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When it Mattered

Business & Economics Podcasts

How leaders are forged in critical moments

Location:

United States

Description:

How leaders are forged in critical moments

Language:

English


Episodes
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Alice Ford

12/28/2022
Ep. 72 — She went from a childhood filled with fears to becoming a fearless stunt performer and wilderness adventurer / Alice Ford, stunt actor and producer/host of “Alice’s Adventures.” Alice Ford has had a long and evolving relationship with fear. An all-star gymnast, athlete, track and field runner, and diver, Ford’s life path came to a dead-end one day after she gave up her prestigious athletic scholarship from the University of Vermont and moved to the University of Arizona, to escape the cold. But instead, she wound up getting a whole lot of heat from some members of a drug cartel (tied to her then-boyfriend, who was dealing drugs) who ransacked her home one day but left her and her dog unharmed. It took that incident and several other wake-ups call to get her life on track and get back in touch with her athleticism and gymnastics roots to build a successful career in the world of stunt acting and get back in touch with her love of nature. Today, Ford is one of the industry's most up-and-coming female leads, working with directors such as Michael Bey in action-packed movies including “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” and Star Wars, suffering numerous injuries and concussions in the course of her work, which was one factor along with her love of nature, in building a parallel career track as a wildlife adventurer. Ford is producing and starring in a television series, "Alice Ford's: World Heritage Adventures.” And she also stars in her own YouTube channel called "Alice Ford Adventures,” where she hosts travel videos from her many hikes and climbs around the globe, bringing her full circle in her evolving relationship with both fear and nature. Thanks for listening! Subscribe: https://bit.ly/ChitraRagavanChannel 👍 Please Subscribe and give a Thumbs Up! 👂Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Amazon Music: 🎙️When it Mattered: https://lnk.to/whenitmattered 🎙️Techtopia: https://lnk.to/techtopia Connect with Chitra Ragavan at: 🌐 LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chitrarag... 🌐 Twitter - https://twitter.com/chitra_ragavan 🌐 Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/chitra_ragavan 🌐 Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/chitra.ragav… Other Helpful Links: ✍️ SWAAY: https://swaay.com/primed-for-pain-how... 🌐 Website: https://goodstory.io 🌐 Website: https://chitraragavan.com If you liked this episode, do check out these other episodes: Ep. 68. He survived a near-fatal shooting by ex-wife-hired-hitman / Garrett Warren, Stunt Actor/Director Ep. 69. A battered cop proves her mettle during the Jan. 6th riots / Officer Caroline Edwards, USCP Ep. 67. He built a successful startup while battling bipolar disorder / Andy Dunn, Author, “Burn Rate” Ep. 65. Mexican gangsters faked avocado purchase to launder ransom payment / Patrick Struebi, Fairtrasa Ep. 63. Held hostage by drug lord reveals the best and worst of humanity / Francisco Santos Calderón Ep. 61. Heroism, activism, reconciliation with nature / Jerry White, Nobel laureate, landmine survivor

Duration:00:48:22

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Thomas Frey

10/19/2022
Ep. 71 — A failed apprentice farmer turns into a renowned futurist / Thomas Frey, Founder and Executive Director, DaVinci Institute & Co-host, Futurati Podcast. Born on a grain farm in South Dakota, Thomas Frey was an unlikely candidate to become a world-renowned futurist and public speaker. But then one day, when he was four years old, Frey’s parents received a big mysterious box that would change his life forever. His mom put him on a tractor at age 11 to distract him from the television but Frey would prove to be, in his own words, a “terrible farmer”—because his mind was always elsewhere. In fact, it was in the future. And that’s where it has stayed ever since. I was delighted to have a deep conversation with Thomas Frey on the future of the world. He’s currently the founder and Executive Director of the DaVinci Institute & Co-host of the Futurati Podcast, with Trent Fowler. Over the past decade, Frey has built an enormous following around the world based on his ability to develop accurate visions of the future and describe the opportunities ahead. Before launching the DaVinci Institute, Frey spent 15 years at IBM as an engineer and designer where he received over 270 awards, more than any other IBM engineer. And if that isn’t proof that he’s no slacker, Frey also is a past member of the Triple Nine Society (the High I.Q. society for those over the 99.9th percentile). If you liked this episode, check out these other episodes: 🎙️Techtopia: 29. How drones, crypto, and satellites are changing the face of war / Thomas Frey & Trent Fowler 28. How Artificial Intelligence is transforming the craft of writing / Iman Oubou, “The Glass Ledge" 27. North Korean hacks complicate USG's crypto-security efforts / Carole House, NSC, The White House 26. Technology is rewiring Ukraine's narrative / Alex Deane & Bryan Cunningham 24. What does IRS Criminal Investigation do? / James Robnett, Deputy Chief, IRS (CI) 21. Can machines replace humans? / Courtney Bowman, Palantir Technologies 12. Grandson remembers a "Flying Saucer Pilgrimage" / Bryan Cunningham, UC, Irvine 13. Astrophysicist searches for aliens / Adam Frank, University of Rochester 🎙️When It Mattered: 67. He built a successful startup while battling bipolar disorder / Andy Dunn, Author, “Burn Rate” 62. Machines are the new patrons of artists / Agnieszka Pilat, Conceptual artist 55. Great-granddaughter of a SciFi pioneer spots a UFO / Alex Dietrich, US Navy 38. Father’s gift and brother’s illness led him to crypto / Joey Krug, Pantera Capital, Augur. 30. Acting class led her to build social robots / Heather Knight, Oregon State University. 28. Dermatologist breaks mold in medicine, sports, Silicon Valley / Dr. Michelle Longmire, Medable 21. Disenchanted doctor finds secret inspiration in heroin addict / Dr. Andrew Lees, Neurologist 6. Martial arts contest gives polymath life lesson / Dr. Shawna Pandya, Citizen-Scientist Astronaut

