Empowered Human Academy

Empowered Human Academy

We believe that we’re all meant to live our most expansive lives possible—but it can be overwhelming knowing where to begin, and feeling stuck is real. Empowered Human Academy exists to unlock your imagination with real conversations with inspiring humans of all different kinds, sharing the wisdom they've gained in their respective fields. Throughout these episodes we’ll explore holistic wellness, activism, self-discovery, emotional intelligence, and more. We’ve gathered some of the most heart-forward humans we know all in one place and we can’t wait for you to meet them.


November 9, 2021 63 mins

To close out this season, we’re shaking things up a bit. Writer and producer Rebekah Pahl is interviewing Isaac, and they discuss the starting point of identity, collaboration, evaluating old narratives, feeling for the space of aliveness, and Isaac’s musings on what’s going on here with this whole experiment of existence.

As a Wonderer and the CEO of Lightward, Isaac gives careful attention and presence to the evolution of his own...

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To close out season 1, we’re doing something a little different for our final two episodes. Writer and producer Rebekah Pahl is interviewing Abe this week, and then Isaac in the episode to follow. We’ll be reflecting on what this past season of conversations has meant to our own aliveness—and what we’re feeling drawn toward next.

Abe and Rebekah discuss the origins of the podcast, what it’s felt like for Abe to uncover a new level ...

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October 26, 2021 60 mins

Rebecca Fralick is a chef and the owner of Mara’s Cafe based in Wisconsin. She’s a powerhouse business owner and is crystal clear about her values—she’s only interested in opportunities that deeply align with her intuition. Alongside her business endeavors, she’s also a mom, wife, and lover of plants, sunshine, good coffee, and tacos. Rebecca thinks in flavor profiles and makes decisions with the inner compass of integrity. She’s m...

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During the first chapter of his career, Jim Jacoby built a successful, privately-owned agency pioneering user-centered design in finance, healthcare, tech, and manufacturing. Then, at the peak of his success, he took a step back and commissioned a world-renowned designer to build a revolutionary motorcycle. Jim studied the methods and behaviors behind the process, then codified his findings into a system that could be applied in an...

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October 12, 2021 49 mins

Today’s guest is someone who’s part of our daily life—our dear friend, and Lightward’s Wellness Advisor, Ian Day. We’ve known Ian for almost five years now and we’re so grateful to be doing life alongside him. Ian’s a whimsical blend of wellness knowledge and good-hearted fun—and as you’ll soon hear for yourself, the path to self-acceptance hasn’t been an easy one. He’s done the soul-work of getting quiet inside to discover who he ...

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Today’s guest is our dear friend Thorin Decatur— who also happens to be our barber. Whether through his profession or as a present father to his kids, Thorin stays energized by constantly learning. While the overarching societal trend tells us to stop exploring as we grow older, Thorin is actively choosing to stay open by way of compassion and curiosity. He’s a refreshing example of how the expansiveness of allowing ourselves to fe...

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September 28, 2021 62 mins

Amanda Ewing is a Nashville-based luthier (violin-maker)—and is the first Black female luthier on record. She’s been apprenticing with her teacher since 2018, honing the intricacies of her craft—and there are many of them! On average, it takes about 250 hours and about 56 parts to make a violin. Amanda’s not only keeping a highly-detailed art form alive—she’s also changing the trajectory of a field that’s been strategically exclusi...

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Mladen Rangelov is a product leader and team builder at Shopify, and he self-describes as a life-learner who’s energized by building environments in which teams can thrive. Born in what was then Yugoslavia, and growing up in the middle of a war—Mladen holds a unique perspective on making the most of being alive and leaning into vulnerable and tough conversations, from a place of empathy and positive intent.

Throughout this conversa...

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September 14, 2021 54 mins

Yumin Wong was born and raised in Singapore, then moved to the U.S. for college—and is now a staff software engineer at GitHub. She’s also the mother of a two-year old and is expecting baby #2 in just a few weeks. Yumin integrates her love for these co-existing parts of herself by exploring the parallels between parenting and engineering—or as she calls it, “parengineering”.

Throughout this conversation we discuss growing into conf...

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Christian Picciolini is an award-winning television producer, public speaker, author, peace advocate, and former violent extremist. After leaving the white-supremacist skinhead movement he was part of during the 1980s and 90s, Christian began the process of making amends and creating a new life. He went on to receive a degree in international relations from DePaul University and launched Goldmill Group, a counter-extremism consulti...

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Today’s guest is the intuitive, the powerful, Antonia Coffelt. We first met Antonia in Chicago a few years ago—and the soul kindredness felt electric from the start. With a master’s in Communications from Northwestern University and a passion for human truth, Antonia engages her work as a host, creative director, and founder from a place of inner expansiveness. Through her practice as an experiential marketing and communications co...

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Jedidiah Jenkins is the New York Times bestselling author of two books, To Shake The Sleeping Self—which chronicles his bike trip from Oregon to Patagonia, and his newest release, Like Streams To The Ocean, a collection of essays on ego, love, and the things that make us who we are.

Throughout this conversation we discuss letting go of certainty, shifting belief systems, the journey of embracing his sexuality, writing as an exercis...

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August 17, 2021 56 mins

The truth-teller and legend Melissa Urban is here, dropping her wisdom—so buckle up. Melissa is the co-founder, CEO, and spark behind the Whole30 program. She’s a six-time New York Times bestselling author, host of the podcast Do The Thing, and is also a prominent keynote speaker on social media and branding, health trends, and entrepreneurship. Melissa is a beacon of light in the world of wellness, and ranks #19 on Greatist’s Top ...

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August 10, 2021 57 mins

Linnea Gits is the creative director at Uusi, a design studio based on the idea that life is worth the meaningful effort, and its reward is one of discovery. Both Linnea and her creative partner Peter have a love of traditional craftsmanship, material exploration, and a search for the essential beauty in everyday objects. We first came across Linnea’s work through a project titled “Materia Prima”—a tarot deck inspired by the period...

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August 3, 2021 55 mins

Today’s guest is our Denver neighbor, friend, and the owner of Park Hill Yoga, Deborah Baker. As an Iyengar Yoga certified instructor with 30 years of experience, Deborah is sharing her passion for mindfulness and movement through her studio that she’s been running for 25 years now. Alongside her love for yoga, Deborah also has a love for language. She has her Masters in Linguistics, and is fluent in both German and Spanish—basical...

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David Malki ! is the cartoonist and creator behind Wondermark, the inventively playful and poignant comic that we’ve linked below—so do yourself a huge favor and check it out right after listening to the episode. In addition to his creative endeavors with Wondermark, David was also co-editor of the Machine of Death series of fiction anthologies and is presently the director of games development at Cut.com.

Throughout this conversat...

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Today’s guest is someone who’s very dear to us—a frequent collaborator who’s filmed the anniversary videos that we make every year. We’ve shared some beautiful moments in some beautiful places over the years, and today’s episode feels like an extension of one of our many heart-expanding conversations—Joshua Tree, the Rocky Mountains, the California redwoods, and now here, with you. