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Breaking Trail

Health & Wellness Podcasts

Breaking Trail. Every other week, Lisa Gerber talks to people who are working to make the world more habitable, more humane, and more loving. In the words of author and environmentalist David Orr, they are the “peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind” that this world needs so desperately. Through their stories, we cover themes of hope, courage, and action. This is a show for people who want to contribute to the world rather than take from it. We are living life on our own terms, defining our own version of success. We are breaking trail. Interested in being a guest? Learn more here. Let me know if you have questions!


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Breaking Trail. Every other week, Lisa Gerber talks to people who are working to make the world more habitable, more humane, and more loving. In the words of author and environmentalist David Orr, they are the “peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind” that this world needs so desperately. Through their stories, we cover themes of hope, courage, and action. This is a show for people who want to contribute to the world rather than take from it. We are living life on our own terms, defining our own version of success. We are breaking trail. Interested in being a guest? Learn more here. Let me know if you have questions!








Mary Kerrigan: Transformation through Conversation

“Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.” This quote is often attributed to Goethe but it appears to be really credited to Basil King, a Canadian clergyman. As I chatted with today’s guest, Mary Kerrigan, this quote came to mind. To make a big change, you have to be bold. You have to start somewhere and when you start, “mighty forces” will come to your aid. In Mary’s case, she starts with a conversation. And today we’re going to learn from Mary how conversation leads to...


Katie Harris: Turning Frustration into Opportunity

In his book Ecological Literacy, David Orr said we need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. He said we need people who live well in their places. People of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. These are the people who are redefining success in today’s terms and this podcast is for the peacemakers, healers, restorers and lovers of every kind. Every other week, we talk to someone who is living well in their...


Robin Hall: A Story about Finding Purpose and Adapting

Things rarely go as planned and that is very much the case for Robin Hall who had a big fat wrench thrown into her and her family’s life plan. The outdoor brand she was working for relocated and she had to make some decisions. This is a story about finding purpose and adapting. It’s a story about sitting at home and deciding to take matters into your own hands. And why not, while we’re at it, launch a sustainable outdoor kids apparel brand? Some people get kicked off the ledge and are...


Kevin Belanger: The Great American Rail-Trail

Before joining the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy team in 2016 as a trail planner, Kevin Belanger spent many years in the active-transportation world. He received master’s degrees in both Environmental Studies and Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon, where he wrote his thesis on walking and biking habits in suburban multifamily housing. After completing his formal education, Kevin spent time in the consulting world and then as the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for...


Alexis Biddle: Housing Policy and Climate Change

Alexis Biddle is the Great Communities Program Director for 1000 Friends of Oregon who’s mission is to work with Oregonians to enhance our quality of life by building livable urban and rural communities, protecting family farms and forests, and conserving natural areas. Alexis works on issues like housing, transportation, infrastructure, and more, in towns and cities outside of the Portland Metro region. Based in Eugene, he travels the state to work with residents, city planners, and local...


Josh Lasky: Every Step is a Gift

Today, I have a beautiful story for you about fatherhood, endurance, and sustainability. Josh Lasky is a father, husband, son, amateur endurance athlete, social impact professional, and author. He serves as Director of the Office of Sustainability at The George Washington University, leading the institution’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and fulfill other ambitious commitments. Lasky holds a Master’s in public administration and a Bachelor’s in political science from GW, and...


Jeremy Grimm: Loving Our Open Spaces to Death

I asked Jeremy Grimm to join the conversation about conservation because he has a great deal of experience from the public and private side, leading planning and development initiatives in small towns across the Intermountain West. For nearly a decade, he served as the planning and community development director for the City of Sandpoint, where he worked to spur economic development and job growth by securing public grants and working on capital improvement programs. Throughout his career,...


Their Story is Our Story – Liz Jevtic-Somlai

Today’s story comes from Elizabeta Jevtic-Somlai. Originally from Serbia, now living in Phoenix, Arizona. Liz knows what it’s like to flee a country she loved and to find new roots, a new way in a strange and unwelcoming country. I have the privilege of working with her at Their Story is Our Story, where we are working to tell the stories of refugees to change the perception, reception, and legislation in a way that supports people fleeing violence and persecution. Liz lost a great deal...


Scot Chisholm on Saving Farmland

Converting Caring to Action I invited Scot to be a guest when I saw he was working to save farmland in Whitefish, Montana. In fact, he founded a nonprofit of that name. But first, some critical background about Scott. He is the cofounder of Classy, a San Diego-based social enterprise and software company that creates fundraising tools for nonprofit organizations. They grew the company to 330 employees and have raised more than $4 billion for nonprofits. Early this year, they announced a...