Duration:00:57:16

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Maj Gen Robert Wheeler

10/5/2022
Ep. No. 70 — He built a career path at the age of eight to become a U.S. Air Force combat pilot and safe-keeper of U.S. nuclear weapons / Maj Gen Robert Wheeler, USAF (ret), CEO, Strategic Consulting Unlimited. When Robert Wheeler was just 8 years old, his mother took him to the Chicago Air Show. It changed his life. From that moment on, Wheeler became obsessed with an unwavering goal: To become a U.S. fighter pilot. Wheeler more than fulfilled his dream. During his 32-year career in the U.S. Air Force, he served as a combat pilot in the B-52 and B-2, earning more than 5,000 flight hours and seven operational commands, including Wing Commands in the two largest bomber wings in the Air Force. Wheeler also served as the Deputy Director for Nuclear Operations, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. As such, he served as the principal adviser to the commander on issues pertaining to strategic deterrence and nuclear operations. He served as the command's principal flag officer responsible for management and oversight of the nuclear enterprise. He retired in March 2016. Major General Wheeler’s decorated career in the military culminated in his role as DOD Deputy Chief Information Officer for Information Infrastructure and Command, Control, Communications/Computers (C4), at the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon. In these critical roles, Wheeler obtained a wealth of knowledge about the ways of Vladimir Putin and has some key insights into the trajectory of the Russian President’s invasion of Ukraine and Ukraine’s surge of wins in the ground game in recent weeks. And he offers sobering insights into Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine if pushed too far against the wall. Thanks for Listening. 👍 Please Subscribe and give a Thumbs Up! 🎙️https://bit.ly/ChitraRagavanChannel 👂Contact Chitra & Link to Podcast Platforms 🎙️https://chitra.lnk.to/bio When It Mattered: 🎙️ Ep. 60. Putin laid his cards on the table years before the Ukraine invasion / Gen. James Jones, USMC 🎙️ Ep. 66. Distinguished diplomat reclaims her narrative / Marie Yovanovitch, “Lessons from the Edge” Techtopia: 🎙️ Ep. 29. How drones, crypto, and satellites are changing the future of war / Thomas Frey & Trent Fowler 🎙️ Ep. 26. Technology is rewiring Ukraine's narrative / Alex Deane & Bryan Cunningham Do check out these related articles in SWAAY ✍️ The Incredible, Indomitable Super-Survivors of Ukraine ✍️ A “Genuine Badass”: How Marie Yovanovitch Reclaimed Her Narrative and Reputation ✍️ Refugees in the Shadows: A Viral Insights Column on War, Displacement, and Super-Survivors

Duration:01:03:56

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Officer Caroline Edwards

9/27/2022
Ep. No. 69 — A battered, bloodied, police officer proves her mettle during the January 6th insurrection on the U.S. Capitol / Officer Caroline Edwards, U.S. Capitol Police (USCP). Officer Caroline Edwards of the U.S. Capitol Police’s First Responder Unit reported for duty on January 6, 2021, along with her colleagues, with little warning from her supervisors about the clear and present danger of extreme violence and the potential use of firearms from the angry pro-Trump mob descending on the Capitol that morning. Officer Edwards is believed to be the first law enforcement officer injured by the rioters as she attempted to protect the west front of the Capitol. But despite being knocked unconscious, suffering from a concussion, and getting bear-sprayed and pepper-sprayed, Edwards recovered enough to rush to the aid of her fellow officers who were in grave danger from the violent crowd. This June, Officer Edwards testified about her ordeal before the Select Committee investigating the January 6th attacks. In this dramatic interview, Edwards describes what happened on January 6th and her long and painful recovery from her injuries and trauma. And she reveals how she always wanted to be a police officer but held back for years from fulfilling her dream because she thought she wasn’t physically up to the job. She certainly proved her mettle and learned just how tough she is on the day of the riots. I’m so grateful to Officer Edwards for sharing her incredible story of courage and resilience and those of her fellow officers. They rushed to her aid on January 6th, and she, in turn, reciprocated in full measure to help save them, despite her severe injuries, when they were overrun by the violent mob intent on overturning the results of the 2020 presidential elections at the behest of outgoing-President Donald Trump. If you would like to donate to the U.S.Capitol Police Memorial Fund, please click here. Thanks so much for listening! Helpful Links: 👍 Please Subscribe and give me a Thumbs Up! 🎙️https://bit.ly/ChitraRagavanChannel 👂Contact Chitra & Podcast Platforms 🎙️https://chitra.lnk.to/bio If you liked this episode please, check out these other great episodes! 🎙️When It Mattered: Ep. 56. Retired cop learns his job has just begun / Thomas Manger, USCP Ep. 66. Distinguished diplomat reclaims her narrative / Marie Yovanovitch, “Lessons from the Edge” 🎙️Techtopia: Ep. 1. Technology is fueling conspiracy theories / Joseph Coohill, Professor Buzzkill Ep. 2. How should the USG fight domestic terrorism and radicalization? / Anne Speckhard, ICSVE Ep. 5. Women and the alt-right/white nationalist movement / Seyward Darby, Author, Sisters in Hate Ep. 8. Countering QAnon, human trafficking, and disinformation-extremism / Anjana Rajan, Polaris Ep. 9. Journalism, fake news, and the disinformation era / Marcus Brauchli, North Base Media Media Connect with and Follow me at 🌐 LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chitrarag... 🌐 Twitter - https://twitter.com/chitra_ragavan 🌐 Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/chitra_ragavan 🌐 Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/chitra.ragav… Other Helpful Links: ✍️ SWAAY: https://swaay.com/u/chitra/published-... 🌐 Website: https://goodstory.io 🌐 Website: https://chitraragavan.com

