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What We're Made Of

What We're Made Of

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In this podcast hosted by Tonya Taylor, we'll interview women (and a few men) who have made an impact in the world and discover what drives us to success, what keeps us going through hardship, what inspires us to do more, and what we're made of.
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Jenn McEwan transformed her love of arts and performing into a career of supporting artists and performers, and uplifting the community through art. Today she shares her journey to becoming the head of the United Arts Council, and gives us inside information on what's ahead on the Raleigh and Wake County art scene. --- Jenn McEwen is the President …
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Orage Quarles served as President and Publisher for the News & Oberserver for sixteen years, and has been on just about every Board you can think of, both locally and nationally, including the North Carolina Museum of History, the Dix Park Conservancy, and the UNC School of Media and Journalism Foundation. Today we talk to Orage about the importanc…
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Ernest Dollar calls himself a professional hoarder, but he's actually a historian who has overseen the City of Raleigh Museum , the Pope House, and other important historical sites for over a decade, and whose role is expanding to help preserve and educate on even more of the city's history. We talked to Ernest about the role of museums and histori…
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Meg Paradise has nothing against the Raleigh bar scene. Far from it! She was an enthusiastic participant in Raleigh's nightlife, but when she became pregnant, she gained a new perspective on what life without alcohol might look like. Meg went from a fear of missing out, to wondering if a healthier (but still fun) lifestyle was possible. A lot of th…
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Terrance Ruth is one of those people in Raleigh who seems to be everywhere at all times. He's been a public school teacher and administrator, a college professor, a policy evaluator, a foundation founder, and a mayoral candidate. But how would he describe himself? First and foremost, a student of the community. Today we talk about policy and politi…
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As a high schooler in Columbia, Angela Salamanca had no idea where Raleigh was. Fast forward 30 years later, Angela is one of the most influential chefs and entrepreneurs in our community, owning Centro and Gallo Pelon in downtown Raleigh, as well as Ex Voto in the Durham Food Hall. Plus she's the founder of the Day of the Dead 5K (coming October 2…
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Get ready to dive into the vibrant world of Raleigh with our special guest today, Adrienne Cole, the President and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber isn't just about stuffy business talk – it's all about fun, support, advocacy, and community-building! Join us as we uncover the many facets of the Chamber. Sure, they're expe…
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Today we welcome Donald Thompson, serial entrepreneur, investor, author of Underestimated: A CEO’s Unlikely Path to Success, host of the High Octane Leadership Podcast, and CEO of The Diversity Movement. Don has so much going on that’s making a difference in both the Triangle business community and the nation at large - and the accolades are starti…
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Some of you may know Preeti Waas as a 2023 James Beard nominated chef for her work at Cheeni Indian Food Emporium in North Raleigh. Or maybe you know her for Cheeni's famous chocolate chip cookies. What you probably don't know is the path Preeti took to get where she is today - how she uncovered her love of baking, lessons she learned starting a re…
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Today's guest is Les Stewart, a builder, tinkerer, doer, and chief beverage officer and co-owner of Trophy Brewing. Les tells us how he started making beer, what the growing and waning trends in the alcohol industry are, and if you give him enough time, he'll give you dissertations on how to make a proper tomato sandwich and the movie Steel Magnoli…
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Today, Lauren Kennedy Brady shares her journey from a successful Broadway career to making great theater in her hometown. Hear her touching memories of growing up in Raleigh, filled with shows, Broadway weekends, and the magic of theater. Tune in to find out about Theatre Raleigh's new state-of-the-art facility and exciting future programming - inc…
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If you asked an average Raleigh citizen what the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle does, you'd probably consistently get answers like "help feed people" and "fight hunger"--and both of those would be correct. But did you also know they have a food truck? And run a farm? And a catering service? And will come to anyone's home and build a garden? The Inter-Fai…
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What do you do with a future city park site that currently sits kind of as an empty parking lot? Enloe student Adrian Mangano had an idea: why not make it a skate park? And that idea became Skate Raleigh, a venture to build a temporary skate park between Capital Boulevard and West Street on the future site of Smoky Hollow Park. The area has long be…
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A little more than 5 years ago, Raleigh almost became home to the new USTA headquarters that eventually landed just outside Orlando. But the message was clear: Raleigh has a lot of people who spend a lot of time with racquets in their hands. Now the Triangle is on the verge of getting a 45-acre racquet and paddle sports super park that includes fac…
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Jonathan Melton is serving in his second term as an at-large member of the Raleigh City Council, serving on the Economic Development & Innovation and Transportation & Transit Committees. He was inspired by seeing other young leaders run for and take office, and saw a need for the city to have more varying voices making decisions. And calling back o…
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Johnny Hackett had a successful stint in the corporate world before deciding to seek out work that had more meaning. This led to the founding of #BlackDollarNC, a black owned business directory, the Black Friday Market, a retail store hosting goods from 60+ small businesses, and The Factory, and co-working and manufacturing space. We talked to John…
