Waking Up Goliath

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In writing Redeeming Power, I interviewed over 40 ministry leaders to learn about how they have wrestled with questions related to the healthy and holy use of power in their own leadership journeys. I enjoyed talking to bishops and social media influencers, school superintendents and chancellors, pastors and CEOs, program directors, and even a rabbi!  Highlights from these interviews are shared in this new podcast series, with bi-monthly episodes released beginning December 2023.  Subscribe to this podcast:

 

 

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Kerry Robinson 1

Kerry Alys Robinson

Kerry Robinson and I first crossed paths in the magnificent Catholic Student Center at Yale University.  I’d been invited to give a lecture there and was wowed by the facility and all the gatherings taking place there.  When I mentioned this to the pastor Fr. Bob Beloin, he said, “Oh, You need to meet Kerry.  She got this place built.”   Kerry, it turns out, had been the community’s development director and raised $75 million dollars to both build the new center and rejuvenate the Catholic presence at Yale.  Her success led to the publication of the award-winning book “Imagining Abundance: Fundraising, Philanthropy and a Spiritual Call to Serve” (Liturgical Press, 2014).  But Kerry had already been part of building new structures in the Church long before her work at Yale.  A member of the Raskob family, she had been active in Catholic philanthropy since the age of 14.  And Kerry has continued to build more structures—of the organizational nature—since her work at Yale.  Kerry was the founding executive director of the Leadership Roundtable—a network of Catholic leaders from both the business and church worlds building a culture of co-responsibility, transparency, and accountability in the Church.  Since the time I interviewed her, Kerry has now become President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA. Kerry continues to use her power—most especially the power to convene—as a way to build the Reign of God. (Released February 16, 2024)
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Casey Stanton 1

Casey Stanton

I first learned of Casey Stanton and her work in a rather bizarre way.  I was on a long drive several years ago when two friends from very different parts of my life both called me—only hours apart—to ask me the same question: “Have you heard of Casey Stanton?  Do you know of the Discerning Deacons Project?”  No, I had not heard of Casey Stanton and I did not know about the Discerning Deacons Project… but I figured I’d better find out.  I am so glad that I did.  Discerning Deacons is project spearheaded by Casey and her colleague Ellie Hidalgo in collaboration with many others that responds to Pope Francis’ invitation to discern whether the Roman Catholic Church should revive the ordained diaconate for women.  The project has been active in facilitating the listening work of the Synod on Synodality and in promoting the annual celebration of St. Phoebe—the first century deacon praised by St. Paul in his letter to the Romans. Casey is a product of Sacred Heart education and a devotee of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat (featured in Chapter 7 of Redeeming Power.)  But I will let her tell you more about how her education & formed her to be a “woman of courage,” unafraid of power—her own and others. (Released February 2, 2024)
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Unni Berkes

Dr. Elizabeth Berkes

I reached Dr. Elizabeth Berkes on a crazy day in Fall 2022.  She was beginning her 11th year in administration at De la Salle High School in Concord, CA.  She had three kids at home—one entering their senior year—and time was of essence.  She was having trouble even figuring out when she would walk their dog.  Yet, she was gracious enough to give me an hour of her time to talk about power. Elizabeth (whom I’ve long known by her Malayali name Unni) has a masters degree in Molecular and Cellular Genetics from UC San Diego and a PhD in Science Education from Washington University in St. Louis.    She is the 2020 recipient of the “Multiplying Good One-in-a-Million Award” for her work in fundraising for mental health.  Since our interview she has now moved into full time development work at Moreau Catholic High School, part of the Holy Cross network of schools.  When you listen to our interview, you will quickly understand why Unni would be effective at garnering enthusiasm for any cause she puts her energy behind. (Released January 26, 2024)
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Danielle Harrison

Danielle Harrison, J.D.

