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Summer Rayne Oakes Conversations


SUMMER RAYNE OAKES Conversations is a weekly video and audio podcast series that discusses what matters most with the cool people around the world progressing humanity forward.

SUMMER RAYNE OAKES Conversations is a weekly video and audio podcast series that discusses what matters most with the cool people around the world progressing humanity forward.
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New York, NY




SUMMER RAYNE OAKES Conversations is a weekly video and audio podcast series that discusses what matters most with the cool people around the world progressing humanity forward.






SJR Group 22 W 21st Street, 9th Fl New York, NY 10010 646-448-9931


From Building Relationships to Building Lives: Cameron Sinclair

Cameron Sinclair currently works for the Jolie-Pitt Foundation. Previously Sinclair co-founded and ran Architecture for Humanity, a charitable organization which builds architecture and design solutions to humanitarian crises. During his 14 year tenure the organization worked in forty eight countries and raised over $50M for humanitarian initiatives. Projects ranged from schools, health clinics, affordable housing and long term sustainable reconstruction after natural and man-made disasters....


The Farmer-Entrepreneur: Sarah Bellos of Stony Creek Colors

Not everyone dreams of being a farmer when they grow up but Sarah Bellos has combined her knowledge of farming with entrepreneurship to found the company Stony Creek Colors, based in Nashville, TN—a company that produces US grown natural colorants that are a cleaner and safer replacement for synthetic dyes used in the textile and fashion industry. Using knowledge, skills and connections from 9 years’ experience in the textile and dye industry, Sarah developed Stony Creek Colors to help lead...


Zoë Tryon: From British High Society to Shamanic Journeys into the Amazon

Since 2006, Zoë Tryon has lived and worked with the Achuar, Shuar, Kichwa and Waorani peoples in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes. "Living in a tribal community, there is no "I" in team. You're accountable there," she says. "Every behavior that I do there can affect another person." Given her privileged upbringing in Wiltshire, England, she admits that she "still feels like an outsider" in the Amazon. Of course, she says, there are "always amusing moments when I feel a really part of it and...


Headhunters and Venomous Birds: Lawrence Blair's adventures of Indonesia

Lawrence Blair has been an explorer for the past 35 years and is best known for his highly acclaimed TV series, Ring of Fire, which documented he and his late brother's 10-year odyssey throughout the Indonesian Islands-- an exploration that has made the annals of history. In the 35th episode of SRO Conversations, Lawrence gives us an intimate view of his travels -- including his encounters with the Asmat peoples, who he says are given both the "distinction of cannibals and head hunters"; the...


Noella Coursaris - from modeling to running a school for African girls

On the 34th episode of SRO Conversations, Noella Coursaris, a successful model discusses the path that led her to the foundation of the Georges Malaika School in her homeland; The Democratic Republic of Congo. A self-styled humanitarian Noella proudly declares that her focus is now "On my family and my school". Listen in to hear why. To view more Conversations, visit and follow @sroakes on Twitter. (This episode will be the first of five final podcasts before a major...


Ruy Santos on being African and coming to America

Ruy Santos feels as if he can die now. Having grown up in one of the poorest nations of the world--Mozambique--his recent trip to America was a "lifelong dream." As the founder of Plataforma Makobo and one of the principals at Mezimbite Forest Centre, Ruy reflects on his first trip to America; comments on attitudes towards race and opportunity in the US; the segregation, oppression and poverty within Sub-Saharan Africa; and the journey towards individual and collective opportunity. "This is...


Allan Schwarz: Living life in Africa & creating sustainable economic opportunity

In the 32nd episode of SRO Conversations Allan Schwarz, highly acclaimed architect and the Founder of the Mezimbite Forest Centre, a sustainable development organization ( in Mozambique joins Summer Rayne for a lengthy discussion on his work in establishing the foundation to the issues and attitudes that define it. "There are so few people of the people who are skilled who want to go and work in a backwards place. It really takes a life's commitment. It's not something you...


Designer Kavita Parmar of The IOU Project talks about The Power of Woman

On the 31st episode of SRO Conversations, Creative Director of The IOU Project, Kavita Parmar reflects on entrepreneurship, friendship, family, travel and falling in love. "Can we have it all?" asks Kavita, "I think you can have it all. It's just is reflected in percentages." Having left home at 16 years of age, Kavita developed a fiery sense of independence and personal identity. "I think the one thing in society that we do so wrong is that we convince people that loving what you do is not...


Esther Havens - Finding humanity through photography

"Everyone carries hope inside of them," says humanitarian photographer Esther Havens. "That is what I search for." After traveling on a joint trip with the host to Mozambique, Esther's ideas around photography began to shift. She didn't want to be a photojournalist any longer - away from her subjects, but wanted to be close to them to learn their story. When that shifted, her whole worldview changed. "The way that I photography is to interact with people first," she states. "I don't think...


