“I have his picture on the back of my phone. There’s a little polaroid that I’ve stuck into the case. So, I’ve always got you with me.” Madison McFerrin was talking about her father, the jazz legend Bobby McFerrin, on NPR (listen to the entire interview here). Turns out the McFerrin musical legacy reaches back to Madison’s grandfather. “My father was the first African American to sign a contract with the Metropolitan Opera, 1955,” Bobby told NPR. Madison carried her family’s fame with her to the Berklee College of Music, where, she says, “people were kind of freaking out” when they realized who she was.

Not easy, she says, but her formal training “helped me gain perspective, because all of the sudden I was starting to listen to my dad’s music as a musician and not just his daughter. Sometimes you can take for granted when there’s a genius walking around your house making all these random noises that, as a kid, you don’t understand are really difficult to make.”

Now she’s making her own name, having released two projects, Finding Foundations Vol. I and II. Her music tells bold, raw stories, in sharp contrast her father’s ultra-mellow 1988 hit, Don’t Worry, Be Happy. One of her songs, Can You See, deals with police brutality. “Having the national anthem in there and changing some the words really seemed to hit home about what the topic actually is,” Madison told NPR. “It gets summed up at the end when I say, ‘but so proudly you hail, while we are all out there screaming.’”

Clearly, Bobby McFerrin raised an outspoken daughter, and he loves her risk-taking: “Maddie has built her career on words,” he said, “and I built it on non-words. She’s more of a lyricist. She’s full of words and what she has to say is very, very provocative and interesting. I wish I had that gift.”


LaDonna Powell never turned away from revolution. And the entire time she spent working at JFK airport for Allied Security, she fought for what was right, no matter the cost. She told her story to This American Life, beginning with her start at Allied, when she was posted in various guard towers around the acres of tarmac. From day one on the job LaDonna reported the rampant discrimination and bad behavior she saw at every turn. Women at Allied were denied lunch and bathroom breaks, forced to pee in coffee cups and bleed on themselves during 12-hour shifts. They were called names and exposed to porn, sexually harassed, and raped. But LaDonna remained principled and confident. “I would just give the morals my mom dropped in my brain, hoping it would stick to them,” she told NPR. She assured herself, hey, everyone has a boss, and if she worked hard enough and climbed the ladder she’d find responsible leadership.

That attitude got her promoted to supervisor; she was the youngest woman to advance so quickly. When she was appointed to train the new recruits, she told them to focus on their work, but also emphasized that they mattered. They were worth it. And if they were wronged, they should report it, report it, report it. Which is what she continued to do every time she saw women being mistreated.

The discrimination didn’t stop. LaDonna did every single thing in her power to make it right. She was never afraid to speak truth and logic to power, but no one at Allied listened.

Instead, they fired her.

This American Life asked LaDonna if she ever felt powerful during her time at Allied. When she made supervisor? No. When she was training new recruits? No. When she filed a lawsuit against the company that finally forced the CEO to respond? No. She said in the interview, “I still feel at his mercy. I feel like I am caged because of them.”

And yet: She has returned to JFK working a better and higher paying job as a security detail for VIPs. She escorts dignitaries through the terminals armed with an M4 and a pistol. Her words are pained, but her voice throughout this NPR interview? Clear, unafraid, outraged, energized. She owns every bit of her story, including her most vulnerable moments, and we’re all better for it. Listen for yourself here: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/647/ladonna

How to give a commencement speech that goes viral? Tell your absolute truth (and wear foxy kicks)

The Barnard graduating class was on their feet cheering, but Abby Wambach still had no idea she’d just given the kick-assiest commencement address of 2018. That news came later, via YouTube (more than 100K views and counting), and Twitter, and Good Morning America. Her speech urged women to stop playing Little Red Riding Hood—all obedience and acceptance—and join a new kind of female wolf pack, remaking the world. If you haven’t already, watch it here, and you’ll know what it feels like to be in a locker room with an Olympic-caliber coach. (While you’re there, check out her bedazzled sneakers—a little footwear rebellion under her ceremonial graduation robe-thing.) Where did the inspiration for the speech come from, we wondered? The soccer legend, Together Live speaker and wife of TL co-founder Glennon Doyle told us it was a process. Before she could say it to others she had to live it herself.

