The Spirit of a Social Entrepreneur | C. Paul Schroeder

This episode of the Mission Innovation Podcast is in conversation with Paul Schroeder, who is a social entrepreneur, award-winning author, teacher, former Greek Orthodox priest and a coach. He has led diverse purpose driven organizations over the past 20 years with two recent examples being the New City Initiative in Oregon focused on issues of homelessness and employment as well as HourCar, a non-profit car sharing company focused on environmentally sustainable transportation in Minnesota. His book titled: “Practice Makes Purpose: Six Spiritual Practices that will Change Your Life and Transform Your Community.” offers a simple method for compassionate living.

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Sr. Eileen McNerney | Walking Between Two Worlds

Sr. Eileen McNerney, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, founded Taller San Jose Hope Builders in 1995. But this story really begins in 1992, when she invited three other nuns to move with her to a gang-ridden neighborhood in Santa Ana, California, where gun shots and drug sales at that time were commonplace. One hot summer evening, Sister Eileen listened helplessly as a piercing cry rang through the open windows of her busy street; it was the agonizing wail of a mother who had just lost her second son to gang violence.

This moment marked a turning point for Sister Eileen in her resolve to develop a program that could move young people from violence to productivity. By bringing together sponsors representing local government, churches, corporations, foundations, and private individuals, Sister Eileen opened an educational and job-training center in downtown Santa Ana for high-risk youth ages 18 – 28. She named the center Taller San Jose Hope Builders.

Today it is an enterprise with revenues around 5 million and a staff of around 30. A recipient of many local and international awards, Sr Eileen and Taller San Jose identified poverty itself as the biggest barrier to advancement and acquired great expertise in creating programs that specifically address those barriers.

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Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix | Forgiveness and Collaboration

In January of 1995, Ples Felix’s 14-year-old grandson murdered Azim Khamisa’s son in a gang initiation. But the story does not end there. From this tragic murder emerges a story of understanding, reconciliation and the beginning of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation which is devoted to stopping teen violence. Listen to the latest episode of The Mission Innovation Podcast where we interview Ples and Azim.

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Richard Rohr | Being Grounded at Work

Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher who comes from the tradition of Christian mysticism. He has been called “one of the most popular spirituality authors and speakers in the world.

Fr Rohr is a Franciscan priest and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. An author of over 30 books on spirituality, he joins us in conversation on the spiritual path of being fully grounded and authentic at work.

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Dr. John Izzo | Nurturing Purpose and Meaning at Work

Elizabeth McLeod, a millennial and cum laude graduate of Boston University, is the author of a letter that went viral on LinkedIn. She wrote the letter on behalf of millennials everywhere to “Management” everywhere. The letter was about the need for meaning at work. At the end of the letter, Elizabeth stated this, “I was raised to believe I could change the world. I’m desperate for you to show me that the work we do here matters, even just a little bit. I’ll make copies, I’ll fetch coffee, I’ll do the grunt work. But I’m not doing it to help you get a new Mercedes. I’ll give you everything I’ve got, but I need to know it makes a difference to something bigger than your bottom line.

We are pleased to be joined by Dr. John Izzo, a leading business leadership expert, community leader and author – beginning with his book in Awakening Corporate Soul (1994) to more recently, The Purpose Revolution (2018). John has been an advisor with such companies as IBM, McDonalds, HP, Verizon, and Coca Cola as well as being a teacher, researcher and coach on leadership and workplace values. He joins us today on the Mission Innovation podcast in conversation, on meaning at work.

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Collaborative Innovation | A Community Builds a Replicable Response to the Opioid Epidemic

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has noted that every day in the United States, 115 people die after overdosing on opioids. The drugs we are speaking about are prescription pain relievers, heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. It’s clear that this is a national crisis affecting the public health of our communities as well as their social and economic welfare. In this episode you will hear the story of an innovative, award winning, community collaborative with St Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls, Minnesota, that is successfully responding in that community to their opioid crisis. This replicable program is spreading not only with in the state of Minnesota but nationally. This story will be told by members of the community, some of whom participate in the community collaborative response called the Morrison County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force.

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Angela Blanchard | Serving and Awakening Community Partners

In this episode of the Mission Innovation Podcast, we are in conversation with Angela Blanchard. Angela is President Emerita of BakerRipley, is a globally recognized expert practitioner in community development, disaster recovery, and effective long-term integration for immigrants and refugees. Blanchard’s breakthrough strategies have successfully revitalized neighborhoods by leveraging Houston’s diversity, while providing a powerful model for cities across the globe facing the complex challenges of community transformation.

Blanchard’s genuine reverence for people and her unique ability to bring them together in unprecedented ways have played a pivotal role in the growth and impact of BakerRipley Her innovative, strength-based framework—Appreciative Community Building—has set the new standard for integrating diverse populations into thriving communities. The success of her approach in the country’s fastest-growing, most ethnically diverse city positions Blanchard as a visionary leader for evolutionary change. She has been profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Fast Company, CNN, NPR, Associated Press, among many others. She was recently appointed as a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Centennial Scholar Initiative at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

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Going Upstream | Impacting the Health of Vulnerable Children

This episode of Mission Innovation speaks to two leaders in two different states, impacting the health of vulnerable children. What does that look like, what are the stories, the challenges, what are the innovations that have helped? Our guests in this episode are Allen Sanchez, President of CHI St. Joseph’s Children in New Mexico and Philip Goropoulos, President of CHI St. Joseph Children’s Health in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The Casey Foundation’s 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book looks at trends in child well-being.  It notes that in 2016, one in five children lived in poverty and offers a picture of how Children’s health is fundamental to their overall development. Ensuring kids are born healthy is the first step toward improving their life chances. Family violence, inadequate housing, lack of preventive health care, maternal depression, poor nutrition, poverty and substance abuse undermine children’s health. Poor health in childhood affects other critical aspects of a child’s life, such as school readiness and attendance, and can have lasting consequences on his or her future health and well-being. 

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New Ideas Advancing Mission

The Mission Innovation Podcast attended the Catholic Health Association Assembly, held on June 10-12, in San Diego. In this episode we asked a diverse group from different health systems and organizations across the country, “What is the new trend or idea that you are seeing that is advancing Mission?” Listen in to hear the different perspectives, ideas and trends that are advancing mission!


Eric Handler | Feeding the Hungry: Innovation and Courage

Almost 1 in 7 Americans (12.9%) struggle with hunger, facing times when there is not enough money to buy food. That’s more than 41.2 million people. On any given day, one in ten people in Orange County, California, or about 315,000 people, including one in six children, are at risk of food insecurity, that is, they lack reliable access to a steady supply of food.

Dr. Eric Handler is a pediatrician with over 30 years of experience who also happens to be the public health officer of Orange County, California, the 6th largest county in the country. Eric has initiated campaigns on hunger and mental health in innovative ways, that are not typical of a public health officer, to address these social determinants of health. His innovative work has spread to other areas of the country. We interviewed Eric about his Mission Innovation called Waste Not OC, the collaborative campaign to end hunger in Orange County.  During our conversation, he also offered us his practical insights on leadership, innovation and mentorship.

Prior to his work in Orange County, Eric served as the deputy secretary for Children’s Medical Services in the Florida Department of Health from 1996-2000. He served as the Chief Medical Officer for the Florida Department of Children and Families between 2000 and 2003. Eric has received both his BA and MPH degrees from UCLA and his MD from Chicago Medical School.