Actress Alysia Reiner: Love, Motherhood & Acting 'Out of Character'

Actress Alysia Reiner may play the hard-assed assistant warden, "Fig," on the Netflix hit series, Orange is the New Black, but the character can't be further away the real Alysia. "It's kind of delightful playing the opposite of me," she says. But now a mother of Liv, her five-year old daughter, Alysia has become far more selective of her roles. "You can't help but carry over your character [in real life]," she says of her and her actor husband David Alan Basche. It's easier to...


Ironman Triathlete Brendan Brazier on achieving optimal performance

"If I didn't pay attention to nutrition, I wouldn't have had a pro-career as an athlete," remarks former ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier and co-founder of the nutrition food brand Vega. Having kept extensive nutrition journals when in training, Brendan was shocked to discover that he was gaining a pound of fat every three weeks. Every doctor he turned to said the same thing: You're putting more calories in than you're burning. But with 40 hours of training a week and a strict vegan-based...


Ron Gonen: Recycling entrepreneur turns to politics in order to green NYC

When Ron Gonen, co-founder of RecycleBank stepped down as CEO of his company, he had to determine his next move. It wasn't until he was approached by Michael Bloomberg, the 108th Mayor of NYC, that it all became clear what his next steps should be. Now as the Deputy Commissioner of Sanitation, Recycling and Sustainability, Ron is working on developing and implementing a plan to divert 30% of New York's waste stream from landfills by 2017. "If we can figure out what to do with our waste...


SRO Conversations: Talking Trash with Tom Szaky

On the 26th episode of SRO Conversations, we talk trash - both literally and figuratively with 30-year old entrepreneur, Tom Szaky, the Founder and CEO of TerraCycle, Inc. The company, which started off making compost from worm poop (now only 5% of the company's sales) has not branched out into other forms of trash, recycling 150 different types of waste across 23 countries. "It breaks down to around 40 million people collecting about 1 million pieces of trash every hour that would normally...


Dan Richfield talks about going off the grid practically

Dan Richfield doesn't consider himself a hippie or a hipster - but his organizations in Brooklyn - including Re-Co Brooklyn and Off the Grid Build may have "hippie-ish tendencies" so he says. As an entrepreneur, handyman, and house builder, Dan's personal and professional mission is to help people go off the grid and build their homes practically and sustainably. In the 25th Episode of SRO Conversations, Dan talks about his time building Earthships, starting his company in Brooklyn from the...


Jonny Dubowsky: Create Music & Heal the Earth

Jonny Dubowsky may have appeared on shows like The Today Show and The Late Show with Conan O'Brien rocking out with his band Jonny Lives! but that doesn't take away from the fact that this rocker is serious about the environment. So serious, as a matter of fact, that Jonny has no problem getting his hands dirty...quite literally. After three years of development, Jonny has co-founded Kama ‘Aina Earth Products, a company focused on locally-produced, biodynamic soil amendments using a...


Lisa Linhardt: The Art & Discipline of Jewelry Design

In the 23rd episode of SRO Conversations, Lisa Linhardt, the Founder and Creative Director of Linhardt Design, a custom and ready-made jewelry gallery located New York City, discusses the art of jewelry creation and the discipline around design. "I think it's become a quick culture," she says. "We're used to making things quickly" but that may be why the artisan nature of design is more highly appreciated. Since opening the Linhardt Gallery in May of 2008, Lisa has been coined the "green...


Simon Sinek: Why Your Job May Be Killing You

"My job is killing me!" isn't an unusual phrase. Best-selling author of Start With Why and one of the most-watched TED speakers, Simon Sinek talks about the themes around his second soon-to-be-released book, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't. The book largely focuses on course-correcting our organizations to make them safe, happy and collaborative working environments. "Humans are naturally cooperative animals. We need to cooperate to survive...If the conditions...


Steve McCurry - Capturing Life Through The Lens

Photographer Steve McCurry, famous for shooting "The Afghan Girl" and this year's world-renowned Pirelli Calendar, has never tired from taking pictures, "I get energized from working," he says with boyish enthusiasm. Having traveled through war zones to holy lands of wisdom seekers, his myriad experiences only reveal to him more of our similarities as a human race: "Whether you're Muslim, Christian, or Hindu, down deep it's all pretty much the same." In the 21st episode of "SRO...


Learning to control your ego & have deep conversations

As entrepreneurs, we often learn to project an over-abundance of confidence, feeding into our egos. That doesn't mean we always feel sure of ourselves. On the contrary, sometimes the ego and the perception of always being "on the top of our game" can have a negative impact on our psyches. Entrepreneur Matthew Kochman opens up about his personal journey on finding himself after succumbing to ego. Having been part of the business world since a junior in college upon the founding of M.E.S.S....


Fabien Cousteau on exploring the ocean's mysteries

This past July, ocean explorer Fabien Cousteau announced that he will submerge himself underwater for 31 days in the name of ocean science - a never-before-done feat callled Mission 31. In this special 19th episode of SRO Conversations, Fabien shares some of his knowledge of our blue planet and even a few laughs ranging from Speedos to dolphin sex. Having grown up in a family of ocean explorers, Fabien Cousteau is continuing the family legacy by devoting himself to the exploration of the...