Duration:00:54:48

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Garrett Warren

9/7/2022
Ep. 68 — He survived a near-fatal shooting by a hitman hired by his ex-wife to become one of Hollywood’s top stuntmen / Garrett Warren, Stunt Actor/Director. On May 20, 2000, Hollywood stuntman Garrett Warren was hanging out at his home in Westlake Village, California with his mom when the doorbell rang insistently. When Warren opened the door, he found himself facing the barrel of a gun. What happened next was not a stunt scene with fake bullets. Warren was shot four times, including in his right eye, and left to die on his front porch. The gunman fled the scene but not before he shot at Warren’s mother twice, missing narrowly, after she came to the door to see what all the commotion was about. Warren miraculously survived the attack but lost his right eye. His ex-wife, Claudio Haro, former wife of actor Joe Pesci, plead not guilty but was implicated in the attempted murder plot and sentenced to 12 years and four months in prision. Since then, Warren has gone on to become an immensely successful stunt performer, stunt double, fight coordinator, and unit director in major movies including Avatar, Mission Impossible III, the X-Men movies, Logan, IronMan 2, Agents of SHIELD, and Spider-Man 2, to name just a few. He has taught martial arts and fight choreography to such celebrities as Jessica Alba, Jada Pinkett Smith, John Travolta, and Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a., "The Rock,” and is a personal trainer to many stars. I learned a wealth of information about the world of stunt choreography through my fascinating conversation with Garrett Warren and I know you will too! If you liked this episode, check out these other episodes: Ep. 65. Mexican gangsters faked avocado purchase to launder ransom payment / Patrick Struebi, Fairtrasa Ep. 63. Held hostage by a drug lord reveals the best and worst of humanity / Francisco Cantos Calderón / Former Vice President of Colombia Ep. 61. Heroism, activism, reconciliation with nature / Jerry White, Nobel laureate, landmine survivor Ep. 14. Terrifying robbery and kidnapping reveals what truly matters in life / Stanley Alpert, Attorney

Duration:00:47:29

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Andy Dunn

8/17/2022
Ep. 67 — He built a successful startup while waging a life-threatening battle against bipolar disorder / Andy Dunn, Co-founder, Bonobos, and Author, “Burn Rate: Launching A Startup And Losing My Mind.” Andy Dunn would never have predicted that he would wind up naked and writhing on the floor of Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric Emergency Room in New York — in the throes of a massive bipolar episode. Nor that when he would be released from Bellevue a week later, he would be arrested on charges of assaulting his then-girlfriend -now-wife, and her mother. That night in 2016 was a spectacular fall from grace for Andy Dunn, then the CEO and co-founder of the massively successful e-commerce-driven menswear brand, Bonobos. It was the most consequential but not the first time that Dunn had wound up in terrible situations during his nearly-two-decade battle against bipolar disorder. All the while, he was leading and scaling Bonobos, which he ultimately sold to Walmart. Dunn writes about his struggle with bipolar disorder in unsparing detail in his new critically acclaimed bestseller, “Burn Rate: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind.” In riveting parallel narratives, Dunn uses his own relentlessly-cyclical battles against hypomania and depression, the hallmarks of bipolar disorder or manic depression as it used to be called, to place tech startup founders under an unsparing lens as he explores the prevalence of mental illness in Silicon Valley. And he brilliantly parses the fine line between inspired genius and megalomania which are common traits among these exponentially successful entrepreneurs. Thanks for Listening. If you liked this episode, do check out these other episodes from When It Mattered: Ep. 50. Great career despite insurmountable obstacles / Leigh Steinberg, Steinberg Sports Ep. 21. Disenchanted doctor finds secret inspiration in heroin addict / Dr. Andrew Lees, Neurologist Ep. 37. Tumultuous childhood led to career in human behavior / Nicole Fisher, HHR Strategies

Duration:01:00:43

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Marie Yovanovitch

7/11/2022
Ep. No. 66 — Fired by President Donald Trump, a distinguished diplomat helps impeach him and reclaims her narrative / Marie Yovanovitch, Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and author, “Lessons from the Edge”. On April 24, 2019, in the dead of night, with no explanation, Marie Yovanovitch got a call from the U.S State Department, essentially removing her immediately from her post as Ambassador to Ukraine. A few days later, back in Washington DC — a shell-shocked Yovanovitch learned the extraordinary details of why she had been fired from her job and that the man behind it was none other than her boss, President Donald Trump. After the shock wore off, Ambassador Yovanovitch decided to fight back. Pilloried by the right-wing media, she publicly testified in Congress under oath during Trump’s impeachment hearings, resulting in his first of two impeachments. Yovanovitch has written a fascinating new memoir called “Lessons from the Edge,” in which she systematically lays out the months-long attempts by Trump and his cronies to ruin her reputation and subvert democracy using a foreign power, Ukraine. And she describes how she seized back her narrative from the former president. As Congressional hearings cast new light on Trump's last-ditch efforts to stay in power — culminating in the January 6, 2021 riots in the US Capitol by his supporters — I’m so honored to welcome the former US Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. If you liked this episode, please check out these other episodes: When It Mattered: 60. Putin laid his cards on the table years before Ukraine invasion / Gen. James Jones, USMC 56. Retired cop learns his job has just begun / Thomas Manger, US Capitol Police 15. Big-time political advisor returns to his small-town roots, finds urgent new cause /James Carville Techtopia: 26. Technology is re-wiring Ukraine’s narrative / Alex Deane and Bryan Cunningham

