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Stood in the Gap

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Success is not achievable alone. We all have a story of a person who took a risk, someone who imagined a life greater than what we could, someone who stood in the gap. This show shares those 'someones.' Those unsung heroes who pushed us when we could have settled for what is. Stood in the Gap focuses on the journey of where leaders were before they achieved their goals. It's stories often left untold, yet those stories made the difference between giving up and pressing on. And in those moments, what made all the difference? The words said. Each leader on our show, shares what was said in their darkest moments, catapulting them out of the darkness and into who they are today. What were those words? And why were they said? And more importantly what happened next. Join host Derrin Slack to find out.


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Success is not achievable alone. We all have a story of a person who took a risk, someone who imagined a life greater than what we could, someone who stood in the gap. This show shares those 'someones.' Those unsung heroes who pushed us when we could have settled for what is. Stood in the Gap focuses on the journey of where leaders were before they achieved their goals. It's stories often left untold, yet those stories made the difference between giving up and pressing on. And in those moments, what made all the difference? The words said. Each leader on our show, shares what was said in their darkest moments, catapulting them out of the darkness and into who they are today. What were those words? And why were they said? And more importantly what happened next. Join host Derrin Slack to find out.




Creating a New Tomorrow: Overcoming Your Obstacles with Dr. Aleesia Johnson

Dr. @Aleesia Johnson strives to live a life in which she may bless others the way that she has been blessed. In this episode of Stood in the Gap, the superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools shares the story of her journey to where she is today. Inspired by her grandfather, she has overcome many obstacles in order to continue to bless others as she has been blessed. Hear her insights on the topic of self-criticism, and learn how coming back to your own personal values can help to quash those doubts. To those who may be struggling with their own personal battles right now, she reminds us to take things a day at a time .Remember that no matter how difficult today may be, there is always a tomorrow. To hear more of her insights and inspirational advice, check out the full conversation at the link down below.


The Power of One Voice: A Conversation with an 11-Year-Old Anti-Bullying Activist

An unwavering commitment to stop bullying and empower others to stand up for themselves is a testament to the power of kindness, compassion, and resilience. In this candid and fun episode, we welcome Anaya, who is passionate about stopping bullying and empowering kids to stand up for themselves. Anaya shares her take on bullying and discusses how she sees it in the eyes of a child, all while emphasizing the importance of building self-confidence and self-esteem. People will be moved by Anaya's contagious energy and commitment to the cause.


A Friendly Reminder From Ayanna To Be Who You Are

Self-acceptance is important because it allows you to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life, and to become the best version of yourself. What does this idea look like in the eyes of a child? In today's episode of Stood In The Gap, we are talking with a very inspiring girl from North View Middle School, Ayanna Rivera, an eleven-year-old girl who, according to her, has a very opposite twin. We will find out more about him as a person, as a member of ProAct, and as a very young person with her own ideas. She is also a quick learner. In the past year, she has come out of her shell and become someone the whole company is proud of.


Devin Johnson: "Your sister has cancer."

Have you ever thought about how leaders get to where they are? How do they get through the rough times? The name Devin Johnson, CEO and founder of the tech company Kennected, is leading the way in the industry with his unique way of building and growing a successful business. In this episode, Devin showcases how he became who he is today and how he got through the hardships of his life. We'll learn more about him as a person, his purpose, and his outlook on leadership. We'll also find out why he's so committed to influencing the next generation.


Monica Kang: "If we don't know what it's like to be seen, then it's hard to notice things around us."

In this episode of "Stood in the Gap," hosted by Derrin Slack, guest Monica Kang shares her insights on how to step outside of our comfort zones and see others for who they truly are. Drawing from her personal experiences with mental health challenges and self-doubt, Monica emphasizes the importance of developing a strong sense of self-awareness in order to better understand and connect with others. By recognizing our own emotions and triggers, we become more present and open-minded, enabling us to see and appreciate the unique perspectives and experiences of those around us.


Bernard Mickle w/Marquis - "So all I can say is never discard your family."

In this episode of the Stood in the Gap podcast, host Derrin Slack is joined by his young co-host of the week, Marquis, from Circle City Prep, and his longtime friend, Bernard Mickel, for a lively conversation filled with surprises and insights. The trio starts off with a fun game of "this or that" where they answer rapid-fire questions about their preferences, revealing some unexpected choices and sparking a lively debate. Listeners will be captivated by the honesty, humor, and wisdom shared as they open up about their personal experiences. From their favorite TV shows to hunting and fishing, no topic is off-limits, but it's the deeper conversations about self-improvement and mindset that truly make this episode stand out. Whether you're looking for a few laughs or some insightful advice, this episode has something for everyone. So tune in and join the fun as Derrin, Marquis, and Bernard explore the joys and challenges of life and offer their unique perspectives on how to make the most of every moment.


Thaddeus Rex w/Christian - "You have to be able to make new decisions."

In this episode, Derrin Slack delves into a conversation with Thaddeus Rex, and shares his journey in martial arts and the importance of self-improvement. Rex, who is a black belt in martial arts, talks about the mindset required to pursue such a path and the role of positive encouragement in their journey. We also touch on the topic of decision-making, and how humans often make decisions without having all the data. Rex shares his belief that there are usually multiple reasons behind one decision and that it's important to give oneself grace when making mistakes and admit when a wrong decision has been made. This show is an insightful exploration of martial arts, self-improvement, and the importance of mindset and positive encouragement in pursuing personal goals. Whether you're a martial arts enthusiast or simply interested in personal growth, this episode offers valuable insights and inspiration.


Bill Ghormley w/ Kaycee: "We are behind you 100%."

Join host Derrin Slack as he interviews unsung heroes who have "stood in the gap" and made a difference in their communities on the Stood in the Gap podcast. In this episode, Derrin chats with co-host Kaycee and volunteer Bill Ghormley from ProAct, an organization that empowers youth to give back to their community. Kaycee shares her passion for serving others, inspired by the kindness and generosity she has received from others, while Bill reflects on how the support he received as a child helped shape his confidence and communication skills. Through these inspiring conversations, Stood in the Gap highlights the importance of community, support, and standing up for others. Don't miss this thought-provoking episode!


Matt Hadley w/ Saint R: "Do you have 10 people in your network today that have access to the tools and resources to help if you lost everything?"

Matt Hadley, the Director of Business Development at AP Engineering and Consulting, joins the podcast "Stood in the Gap" to discuss the pivotal moment in his life where he realized that relationships are the most valuable asset. He previously worked in banking and finance for 13 years and thought he was building a great network of people. However, when he left to start his own business, he realized he didn't have the relationships he thought he did. He learned the importance of relationships and now prioritizes them in his personal and professional life.


Willie Little w/ DeMarion S.: "Do Something Good in the Hood."

Everyone faces challenges in life, but it’s important to remember that we can learn from each other and grow stronger together. Willie Little and 10-year-old DeMarion, who are both guests on Stood in the Gap, share their stories of how growing up in a diverse community has profoundly shaped their perspectives. They discuss topics such as self-criticism, overcoming negative self-talk, and surrounding oneself with positive people. Willie discusses the power of community and how it can be a source of strength during difficult times. He encourages everyone to reach out to people in their neighborhood or community who could use some help, and to “do something good in the hood” – even small gestures like checking up on elderly neighbors or picking up litter on your block can make a difference. DeMarion speaks openly about his struggles with self-doubt and fear, but emphasizes that we have the power to turn these feelings into positive ones through understanding and empathy. Join us on Stood in the Gap for an inspiring journey filled with lessons about resilience, courage, and hope!


Amber Fields w/ Erina Q.: "When are you going to realize that you have everything you need within?"

