Creativity, Opera and Bodice Ripping: A Conversation with Singer Maren Montalbano

Marian Montalbano, opera singer, business coach and writer whose voice appears on not one, not two, but three Grammy Award-winning albums. When her one-woman show got sidelined during Covid-19, Maren created a podcast based on the show called the Bodice Ripper Project. The podcast of the same name is an exploration of sexuality, feminism and the journey to self-empowerment. through the lens of romance novels. Maren has sung at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, multiple theaters in Europe and even performed on stage with the Rolling Stones. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation, previously recorded on my Embark podcast. (more…)

Revising A Dream When Adversity Hits: A Conversation with DIYMFA’s Gabriela Pereira

Gabriella Pereira is the founder of DIYMFA, an online writing community and a virtual alternative to the traditional MFA creative writing program. When she was 24, Gabriela received the life-changing diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Last week on my podcast Embark, she shared her story in the hope this conversation sparks more conversations about the stigma we attach to mental illness, and how we can change the language around it. The following is an excerpt of that conversation. (more…)

It Really is About You: What Your Messaging Reveals

We’re constantly bombarded with messages on TV, the radio, cable news, social media, magazines, advertising, and podcasts. How do you separate good messaging from the noise? Message Artist Deb Goeschel, creates websites and visual branding for businesses and organizations, spoke with me last week on my Embark podcast to share what goes into an effective message.  Turns out, it starts with asking questions. Lots of questions. I had a few of my own.

These are edited excerpts of our recorded conversation. (more…)

A Growing Trend Toward Suicide Among Young Children

Mental health – or an increasing lack thereof – has become a familiar topic of conversation in the last year. Sudden quarantine, social isolation, fear of sickness or family loss have added to the genuine everyday stress many of us experience. Widespread depression and anxiety have been compounded by economic and housing insecurity and social inequities.

These strange times have taken an emotional toll on adults, and even more so among children and adolescents.  Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control show a dramatic increase in suicide ideation and completed suicide among children and young adults 10 to 24 years old since the pandemic started. Shockingly, the incidence of suicide among children – as young as 5 to 11 years old — is on the rise. (more…)