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Curious Navel

Storytelling Podcasts

Each week Jane Markson asks the same questions to anyone willing to answer, as she tries to figure out if we have more in common than just our navels. Whether we do or not doesn't matter — she's curious to ask, eager to listen, and enjoying conversations that wouldn’t otherwise take place.

Each week Jane Markson asks the same questions to anyone willing to answer, as she tries to figure out if we have more in common than just our navels. Whether we do or not doesn't matter — she's curious to ask, eager to listen, and enjoying conversations that wouldn’t otherwise take place.


United States


Each week Jane Markson asks the same questions to anyone willing to answer, as she tries to figure out if we have more in common than just our navels. Whether we do or not doesn't matter — she's curious to ask, eager to listen, and enjoying conversations that wouldn’t otherwise take place.




Ep 097 - Ed Schmidt

If you have ever met Ed you would remember because he would have taken the time to get to know you and even if your interaction was brief, make you happy. He doesn’t need much, and he would be sure to spend his extra time helping in simple ways – taking someone to the grocery store or visiting someone at a retirement home. His elementary yet profound perspective means he is grateful each day when his feet hit the floor, and you will be moved to do the same.


Ep 096 - Matt Kunsman

Matt’s job is perfectly suited for him because he loves interacting with people, understanding where and who they are, and making them happy. He has simple likes – a perfect ribeye steak and running with his dog outside – and a simple, yet profound perspective on life. He’s half my age, yet I learned so much from Matt and I’m sure you will too!


Ep 095 - Paco Underhill

Paco is an “offshore American” who turned a coping mechanism that he employed to manage a handicap into a profession. In addition to his motivational speaking career, Paco observes and measures behavior to improve and redesign consumer space. Though he travels around the world to deliver his message, he is most proud of his commitment to spread kindness in his community without expecting reward.


Ep 094 - Shelley Dennis

Shelley packed up her car in Oklahoma and drove to California without a job, an apartment, or a plan, simply because she always wanted to live in “Hollywood.” She’s a performer, a comedian, and a writer who turned her independence into a successful career. Talking to Shelley was more than fun – and you will have to listen to be treated to one of the best jokes I’ve heard in a long time.


Ep 093 - Chad Waelchli

Despite Chad’s melting pot heritage, he is more connected to the fact that he is a Virgo – a hard-working, sometimes over analytical guy, who is not afraid to show emotion. He took his background as an athlete to become a sports performance specialist, emphasizing fun while incorporating health and wellness into coaching athletes. His path to the career he loves was not a straight line, but as Chad says, sometimes you find your destiny when you’re trying to walk away from it.


Ep 092 - Seth Witcher

If you do anything today, listen to Seth’s episode. You will be treated to so many morsels of wisdom that you will want to hit repeat. Seth is a musician who connects with his audience on a personal level because he knows, from the bully who stopped him from singing as a kid, that not trying is worse than not succeeding. You will cheer his words, especially when he reminds you that you are never alone.


Ep 091 - Luiz Garcia

From the Navy to the Allentown Police Department, Luiz’s life is one of service. As a crime prevention officer and responsible for the Department’s social media presence, he connects with the community to foster trust. He sees his role as a guardian rather than a gladiator and wants police and public alike to treat each other with respect. And he still finds time to cycle and podcast! Listen and be impressed with the legacy of inspiration Luiz is creating.


Ep 090 - Carolyn Hoffman

Carolyn recently moved back to her family’s farm to help her dad – which is perfectly consistent with her compassionate core. She is a geriatric nurse who brings humanity to healthcare, listening to her patients’ stories and connecting with their family. Her empathy and spirituality are reflected in how she has raised her children and her reluctance to do anything selfish – unless it’s a massage or one day, if she can get past the fear, jumping out of an airplane.


