear mountain bike program possible: Hugh J. Andersen Family Foundation, the Hardenbergh Foundation, Quality Bike Products, Tonka Cycle and Ski, and Salsa Cycles. Girl Scouts River Valleys, with support from these companies, has made this one-of-a-kind outdoor adventure possible for girls. Together, we can ensure that every girl pushes past their limits and builds the confidence they need to take on any challenge.


Episode 021: Lead Like You – with LA Film School President Tammy Elliott

This episode features a conversation about leadership with Los Angeles Film School President Tammy Elliott. How did we get such a prestigious guest, you might ask? Spoiler alert - she's Hannah's mom! Tammy has built an amazing career as a leader in higher education, and she shared with us some truly amazing nuggets of wisdom about how she got there and what it takes to lead her team with kindness and grace. Girl Scouts is a leadership organization, and we love hearing people's leadership stories. Tammy told us hers, which included a lot of trial and error that led to eventually finding her purpose in a place that allowed her to do what she loves - working with people. She talks about being told "keep doing what you're doing" and having supervisors and colleagues who saw qualities in her that she didn't necessarily see in herself, leading her to take leaps into new positions that challenged her and opened up her perception of her own capabilities. Tammy talked about seeking counsel from people who have your best interest at heart when you're trying to decide whether to take on a new challenge, which means finding people who love you and who you trust to help you make big decisions. We talked about the importance of being thoughtful when making decisions, like taking on a new job or other big life change. One of the insights Tammy shared with us is that being a good leader is about the power of words, the power of kindness, and the power of connection - being strong but kind - and that those are often missing. Her goal when leading people is to seek understanding and deliver the message that she cares about them and is working for and with them. She also keeps her work joyful and tries share that joy with her teams, even though that's sometimes really hard to do. We talked about conflict, and the importance of finding connection and understanding in order to get through it. In a leadership position you often have to make hard decisions and get into those conflict situations, and it can take time to get good at it. One of the main things we wanted to talk to Tammy about is differences between what leadership looks like in women vs. men. She talks about how there is space for both, but that her own style involves bringing thoughtfulness and patience to her work as a leader. We talked through gender roles in our society, and how they pressure us and make it harder to lead like ourselves and find our natural style. Our takeaways: When it comes to growing and developing as a leader, go easy on yourself! Don't feel like you need to be perfect and like you can't make mistakes. Take time and opportunities to grow, and give yourself grace. Tammy left us with a few words to sum up her leadership style: grit, gratitude, grace, and strength. We'll take those with us. Take care of yourselves, GIRL Talk listeners. We'll talk soon. Reach out to our podcast team at


Episode 020: Finding Your Calling – Veterinary Medicine with Dr. Amanda Doran

For this episode we welcomed Dr. Amanda Doran to the show for a conversation about her unique journey in the field of veterinary medicine. We know a lot of girls are passionate about helping animals and making the world a better place, and Dr. Doran has found a way to do both of those things through her career. We think you'll will be interested in hearing about the way she is able to care for animals and people, and how she recognized her calling. Dr. Doran talks about why she became a veterinarian - she never even considered doing anything else! She shares about her love of her mom's family's dairy farm, how much she cared about animals and helping them, and why she always wanted to be the magical green healing crystal in the game Tales of the Crystals when she was a kid. Dr. Doran started out in general practice, which is what we usually think about when we think about a vet, then got into emergency medicine, then pathology and research, but she wanted something more from her career as a vet and just didn't feel like what she was doing was satisfying or sustainable. Dr. Doran had a personal experience with her own dog that made her realize her real passion, and now she's headed in a new direction working with animal hospice and at-home euthanasia helping animals and their families through end-of-life care. She helps bring comfort and care, pain management, and quality of life to pets that have a terminal illness or are at the end of their lives, while supporting their families and taking into account beliefs and needs. Dr. Doran talks about learning about herself, setting boundaries, and taking a big risk with her life and career. She recognizes that at one point she was hiding from the world, feeling a little defeated and like she had to settle for something that wasn't fulfilling. She talks about finally tuning into what would make her happy and feel like her heart was on fire, and that finding your calling, passion, or gift isn't always easy or obvious. It can be scary and hard! It took a lot of mentors and supports to guide her on her path. She talks about the "hero's journey," like Harry Potter, Frodo, Katniss…and the journey she's on to help pets and their families and ultimately change the face of end-of-life care for animals and people. Science fields aren't just about facts and figures, there's an interpersonal, connected, and very helpful piece that plays into a lot of STEM careers too, especially veterinary medicine. Dr. Doran's experience is so moving, we really appreciate how open and honest she was with us in sharing her personal story. We had so many great takeaways from this conversation, we hope you will too. As always, stay tuned at the end for Would You Rather and Girls Pick. We hope you're all safe and well - see you next time! Reach out to our podcast team at


Episode 019: Finding Yourself Outside with Grace Heneghan

In this episode we're talking with Grace Heneghan. Grace is an expert in the field of wilderness guiding and is passionate about connecting wilderness tripping with gender, feminism, identity, and the environment. Grace talks about how she really didn't have a lot of interest in the outdoors as a kid until she started going on trips with YMCA Camp Widjiwagan, and discovered a love for being in the wilderness even though at times it can be super challenging. She found where she fit in and found out things about herself that she didn't expect. Having these experiences helped her discover things about her own identities in an accepting and supportive space. Grace started going on longer trips and expeditions as a young adult where she was empowered by stretching the limits of her body and mind. She met other women and queer identified people who helped pave the way for her to figure out what she wanted for her future and make college and career choices. We talked about how helpful and even healing it can be for some of us to discover informal learning spaces like those related to outdoor education. Some people fit right into the traditional classroom learning setting and thrive with that structure (like Hannah), while others (like Grace and Idelle) do better in a more informal space where learning is more hands-on, and sometimes even outside! We got to hear about some of Grace's favorite trips - so cool! She told us about some of her own successes and failures, and what it means to have "type 1" or "type 2" fun and the good parts about both. She also talks about how lonely guiding and backcountry travel can be, and why self-care is so important but is so easily ignored. There's a lot of risk that goes into wilderness travel, and Grace talks about how she learned and became proficient in the skills she needed to be safe and keep her groups safe. Like with anything else, it's important to push yourself and take risks to grow, but also to recognize your limits and where you need to learn more or lean on others to be safe and successful. Some things Grace focuses on that can be overlooked or not really talked about enough are being queer in the outdoors, being fat in the outdoors (Grace talks about claiming the word "fat" as an empowering term for herself), being femme in the outdoors, whiteness in the outdoors, and identity politics in the outdoors. She talks about always wearing earrings when she's on a wilderness trip to connect to her femme/feminist queer identities. We also get into social media and representation in the outdoors and how it can often look very white and masculine, and not representative of BIPOC identified folks, people with queer identities, or people with disabilities. This was such a great conversation, we're so grateful for Grace's willingness to share her personal experiences and expert advice. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did! A couple of our takeaways - if you're interested in the outdoors, or if you're looking to get started, recognize where you're at in your outdoor journey and be proud of it. If you're new to outdoor activities and travel, start small and close by. If you already have experience, push yourself a little and try something new like taking on a challenging trip at a camp or with a guide, or even working at a camp! Stay tuned at the end for Would You Rather and Girls Pick. Reach out to our team at During our conversation Grace shares her strategy for curating a social media feed that's empowering and not isolating. Here’s a list of Instagram accounts she follows to find inspiration: @disabledhikers @unlikelyhikers @theventureoutproject @indiginouswomenrising @outthereadventures @brownpeoplecamping @indigenousgeotags @thegreatoutchea @winonaladuke @thebrownascenders @nativeoutdoors @nativewomenswilderness @she_explores @fatventuremag @indigenouswomenhike @fatgirlshiking @melaninbasecamp


Episode 018: Becoming a Writer with Maddy Dietz

In this episode we're talking about creative writing with Maddy Dietz. We've wanted to talk to Maddy for a while now - she's got some interests that we think a lot of listeners will identify with. She's a high school student but is taking college courses, and shows up as a leader in Girl Scouts as part of the Girl Leadership Board and as a founding member of the Press Corps. She's working on building a career as a fiction writer and journalist and has already had a couple of her works published. Maddy can't remember a time when she wasn't writing. Even before she actually learned to read and write, she was telling stories and asking her mom to write them down. It has become more than just a creative outlet, it's her passion and something she's actively pursuing as a career. Maddy writes short stories, is working on a novel, and dabbles in poetry. She loves fiction and science fiction and talks about how she gets lost in creating worlds and characters. If she could, she'd write all the time! We talked with Maddy about how writing helps her personally, but also helps others. She knows how important it is to see yourself reflected in media, and she makes the media she wants to see herself reflected in. She writes characters she identifies with, but also those that she doesn't. She's trying to break some of the science fiction stereotypes of masculine, militaristic white men being the main characters, creating strong but realistic teenage girl characters that are more along the lines of who she'd want to read about. Maddy shared her perspective on the severe lack of teen girls in fiction that are just being teen girls. They're either very childish, or super mature with unrealistic skills. She took on the task of creating a teenage character who really is a teenage character. She describes it as freeing, and as her favorite character so far. We talked about Maddy and Hannah's shared love for sci-fi and why it speaks to them, like imagining a future where sexism and racism aren't the main story - where our society has moved past those issues. Also, robots and space! We also got into trial and error, inevitable failures that come along with submitting creative writing pieces to publishers, and how Maddy has learned to move past feeling defeated and keep putting her work out there. Maddy works on her writing craft by going to writing camps, joining online sharing and editing communities for young writers, and just working on different types of stories and practicing different styles all the time. What's your passion? How do you work on it? We hope you find Maddy's story inspiring! Check out Maddy's published work in the short story anthology Triangulation: Dark Skies. Her story is titled Why We Endured the Darkness. Here's a resource Maddy asked us to share: The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are a fantastic way for young creators of all skill levels and mediums to become more used to sending their works out into the world! They also have plenty of great scholarships. Find out more about the show and reach out to our podcast team at


Episode 017: Justice, Hope, & Action

In this episode, we took time to hold some space for a conversation about what's going on in our community here in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. We checked in with our friend and former co-host Shanna to talk through what we've been experiencing, feeling, and doing after George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25, just a month ago. We got into some tough things like feelings of grief, fear, and anxiety, feeling like we're not doing enough, how we find credible news and deal with social media, and the scary idea of society getting used to seeing violence and how it felt when it was happening around us. We talked about how everything is heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, feeling guilt about not feeling like we’re doing the right things, and how hard it can be for those of us in white bodies to have conversations about racial justice with our white family members and friends who might not be in the same place as us or have the same perspective. We also talked about having to figure out how to avoid toxic messages on social media where we're seeing things like virtue signaling, white people targeting other white friends, and people trying to prove who's the best ally. These posts aren't an effective way to bring each other along on our journey toward racial justice, and can sometimes even bring us in the opposite direction. But through everything that has made us feel sad and disheartened, there’s also a lot of hope for moving forward. We talked about what that means for each of us. If you're looking for ways to help and things to do, you can find anti-racism resources and ways to take action on the Girl Scouts River Valleys Takes Action webpage. Keep listening, learning, and doing, and take care of yourselves and your friends, families, and neighbors.