Together Live: The speech was eff-ing incredible. Congratulations.

Abby Wambach: Thank you.

TL: Tell me about the process and how it came together.

AW: Glennon calls me Captain America because I’m always trying to figure out how everyone can coexist in a positive way, in a better way than we can exist as individuals. And over the course of my career I learned certain principles, or rules, that I just live by. Then about a year and half ago I came across this beautiful story about these wolves that were reintegrated into Yellowstone national park, and I was able to attach to it some of the things that I knew about sport. I drew from all of that, and because my wife is an author and a thought leader, she’s able to help me make my ideas beautiful. She’s a champion and an expert at making something very complicated seem simple with language. I think that’s our special sauce as a couple. She makes me sound much better, and much more beautiful and much simpler than I actually am.

TL: Did you spend a lot of time talking this through, the two of you?

AW: Yes. It was about a sixty-hour production from start to finish, to cultivate and create what ended up becoming this Barnard speech. We sat down every day for two hours and I would basically just talk. It’s ironic because that’s kind of what we do on a daily basis but we don’t necessarily have a focal point where we’re trying to accomplish something on deadline for a big crowd. So, as the speech started to evolve and to morph, I started to feel like, Oh my gosh, this is actually really good. This is the best thing I’ve ever done. And I started feeling really proud of it and turned up the volume on how much thought and time I was putting in. Of course, Glennon has her own deadlines, so to find the time in our day to get this thing to be as beautiful as it was—that was a miracle in a lot of ways, but such a joy. In fact, it actually was the most fun I’ve had since retiring from playing soccer.

TL: Wow! That seems like the universe speaking to you somehow, right?

AW: Of course. I realized that I just haven’t been around a team for a while. This gave me a focus, it gave me that team feeling, it gave me that feeling that the Together tour pulled out of me. Even this morning I said to Glennon, this makes me feel like I’m on a team again, and I like this feeling. Because I don’t feel so alone, and I think that’s what we’re all here for. That’s why the wolf pack imagery is so important.

TL: Yes, we are all, on some level, pack people. So, when did you marry the wolf pack image with the Little Red Riding Hood idea? Every woman heard that story as a child, and we carry it with us.

AW: One of the stories that Glennon uses a lot is the story that’s been told over and over for the longest time in humanity: the story of Adam and Eve. Eve gets curious and hungry, and she reaches and grabs an apple, and the world falls apart. Right? So, from the time that we’re born, this is the one centralized story that we’re told, and that story gets morphed into Little Red Riding Hood, gets morphed into every fairytale that little girls and boys are told the world over.

TL: Right—and the message to women is don’t reach, don’t stray.

AW: Yes, that’s why it’s so important to make something so complicated sound simple and understandable and relatable to every person’s life. It uncovers what’s unconscious inside of us. So, it’s like: Oh yeah, I didn’t know that I was doing that.

TL: Ok, some of us are very literal minded and struggle with the fact that the wolf is kind of sneaky. He’s clever and he bares his teeth. Do we need a little sneaky, do we need a bit of scary? Is that important for women as we invest in becoming more wolf, less Little Red? Is it important for us to come up with our wolf strategies?

AW: Yes. But if you’re looking at it literally, we don’t want to become the Big Bad Wolf. We want to be the wolves that are conscious of what’s out there and aware of what’s going on. We don’t want to live in this nature of just being female or male—what has been characteristically and historically feminine, and characteristically and historically masculine. What’s been feminine has been shamed out of women, and what’s been masculine has been revered and celebrated. I think we have to redefine what masculine is and what feminine is and what our new culture needs for our society to evolve. We need to recreate what kind of people we all want to be. And it’s not only masculine and it’s not only feminine—it’s being able to use both.

