Listen to or download the latest episode of Improvisationally Speaking the Podcast!
Episode 19: Improvisationally Speaking Episode 19 with Grammy Nominated Conductor Alastair Willis
Alastair Willis is a Grammy nominated conductor, and he currently serves as the Music Director for the South Bend Symphony Orchestra in South Bend, IN. Alastair has guest conducted major orchestras around the world in Chicago, Philadelphia, the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Herford Germany, Hong Kong & Bejing China.
What kind of skill does it take to lead a group of 60+ diverse musicians in the spontaneous creation of orchestral music (perhaps the most collaborative art on the planet), live and in front of a concert hall filled with an audience? Well, it takes passion, courage, daring, musicianship, plenty of skill and, as it turns out, the ability to “make it work” in the moment.
Hear Alastair’s story and how all of these skills play out in his life and work in this episode of Improvisationally Speaking the podcast.
Episode 18: Improvisationally Speaking Episode 18 with Nationally Recognized Lawyer-Entrepreneur, Peter Strauss
Peter J. Strauss is the founder and managing member of The Strauss Law Firm, LLC, located on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. He is also the founder and CEO of Hamilton Captive Management, LLC, one of the most respected management firms in the country. Strauss has authored several books on captive insurance, including Captive Insurance Companies for the Small Business Owner and The Definitive Guide to Captive Insurance Companies. He regularly speaks at public seminars and professional society meetings such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Strauss is a graduate of the New England School of Law, holds an LL.M. in estate planning from the University of Miami, and is currently enrolled at Harvard Business School. Peter built his practices from the ground up and has lots to say about the organizational value of being a person of integrity and trusting in your team members. For more on Peter, visit peterjstrauss.com.
Episode 17: Improvisationally Speaking Episode 17 with Journalist, Author, Artist, National Radio Talk Show Host, Celeste Headlee
Journalist, author, artist, national radio talk show host, Celeste Headlee has had an amazing career. On episode 17 of Improvisationally Speaking by Improv Alive, she talks about her work and life, and how she uses authentic conversation and elements of improvisation in every aspect of her work and life.
Celeste is an award-winning journalist who has appeared and anchored on NPR, PBS World, PRI, CNN, BBC and others in shows such as The Takeaway from PRI & WNYC, Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. She currently hosts a daily talk show called “On Second Thought” for Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta. Celeste has been a mentor and managing editor for NPR’s Next Generation Radio Project, training young reporters and editors in broadcasting. She has won numerous awards for reporting from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists and she was selected twice to be a Getty/Annenberg Journalism Fellow and was selected as a fellow with the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources. She was also among the first fellows in Reporting on Native Stories for National Native News.
Her excellent book, entitled ‘We Need To Talk. How to have Conversations that Matter’, published by Harper Collins Publishers, can be found on Amazon, Barns & Noble Booksellers, Google Books, and many other places. You can learn more about Celeste on her website at www.celesteheadlee.com.
Episode 16: Improvisationally Speaking with special guest, Paul Pierce Producing Artistic Director of the State Theater of Georgia, the Springer Opera House
Paul R. Pierce, Producing Artistic Director of the Historic State theater of Georgia, the Springer Opera House, has led the Springer for more than two decades. During his tenure, audiences have tripled and the Springer has instituted popular programs like Springer Theatricals and the Springer Theatre Academy. In addition to being a veteran stage director, he is also a playwright, actor and musician. Throughout his career, Paul has lead a number of theaters and performing arts organizations. He has faced lean times and cut-backs, and navigated the immensely challenging path to make the Springer Opera house a thriving, relevant and powerful force in American theater. His story is one of perseverance, improvisation, passion, vision, energy and grit. Give it a listen.
Episode 15: Improvisationally Speaking with Junkyard Dog, Visionary and Entrepreneur, Dr. Joey Rivera
As a youth, Joey Rivera was a high school dropout and a juvenile delinquent, bouncing in and out of prison. From a troubled childhood, Joey was in and out of the foster care system, and after repeated attempts to run away, he was ordered to join the Marines by a court judge. From that moment, Dr. Joey Rivera’s life and story did an about-face. His is a story of a second chance. A ‘life do-over’ in which a boy – a man, decided to create a life that mattered from a life that didn’t. It’s the story of a person with no initial advantages, grappling his way from nothing, to everything, relying on perseverance, momentum, and leveraging the creativity & intelligence of others.
Joey is the founder of one of the most respected small and growing business in the country, Rivera Group. The Rivera Group developed and provides some of the most cutting-edge intelligence software solutions to the government and to companies around the world. He has spent over 32 years in the military, starting as a Private in the U.S. Marine Corps and rising to the rank of Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel, where Joey is currently assigned to the U.S. Cyber Command, providing expertise in cyber warfare. His passion for helping disabled veterans and youth has him serving on various Boards for such causes in his IN/KY community. He holds a Ph.D. in Software Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. In addition to serving as President and CEO, Joey also leads Rivera Group’s R&D team.