Taking Action

Hi GIRL Talk listeners. As many of you know, Hannah and I both live in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, where there’s been a lot going on. George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was murdered by police in Minneapolis on Monday, May 25th. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, Minneapolis and St. Paul experienced protests that spread across the country. Our hearts ache for George Floyd’s family and community. While we’re feeling tremendous pain, outrage, fear, and anxiety, this is the time for change. Girl Scouts stand up for what’s right, are courageous in the face of adversity, and work to build better, stronger communities. We urge you to find ways to get involved. Join together with your family, friends, and neighbors to support your community and advocate for what you believe in. We won’t be posting an episode this week. Instead we’d like to take this time to show our support and stand in solidarity with our Black friends, colleagues, and neighbors in a time of increased turmoil and injustice. Take care of yourselves and your friends, families, and neighborhoods. We’ll be back soon sharing stories and experiences from strong girls and women. Girl Scouts River Valleys Takes Action resource page


Episode 016: Finding Your Creative Outlet with Keziah Ojika

Right now when we're releasing this episode, we're in the midst of changing and challenging times. We recorded our conversation with Keziah Ojika before everything with the COVID-19 pandemic started, but we think you'll find it interesting and maybe a little inspiring. A lot of us are stuck at home, and it might just get you thinking about doing something that lets off some creative steam and allows you to find your voice. Keziah works with us at Girl Scouts, where she is a leader on our ConnectZ team helping deliver culturally specific and relevant programming to girls in places like schools and community centers. We welcomed her to the podcast to talk about having a creative outlet, which for her is creating and editing videos and posting them online. We know there are a lot of girls out there who are interested in – or already are – producing their own videos for platforms like YouTube, or doing other cool, creative things in their free time. Keziah has been creating and producing videos since high school. She got started by making music videos with her family and friends and doing projects for school, finding it to be a way to tell stories and do something fun and interesting. It takes a lot of time and effort to edit videos, but that's the part she likes - figuring out how to tell a story and going through the challenge of using effects to make the idea in her head happen on the screen. When she started out, YouTube and vlogging weren't a thing, she just knew she loved making videos. It was a way to share her experiences, adding drama and expressing the essence of things going on in her life. She pretty much just figured it out by trying things, using relatively inexpensive equipment and getting her stories out there. Keziah has always been behind the camera, but now has a YouTube channel and has turned the camera on herself, using it as kind of a video journal of her life and experiences, which is a new and brave endeavor for her. We get into how it feels to be vulnerable and have her own personal story published online, what it's like to interact with people in the comments on her videos, and how she deals with negativity. Keziah shares with us how she tried to go to film school but had what you might classify as an "epic fail" - but she bounced back and figured out how to transition her passion for filmmaking to more of a creative outlet rather than a career, still in a way that felt worth it. We talk about times she's connected with people online through her YouTube channel who have had similar life and family experiences to her, and how that gives her the energy to keep going even when it's hard and maybe doesn’t seem worth i Our takeaways: It's good to have a creative outlet, to create just for creation's sake. It can be therapeutic and beneficial to your well-being. That could be making music, writing, doing makeup or hair, painting, drawing, making videos or other media content, whatever you enjoy. Keziah has a mantra: perfection is the enemy of progress. Think about that, is there anything in your life it applies to? As long as you know why you're doing something like creating videos, art, music - that's all that really matters, even if it can be hard to keep it going. Find something that makes you feel good! Stay tuned at the end for Would You Rather and Girls Pick, and reach out to us with your comments and ideas at Stay safe and healthy!