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We plan to roll out new Podcast Raleigh episodes soon, but in the mean time we’re kicking off the year with a Podcast Swap! Today’s episode will be from Raleigh Magazine’s Office Talk podcast. Raleigh Magazine Publisher Gina Stephens (a Podcast Raleigh guest--check out the episode!) discusses some of the top Raleigh restaurants, including which one…
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It's been almost a decade since Peace College became William Peace University and, since 2015, its leader under the new banner has been Dr. Brian Ralph. We talked to him about the school's diverse student body and array of academic studies, its focus on immersive learning, the expansion of arts and athletic programs, the growth of the North Person …
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Can you name Raleigh's Sister Cities? Do you know what it means to be Sister Cities? And did you know you (yes, YOU) have the ability to help start a Sister City relationship? Cody Charland, President, and Meetal Shah, Development Director, want to take Raleigh Sister Cities--a program that started in the 1980's--and grow it even bigger. More Siste…
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Ashley Campbell grew up watching Perry Mason on TV, so it was no surprise that she followed her dream and became a lawyer. Along the way she discovered her passion: helping ensure everyone has access to representation in the justice system. Now--after a decorated career in real estate law with Ragsdale Liggett--that passion is her singular focus as…
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Scott Dupree grew up watching and playing sports, now he brings sports to Wake County as the executive director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance. Sports are a major part of any city's tourism plan, and our area has a sterling reputation as event hosts. We talked to Scott about the economic impact of sports in our area, the rise of e-sports, o…
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As City Manager, Marchell Adams-David is responsible for a lot of employees (about 9,000) who serve a lot of people (about a half a million citizens, plus a few hundred thousand more who work and play here). So when she hires people to work for the City of Raleigh--she has one of three roles selected by the City Council, the rest are hired, directl…
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Rhett Fussell is a transportation engineer, but when he bought some real estate he realized something important: it's not that feasible for everyone to purchase real estate. That sent him down a path that eventually led to him becoming a founder and interim director of the Raleigh Area Land Trust. RALT is Wake County's first land trust; there are l…
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It's not hyperbole to say Mitchell Silver is one of the most experienced, most respected city planners in the world. And for a second time, we've got him right here in Raleigh. Silver helped develop Raleigh's comprehensive plan as its chief planning officer before moving to New York City to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recre…
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Tinu Diver is an attorney, writer, community activist and filmmaker who went from tinkering with a camera to make her first movie in elementary school in Maryland to being featured at the Sundance Film Festival. In between, she graduated from UNC's Creative Writing Program and UNC Law and pursued (and continues to pursue) a number of different inte…
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Up until barely a week before North Carolina Theatre's "9 to 5" opened--its first large production since pandemic restrictions began in 2020--Eric Woodall, the show's director and NCT's Producing Artistic Director, hadn't even seen the faces of all the cast members, since they were still practicing in masks. The precautions, the long layoff, the "w…
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Kristen Hess didn't always knew she wanted to work in architecture, but she always knew she should be in charge. Once she discovered an architect is akin to being the conductor of a symphony--bringing out the best of all the various players to create a piece--she knew it was for her. And once she came to Raleigh to study design at N.C. State, she n…
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As with any business venture, when deciding how to approach a project developers have to think about whether or not it's profitable. Gordon Grubb and his team almost always have a second, maybe equally as important issue to ponder: what will their neighbors think? When Grubb left running his family business to start Grubb Ventures in the early 2000…
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Have you ever constantly walked or driven passed a piece of property and thought, "You know what would be perfect here?" Sarah Shepherd had that same thought and, with the help of her husband Jeff, has turned withering Boylan Heights house Montford Hall into a stunning boutique hotel and event space: Heights House. We talked to Sarah and Jeff about…
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When a pivot during college sent him on a track from studying political science to broadcast journalism, Aaron Thomas already had an idea of where the best place to be a TV reporter might be: at WRAL, the local news station he grew up watching. Having now been a reporter at a few other local new stations outside of North Carolina, Thomas now has an…
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Sumit Vohra would likely be successful at whatever business he chose to run--he's smart, hard-working, dedicated to his community and philanthropic. So he chose beer. Or maybe it chose him. What began as a hobby became a side project when he was still working in the tech world. And eventually that side project became today's Lonerider: a Raleigh br…
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As a child, you could find Carly Jones pretending she was on Star Search (playing the role of both host and contestant), so it's no surprise that she ended up as a performer. She's played to international audiences and still performs music, theatre and opera on stages across the Triangle and beyond. Later came the realization that she is not just p…
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Mike Maniscalco grew up and went to college in Buffalo, New York in a time when the Carolina Hurricanes didn’t even exist. His first visit to Raleigh was to see a hockey game....as a fan of the Canes' opponent. But a radio job made him a full-time Raleigh resident, followed by a move to the TV side reporting for the Hurricanes, and now he has becom…