Duration:00:45:40

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Patrick Struebi

6/29/2022
Ep. 65 — An epiphany in Peru results in a kidnapping in Mexico that galvanizes the evolution of a fair trade social entrepreneur / Patrick Struebi, Founder & Executive Chairman, Fairtrasa. Patrick Struebi was eager to fly home to Switzerland on one of his periodic visits after spending eight years in Mexico establishing Fairtrasa, one of the world’s largest fair trade organizations for avocados and other fruits from Latin America. It was the morning of January 28, 2011. Struebi’s then-girlfriend had come to pick him up at his home, to drive him to the bus station, from where he planned to go Mexico City to take the plane back home. As he put the bags in the trunk, two cars suddenly blocked the driveway and two masked men with guns threw him into one of the cars and whisked him away in a highly orchestrated kidnapping for ransom plot. Thrown on the floor of a cold cellar, masked and handcuffed, and in the clutches of ruthless Mexican gangsters who made him watch videos of violent killings, Struebi somehow kept his cool and tried to figure a way out. He was released after five days of coordinated activity between the Mexican and Swiss governments. The kidnapping gave Struebi a lens into the economic conditions of his hostage takers and renewed his commitment to building Fairtasa as a means to lift Latin American farmers out of poverty. For International Fruit Day this July 1st, I’m honored to welcome a pioneer in the field of fair trade, Patrick Struebi, serial social entrepreneur, thought leader, humanitarian, and founder and Executive Chairman of the Fairtrasa Group. Struebi has never publicly shared the story of his kidnapping publicly. He’s doing it here for the first time so I’m grateful for his trust. If you liked this episode, check out these other episodes: 63. Held hostage by a drug lord reveals the best and worst of humanity / Francisco Cantos Calderón / Former Vice President of Colombia 61. Heroism, activism, reconciliation with nature / Jerry White, Nobel laureate, landmine survivor 14. Terrifying robbery and kidnapping reveals executive leadership lessons

Duration:00:43:12

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Sasha Chanoff

6/20/2022
Ep. No. 64 — Disobeying his boss turned a humanitarian crisis into a calling / Sasha Chanoff, CEO and Founder, RefugePoint and Co-Author, “From Crisis to Calling: Finding Your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions”. In 2000, refugee expert and humanitarian aid worker Sasha Chanoff was in the Congo on a mission to evacuate a very specific set of Tutsi refugees, who were on a UN resettlement list. But as he was about to leave with those refugees, Chanoff was invited into a tent. And what he saw in that tent would shake the foundation of his life, soul, and career. That “crucible moment” as Chanoff calls his experience in that tent prompted him to launch RefugePoint, whose mission is to address the critical and unmet needs of those who fall through the cracks of humanitarian assistance and have no other options for survival. RefugePoint has a special focus on women, children, and urban refugees. Chanoff is the co-author of the leadership book, “From Crisis to Calling: Finding Your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions,” which he co-authored with his dad, noted non-fiction writer, David Chanoff. He has won many awards and accolades for his extraordinary contributions to addressing the global refugee crisis. In this moving episode, Chanoff examines the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the global refugee and humanitarian crisis that it is exacerbating. And he dives deep into his and RefugePoints efforts to address the huge gaps in the systems put in place globally to help the 100 million people that have been forced to leave their homes, belongings, and families behind, sacrificing everything they know and love, as is happening in Ukraine today. As we commemorate World Refugee Day today and recognize the grim realities of the forced migration crisis happening all around the world, I’m honored to welcome a pioneer in the field, Sasha Chanoff, CEO and Founder of RefugePoint. If you liked this episode, check out these other episodes: 26. Technology is rewiring Ukraine's narrative / Alex Deane & Bryan Cunningham 63. Held hostage by a drug lord reveals the best and worst of humanity / Francisco Cantos Calderón / Former Vice President of Colombia 61. Heroism, activism, reconciliation with nature / Jerry White, Nobel laureate, landmine survivor 22. How is Polaris fighting human trafficking? / Anjana Rajan, CTO, Polaris 43. Ignoring advice to avoid philosophy pays off in big ways / Courtney Bowman, Palantir 21. Disenchanted doctor finds secret inspiration in heroin addict / Dr. Andrew Lees, Neurologist

Duration:00:46:03

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Francisco Santos Calderón

6/8/2022
Ep. No. 63 — Kidnapped and held hostage by drug kingpin Pablo Escobar revealed the best and worst of humanity / Francisco Santos Calderón, former Vice President of Colombia and former Colombian Ambassador to the United States. For months, Pablo Escobar, notorious head of the Medellín drug cartel and journalist Francisco Santos Calderon — one of his fiercest critics in the press, had been playing a dangerous cat and mouse game. Escobar was intent on kidnapping Santos — then the Editor-in-Chief of El Tiempo, Colombia’s largest and most influential publication — and other journalists, as a bargaining chip to prevent extradition to the United States to stand trial for his murderous greed. Santos, tipped off to Escobar’s intentions, had been changing his travel routes and work routines constantly to evade the cartel kingpin’s henchmen. But on September 19, 1990, Santos was riding home from work in his bulletproof vehicle when the unthinkable happened. His car was surrounded by gunmen who killed his driver and kidnapped Santos who was one of 10 journalists and elites held hostage by Escobar that year. He was chained to a bed and held for eight months before being released. Santos was just 30 years old when Escobar snatched him off the streets. He was lucky to be alive. Between 1980 and 2000, nearly 180 journalists were killed for speaking up against the drug cartels. Santos would launch a highly successful campaign to reduce the epidemic of kidnappings in Colombia. He left the country for two years to avoid getting assassinated by the Marxist-Leninist guerilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), after getting tipped off by the CIA about FARC’s intentions. He worked at El País the most prominent newspaper in Spain. Santos eventually was elected to serve two terms as Colombia’s Vice President under President Álvaro Uribe. He subsequently also served as the Colombian Ambassador to the United States under President Donald J. Trump from 2018 - 2020. Santos is now wearing his journalist hat again. He’s highlighting the precarious political situation in Venezuela, and speaking out about Russia, China, and Iran, which he views as the unholy trifecta threatening the stability of geopolitics today. In 1996, he and his nine kidnapped compatriots became the characters in “News of a Kidnapping,” the English-language non-fiction book by famed Colombian novelist and Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Gabriel García Márquez. The book was originally published in Spanish the year before as “Noticia de un Secuestro.’’ Santos declined to co-author “News of a Kidnapping” with Márquez, which he now says was “a very stupid decision on his part” but he later relented and spoke with Márquez over several days for the book. Apart from Márquez and the journalists Santos spoke with after his release, in the nearly-32 years since his kidnapping, he has not shared his story at all in detail. Don’t miss this riveting episode of “When It Mattered.” Thanks for Listening. If you liked this episode, please check out these other episodes: Ep. 61 - Heroism, activism, reconciliation with nature / Jerry White, Nobel laureate, landmine survivor Ep. 14 - Terrifying robbery and kidnapping reveals what truly matters in life / Stanley Alpert, Attorney Ep. 20 - Brought back to life, undertook new mission / Frank Shankwitz, Make-A-Wish Foundation