Episode 015: Navigating Polarizing Conversations with Julia Burkstaller

Right now when we’re releasing this episode we’re in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and things are changing around us all the time. We recorded it a while ago before this all started, but we think you’ll still find a lot that’s relevant to what’s going on and how people are talking about it. We hope you’re safe and healthy, and that you enjoy our conversation with Julia. We asked our friend and colleague Julia Burkstaller to join us as a subject matter expert to talk about how to get through tough conversations and situations that girls, and really all of us, get into with our friends, family, people at school and work, and social media communities about politics and other polarizing topics. Julia is the Advocacy and Development Manager at Girl Scouts and has a lot of expertise and experience in talking to people who have different views. She joined us to provide some tools to help get us through these situations with our relationships and mental health intact. We acknowledge that the topics and tools covered in this episode are really hard! When we say that a topic is polarizing, we're talking about things that tend to push people onto very separate sides with different beliefs and points of view. We know a lot of girls go through this, and it can be really stressful and bring up a lot of emotions. Julia helped us understand that a lot of times the main issue is that we're dealing with a binary, or false dichotomy. What that means is sort of a fake choice, where you're only offered two options when really there are many different opinions and ways of thinking about something, including a middle area where you understand and agree with parts of both sides. We're here to tell you that there's really no "right" side in these types of issues - it's all about your lived experience, and the values and beliefs of your family and close community. We talked with Julia about the idea of getting involved in the culture of outrage we often see on TV and online, which can contribute to keeping us separate and angry at each other. News outlets with biased reporting and negative social media comments can contribute to that outrage and stir things up in a way that can drain your energy and make you feel angry and anxious. Try to be aware of when this is happening, and find ways to stay positive and keep yourself out of those negative news spirals. Getting all of your news and information about local, national, and world issues from celebrities and other public figures on social media can be a little dangerous - it's important to find trusted sources to help you form your own opinions and know what you stand for. But you don't have to know everything about everything, that would be overwhelming! Figure out which issues you feel strongly about and focus on those. Julia talks about not necessarily having to have a strong opinion about everything, but being open to listening to people's stories and using empathy to come to conclusions. Something else we talked about is how our opinions about these big topics and issues can be tied to our identity, which is what makes it so hard to not feel like we're being attacked or feed into the outrage culture. But there are some things we can do to help us find connection and a little more peace instead of outrage and anger. Here are some tools we took away from our conversation: Empathy: This is feeling someone's emotions, passion, or pain and recognizing their experience. Not dehumanizing another person: This means not bringing someone down from a human level, which can fuel hatred. Ask questions! Find out where the other person is coming from and have a dialogue. Doing an energy check: Are you in a good place to approach a hard conversation without negativity or picking a fight? Even just having a bad day can contribute to hurting a relationship when you're having these polarizing conversations. Intent vs. impact: Recognizing that someone isn't trying to hurt you,


Episode 014: Hair – Expectations, Identity, & Stereotypes

In this episode we’re talking about hair. Now, before you jump to any conclusions about this topic and maybe skip this episode because you’re not into talking about hair, we’re not talking tips and tricks for teasing the perfect curls or how to get out of your house in the morning with the perfect hairstyle in less than 30 minutes; we’re talking about our hair journeys. How we feel about our hair, stereotypes that are out there for girls and women, and how our hair ties to our identity. This is also our last episode with our co-host Shanna, who got a new job and is moving on to do other great things. We’re going to miss her a ton, but we wish her well! We’ll be talking about our relationship with our hair. Shanna talks about how her hair routine is like a workout – it makes her feel good but is a lot of work and is kind of the boss of her, and Idelle shares her experience both as a girl and now as an adult navigating the world with short hair paired with her androgynous style. We get into Shanna’s journey from perming and straightening her hair to letting it grow naturally. This is partly because she wants to try something new that’s better for her hair’s health in general, but it’s also to connect with her cultural identity as a black woman. Shanna shares that this isn’t always easy – there are barriers for African American girls and women, like being accepted at school or in their workplace and being seen as fitting into the dominant culture. She talks about experiences with societal pressures and microaggressions or times she’s been singled out in school, workplaces, and other communities, including people touching her hair in public without asking. Idelle talks about having short hair for her whole life. She shares that she’s only herself when she has short hair, but it’s not always easy. Even though she loves having short hair and it’s such an important part of her identity, Idelle shares her experiences with being mis-gendered in bathrooms, feeling uncomfortable in certain spaces, and having to be conscious of how she’s presenting in those spaces in order to feel safe or just not be noticed. It’s not all negative – Idelle talks about the comfort she feels with her friends and family and in her workplace, and when she’s out in the gay community with other people who identify as LGBT and share some of the same life experiences. It’s about identity, how you show up in different spaces, and how you’re allowed to show up. Shanna and Idelle both talk about the importance of finding the right stylist who makes them feel comfortable, powerful, and connected by helping them show up as their full selves in the world, as well as finding safe spaces and people who they feel solidarity with. How do you feel about your hair? Maybe you feel some connections to Shanna or Idelle’s stories, or maybe your journey is totally different. Think about it! Stay tuned at the end for our segments Girls Pick and Would You Rather 😊 Don’t forget to subscribe, rate us, and share with a friend! Want to connect? Reach out to our team at