Episode 14: Improvisationally Speaking with Marine,
Veteran, Paralympic Champion, Cross-Country Cyclist and Mega-Marathoner, Rob Jones
From October 12th to November 11th of this year, Rob Jones ran 31 marathons in 31 consecutive days, in 31 different cities from Seattle, WA to Washington DC, and many points in-between (including London, England & Toronto, CN.) This 812.2 mile self-imposed challenge would be an incredible achievement for any world-class athlete, except Rob Jones has prosthetic legs. You see, Rob Jones is a Marine who had both legs amputated after being wounded in Afghanistan, clearing IED’s for his fellow Marines in 2010. Sinse this time, Rob has become a Paralympic medalist in rowing, biked 5,180 miles across the country and devoted his life to raising money for veterans’ charities. From the Improv Alive Studios in Seattle, WA; I am Julian Schrenzel, and this podcast, Improvisationally Speaking, is very proud and honored to bring you Rob Jones.
Episode 13: Improvisationally Speaking with Shian Chuan – Leadership Coach, Facilitator and Certified NLP Master Practitioner
We live in a world where, by many measures, our differences in culture, custom, beliefs, geography, color and sex are a separating force. You need only to turn on the TV or open a newspaper to see examples of this, and the sheer amount of discord, misunderstanding and mistrust can make the most optimistic person feel overwhelmed and helpless to change the tide. In this environment, working to forge bridges between peoples across these divides can feel like a very uphill battle, but someone’s got to do it:
Enter Leadership Coach, facilitator and Certified NLP Master Practitioner, Shian Chuan. Rather than being drained by this problem, Shian is energized by it, and passionate about finding new ways for people to work together in business, commerce and govt. Her approach with the teams and leaders that she coaches is personal; helping people to recognize and tap into their greatest source of motivation so they are able to face personal and professional challenges and create an environment and follow strategies that enable them be their best and most contented self.
Episode 12: Improvisationally Speaking with Charlie Gary of Planetary Resources Inc
The life of a professional model maker is all about making things from nothing… Taking what you have and making it work. In a company like Planetary Resources Inc., which is on the leading edge of space exploration and technology, a model maker’s job is all about high stakes, and making it happen, even when you have to improvise.
Meet Planetary Resources’ Manufacturing Engineering Lead, Charlie Gary. A man whose job is exactly this.
In the hyper-dynamic, potentially dangerous environment of commercial space exploration, Charlie Gary is a pioneer, an inventor, a scientist and an improviser. His models serve as the very physical manifestation of the ideas of some of the greatest thinkers on the planet. In such an environment, does improvisational thinking have room to exist? Let’s find out…
Episode 11: Improvisationally Speaking with Jack Tucker of SpaceX
Let’s say You work for NASA… and you are in charge of the rockets. Specifically, keeping all the rockets and teeny-tiny rocket pieces that are under development in one place, and all of the rockets and teeny-tiny rocket pieces that are fire-tested and ready to fly astronauts into space, in another place. Your single-most important task is to schedule both unique sets of parts to pass through the same shops and machines so that you achieve both your engineering development needs, and your customer-focused launch schedule…all while making sure the two piles remain accounted for and separate. Your ultimate failure is someone, in a mad fervor to meet a deadline, accidentally grabbing one of your test rocket bits, and slapping it onto a launch vehicle that is carrying real people, or a company’s critical satellite, into space. In this ultra-high stakes environment, what would you do to ensure mistakes weren’t made? Now it’s time to meet a man whose job, and concern, is exactly this.
Jack Tucker began his space career as a Structures Engineer on Delta IV rockets before transitioning to a Systems Lead with the Atlas V, and finally, Chief of the Space Launch Systems Team with the USAF before transitioning from the military to assume the role of Manager of Master Scheduling with commercial space exploration company, SpaceX. He is also the founder of NewSpace Ventures, an amazingly popular online spreadsheet that allows Space Enthusiasts, Technologists & Entrepreneurs to share, discover, and discuss leading edge space technologies, products and companies with the aim of spurring excitement, generating ideas, and furthering commercial space entrepreneurship.
In the incredibly competitive, potentially dangerous, and hyper-dynamic environment of commercial space exploration, Jack is the ‘keeper of the clock’. Decisions he makes can mean the difference between the kind of success that creates legacy and goes in history books, and the kind of failure that destroys lives and dreams.