Duration:00:58:04

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Agnieszka Pilat

4/5/2022
Ep. 62: She went from poverty in communist-era Poland to becoming the artist of choice of Silicon Valley billionaires for her renaissance-inspired conceptual art of machines and robots/ Agnieszka Pilat, Conceptual Artist. Born in the shadow of communism, in the grip of poverty, in the cradle of post-industrial Central Poland, Agnieska Pilat acted on her burning desire to leave her homeland and headed to America in 2004. She landed in the Bay Area where a transformative book recommendation from her hairdresser, and her industrial roots in Poland, led to an epiphany which led her to start painting machines. First the traditional kind. Gears and widgets and meters and fire bells. Then — robots. One in particular, her big bright yellow 70 pound cybernetic “pet” if you could call it that / model/assistant/apprentice/Spot, on loan to her from the famed and controversial robot maker Boston Dynamics. Over the past decade, Agnieskza Pilat’s classically-trained, renaissance-inspired, contemporary art around man and machine, technology and automation has gained a big following among Silicon Valley’s elite billionaires. Her works of art have been acquired by collectors including Sotheby’s and tech titans such as Craig McCaw, Richard Branson, Yuri Milner, and Larry Silverstein among others. Several of her paintings are featured in the latest Matrix movie, The Matrix Resurrections. Pilat has been described as an “artist who brings technology to life,” ‘the darling of Silicon Valley,” and a “technology storyteller.” Her latest exhibition is titled Renaissance 2.0, and is an homage to Silicon Valley’s renaissance. It was such a pleasure to catch up with Agnieszka Pilat about her life and her renaissance-inspired contemporary art of man and machine.

Duration:00:54:43

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Jerry White

3/16/2022
Ep. 61 — He became a celebrated anti-landmine crusader after a horrific landmine accident but then began questioning his superhero narrative / Jerry White, Nobel Peace Laureate / Author / Professor of Practice, University of Virginia. In 1984, Jerry White went to Israel for his junior year, “study abroad” program at Hebrew University. On their spring break that April, White, and his two American roommates went out hiking in the Golan Heights in northern Israel, tracing the footsteps of Biblical prophets. They got off the beaten path to set up camp. One morning, White walked ahead of his friends and stepped on a landmine. He was just 20 years old. The tragedy of losing his right leg to a landmine transformed White into a student of resilience and survivorship and an advocate for landmine victims. He became a charismatic activist, who worked closely with Princess Diana, Queen Noor, Paul McCartney, and others to fight for a global ban on anti-personnel mines. White's high-impact campaigns in the wake of his landmine injury which cost him his right leg resulted in three major treaties, The Landmine Ban Treaty, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Cluster Munitions Ban.. In 1997, he shared the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. White also served as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under President Barack Obama and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, looking at data-driven outcomes in conflict negotiations. And he became a Senior Ashoka Fellow. But over time, White began to question his landmine survivor hero-narrative and dreamed of retiring his “landmine cape” as he likes to call it. His soul-searching on how that accident changed his relationship with nature and why that landmine came to be on that Israeli hill in the first place, has resulted in a prolific body of thinking, speaking, and writing. White has a new book out this November, called Religicide: Confronting the Roots of Anti-Religious Violence. The book is now available for pre-order on Amazon. White also wrote a 2004 book on resilience, titled, “I Will Not Be Broken.” Today, White is an award-winning teacher, activist, and leader. He currently serves as a Professor of Practice in Religion and Political Science at the University of Virginia and teaches the popular course: Religion, Violence, and Strategy: How to Stop Killing in the Name of God. My conversation with Jerry White about what happens when you dare to question your own narrative and when you lose touch with the earth was a profound experience and I am so glad to share it with you today.