Episode 013: Designing, Building, & Leading – Careers in the Built Environment with Jessie Houlihan

This episode features Jessie Houlihan, who is the president of Stahl Construction in Minneapolis, MN. Jessie's passion for workplace culture development, education, empowering women, civil rights and social action, and the environment have led her to build a career that ties together STEM, sustainability, and business to create strong communities and ultimately make the world a better place. Hannah and Shanna had a great conversation with Jessie about her background, how she got to where she is today, and women in C-suite leadership roles and non-traditional careers like construction and building design. We asked Jessie why girls should think about going into fields like construction, architecture, engineering, and the built environment, and how these careers contribute to making the world a better place. Her answer is inspiring! We need new voices and thinkers in these fields who are interested in things like balancing construction with sustainability, contributing to a regenerative environment, and bringing new perspectives and ideas to the table. These careers have the potential to make a unique impact, and are ready for women to step in and lead the way. Jessie talks about designing buildings and cities that are made of durable materials that will last a long time and contribute positively to communities. Buildings that have healthy air quality, are built to be sustainable, and help the people who use them feel connected to nature. We're healthier when we're connected to the environment! There are so many different education and career options to pursue that contribute to this work. From working at the ground level on the actual construction of buildings, to the architects and engineers who design them, to people like Jessie who manage all the moving parts it takes to plan and create a community and its buildings. How can girls get into these fields right now? Start with things like researching, reaching out, and getting involved. Set up a job shadow with a professional in the field you’re interested in. Find out what city planners do and engage with them about their work. See if they can come to your school or Girl Scout troop to talk about engineering, architecture, trades, city planning, or sustainable building practices. Just ask! Try it out! We hope you’ll get as much out of this conversation as we did, and as always, stay tuned at the end for Would You Rather and Girls Pick! Don’t forget to subscribe, share with friends, and rate and review the show. Looking for ways to engage with our podcast team? Contact us!


Episode 012: What It Means To Be A Leader (Part II)

This episode is part two of our conversation with returning guest Khadra Mohamed about what it means to be a leader. In the first part we talked with Khadra about different leadership experiences and opportunities we've had throughout our lives so far, what kinds of leadership styles come naturally to us, and some things that can keep us from showing up as ourselves. In this part we'll go deeper, talking about how we became leaders and what helped us see ourselves that way. We'll talk about women in leadership positions who inspire us and how important it is to see women who look like us taking the reins. Representation matters! Khadra talks about not realizing how important it was to see women who looked like her in leadership roles until it happened, how good it felt to see possibilities for herself, and how connected she felt to those women. This can have such a big impact on our self-image and what we believe we're capable of. We'll also get into how we were encouraged (or if we were encouraged) to take on leadership roles when we were growing up, some differences we've experienced across cultures and families, and what kinds of differences we saw for boys when it came to leadership opportunities. We'll share stories about our first big leadership challenges and how we've grown since then— what was hard, what came naturally, and what we learned about ourselves. Our takeaways: Leading can be challenging, and there can be barriers along the way, but it can also be so rewarding! You might not always see someone who looks like you in a leadership position, but you could be the one who inspires someone else. We hope you find some inspiration in our experiences that can help you take some risks, put yourself out there, and see yourself as a leader. As always, stay tuned at the end for our segments Would You Rather and Girls Pick! This is the last episode of our second season, but we'll be back soon with more GIRL Talk :-) Don’t forget to subscribe, share with friends, and rate and review the show. Looking for ways to engage with our podcast team? Reach out at