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Dr. Lindsay Zanno is the Head of Paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and an associate research professor in biological sciences at N.C. State University. She's also as passionate about educating the public on the scientific process and instilling trust in the people and institutions who test and research as she is her own …
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Trying to learn all about Thomas Sayre's life and works in one podcast episode? Impossible! So we're back with Part 2 of our conversation with Sayre, who has been incredibly influential in shaping what Raleigh looks like today. Be sure to check out Part 1 of the interview, where we discuss his relationship with Steve Schuster and their design firm …
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If someone asked you to close your eyes and picture Raleigh, there's a pretty good chance Thomas Sayre will be involved in the image your mind conjures up. Maybe it's the Shimmer Wall on the back of the Raleigh Convention Center. Perhaps Gyre (read: the rings) out at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Possibly one the countless buildings his firm Cl…
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Did Cassandra Deck-Brown believe she would ascend to the role of Chief when she first joined the Raleigh Police Department in 1987? Not necessarily. But she certainly didn't rule out that possibility, a show of confidence she flashed in her first interview to join the department. In 2013 she became the first Black woman to attain the role of Raleig…
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Just like it's hard to study any kind of music in American history without finding some tie to North Carolina, it's hard to have followed any kind of music in North Carolina over the past 3 decades and not found some tie to David Menconi. He was a music writer and critic for the News & Observer for almost 30 years, and in that time became as much a…
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Given the chance, Damon Circosta would love to talk to you about his recreational pursuits: surfing, frisbee, walking and, currently, slack lining. Fortunately he is equally passionate about his work as the Executive Director of the AJ Fletcher Foundation, a long-standing organization in Raleigh that originally mostly benefitted the arts but now se…
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She's an athlete. A mother. A Black woman. A World Cup Champion. As Jess McDonald puts it: "I fall under a huge amount of categories." And all those categories have been highlighted in the past year and a half of competition, where McDonald has done everything from celebrate her sport's highest achievements with her son, to kneeling during the nati…
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Be honest: prior to the last couple years, did you know who was on your North Carolina State Board of Elections? (You don't have to confess it out loud.) For a number of reasons, voting, elections, ballots and how they're all organized and run have come under higher scrutiny than any time we can remember. Someone who has thought about these issues …
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When a resignation created a vacancy on the Raleigh City Council, 54 individuals applied to be the next District D representative. The field was narrowed to a handful of folks who participated in public interviews conducted by the sitting council members, and of that group Raleigh native Stormie Forte was chosen to join the council. Once sworn in, …
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Is 2020 both the most challenging and the most fulfilling year a journalist could have? Robyn Tomlin doesn't speak for all journalists, but as the President and Editor of the News & Observer and the Durham Herald-Sun and the southeast regional editor for nearly a dozen McClatchy newspapers, she can take the temperature of a newsroom. We talked to h…
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Mickey Fearn is a delightfully charming man to talk to...but that's not why people keep calling him. Cities, governments, parks departments and college administrators all want to know what secrets Mickey has about solving community engagement and re-thinking city and park planning to reflect the needs and desires of the whole community. The latest …
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Greear Webb is a rising sophomore in the Morehead-Cain program at UNC-Chapel Hill. A year ago he graduated from Sanderson High School and at that time he had already organized a Town Hall on gun violence in the wake of the Parkland, Florida School school shooting. This led to the founding of his organization YAP! (Young Americans Protest). Now, in …
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Oscar Carmona started in January as the Director of Raleigh's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department after a long career working in parks in Texas. He has a passion not only for parks, but for local governments that have the flexibility and budgets to do big things with their park systems. We talked to him about learning his way around…
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If you're a foster child aging out of care, a newly arrived immigrant, or a domestic abuse victim fleeing a bad situation, finding a home can be hard enough. Filling that home is a whole different challenge. Seeing this need in our community, Jackie Craig helped found The Green Chair Project, which take donations of all kinds of furniture and house…
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Eric Dorfman is an author, a professor, a scientist and in early 2020 he became the Director and CEO of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. He also sits on the Executive Board of the International Council of Museums. He has previously served as the Director of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and he has studied and worked…
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When Erin Terry started doing open mic stand-up comedy just before turning 30, she noticed one thing quickly and clearly: there wasn't enough space for women. So Erin consulted with some other female comics, and decided she was going to carve out her own space. What started in 2015 as one show, and then a once-a-month show, and then more shows, eve…
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Sabrina Goode and Emma Liles are both working to preserve an important and often overlooked part of Raleigh's history: Oberlin Village, a community of African Americans near Oberlin Road that flourished after the Civil War, and Latta University, a school whose campus was at the center of the community. Goode is the Executive Director of the Friends…
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