Duration:01:14:00

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James L. Jones

2/21/2022
Ep. 60 — How history, geography, lineage, and duty converged to shape this retired four-star General’s decorated career / James L. Jones, Commandant, United States Marine Corps, Commander, United States European Command, Former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, & Chairman, Jones Group International. It was by no means pre-ordained but perhaps it was inevitable. Born in 1943, the son of a Marine in WWII, in a family of Marines, and spending his early childhood and formative years in France, inspired James L. Jones to join the United States Marines Corps, where he spent a distinguished four-decade career — retiring from the Marine Corps on February 1 as a decorated four-star general. It’s a real honor to speak with my guest this week, General James Jones, who during his military career, served as Commandant of the Marine Corps, Commander, United States European Command, and Supreme Allied Commander Europe. Upon his retirement, Jones served as Chairman of the Congressional Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq and later as Special Envoy for Middle East security. President Barack Obama then invited Jones to serve as his National Security Advisor. In that capacity, Gen. Jones had the rare opportunity to see then-Prime Minister, now-President, Vladimir Putin, up close and personal. In this fascinating wide-ranging narrative, Jones describes how over breakfast with him and President Obama in July 2009, Putin shared his litany of grievances that Jones believes have shaped the Russian leader’s hostility and aggression towards NATO and towards Ukraine, with an imminent threat to invade that country, potentially triggering a global conflict. Jones now leads a global strategic advisory firm, Jones Group International, based here in the Washington DC area. I know you’ll enjoy this conversation as much as I did and will find it both highly informative and relevant given Putin’s potential invasion of Ukraine.

Duration:00:49:34

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Braulio Rocha

1/13/2022
Ep. 59 — A Portuguese Roman Catholic janitor and immigrant to Canada becomes the “Bar Mitzvah Photography king” of Montreal / Braulio Rocha, Photographer & Co-Founder, Rocha Studio. I thought it would be so nice to start the New Year with a heartwarming success story. This is the rags-to-riches journey of a Portuguese Roman Catholic immigrant to Canada named Braulio Rocha, who, just five years ago, was a humble janitor at the majestic Shaar Hashomayim Ashkananze synagogue, known affectionately to its congregants as “The Shaar.” But one day, Rocha, an amateur photographer, seized a rare opportunity to trade in his mop for a camera to shoot a bris when the real photographer was a no-show. It was one of the most consequential moments of a life filled with adversity. That bris led to other brises and bar mitzvahs. And today, Rocha has become the “Bar Mitzvah photography king of Montreal!” as proclaimed in this lovely recent New York Times profile. This is a story that transcends geography, culture, language, and religion. It’s a story of hope and above all, about second chances. I hope you enjoy it! And if you like this episode, you may enjoy my other photography episodes both on this podcast, When It Mattered, and my technology podcast, Techtopia, listed below. When It Mattered: Ep. 35 — A war photographer confronts her own mortality as she bears witness to the world’s worst wars / Lynsey Addario, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist. Ep. 12 — A brain cancer diagnosis leads a 27-year old mental health worker to use photography to help parents of critically ill children reconcile with death and dying / Caroline Catlin, writer, photographer. Techtopia: Ep. 18 — A War Photographer Assesses the Ramifications of the U.S. Pullout of Afghanistan / Lynsey Addario, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photojournalist.

Duration:00:53:43

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Susan McPherson

10/6/2021
Ep. 58 — A shocking loss leads a grieving daughter and budding communications leader to rethink the meaning of human connectivity / Susan McPherson, founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, and author, “The Lost Art of Connecting: The Gather, Ask, Do Method for Building Meaningful Relationships.” When Susan McPherson was 22 years old, her parents were on vacation in Puerto Rico when the unthinkable happened. It was New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1986. Her dad had dropped her mother off at the casino of what then was the Dupont Plaza hotel in San Juan. At 3:30 pm, three disgruntled employees of the hotel who were embroiled in a labor dispute with the owners, set fire to the hotel, killing nearly 100 people — including McPherson’s mother — and causing hundreds of injuries. It was the most catastrophic hotel fire in Puerto Rican history and the second deadliest fire in U.S. history. The three men who set the fire were brought to justice and received long jail sentences and there were big changes to hotel fire safety laws and protocols. But it was small comfort for McPherson, for whom the shocking loss of her mother was a profound moment of grief and transformation. I recently had the privilege of talking with McPherson about her amazing life story and how her parents inspired her to be who she is today. She is the founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy focused on the intersection of brands and social impact. McPherson is a super-connector, angel investor, and corporate responsibility expert with 25+ years of experience in marketing, public relations, and sustainability communications. She’s a popular speaker and a regular contributor to high-profile business publications. McPherson also is the author of The Lost Art of Connecting: The Gather, Ask, Do Method for Building Meaningful Relationships — particularly relevant in today’s pandemic fueled anti-social world.

Duration:00:35:48

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Peter Bergen

9/7/2021
Ep. 57 — The Journalist and Author who Predicted the Rise of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda Examines the Legacy of the 9/11 Mastermind and the Global Jihad that he Spawned / Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst & Author, “The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden.” In 1983, a British university student named Peter Bergen traveled to Pakistan with two friends to make a documentary called Refugees of Faith, about the Afghan refugees fleeing the Soviet invasion of their country. Little did he know it at the time. But that trip would be the first of many and one of the most consequential in Bergen’s life. It led to a nearly four-decade body of work documenting the rise and fall of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, his group al Qaeda, and the global jihad they spawned, rooted in Afghanistan. Today, as we approach the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and against the backdrop of the disastrous U.S. pull out of Afghanistan, I have as my guest, CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen, here to reflect on bin Laden’s legacy. Bergen produced the first television interview of bin Laden in 1997, aired on CNN. And he was the only journalist to visit the Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound where bin Laden was killed, in a 2011 raid by U.S. Navy Seals. The building was later demolished. The author of nine books including six on bin Laden, Bergen has a fascinating new biography of the terrorist, titled, “The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden." The new biography is based on Bergen’s body of work, plus thousands of documents, journals, and other materials seized in the Abbottabad raid, along with hundreds of interviews — including with many in bin Laden’s inner circle. Using these documents, Bergen paints an intimate portrait of the terrorist in isolation in the final months, weeks, and days before he was killed by U.S. Navy Seals. In a 228-page family journal, bin Laden looks back on his global jihad revolution, concerned that his legacy and that of al Qaeda’s will be lost in the peaceful Arab Spring revolution in the Middle East. Bin Laden and his family worry that he had waited too long to speak and that he was becoming irrelevant. And he was worried about the al Qaeda brand being tarnished by the killings of Muslim civilians by groups such as ISIS. For these and more fascinating details about bin Laden’s final days, what Bergen calls, “bin Laden unplugged,” do tune in to this riveting episode.