Episode 011: What It Means To Be a Leader (Part I)

This is part one of a two-part episode about what it means to be a leader with our friend and returning guest Khadra Mohamed. We talked with Khadra about different leadership experiences and opportunities we've had throughout our lives so far like working at camp, taking care of siblings, and stepping up at school or work. Leadership styles and how we approach leading can be very different. For example, Khadra shared that what leadership looks like for her is showing up, being consistent for the girls she works with, and building trust. She's found that quiet leadership is the best fit for her. This means being herself, and not trying to be too outgoing when it doesn't come naturally. Being a leader doesn't necessarily mean being vocal, charismatic, or outgoing - there are lots of different kinds of leaders. There's strength in quiet leadership, and introverts can be leaders just as effectively as extroverts. But that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with being outgoing and extroverted! Leaders can be quiet, loud, really hands-on, or more hands-off. Do what comes naturally to you! Showing up as yourself is important. You'll be more effective and authentic, and build stronger, more trusting relationships. We talked about some things that are hard for us that maybe some girls out there can relate to, like always wanting to seem likable, approachable, and nice. We don't want to come off as mean, aggressive, condescending, or rude, but we know we need to be assertive to get things done in a leadership role. As women and girls, we can stretch ourselves to be comfortable with direct communication and not worry about coming across as being "bossy." Our takeaways: Being a leader doesn't mean you have to know everything, and it's ok to make mistakes. It's easy to think of leadership as having power or being in command, but really the best part is seeing growth happen in the people we lead. There's no one right way to be a leader. Everyone can lead, and it can look different for different people. We'll be back with the second part of this episode where we'll dive deeper with Khadra into what it means to be a leader and talk about where we get our inspiration! Stay tuned at the end for Would You Rather and Girls Pick :-) Have an idea for an episode, or just want to say "hey!" to our podcast crew? Go to And don't forget to subscribe, share, and rate us on your favorite app!


Episode 010: Talking About Race and Difference

This episode features a conversation with guest expert Karla Benson Rutten on how to talk about race and difference. Karla works at Girl Scouts River Valleys as the Vice President of Community Engagement, developing strategies to help Girl Scouts be culturally responsive, relevant, and accessible to girls in communities of color. She also founded and runs her own coaching, consulting, and training firm focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Karla is a facilitator and advocate with tons of experience in higher education, diversity, social justice, and sexual violence prevention program development, which are important topics that we know a lot of girls are passionate about. Hannah and Shanna had a great conversation with Karla about representation, trust, building relationships, and how to engage in dialog that will help build your community with people who don't look like you or share your same culture. We'll talk about when we first noticed race and difference, and how it can sometimes be hard to be curious and ask questions about people who are different from ourselves. A lot of what makes it hard comes from things many of us were taught about what is polite or appropriate to talk about, and concepts about race like "colorblindness" that can hinder us from forming relationships with people who are different from us. Our takeaway— Respect, curiosity, and good intent are important and can be helpful tools for starting conversations. They can help us get past feelings of not wanting to say the wrong thing or fear of sounding ignorant. It's all about acknowledging bias, being open, and expanding what we do to grow ourselves. We hope you'll use some of the tools from this episode to start your own conversations. Stay tuned at the end for Would You Rather and Girls Pick! Looking to connect with our podcast team? Reach out with ideas, questions, or comments at Some links and resources to dive into A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America (Ronald Takaki) A People’s History of the United States (Howard Zinn) How to Talk To Kids About Race: Books and Resources That Can Help (list books for middle grades and young adult toward end of book list) Knowing Our History to Build a Brighter Future: Books to Help Kids Understand the Fight for Racial Equality 7 Young Adult Novels That Encourage Discussions on Racism (Age 14+) Karla’s reading list Ages 9-12: June Peters, You Will Change the World One Day (Alika Turner) Brown Girl Dreaming (Jacqueline Woodson) Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement (Carole Boston Weatherford) Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters (Andrea Davis Pinkney) One Crazy Summer (Rita Williams-Garcia) P.S. Be Eleven (Rita Williams-Garcia) President of the Whole Fifth Grade (Sherri Winston) Zora and Me (Victoria Bond & T.R. Simon) Ages 13 and Up: Come Here, Girl, Let Me Talk to You: A 30-Day Self-Discovery Journal for Girls About Life (Neda Renee) The Hate You Give (Angie Thomas) Piecing Me Together (Renée Watson) The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America (Tamara Winfrey Harris) Letters to a Young Artist (Anna Deveare Smith) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou) Sister Outsider (Audre Lorde) The Bluest Eye (Toni Morrison) Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston) For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf (Ntozake Shange) Sister Citizen (Melissa Harris-Perry) The Color Purple (Alice Walker) Kindred (Octavia Butler) Redefining Realness (Janet Mock) Sister of the Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery (bell hooks) The Crunk Feminist Collective (Brittney Cooper, Susana Morris, & Robin Boylorn)


