Meraki Mentors

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In episode 9 of Meraki Mentors, you’ll meet poet and creative nonfiction writer Anuradha Bhowmik, a recent MFA grad from Virginia Tech and a 2018 AWP Intro Journals Project Winner in Poetry.Anuradha never considered writing as a career, but a handful of undergraduate professors changed the course of her life. Her writing is deeply rooted in her autobiographical experiences in an immigrant family, and she discusses the aspects of her childhood that led to her love for creative nonfiction.We talk about Anuradha’s time in Blacksburg, teaching for the first time, writing as a young person and “sustaining discipline after you get your MFA.”As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
This week, we’re joined by Jovelle Tamayo, a founding member of the Authority Collective–a relatively new organization that propels the work of WOC and non-binary POC working in film, photo, and AR/VR. Together, the group is working to broaden the lens of visual media, “close the distance around resources.”Jovelle discusses image making, race and culture, how she learned the media of documentary photography and why community is more valuable than competition.In this episode, we explore why both insider and outsider narratives are needed, how to hold our favorite institutions accountable, and how these image-making has real effects on the way we interact with one another.To learn more about Jovelle Tamayo visit: http://www.jovelle.photo/.To learn more about the Authority Collective visit: http://www.authoritycollective.org/As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
Meraki Mentors is BACK with a discussion about Napturalista Moji, an Oakland-based startup that’s bringing a whole new level of diversity to the emoji game. With a mission to bring culture and inclusivity to the emoji space, this woman-centered business has tons of lessons to share!Rynae Lindsey of Napturalista Moji talks about the critical role that teamwork, planning, and patience played in creating their app, which features Black women as emojis. From creating brand awareness and merchandise to using their unique skill sets and funding their own projects, this creative team uses their creativity in the tech field every day.From idea conception to fighting through fatigue (“make it happen...even if it feels impossible or takes forever”) this season opener is sure to have you aiming high in your creative endeavors and getting the job done!To learn more about Napturalista Moji visit: www.napturalistamoji.com.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
In today's episode with sit down with Kimberly Sumpter, the NJ-based candlemaker behind Wax Kandy, a business that creates hand-poured scented premium candles.Kimberly fell in love with candle-making and now sells custom scents and leads workshops for novice and emerging candle-makers. Her path wasn't always this easy, as she faced personal obstacles in her work that sparked a chance in her business.Discover why Kimberly believes the candle is such an important symbol of life, how to know it's time to move on from something, and some tips for lighting your next candle.To learn more about Kim, visit her site.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
In this episode we speak with decorated poet and visual artist, Rachel Eliza Griffiths. She is the author of four poetry collections, the creator of Poets on Poetry, and a Cave Canem fellow, among other honors. She also teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College.Rachel Eliza talks about the critical role that reading has played in her development as a writer and speaks about creating in various disciplines; notably literature, photography and video. Her enlightening take on evolving as an artist and prioritizing time to read will have you racing to your journal!We also ask Rachel Eliza about her experience with artist residencies and she details the inspiration behind her video work. Whether we’re discussing poetry or hit music videos, there is so much to unpack in this episode. Most importantly, we walk away with a priceless piece of advice that she shares from her journey of working on a novel: The Work of being an artist “is beautiful and necessary.”As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.To learn more about Rachel Eliza visit: www.rachelelizagriffiths.com or follow her on IG: @rachelelizagriffiths.To read “What Has Changed,” visit: https://thegeorgiareview.com/fall-2017/what-has-changed-essay-and-photographs/To view P.O.P. (Poets on Poetry) visit: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/pop-poets-poetryEnjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
We’re back this week with Jacquie Bird, a Brooklyn native whose expansive career has seen Broadway, writing, choreographing, dancing – you name it!Jacquie brings her vibrant life story to the podcast to share how she’s seamlessly moved between genres and disciplines, learned to make the best decisions at the crossroads of her career, and take major risks. Along the way she’s become a prolific instructor who reminds her students not to “expect scarcity” as an artist.Whether you’re a dancer looking for some golden tips to slay your next audition, or an artist facing your own choices, you will love this special time with Jacquie!To learn more about Jacquie Bird, visit her site.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
Episode seven features poet and spoken word artist Ashley Harris, who recently published the chapbook If the Hero of Time Was Black, based on the Zelda video game series. Ashley is a Virginia native, and a CUPSI and Brave New Voices alum based in Durham, NC.Ashley Harris is a longtime spoken word artist and poet. Her powerful performances have led her to feature and perform her original poems across the country, most recently during her book tour in support of If The Hero of Time Was Black. Ashley meshes her love for poetry, Black culture and science into a collection that is truly unique and thought-provoking.During our conversation, Ashley discusses the origins of her Zelda appreciation, how she leaned on the support of her mentors to make this book a reality and how she fights against complacency for evolve as an artist.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
We’re chatting with visual artist Michelle Marra, a “spirited colorist” based out of Florida who is known for her vibrant and impressive abstract paintings. She’s here to share her triumphs and challenges as an artist with a clear reminder: don’t be afraid to fail.One of the many things we discuss this episode is the benefit of constant practice and how making the proper connections can help you to form the strength, confidence and knowledge needed to succeed at your goals. Michelle talks about her inherent yearning to create and the many jobs that finally led her to her purpose.From home studios and Instagram networking to websites and workshops, Michelle shares poignant advice that will be sure to encourage you in your endeavors.To learn more about Michelle visit: www.michellemarrastudio.com.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
In episode 10 of Meraki Mentors, Kimyona and Keoyona Ray of DoubleLinkks serve up some enlightening facts about wellness, the role of art in individual healing and what a life coach really does.These twin sisters work as traveling nurses, a truly creative full-time gig that allows them to spread their passion for wellness around the nation and see more of the world. Through it all, they’re determined to help individuals from all walks of life return to “a simple way of living.”You’ll learn exactly what that means, how they incorporate art into their path to wellness, and why your creative block might be a sign that your mind needs a little TLC.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
We are only one week away from the official launch of Meraki Mentors! As a gift to you, we are releasing a very special surprise. 1. Our official trailer!Give us a listen below and mark your calendars for our launch date, Sunday September 30th!
