Grief Warrior was born out of Leslie Barber’s tragic personal experience—the sudden death of her husband, Steve, at 46 years old. This life-changing event, and the grief Leslie has since endured, led her to found Grief Warrior. The company is dedicated to changing how individuals, companies, and our society at large thinks about and handles grief.
Grief Warrior is both a mission and a movement. What began as a thoughtful gift box for grievers has evolved into a comprehensive selection of offerings including a training series for managers and HR, a Grief Squad crisis response team, 1:1 coaching and counseling, digital courses, and keynote presentations.
In this conversation, Leslie shares why it’s so important for leaders to learn how to be compassionate, empathetic, and supportive during an employee’s most difficult time. Such efforts include learning what we shouldn’t say to someone who’s grieving. (For example, never start a sentence with “At least …” or suggest that, “God needed another angel.”) Leslie points out that mastering such so-called “soft” skills to support grievers can directly improve things like productivity, morale, and retention. In other words, learning how to help people “feel human at work” (as one Grief Warrior participant put it), is fundamentally good for business.
With an impressive NPS score of 85, it’s clear that Grief Warrior’s services are effective—and essential. Leslie explains how she has grown Grief Warrior to a team of 20 and how she’s continuing to expand her business. As she tells us about her mission to become the “Brene Brown of grief,” Leslie says, “We can’t make grief better, but maybe we can make it less awful.”
Willow Older, a friend of the podcast, is a co-host on this episode. Willow is writer, editor, and co-founder of the must-follow Instagram account called Today I Noticed (@today.i.noticed).
Jenny Rustemeyer, a writer and producer with Peg Leg Films, shares her career path story and how she ended up as a documentary film producer. Jenny has produced This Mountain Life, The Clean Bin Project, and Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story which won multiple festival awards and took home the Leo for Best Feature Length Documentary. If you want to learn and be entertained at the same time without being overwhelmed, Jenny’s films are infused with humor and information about a variety of environmental issues. When you want to watch a documentary but are not ready for a heavy dose of reality, Jenny’s films are a perfect blend of documentary style information combined with reality based storytelling. In our conversation, Jenny shares how her film partnership with her husband, Grant Baldwin, evolved, and how they have turned their love for each other and the environment into entertaining, thought provoking films. Add these films to your must watch queue today!
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Esther Wojcicki joins I want Her Job for a third time to discuss her latest project, Tract.app, a new student directed online resource for peer to peer learning where teenagers create content for children 8+.
The Tract leaning pathways contain courses that your kids will actually want to learn. Courses such as The Science and Ethics of Junk Food Engineering, How Cheetahs Run as Fast as a Car, What does it take to become a comic book artist, What Makes a Great Soccer Player, Pokémon Plant & Animal Biology are created by teenagers and have a project based approach. This learning community supports Esther’s core belief in giving kids 20% of their time to independently pursue their interests.
Esther Wojcicki has experienced tremendous success as a mother and a teacher. Each of her daughters have impressive career achievements. Daughter Susan Wojcicki, is the CEO of YouTube, Janet Wojcicki, is a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco; and Anne Wokcicki is the founder and CEO of genetic testing company 23andMe.
Esther has been squarely at the center of Silicon Valley for her entire career as an influential, deeply loved and respected teacher. Thousands of students who went through the journalism program Esther created at Palo Alto High School (and later on to pivotal roles in the tech industry and others) often consider the experience life-changing both for the work they did, and for the respect, autonomy and the bar set by Esther.
Given her wisdom and experience as a mother and teacher, we spoke with Esther in May 2020, in episode 117, about her thoughts on opportunities for the K-12 education system to evolve throughout the COVID-19 crisis. As Esther shared in our conversation, the current education system is operating at a model that is 100 years old. Esther shared ideas for modernizing education through a hybrid model that encourages students to practice creativity, while also spending a portion of their time on projects they are interested in pursuing. Esther shared tips for parents on how to inspire younger, and older, students during homeschooling. The new Tract.app is a perfect extension of Esther’s goals to help students thrive.
Once you listen to episode #117, we recommend you go back and download episode #96, recorded in 2019. In that conversation Esther shared the guiding principles she has used to raise her wildly successful daughters, as well as empower students through her journalism program. We discussed Esther’s best-selling book, How To Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons For Radical Results, and the parenting philosophy Esther uses called TRICK: trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness.
If you want to be a part of the Tract.app pilot group, sign up with the code “WOJSPECIAL” and receive free access for a year. As a. Member of the pilot group, you will be asked to offer your feedback on the tract.app and courses.
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When Brooke Shannon realized the smartphone decision was coming for her three daughters, she felt she needed to wait, and she also suspected she was not aloe in dealing with the mounting pressures and questions surrounding kids and smartphones. Brooke created a website dedicated to waiting on smartphones and support from other families was instant. Today, the Wait until 8th organization, is a place where families can sign a pledge to wait until 8th grade until giving their kids a smartphone. By signing the pledge as a group of 10 families, both kids and families gain community support in their decision. Considering the peer pressure kids feel to get a smartphone, and the instantly addictive nature of a phone, this is likely one of the top decisions families are facing. In our conversation, Brooke shares her personal story and we discuss some of the reasons for deciding to wait on smartphones until 8th grade.
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When Alexandra Kenin realized her job was not allowing her to fully thrive, she found a way to combine her love of outdoor exploration with writing and crafted herself a dream career. Alexandra is the founder of Urban Hiker SF, Studio Chief and Senior Editor at Wordsmithie, and author of Urban Trails: San Francisco and Urban Trails: East Bay.
In our conversation, Alexandra shares how she made her career transition and the strategies she used to get her tour business started. Alexandra also shares the steps she took to quickly and successfully publish her first book. If you have considered trying an entrepreneurial idea, or if you are in the middle of a career transition, this conversation may give you the boost and tips you need for taking the next steps towards your dream career path.
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Prior to joining Lyft, Sara El-Amine had an extraordinary career in community organizing; ranging from an entry level role, to an executive director role, for the Obama campaign. After reading Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, Sara quit her job, drove to the Iowa headquarters in 2008, and offered to help. It was a bold decision that paid off. With time, Sara rose to the National Director role of Obama’s reelection campaign and served as executive director of Organizing for Action (OFA), leading Obama’s citizen-led movement for change across the U.S.
Today, as Head of Community Engagement at Lyft, Sara has jumped into the business world with the same enthusiasm she had for her organizing work. Sara really, really believes in the power of the gig economy. In this conversation, Sara shares why she made the switch to the business world and why she believes gig work has so much potential to help communities across the US and the people working in the industry. We discuss the emerging field of community engagement and what Sara and her team focus on day-to-day. Sara shares what she looks for when hiring, and the background or experience that is useful in a community engagement role.
Sara also shares some of the deeply personal reasons that motivated her to pursue a career in organizing and social change. We talk about the ways Sara’s family and personal experiences were the origin of her early passion for social impact, and how her desire to help people and improve communities continues to be the primary inspiration for her work.
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