Episode 009: Social Media – Eaden’s Experience

In this episode we're talking with Eaden, who is a high school senior. We had a great conversation about her experience with social media and the huge role it plays in her friend group and school. We talked with Eaden about how social media is a big part of a lot of girls' lives when it comes to connecting with friends, keeping up with news, and showing the world who you are. It ties into things like self-esteem, identity, and being accepted by your peers. You might hear some of your own experience in Eaden's story, or maybe yours is totally different. Eaden shared her perspective on what it would be like to opt out of social media, including some of the potential social consequences and benefits like feeling more present with her friend group. She talks about doing things like putting her phone on "do not disturb" when she's out with friends to be in the moment, and how she tries to give herself a little break when she's feeling drained. Think about your social media use - how do posts, likes, and followers make you feel? Do you feel good when you're interacting with people on social media, or does it sometimes feel bad? And if it feels bad, are there ways you can limit yourself and stay away from some of the unhealthy aspects? Are there times you don't really show your true self? Think about it! As always, stay tuned at the end for Would You Rather and a special Girls Pick with our girl guest. Want to connect with our team or find out how you can be featured on Girls Pick? Go to Don't forget to subscribe and share with friends!


Episode 008: Girl, Stay Inside! – Video Games and Gaming

In this episode we had a lot of fun getting into one of Hannah and Shanna's favorite subjects - video games! We know there are a lot of podcasts out there about gaming, but we hope you'll get a little something different from our conversation. We'll talk about what we love about gaming, how we got started, and what we look for in a game. We'll also share our thoughts about female characters and discuss how we take up space as women in the mostly male-dominated gaming culture. This is the sister to episode 2: "Girl, Get Outside!" which is all about how great it is to get a dose of nature for your self-care. On the flip side of that, sometimes you just want to stay inside and solve a complex puzzle, chase zombies, score a few touchdowns, build a civilization from the virtual ground up, or save a beautifully crafted alternate universe from impending doom, all from the comfort of your couch. We find gaming helps us recharge and take a sometimes-necessary break from thinking about school, work, and life, while still keeping our mind active. It can also be a great way to socialize in online communities (make sure you're being safe!) or spend time with friends and family playing multi-player games. Hannah and Shanna describe why they've always loved gaming and the important part it has played in their lives for relaxation, alone time, family time, and even development of critical thinking skills. We know there are girls out there who can relate! Even if you don't relate, it's fun to hear personal perspectives on a subject that most of us have probably had at least a little bit of experience with. And if this is all brand new to you, maybe give it a try! Our takeaways: You don't have to be perfect to call yourself a gamer, and there's no one way or right way to play. Video games can be more than just a way to pass the time— they can be meaningful experiences that transport you to another world, and can be a great way to connect with others or spend needed time alone to recharge. As always, stay tuned at the end for our segments Would You Rather and Girls Pick! Have an idea for an episode or wondering how you can be featured in Girls Pick? Connect with our podcast team at