Ep 089 - John Richetta

After seeing Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich play in NYC and sweat through their suits, John found his passion. He played drums for decades, traveling the country with his band. And along the way, he developed Tempo Italiano – a radio show featuring Italian music and interviewing famous Italians from Connie Francis to Father Guido Sarducci. Somehow, he also found time for other ventures from race car driving to dog rescue -- and he has not a single regret.


Ep 088 - Cat Szafran

Cat looks at the broader view to find the richest stories – both in her photography and in her perspective. She’s learned from her challenges and triumphs that failure is not the end of the world, and from the loss of her parents that she is allowed to love herself. I look forward to bringing a pot luck dish to her party and dancing through the night.


Ep 087 - Amy Trauger

A high school job at a cosmetics counter led Amy to a career she loves as an aesthetician. But Amy makes people feel more than beautiful – she makes them feel heard and cared for. She is truly selfless, happy to make others happy, so I know that if she ever gets to open a Bed and Breakfast on the beach, it will be a huge success.


Ep 086 - Cory Maletsky

Cory left behind the military and a job in IT to become an artisan woodworker, reclaiming and milling trees that can no longer provide shade, to give them a new life as unique pieces of furniture. While he may never get the chance to actually sing Stairway to Heaven, his life will be full as he shares his talent and if asked, the shirt off his back.


Ep 085 - Lou Lunden

You will want to listen to this enthusiastic and endearing woman, who learned a family secret about her faith as an adult. Follow her journey from radio personality to dog breeder, and learn how she cured her own pup from kidney disease.


Ep 084 - Brian Billig

Brian has been of service in dangerous roles – as an EMT and flight nurse and fighting wildfires in Montana – but his proudest personal achievement is being a nurse practitioner, making sure patients’ needs are met and their questions answered. He is an adrenaline junkie with a quiet, loving, and faithful attitude. I have no doubt that if cast in a movie, he would be the peacekeeper, encouraging everyone to respect life and each other.


Ep 083 - Susan Roehm

Susan is a global nomad, and having lived around the world, she says that home is wherever you land. She found her calling reaching out to at-risk kids, challenging their belief system, teaching them life skills, and changing more than a few. She is willing to make bold moves because as Susan says, if you believe you can do it, then you can.


Ep 082 - Christina Lehn

As a woman in construction, Christina is in the minority, but she doesn’t mind because she loves what she does. She can fix or build almost anything and in her “spare” time she started a candle business and hopes to expand to self-care products. But most impressive is Christina’s perspective – banish the doubters and keep trying, because if you do, you will get there, even if you have to take a detour.


Ep 081 - Steve Fleisher

He grew up boxing and combined his love of the sport with his incredibly positive spirit to become a mentor, teaching kids at boxing gyms that the intangibles – love, honor, and loyalty – have the most value. He lives in the present and makes sure that everyone who touches his life, in both big and small ways, get the respect they deserve. As Steve says, what does it cost to be nice? You will come away from listening to Steve’s perspective with a kinder and more open heart.


Ep 080 - Ned Richards

Ned loves rock and roll (the real kind), being a broadcaster, garlic, and Christmas. He is the real Santa, and if you book him in advance, he will even be the minister at your wedding. Ned says he's most proud of his children and grandchildren because they put up with him, but I doubt that’s a challenge, since he is as delightful as you would imagine Santa to be.


Ep 079 - Alani Jimenez (Alani J)

Alani has an incredible talent – he is the world’s fastest caricaturist. He loves capturing the essence of a person and loves seeing the joy his work brings. As impressive as his drawing skills are, Alani also makes an impact by embodying his belief that artists are the true leaders, demonstrated by his World Peace Leaders project and simple act of encouraging everyone he meets.


Ep 078 - Trish Anderson

Trish is the teacher you want for your fifth grader – compassionate, kind, and patient. And she’s also the mentor you want for your fitness goals since she focuses on healthy body image, not any notion of perfection. And if I’m lucky, my baklava will turn out as good as hers!