Duration:00:47:01

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J. Thomas Manger

9/1/2021
Ep. 56 — A Retired Police Executive Returns to Duty to Help Rebuild the United States Capitol Police after the Violent January 6 Insurrection / J. Thomas Manger, USCP Chief of Police. After 42 years in policing, including for two of the largest police agencies in the National Capital Region, J. Thomas Manger had retired and was enjoying his life as a security consultant and public citizen. Then on January 6, thousands of white extremists — incited by former President Donald Trump and his minions — breached the U.S. Capitol, vandalizing the building and grounds, threatening the lives of members of Congress, of Vice President Mike Pence and his family, and mercilessly heckling, beaing, tear gassing, and injuring hundreds of ill-equipped and vastly outnumbered U.S. Capitol Police. Manger watched the events unfolding on TV, horrified and near tears as the rioters roamed freely across the Capitol, hanging nooses, taking selfies, shattering windows, breaking doors and assaulting cops, in a ruthless challenge to democracy. When Manger was invited to become the new police chief, he was reluctant to leave retirement behind. But haunted by the January 6 images, he couldn’t turn down the call of duty. Sworn in on July 23rd, Chief Manger is a little more than a month into his job and confronting some of the biggest challenges of his long and distinguished career. His 1800 rank and file sworn officers are still struggling to absorb and recover from the magnitude of those violent attacks. Hundreds are recovering from their injuries and are emotionally traumatized, scores have already left the force, and then there are the memories of two of their own who lost their lives to a stroke and to suicide after the insurrection. Put simply, many officers are experiencing a crisis of confidence in their leadership like never before. Can Tom Manger fix it?

Duration:00:49:32

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Lt. Cmdr. Alex Dietrich

6/16/2021
Ep. 55 — A fighter pilot and great-granddaughter of a SciFi pioneer sees a UFO and connects with the vast community of UFO believers / Lt. Cmdr. Alex Dietrich, U.S. Navy (retired). Lt. Cmdr. Alex Dietrich was going about her business this spring, getting ready to retire from active duty as one of the first female fighter pilots in the US. Then she got an unexpected feeler from 60 Minutes, the CBS television show. The U.S. Government was preparing to release a report on Unidentified Flying Objects or UFOs. Would Dietrich be willing to go on the show and talk about the strange sight that she and her four teammates had seen up in the air during a training mission back in 2004, the producer asked. Dietrich thought hard about it and decided that taxpayers needed to know more about the videos (now unclassified) that had been captured that day — videos that you all may have seen on the news over the past few weeks. That decision to go public and help remove the stigma associated with reporting strange sightings has put the introverted and media-shy Dietrich in the spotlight. It has also connected her to many UFO believers via social media - a strange spot for someone to be in for someone who is not a science fiction fan, despite a rich family history in science fiction writing. Read the Transcript Download the PDF Chitra Ragavan: US Navy Lieutenant Commander Alex Dietrich was going about her business this spring, getting ready to retire from active duty as one of the first female fighter pilots in the US. Then she got an unexpected feeler from 60 Minutes, the CBS television show. The US government was preparing to release a report on unidentified flying objects, or UFO's. Would Dietrich be willing to go on the show and talk about the strange site that she and her four teammates had seen up in the air during a training mission back in 2004? The 60 Minutes producer asked. Hello, everyone I'm Chitra Raghavan, and this is When it Mattered. Chitra Ragavan: Dietrich thought hard about it and decided that taxpayers needed to know more about the videos, now unclassified that had been captured that day, videos that you all may have seen on the news over the past few weeks. That decision to go public and help remove the stigma associated with reporting strange sightings, or inexplicable phenomena, has put the introverted and media shy Dietrich in the spotlight. It has also connected her to legions of UFO believers on social media, a rather strange spot for someone to be in who is not a science fiction fan, despite a rich family history in science fiction writing. Chitra Ragavan: Joining me is retired Lieutenant Commander Alex Dietrich. She served as an F/A-18F strike fighter pilot from the VFA-41 “Black Aces” of Lemoore, California. Dietrich retired from the US Navy after 20 years of service, having logged more than 1,250 hours and 375 carrier arrested landings. She served two combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Dietrich is now serving at the National Center for Atmospheric Research on their talent learning and development team, with a mission of science and service to society. Alex, welcome to When it Mattered. Alex Dietrich: Thank you. Chitra Ragavan: Why did you decide to join the Navy and become a fighter pilot? It's a rather non-traditional career, pretty formidable barriers and a daunting challenge, in addition to putting your life on the line in service of your country? Alex Dietrich: Well, I would say that I was a typical teenager. I went to an atypical high school, it was the Illinois Math and Science Academy, but I had the typical teenage angst, and I wanted to have fun, I wanted to have an adventure. And so when college counselors and teachers were asking me what I wanted to do, I had to declare a major for college and I had to take all of these standardized tests, I said, "Oh,