Show notes coming…As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
In the latest episode of Meraki Mentors, we talk to Tezarah Wilkins, podcaster, photographer, filmmaker and all-around multimedia artist about her career.Tezarah is a member of the first cohort of Google + PRX’s Podcast Creator Program, and her new show Who Taught You How to Drive? is a unique and hilarious look into human behavior, and true standout.We discuss arts advocacy, what it means to be creative in more than one field and how to expand opportunity by letting people know what you do. It’s an episode for everyone.To learn more about Tezarah, visit her site and podcast.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
In this episode we speak with Sade Sellers, an LA-based actress and filmmaker who was named an ABFF TV One Screenplay Competition Finalist, Outfest Fusion Winner, and ATT Create-a-Thon winner. Her first feature, The Root of Things, is currently in production.Sade talks about her decision to leave college and move to Los Angeles in pursuit of becoming a filmmaker. With just a few suitcases and a fervent dream, Sade set out to make a life for herself in Hollywood.We ask Sade about her finding the courage to make her own path, the role that competitions have played in her success, and how to make noise in your field of art, something she’s passionate about because “no one is going to hand you your dream.”As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.To learn more about Sade visit: www.sadesellers.com or follow her on IG: @sadesellers and Twitter: @IAMSadeSellersEnjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
In this episode, we speak with Anna Cantwell, a Los Angeles-based yoga instructor. Anna is an RYT-200 certified yoga instructor and affiliate of Mind Tribes. She offers group and individual sessions along with yoga teacher training.Anna discusses her experience working as a full-time teacher and full-time grad school student struggling to keep her mental and physical health afloat under the demands. Yoga introduced her to a new level of health and mindfulness that she took with her to the sunny beaches of California.We ask Anna about her transition to consistent yoga practice, her thoughts on creating art and healing from trauma, and she offers tips on “shattering the mental limits you put on yourself.”As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.To learn more about Anna visit: www.yogannala.com or follow her on IG: @yog_anna.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
This week we talk to Joanna Popper, the head of VR at HP and a major leader in the quest for female representation in technology, entertainment and interactive computing.Joanna discusses the twists and turns of her career, which has led her from banking to marketing, television to VR, and how she applied the famous 80-20 (making your favorite 20% of your job 80% of your next job) to her career. Along the way, she shares tips for creatives looking to network on social media.Whether you’re interested in the intersection between creativity and technology, or just wondering how to merge your artistic muscle with a fulfilling career, there’s loads to learn from Joanna!To learn more about Joanna visit: www.napturalistamoji.com.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
Our 20th episode is straight fire!! We speak with author and life coach Chrisnatha Derosier, who is an empowering woman with a message of hope and resilience for any creative who’s been stuck in a rut.Chrisnatha talks about her journey to becoming an author and the trick she used to ensure that she completed her first book. In addition to owning her story she shares how she learned to be transparent with her audience and her loved ones.If you are needing a push, looking for advice in your memoir journey or don’t know what to do with your life coach (for real!) Chrisnatha is here with all the answers!To learn more about Chrisnatha, visit her site.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
Episode six features photographer Damola Akintunde, a freelance photographer based in North Carolina. Damola has created several photographic projects and collaborated with Addidas and Elle South Africa during a recent trip to Cape Town.Damola was first introduced to the field of photography in a 7th grade yearbook class, and since then she has cultivated her talent independently to create a body of work that is breathtaking and moving. Her portraits of women and herself draw the viewer to see beauty in a new light, and it’s part of the mission of her platform the Authentic We.We talk with Damola about her inspirations, how she learned to shoot so well, how “art can be incorporated into so many different fields,” sharing your voice with the world, and why YouTube is so important.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
In this episode, you’ll meet visual artist Shanina Dionna, a Pennsylvania-based painter who is also an arts education and mental health advocate. Through her Embryo series, Shanina spreads a message of hope and empowerment and recently received a TDC grant.“If you’re passionate about it, and you’re consistent, good things will manifest for you.” It’s a belief that Shanina is living fully. We talk about her life as a full-time freelance artist, and her role in the Philadelphia arts community. Shanina also sheds life on the business of being an artist and the importance of a business plan.Shanina’s story is inspiring both personally and artistically, as you’ll hear in this episode, and her profound message to artists about purpose, acknowledgment and wellbeing is absolutely priceless.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.To learn more about Shanina visit: https://www.instagram.com/shaninadionna/?hl=enFox News interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoyerQh6hTo&feature=youtu.beEnjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