Danielle Harrison would be the first to admit that it has taken a long time to self-identify as a person of power.  With advanced degrees in both law and theology, Danielle spent many years as a sought-after educator and mission integration leader.  But in founding Mission, Faith, Equity Consulting in 2021, she discovered a way to constellate her many gifts around her deepest passion in life—bringing the resources of faith to bear on the difficult work of what is often known in the business world as “DEI”, seeking the creation of more just, inclusive communities. And as President of this new company, she has found joy in being able to influence this bigger conversation in her own unique, healing way. As you’ll hear in this interview, Danielle takes much of her inspiration from Sr. Thea Bowman—a Franciscan sister who paved the way for greater intercultural, interracial dialogue in the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s.  It was Danielle’s captivating description of Thea and the discovery of her own “Inner Thea” that led me to research Thea’s story more and include it in Chapter 8 of Redeeming Power. (Released January 12, 2024)
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Fr. Michael Bechard

As a diocesan priest in London, Ontario for almost thirty years, Fr. Michael Bechard has overseen a variety of ministries: Director of Campus Ministry, Director of Liturgy for the diocese, Parish Pastor.  But Michael has always had a particular heart for those struggling with homelessness.  As someone who has dealt with addiction to alcohol and prescription medications in his own life, he has an intimate understanding of the root causes that so often lead to homelessness and a passion to help those on the margins access mental health and addiction services.  Bechard is currently chaplain at Ark Aid Street Mission—an ecumenical outreach to those facing homelessness in London.  He is also the founder and executive director of Northern Bridge Community Partnership—building lasting relationships between young people from southern Ontario with youth from the Dene communities in northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories.  During Pope Francis’ conciliatory visit to Canada in Summer 2022, Michael became a familiar face on hundreds of thousands of television sets across the nation helping add context and commentary throughout the pope’s stay. (Released December 29, 2023)
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bishop toups

Bishop David Toups

Ten years ago, I received an email from a seminarian at St. Vincent DePaul Seminary in Boynton Beach.  “If you’re new to South Florida, I think you need to come meet our rector,” he wrote. “He has the ability to make things happen.”  Maybe it wasn’t quite in those words, but that was the sentiment.  And it was true.  Mgsr. David Toups was a charismatic leader who clearly had a warm, personable relationship with his students and his faculty and was able to harness their energy toward a shared vision.  When Mgsr. Toups was made bishop of Beaumont, Texas in 2020, I was not surprised that he’d be chosen for an episcopal role, but Beaumont was a very different setting than West Palm Beach.  Nestled in the eastern most corner of the state of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico, Beaumont has been an area hard hit by the rise and fall of the oil industry, as well as the catastrophic back-to-back Hurricanes Laura and Delta. As you’ll hear in our interview, however, Bishop David Toups, has taken delight in this new role.  While the responsibility he feels as a “shepherd” weighs on him, he finds that old friendships and family relationships and a regular practice of personal prayer help keep him humble and self aware. (Released December 15, 2023)
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Dr. Crystal LeRoy

The parable of the Prodigal Son from the Gospel of Luke chapter 15 is a favorite of many Christians in the pews, but for Dr. Crystal LeRoy, the story has special significance, helping to shape her understanding of leadership in a diverse community where different people have different paths in life and almost everyone at some point in time will need a second chance.  Dr. LeRoy is the President of Christian Brothers High School which serves over 1100 students in the Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento, California.  After a long career in public education, she assumed her current position on the edge of the Covid pandemic—that unenviable season that drained the life blood out of so many in educational administration.  But, as you’ll hear in this interview, Crystal LeRoy has found great joy in her leadership role, in part because of what the power that comes with the role has enabled her to influence. (Released December 1, 2023)
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David and Goliath

Welcome to the Waking Up Goliath Podcast Series

Most of us grew up hearing stories of David and Goliath and took joy in rooting for David in the story.  Most of us probably saw ourselves as David--the little guy fighting impossible battles, trusting that God was on our side.  But what happens when we wake up to find out that other people see us as Goliath in their story?  What happens when we are the one that others see as having power?  Listen to Ann's introduction to the Waking Up Goliath podcast series here.  (Released December 1, 2023)