Asking Polly How to Find Purpose

In this week’s Ask Polly advice column, Heather Havrilesky offers some sound advice to a young millennial woman struggling to find her purpose. While she leads a seemingly great personal and professional life – good finances, a loving husband and a booming career – whenever she finds herself forced to focus on her relationship with herself, she thinks What’s the point? If you find yourself asking the same question, Heather’s response is worth a read.

Here are a few other things we’re chatting about this week:

  • From romance to friendship to family to community, we shared a lot of love stories from our stage this fall. But what if we only had 13 words to do so? Check out how fans of Modern Love described the loves of their lives in just a few words.
  • NPR’s Book Concierge is our new go-to guide for more than 350 of this year’s best books. Grab your glasses and dive in here.
  • Join Glennon Doyle’s annual love offering, Holiday Hands, to help those in our communities who need a little extra this holiday season. Click here for more details.


Fighting in the limelight for those in the shadows

Women are voicing solidarity as stories of sexual harassment are being shared with the media around the world. But the decision to speak up or stay silent is not always easy, especially for women in industries with extreme power differentials. For those in vulnerable groups, such as domestic workers or members of the service industry, outing a predator on Twitter likely won’t yield the same affects as we’ve seen with offenders in Hollywood. Instead, collective action by groups such as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has proven to be another successful way to fight back.

Here are a few other things we’ve been chatting about this week:

  • “You have to get out of your own way and write your own story—and not be forced into the narrative that you think will give you the easiest path to success or the most likes,” shares Laura Dern in a moving letter to her 12-year-old daughter. Read more of her message here.
  • Decades later, this timeless ‘70’s manifesto ‘I Want a Wife’ still hits the nail on the head.
  • Whether it’s your time, a donation or the power of your voice, give to those in need this holiday season. Find out how to join the movement today.

Planning Your Un-Retirement

The Financial Freedom Studio welcomes Jean Chatzky—financial journalist, author and host of the HerMoney with Jean Chatzky podcast—for a series of articles on a modern approach to financial and life planning.

Many dream of retirement as a time to leave work behind—but plenty of retirees find that the desire to keep busy is more powerful than they imagined. 

Recently, I gave a talk with Ken Dychtwald, CEO of AgeWave and one of the country’s leading thinkers on aging. He travels the country for his work and meets a lot of retirees. Lately, he told me, he’s noticed an interesting phenomenon. He’ll ask people, “What are you doing?” They’ll answer, “I’m retired.” He’ll follow up, “So, what are you doing?” They’ll answer, “Well, I’m working.”

Yes, working. In retirement. According to research from AgeWave, nearly half of current retirees say they either are working or would like to be working. And nearly three-quarters of people in their 50s say they plan on following that same path. What’s behind this trend? Finances of course. Continuing to work – at least part-time – in retirement can bring in enough money that many people find they can put off tapping Social Security and withdrawing from their 401(k)s and other retirement accounts, allowing those balances to continue to grow.

But there are also other benefits. Research has shown continuing to work reduces isolation, leads to better physical and mental health, and gives you a sense of identity. It may even keep you alive. A study from Oregon State University found that healthy adults who worked past age 65 had an 11 percent lower risk of death from all causes than those who retired earlier. (Continuing to work even lowered the risk of dying in unhealthy adults, but by a smaller percentage.)

Read more at https://www.jackson.com/financialfreedomstudio/articles/2017/planning-your-un-retirement.html

Retirement in the Age of the “Experience Economy”

The new trend of valuing experience over “stuff” (and what it means for retirement).

My husband and I live in Denver but spend most of our weekends in the mountains. We’re transplants from Michigan who moved to Colorado nine years ago and quickly developed a desire to stand on as many summits as possible in our new home state.