Pam Bond: Fixing the Trail

Today I have a lovely conversation with Pam Bond whose story I just love. (Actually, stories are kind of like cheese. There are very few stories I don’t like. Just the stinky ones.) Anyway, Pam’s story is a classic full circle one. She was a very shy young adult who now empowers young women through women-only trail work weekends. Pam Bond is a GIS Analyst in Boise, Idaho but found her confidence and passion on the trail. Starting as a volunteer and now as a board member for the Idaho Trails...


The Power of the Third Choice with Sarah Panus

I am happy to introduce you to Sarah Panus because I feel like in a way we are kindred spirits which is coincidental because her business is named Kindred Speak, LLC. She, like me, had a dream to go into fashion. She pursued that dream farther than I ever did. Life took her in another direction (like it did for me) and after a series of jobs, she left her corporate position to launch her business. Sarah Panus has nearly 20 years of experience helping billion-dollar brands drive leading ROI...


Letting Go with Celeste Mergens

This is a story about not letting our circumstances define who we are. If today’s guest can do that, we can do it. She is not paying it forward. She came from a place of extreme poverty to start this global nonprofit Days for Girls International. Celeste Mergens is the founder and CEO of Days for Girls. She has led the organization since its beginning in 2008, driven by twenty years of nonprofit and business management experience. She holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and...


Leigh Bercaw: Living Life as if it Were Short

What happens when you think you have eight years left to live and then you find out it’s actually probably going to be ok? I learned so much from Leigh Bercaw of Blue Fingers Farm for the season finale of Breaking Trail podcast. First of all, Leigh was super career-focused when a health prognosis meant she more than likely had only 8 years at the most to live. You’re going to learn how this changed her outlook on life and therefore, her life. How something so seemingly terrible turned out...


Ryan Egan: Keeping Up with the Youngsters with Joint Mobility

Ryan Egan started Movement Gym, well, if we’re being honest, as a Plan B. His original plan was to be a pro snowboarder but that didn’t go well for him in many ways. And now, after years of beating and battering his body, he helps you, me and everyone, keep your body in shape so you can keep going out and doing adventures and share connection with your kids, grandkids, younger friends with a focus on joint mobility. We’re going to talk about how life led him here; about the importance of...


Sheryl Wiser: Moving at the Speed of Trust

The Director of Outreach at Tilth Alliance, and lead staff for the Eat Local First Collaborative a multi-partnership collaboration between food system organizations around the state. An established communicator and narrative storyteller, Sheryl is recognized as a builder of strategic partnerships with career experience in the non-profit, corporate, civic, and media sectors. She is a passionate advocate for sustainable agriculture and consumer education promoting local food and farms. She...


Beth Norton: Life as a Backpacking Adventure

Typically, I talk to people who have already sort of found their path. After things have landed together for them. Today’s conversation is a little different because with Beth Norton, things haven’t landed into place yet, but I found Beth’s story to be so remarkable I wanted to share it here. But really, if you think about it – we are all in the middle of our stories because we are all currently ALIVE. And that means we will still have a next chapter. Beth Norton currently works in Boise...


Raheim Robinson: How Art Can Change the World

Can you think of a time where you’ve tried something new and felt like you have no business being there, doing your thing. It’s intimidating, the environment feels unwelcome? Some of us have only experienced it here and there but this is a place many grow up in. Raheim didn’t let that stop him from doing the things he loves. And is now doing work to pay that forward with his work with younger adults and his filmmaking. So we talked about things like changing the story you tell yourself, the...


Jeff Thompson: What's in His Summer Backpack

What are your travel plans? Maybe not much or something pretty local? Maybe something in the backcountry, our best bet as we hopefully wind down on this COVID era. I miss going to Canada, big time. I miss international travel. I will say though that I have found one silver lining in this time. I have discovered many spots within a five-hour drive, of where I live. I am guessing that might be the same for you. In that vein, I wanted to replay an episode from years ago you might have missed...


John Grollmus: How the Hospitality Mindset Has Served Him Well

John Grollmus opened his first restaurant a long time ago. Today, he and one partner have five restaurants in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. He is also a writer and a ski guide. Here’s what I love about his story. He had to scramble hard to get funding to start that first restaurant. At one point, they had successfully grown to six restaurants and two partners. They could have kept growing. There were opportunities to do so. We talked about maintaining consistency through growth and happiness....


Kikkan Randall and the Battles of a Lifetime

I’m taking this week off, and we’re running a replay of an interview I did in 2018 with Kikkan Randall. Kikkan and Jessie Diggins won the gold medal in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang exactly three years ago. They are the first-ever cross country skiing gold medal in the women’s team sprint. Kikkan Randall won 17 U.S. national titles, she’s made 16 podiums in the Stage World Cup, five trips to the Winter Olympics, and had the highest finish by an individual US woman at the World...