Discover the story of Amber Fields on "Stood in the Gap," a podcast that delves into the people who have helped others succeed and become successful leaders. Join host Derrin Slack as he plays a fun "This or That" game with Amber, and hear her share the powerful words that changed her life: "When are you going to realize that you have everything you need within?" Uncover Amber's journey of self-discovery as she navigates through different career paths, including broadcasting, logistics and customer service, and sales. Understand the struggles of finding one's true identity and fulfillment in life, and join in as Amber shares her experience of feeling lost and searching for validation in the wrong places. Our Youth Voice segment features Erina Q., a youth leader in ProAct's Kids in Action Club at Northview Middle School of MSD Washington Township (Indianapolis, IN).


Dr. Wallace McLaughlin w/ Ra'Kiyah T.: "When Do You Want to Graduate?"

On today's show, we have a very special guest: Ra'Kiyah T., a participant in the Kids in Action Program at Willow Lake Elementary School in Indianapolis, IN. Derrin Slack, host and CEO of ProAct Indy, is thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with Ra'Kiyah and find out more about her experiences in the program. Ra'Kiyah shares some of the amazing things she has experienced so far, including going to new places and helping others in her community. Derrin also opens up about his own personal experiences, including the best compliment he has ever received - that his voice is a powerful gift. He also discusses the difficult but necessary decision to end a friendship with a childhood friend as he grew up and their lives took different paths. Don't miss this chance to get to know Ra'Kiyah and hear more about the inspiring kids that ProAct works with every week! We will also hear the story of transformation from one of Derrin's mentors, Dr. Wallace McLaughlin, formerly the President & CEO of the Fathers and Families Center (Indianapolis, IN). Dr. McLaughlin shares a bit about his personal life journey, which encompasses an esteemed career in education and the nonprofit sector. He is a poised leader who is incredibly passionate about his family, faith, and community.


Blake Behr: “Maybe it’s on you.”

Blake Behr grew up in a one-parent home. He knows how important it is for people to show up and show support for others. For Blake, one such person hit him with the cold, hard truth: were his problems the fault of others, or was some of it really on him? That question changed his life trajectory. Now the President of Ridgeline Electrical Industries and as a leader, Blake puts ownership of his words and actions at the top of his list of priorities. Blake takes time to coach his employees everyday and invests in them as people as well as employees, all because he wants to be able to stand in the gap for them, just like many people did for him. Listen to his whole story to hear how that effort has proven to be more than worth the while. In This Episode: [00:52] This/That with Blake[05:55] Blake’s story[10:07] Learning to take responsibility [12:53] How the words “maybe it’s on you” changed Blake’s trajectory[14:12] What inspired Blake to want to develop people[17:24] Problematic mindsets[20:50] Principles that define a leader[25:37] What keeps Blake up at night[27:13] Blake’s guiding principles[29:41] Why a leader needs to be empathetic[31:41] How to be a strong foundation for others[35:02] Blake’s advice to anyone struggling Quotes From This Episode: “We’re all scared boys and girls inside of our own heads that need somebody to step into that gap, that need someone to say those words to overcome that one mindset that’s holding us back from greatness.”“Nobody gets pissed that a game isn't over yet. Nobody cares because there's a game. You enjoy the game. You enjoy the process. I feel like business is the only game where we are pissed off we're not already at the finishline.”“Get curious and lean into the danger.”


Bryan Brenner: “You’re the man of the house now.”

At the age of twelve, Bryan Brenner’s life turned upside down. Suddenly, his parents got divorced, the family filed for bankruptcy, and Bryan's father told him he had to be the man of the house. For Bryan, it was a lesson in how impactful words can be in a negative way, as that sentence filled him with a sense of responsibility that he had no way of fulfilling. Still, Bryan believes some positive things came out of feeling like he needed to grow up fast, like starting a business early on and greater awareness of how he communicates with his family. In this episode, Bryan talks about the need to be thoughtful about our own words and how we absorb the worlds of others. In This Episode: [02:24] This/That with Bryan[04:12] Admitting when you’re wrong[06:43] Lessons learned growing up on a farm[07:45] What got Bryan into employee benefits[09:30] The importance of self-awareness and leading yourself[11:05] “What do I want my influence to be?”[13:34] Learning from past mistakes[16:04] The wrong words at the wrong time[22:02] “You can do anything you put your mind to.”[23:17] How Bryan’s parents shaped him as a parent[26:28] Words matter Quotes From This Episode: “The more self-aware we are, the more vulnerable we can be, the more genuine we are, the better the outcomes.”“If a human being feels known for who they truly are and they feel loved in that, they can do just about anything and work through just about anything.”“Be careful with how you absorb other people’s words because often they don’t know how they might impact you and you have to be responsible for that yourself.”