Duration:00:37:34

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John M. Barry

5/19/2021
Ep. 54 — How writing a best-selling book on the deadly 1918 influenza pandemic positioned this author to become a prescient thought leader on the COVID-19 pandemic / John M. Barry, Author, Distinguished Scholar, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. John Barry remembers the exact moment he gave up his boyhood dream of doing medical research for his other boyhood dream of writing. He was 13 years old and had returned from summer camp eager to examine some bacteria cultures he had grown and left in the freezer, only to find them gone. Little did he know it at the time, but after a long detour away from his childhood love for medical research, Barry would write an award winning book on science and medicine called, The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. The acclaimed book, which he dreaded writing because of its complexity, positioned Barry to give timely history, context and framing for the COVID-19 pandemic when it exploded on the world stage last year. The crisis of pandemics and how to deal with them would largely take over Barry's life. Don’t miss my fascinating conversation with John M. Barry, prize winning and New York Times bestselling author of six books, two of which, The Great Influenza and Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, have pulled Barry into various policy advising roles with state, federal, United Nations, and World Health Organization officials on influenza, water related disasters, and risk communication. Barry is currently a distinguished scholar at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans. Read the Transcript Download the PDF Chitra Ragavan: John Barry remembers the exact moment he gave up his boyhood dream of doing medical research for his other boyhood dream of writing. He was 13 years old and had returned from summer camp eager to examine some bacteria cultures he had grown and left in the freezer, only to find it gone. Chitra Ragavan: Hello, everyone. I'm Chitra Ragavan. Welcome to When It Mattered. This episode is brought to you by Goodstory, an advisory firm helping technology startups with strategic brand positioning and narrative. Little did he know it at the time, but after a long detour away from his childhood love for medical research, Barry would write an award-winning book on science and medicine called, The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. Chitra Ragavan: The acclaimed book positioned him to give timely history, context, and framing for the COVID-19 pandemic when it exploded on the world stage last year. The crisis of pandemics and how to deal with them would largely take over Barry's life. I'm joined now by John M. Barry, prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author of six books, two of which, The Great Influenza and Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, have pulled Barry into various policy advising roles with state, federal, United Nations, and World Health Organization officials on influenza, water related disasters, and risk communication. Chitra Ragavan: Barry is currently a distinguished scholar at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans. John, welcome to the podcast. John M. Barry: Thanks for having me. Chitra Ragavan: You were pretty serious about medical research even when you were 11. How did that start? John M. Barry: I was just fascinated by it. I was one of those kids that had a lab in their home. I actually had a pretty good quality though ancient microscope. It had lights, lens, and things like that, an expensive microscope. Grew my own media, agar-agar, and all these dyes. I was playing with E. coli, which can kill you, but seemed pretty tame because I could use that in my school class. I figured if it was in school, it wasn't very exciting. I sent away to the American Bacteriological Supply House in Wa...

Duration:00:41:41

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Asra Nomani

1/26/2021
Ep.53 — A journalist upends her life and career to help identify and bring to justice the network of militants who murdered her friend and fellow correspondent at The Wall Street, Daniel Pearl / Asra Nomani, journalist, author, activist and co-founder, The Pearl Project. On January 23rd, 2002, Asra Nomani was waiting at her home in Karachi, Pakistan, for her dear friend, Daniel Pearl, a correspondent at The Wall Street Journal, to return from a reporting assignment. Pearl and his wife, Mariane, who was pregnant with their first child were staying with Nomani while he was investigating the Al-Qaeda networks that had conspired to pull off the 9/11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil just a few months earlier. But Pearl never returned home. Pakistani militants kidnapped and held Pearl hostage before murdering him a week later. His captors then released a video of the beheading, shocking the world and galvanizing Nomani in her long and difficult quest to identify Pearl's killers and help bring them to justice. In this riveting episode, Nomani describes how Pearl’s murder helped shape her as a journalist, author and a feminist Muslim. And she shares how the tragedy gave her the courage to become an activist challenging the rise of Islamic extremism and what she perceives as the dangerous influence of Islamists in American politics — particularly on the Democratic Party. Nomani also discusses why she is speaking up against the growing influence of “critical race theory,” both in the U.S. public school systems and on American society as a whole. Read the Transcript Download the PDF Chitra Ragavan: On January 23rd, 2002, Asra Nomani was waiting at her home in Karachi, Pakistan, for her dear friend, The Wall Street Journal correspondent, Daniel Pearl to come back from a reporting assignment. Pearl and his wife, Mariane, who was pregnant with their first child were staying with Nomani while he was investigating the Al-Qaeda networks that had conspired to pull off the 9/11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil just a few months earlier. But Danny Pearl never returned home. Pakistani militants kidnapped and held Pearl hostage before murdering him a week later. His captors then released a video of the beheading, shocking the world and galvanizing Nomani in her long and difficult quest to identify Pearl's killers and help bring them to justice. Chitra Ragavan: Hello everyone. I'm Chitra Ragavan. Welcome to When it Mattered. This episode is brought to you by Goodstory an advisory firm helping technology startups with strategic brand positioning and narrative. I'm joined now by Asra Nomani. She's a journalist, author, activist and co-founder of The Pearl Project, a 31,000 word award-winning global investigative journalism report identifying the network of militants who perpetrated the heinous. Asra, welcome to the podcast. Asra Nomani: Oh, thank you so much, Chitra. I feel like I'm with such a good dear friend going into one of the darkest moments of my life, but I hope we can share some light with everyone. Chitra Ragavan: It's been 19 years, almost exactly two days shy of that fateful day, January 23rd, 2002, when your world and that of Danny Pearl and his whole family turned upside down. Tell me when you found out that something had badly gone wrong. Asra Nomani: Well, that day began like any other day for journalists in, posting overseas. We all wakened, Danny and his wife Mariane were visiting a house that I had rented in Karachi, Pakistan. And Danny, went about the business of all his flurry of interviews he had planned for the day. I found a car for him and we stood outside this home that I'd rented and waved goodbye to Danny. And I said, "See you later, buddy," because it was just an interview like any other that we go off to do and then come back home and write down our notes and write our dispatches. But that night, Mariane kept calling and calling Danny's phone number and he never picked up.

Duration:00:48:56