As we pursue our peak-bagging project, we’ve noticed a distinct trend: On those rare weekends when we stay home, we consistently find that we spend more money than we do when in the mountains. When we’re home for a weekend, we seem to be drawn to activities that involve spending money. We have a sudden desire to undertake some sort of home improvement project, for example. Or we’re compelled to purchase items we had no need or desire for until we found ourselves with an excess of downtime that rekindled our interest in consumerism.

These mini-spending sprees usually leave me feeling empty and consumed with buyer’s remorse. In contrast, I always feel satisfied returning home from the mountains and never regret the money spent on gas, food and other travel-related expenses. Likewise, when I determine it’s necessary to spend money on hiking equipment, I rarely feel guilty because it’s a purchase that is directly linked to a future outdoor experience.

I assumed this tendency was some sort of odd quirk. Then I started seeing articles about the so-called “Experience Economy.” A company called Eventbright coined the phrase based on a study they conducted that found that 76 percent of Millennials would rather spend money on experiences than material goods.1

I sought out more articles on the “Experience Economy” concept and realized that my preferences for spending money on mountain trips versus new clothes or home decor fit right into this phenomenon. It got me thinking—what does this mean from a retirement saving and planning perspective? Could this new trend be just the sort of shift in mindset people need to not only be better prepared financially for retirement, but also psychologically prepared and more likely to achieve contentment after they retire?

Read more at https://www.jackson.com/financialfreedomstudio/articles/2017/retirement-in-the-age-of-the-experience-economy.html

Musings on Millennials

Not so long ago, a major American car company ran advertisements featuring Ringo Starr (OK, maybe it was a bit ago) telling the consumer that “this is not your father’s Oldsmobile.”1 The point of the slogan from Oldsmobile was to tell the consumer that they had access to a better version of their product than what was available to the consumer’s father or, to put it more bluntly, they desperately needed the target market (the younger generation) to move away from having the following thought every time they see the company’s brand on a passing car: “Ugh…that behemoth is something only my father would drive.”

So in that same vein, I’ll mention to my younger readers that you probably won’t experience “your father or your mother’s retirement.” And I think that’s okay, because you’re probably not going to have your father or mother’s working career either. To quote the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “You cannot step twice into the same river.”2 So, if you’re looking backward or lamenting that you won’t have the same luxury of retirement afforded your parents or grandparents, it is time to turn your head and, as Heraclitus might say, let newer waters flow over you, as they are not of the same river and you are not the same person. And that, my friends, is as existential as we’re going to get in this piece.

Read more at https://www.jackson.com/financialfreedomstudio/articles/2017/musings-on-millennials.html

Glennon Doyle And Abby Wambach On Why The Best Storytelling Happens When You Embrace The Past

By now, fans of the bestselling author Glennon Doyle and Olympic soccer star Abby Wambach are familiar with the couple’s unconventional, contagiously joyful love story. The two met for the first time during 2016’s tour of Together Live — the annual speaking tour that celebrates diverse, female voices and recognizes the power of storytelling to change the world — and were married in May. During this year’s Together Live tour (which the duo headlined, across ten U.S. cities), Doyle and Wambach joined forces with Ancestry DNA, exploring how their families’ pasts inform their own family’s future. Together Live also partnered with Ancestry as a way to encourage audiences to discover where they came from and how that impacts who they are today.

“Knowing where I have come from was truly moving. Our stories all have started somewhere and I know for me, having some questions answered allows me to know my family and myself better,” Wambach tells Bustle, just after the conclusion of the 2017 Together Live tour.

Both women — storytellers, activists, truth tellers — were surprised by the results of their AncestryDNA kits.

“My ancestors left Ireland during the Famine. They followed coal mining work to Scotland, and eventually got on a ship with their daughters to America,” says Doyle, author of the bestselling books Carry On, Warrior and Love Warrior. “They found mining work in Pennsylvania, and eventually their daughters were able to put each other through nursing school — they each worked until they had enough to put one of the sisters through, and eventually they were all able to go, other than the eldest sister, who kept working so the other four could graduate. They experienced great loss, carrying on, and taking care of family with big dreams for a better future. What’s surprising is that their story is the story of so many people now, in this moment. I believe we can honor our ancestors by welcoming the immigrants of today — with all of their grit and tenacity and belief in the promise of America.”