Tony Mason: “Help people because it’s the right thing to do.”

“Help people because it’s the right thing to do.” It’s a simple concept that has served Tony Mason well. As CEO and President of the Indianapolis Urban League, a community outreach program dedicated to helping minorities achieve social and economic equality, Tony lives those words every day. As Tony admits, helping others is sometimes a thankless task, but he’s had others go to bat for him and believes we should all pay it forward. Listen to his full story to see what shaped him as a man, father, and community leader. In This Episode: [02:22] This/That with Tony[04:38] Tony’s story[10:34] Where Tony’s work ethic comes from[12:57] Tony’s path to Indianapolis[16:30] Leading with your heart not your head[18:07] People who stood in the gap for Tony[22:16] Never assume you know what someone’s going through[25:30] Showing up and being vulnerable[31:03] “Help people because it’s the right thing to do”[32:17] What Tony wants people to know about him[33:26] Bring leaders together to achieve a common goal[35:21] Words of wisdom Quotes From This Episode: “We’re not guaranteed in this life that every day is gonna be smooth. It doesn’t matter how strong your faith is. There are going to be challenges, and you’ve got to find a way through all of that. It forces you to be humble and open, and vulnerable.”“We have to work together to be the cavalry for our people and our community. No one is going to do that for us.”“If you think the cost of education is expensive, try the cost of ignorance.”


Kelli Jones: “Successful products spring from a passion to improve people’s lives”

Kelli Jones is the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Be Nimble Foundation, where the goal is to create a fully diverse and inclusive tech ecosystem. Kelli has been on the tech scene for years making her way to Be Nimble where she’s doing what she sees as her life’s work - putting money into the hands of black people to fix economic disparity. She knows it’s not gonna be easy, as she says, “it’s a marathon” but Kelli is more than ready for the fight. In this episode Kelli shares how everything her Foundation does is about making an impact on people’s lives and changing systems that have been dysfunctional for far too long - something she’s wanted to do from a young age, and she’s just getting started. In This Episode: [02:15] This/That with Kelli[03:51] Kelli’s life purpose[05:24] Why Kelli does what she does[06:34] Empowering others to change the world[11:56] Advice for those who haven’t found their passion[14:33] Self motivation driven by adversity[15:57] “This is a marathon” - solving generational trauma[16:46] Mutually beneficial partnerships[20:22] Working to put yourself out of business[21:47] Innovation starts with turning your brain on[25:24] Building things to improve people’s lives[27:23] Words of encouragement to fill in the gaps you see[29:20] What Kelli wants to clear up about herself


Eric Love: “You can’t burn out, if you’ve never been on fire.”

Eric Love is the Director of Staff Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Notre Dame, where he strives to create an environment in which people treat one another with dignity and respect, regardless of their views. Coming from a biracial and bicultural family Eric always felt like he belonged both nowhere and everywhere but he found a way to make that work for him, literally. In fact, he says his work as a diversity educator started when he was a kid growing up in a place where people had often never met a black person before. But just like many of us, there was a point when he felt like his job was an uphill battle and he was burnt out. And then Eric read a quote, “You can’t burn out if you’ve never been on fire.” And he realized he hadn’t actually given it his all, to hear about the different approaches he then took check out his full story. In This Episode: [02:41] This/That with Eric[04:59] Growing up biracial and bicultural[08:45] Belonging everywhere and nowhere[13:05] Becoming a diversity educator[15:23] Advice for those struggling with feeling accepted[16:43] Those who have influenced and inspired Eric [19:42] Hiding depression and fighting to get out of it[23:52] The necessity of expressing emotions and feelings[28:05] The words that got Eric over his obstacles[32:30] The dangers of polarization and the importance of civility[35:11] Values that guide Eric[37:09] “Start from where you find yourself” Quotes From This Episode: “God gives you everything you need for success. There’s always someone better looking, smarter, richer, stronger, but you have everything you need to accomplish what you want to accomplish.”“If you get an infection, if you don’t get help it’ll get worse. It’s the same with mental illness. If you’re not feeling well, go ask for help. It’s not a weakness, it's a strength to take care of yourself.”“We’re not all supposed to all agree on everything, but we have to disagree with dignity and respect.”“You have to start where you find yourself, if you’re inadequate you have to get stronger but you have to start where you are and build slowly and intentionally from there.”