In such an environment, does improvisational thinking have room to exist? Let’s find out…
Episode 10: CAPTAIN ENCOURAGEMENT (a.k.a. Nicholas Domingo) Saving the World One Compliment at a Time
As a kid in school, Nicholas Domingo was a little overweight, his teeth weren’t perfect, and he didn’t feel very good about himself. A target for bullies, Nicholas grew angry and violent. Fast forward a few years, he found himself on a self-destructive path, handling his rage through cage match and street fighting. It took a brain aneurysm and the death of a best friend to finally come to a turning point in his life.. and turn he did! Herein lives the story of an angry child turned real-life Superhero whose mission is to change the world through the healing power of empathy, love and kindness for all!
Episode 9: Catch Frank Abagnale if You Can
Frank Abagnale is the man whose life inspired the movie ‘Catch Me If You Can, directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hanks, and also the subsequent Broadway musical hit of the same name starring Norbert Leo Butz. As a young man, he was considered the world’s greatest con man, and after serving 5 years in prison, was offered a chance to turn his life around and pay it back by working for the FBI as an undercover agent, a teacher and lecturer, which he has been doing now for over 40 years. In this episode of Improvisationally Speaking, Frank talks about what it took to pull off the things he did as a young man, and how improvisational thinking, self-resourcefulness, and creativity have helped him to become one of the best crime fighters out there.
Travis Thomas is a published author, national speaker, performance coach & trainer, and a nationally performing improv-comedian. He took his first improv class at age 25. As Creator of the company, Live Yes and, Travis works with teams, from non-profit to Fortune 500 corporations, inspiring them to see how a ‘YES AND’ mindset can be transformative. He also is a founding member of the Jove Improvisation, a professional improv troupe based in Palm Beach FL. On this episode of Improvisationally Speaking, Travis shares his life story, and the power of Improvisationally thinking in life and business.
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Episode 7: How Improv Principles Drove Mark Chenovick To Succeed Where Others Failed
Mark Chenovick, executive director of the Second Story Repertory Theater in Redmond, WA took a folding theater company with $107,000 of debt, and turned it into a prolific and profitable theater. The journey was the both most difficult and the most rewarding professional undertaking for him. Learn how sticking with the improvisation principles of Yes And, and positive thinking/action gave him the energy, inspiration and business savvy to accomplish the unimaginable.
Episode 6:Ben Kurland Is a Fixer, Improvising on the Fly
Ben Kurland, co-founder of BillFixers LLC, a company that negotiates on behalf of consumers to lower their bills without all the hassle of having to call customer service. This is a group of expert negotiators who contact their customer’s service providers and negotiate better deals at lower prices. Taking advantage of promotional rates, customer loyalty discounts, special packages, and additional credits, they improvise, negotiate and often work a bill down to a fraction of the original amount.
Episode 5: The Art of Education With Jeff Duncan-Andrade
Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade, founder of Roses In Concrete, a community school that serves black and Hispanic, inner-city youth in Oakland CA, giving them an educational opportunity that rivals it’s wealthy suburban private school counterparts. With classes in dance, music performance and arrangement, and athletics, in addition to the core curriculum. Jeff is a national keynote speaker and his council is requested by education departments across the country who are trying to build a more just, equitable education system for all.
Episode 4: Mike O’Brien’s Principles – Based on Improvisation
Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien has a tough but rewarding job. As a council member, it is his job to serve his constituency and to do what he knows in right. But sometimes doing both of these at the same time is impossible. How does he communicate effectively and effect the kind of change he is charged to bring to the city of Seattle while being under the microscope of the public eye? This discussion reveals some of Mike O’Brien’s methods, and they are surprisingly based on the principles of improvisation.
Episode 3:The multi-faceted Tessa Frost
Improv Alive proudly presents: Improvisationally Speaking the Podcast: Episode 3 with special guest, DC Lobbyist & Singer/Song writer, Tessa Frost.
Episode 2: The Unpredictable Nicoletta Crisponi
Have you ever fantasized about quitting the career you know—leaving the security and the comfort of a predictable life that you may lead and following your bliss…doing what you’re passionate about, knowing that your basic needs like food and shelter and clothing will be met…somehow? Meet Nicoletta Crisponi, who did just that..
Episode 1: Connect with Chris Schembra
Chris Schembra is a leading expert on empathy and the art of human connection. He is the founder and chief question-asker of the 747 Club, a marketing, consulting, and advisory company which awakens empathy within people in an organization. Since its inception, the 747 Club has awakened over 2,000 leaders, sparking over 60,000 relationships.
As a part of his family’s Hilton Head Island Performance Group, they have trained and empowered close to one million executives, sales people, athletes, and students on how to achieve excellence and gain the competitive edge. He mentors startups at Techstars, serves as a social influencer for Dell and American Express, and is a contributing writer to Arianna Huffington’s new corporate and consumer wellness platform, Thrive Global. He’s a busy guy, but sat down to spend some time with Improvisationally Speaking.