Wambach has recently joined the ranks of author as well, with her 2016 memoir Forward. “Fascinating is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel about my family heritage,” says Wambach. “The truth for me is that we are all immigrants from somewhere. We all began as a dream from our ancestors.”

As women who have both written deeply personal memoirs, I ask if having more information about their identity and their family history informs their storytelling — in the books they’ve written and the intimate stories the couple shares in every single city throughout the Together Tour.

“I believe that life starts when we stop running from our pain and who we are and instead surrender to it — run toward it and own it. That’s where healing begins,” says Doyle, who has written about everything from the struggles of her first marriage to how faith and feminism inform the way she parents her children. “We say: ‘Here I am, pain. I give up. All that stuff really happened. I’ll let myself feel it now. Then I’ll tell the story and let other people feel it, too.’ Everyone has a history, everyone has a story to tell. When you write your true identity, it is a love offering to the world because it helps everyone who hears it feel braver and less alone. We all need to know that we are seen and heard. We don’t need our lives to be different, or easier, we just need someone to see the pain. To know what we’ve faced and overcome.  To say: Yes. I see this. This is real. We don’t need a magician to take it all away – we just need a witness. That’s what we’re doing on the Together Tour, we are witnesses to each other’s stories, and it makes us braver in this world.”

But the effects of digging into her past goes far beyond the influencing the words Doyle puts on the page. It’s also helped inform how she understands herself, her history, and the personal stories that have gotten her to her present. “It’s cemented my belief that the moral of our collective story is love, and that love is relentlessly showing up for your people. And that the invisible thread leading the way — the force constantly rising up to take care of their people — is the women,” she says. “Being a woman is more like taking your place in a parade than it is like hiking an individual journey. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we’re alone in this challenging family, friendship, health, career stuff; that the trials we’re facing and joys we’re embracing are original. But when it comes to womanhood, there’s nothing new under the sun. Whatever it is — thousands of brave women have faced it before us, so we should learn from them. Whatever it is — thousands of brave women will face it after us, so we should teach them. I believe that we are all more alike than different. That we are all connected. That one woman’s pain is our collective pain and one’s woman’s joy and success belongs to all of us. That’s the story of our past and the story of our future.”

“When I’ve made progress, I’ve always looked back first to figure out how to move forward,” Doyle says. “I talk about my addictions because everything beautiful in my life right now came out of the ugliness back then. And still does. All that pain turned out to be the good stuff.  I used to say: ‘I’m broken. Fix me.’  And now I say: ‘And I love, love, love my beautiful, busted up past and my messy, complicated present.’ No one is ever “ready.”  The world is changed by messy, complicated people who show up before they are ready. It’s the story of my life, and the DNA of this tour: Show up exactly how you are, right now, and we’ll change the world together.”

Read more at https://www.bustle.com/p/glennon-doyle-abby-wambach-on-why-the-best-storytelling-happens-when-you-embrace-the-past-3195976?utm_term=share

When People Come Together, They Do Brilliant Things


50 years ago, when leaders of the civil rights movement were denied a place to gather, Hyatt Regency Atlanta opened its doors to host the 11th Annual Southern ChristianLeadership Conference – a moment that still inspires us today.

“Come Together” is a short film that commemorates this moment in time and the 50th anniversary of the Hyatt Regency brand. The film,featuring spoken word artist Tarriona “Tank” Ball, is inspired by Hyatt Regency hotels rich history of bringing groups of people together to foster connections and build community.

World of Hyatt is built on the simple idea that a little understanding goes a long way, and when we come together and demonstrate care and empathy for one another, brilliant things happen.

Learn more about Hyatt Regency Hotels at www.HyattRegency.com