Dave Neff: “Don’t forget the mission.”

Dave Neff is the Chief Revenue Officer at Prolific where he oversees new business development, partnerships and alliances. Before Prolific, Dave served as President and CEO of EDGE Mentoring for nearly six years – the nation’s largest, faith-based, whole-life intergenerational mentoring organization. At EDGE, he was reminded not to forget his own mission and that of the business. While Dave speaks about this impactful moment, he also shares his struggle with Crohn's disease from an early age. To learn how this hardship strengthened him and helped him understand the power of reaching out to others, listen to the full story. In This Episode: [01:19] – This/That played with Dave[02:50] – Being diagnosed with Crohn's Disease [05:41] – Overcoming challenges along the way[08:34] – Balancing work and life — making the most of it[10:28] – Knowing your organization’s core[13:37] – The danger of forgetting the mission[15:58] – People who stood by Dave’s side[17:02] – What guides Dave, keeps him grounded[19:27] – Advice for those struggling Quotes From This Episode: “You have to have a natural work ethic to achieve success. At the same time, know that you can certainly impact outcomes and scenarios, but God's got to show up and bless it at the end of the day.”“Whether you lead a nonprofit or a business or even yourself, I think it's not that we need to be instructed as much as we need to be reminded to stay true.”


Wayne DeVeydt: "Don’t waste your gifts.”

Wayne DeVeydt is the Executive Chairman of the Board of Surgery Partners, Inc and the former CEO. In his journey to senior leadership, Wayne constantly reminds others to be humble, selfless, and to use the gifts God has given you. Wayne admits he grew up prideful and selfish, characteristics he still struggles with today. Only when his luxurious life disappeared did he pay attention to God’s calling. In this episode, Derrin and Wayne get vulnerable about the difficulty of family and leadership journeys. Listen to his story and his advice to young people trying to accelerate their life and career. In This Episode: [02:46] – This/That with Wayne[04:58] – Wayne’s pivotal moments[09:06] – A hero moment[14:13] – The danger of pride[15:38] – Your wife left you[21:25] – Wayne’s advice to those struggling[24:19] – How Wayne’s husband/father philosophy has evolved[27:02] – Overcoming selfishness[31:36] – Wayne’s leadership advice


Seth Morales: “I believe in you.”

“I believe in you.” On the verge of quitting the family company, Seth Morales heard these words and took ownership of the situation. Before becoming CEO of the Morales Group, Seth was increasingly frustrated with how the company was being run. In this episode, Seth shares how he changed the company to be something he believed in and what guiding principles helped him accomplish it. In This Episode: [02:12] – This/That with Seth[03:52] – Seth joins the family business[05:45] – A pivotal moment in Seth’s career[11:15] – Following in his father’s footsteps[15:22] – Seth’s guiding principles[18:03] – Be open and authentic[21:43] – The impact of “I believe in you.”[23:11] – Mental health in leadership[25:52] – Seth’s career advice Quotes From This Episode: “At a leadership level, there needs to be alignment and cohesion. If you don't have that type of cohesion then you can kiss having fun being part of an organization like that goodbye.”“I’ve learned you have to have radical candor. If you can't speak the truth, if you can't have some of these difficult conversations, it's really going to affect your relationships.”“As a leader, you're a firefighter. You have dark clouds you're always navigating around, problems and challenges, and you have to be cozy or comfortable with it.”