Episode eight is full of wisdom and thoughts from freelance photographer and New York-based artist Michelene Wilkerson, who is the founder the Black media arts hub, Soul Elevated.Michelene is an entrepreneur at heart with experience in the publishing industry and photography. Her experimentation with social media curating (long before Instagram had a “save” button) and mood boards lead to the founding of Soul Elevated, where she flexes her intuitive eye for catching emerging artists before they make it big.This episode, our conversation includes thoughts on freelancing, what makes a good curator, building network, and some soul-stirring thoughts on patience that might even change your life.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
Episode 5 features newly inducted NC Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, a true writer, artist and daughter of North Carolina. A self-proclaimed “cultural activist,” Jaki currently teaches documentary poetry at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.With a career that spans several decades, Jaki shares her compelling story of growing up as a young African-American girl in the rural South and how writing found her against the backdrop of a tumultuous American era. After a long career in community and service work, Jaki shares that it “took a long time to step inside and say ‘I am a writer,’ even as a published writer.”We tap into Jaki’s well of wisdom as she discusses giving herself the permission to walk away from work that consumes too much energy. She also explains what documentary poetry is, her women’s writing retreat program, SistaWrite, and of course, Beyonce’s Lemonade.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions. Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
This week’s guest is Amber Sillmon, a Detroit-based writer and founder of the millennial-focused newsletter, Honestly Sis. An accountant by trade, Amber listened to her inner creativity and made the bold move to write her first novel–with no formal literature training.Amber shares what keeps her motivated, how she’s crafting her perfect writing practice, and where she learned the ins and outs of character development and storytelling. Along the way, she created a writing platform that’s reached women around the world.In this episode, we explore what it means to trust, building community when you least expect it and why it’s important to remember that your success may not come exactly as you envisioned it.To learn more about Amber Sillmon or Honestly Sis visit: ambercsillmon.com.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
This week’s guest is Amber Sillmon, a Detroit-based writer and founder of the millennial-focused newsletter, Honestly Sis. An accountant by trade, Amber listened to her inner creativity and made the bold move to write her first novel–with no formal literature training.Amber shares what keeps her motivated, how she’s crafting her perfect writing practice, and where she learned the ins and outs of character development and storytelling. Along the way, she created a writing platform that’s reached women around the world.In this episode, we explore what it means to trust, building community when you least expect it and why it’s important to remember that your success may not come exactly as you envisioned it.To learn more about Amber Sillmon or Honestly Sis visit: ambercsillmon.com.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
In the season finale of Meraki Mentors, Katie Kay Chelena, a performance artist based in Brooklyn New York shares her experience as a member of the Neofuturists theatre company.Raised in the South, Katie shares her experience battling the “scarcity” mindset that often pervades artistic communities, and opens up about writing, directing and producing 30 plays a week.This episode if full of pearls from finding humility in nature to moving from someone who “tries to be an artist” to someone who manifests the art within.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
Episode 10 of Meraki Mentors is all about creativity in your career. We’re talking to Caity and Victoria, the co-founders of Carrboro Creative, a NC-based design firm that creates branded materials for organizations and businesses of all sizes.“There’s so much creativity in how you position yourself,” and that’s exactly what this dynamic duo has exemplified. From battling creative frustrations in the workplace to flexing their natural artistic abilities, Caity and Victoria have forged their own path and are now empowering other women to do the same in whatever form their creative pursuits may be.During this discussion we tackle balancing personal lives, work lives and motherhood, using both sides of your brain to pursue entrepreneurship and the key to good design and healthy client relationships.As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
Show notes coming…As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!
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Podcast Details

Started
Sep 8th, 2018
Latest Episode
Mar 11th, 2020
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
24
Avg. Episode Length
43 minutes
Explicit
No

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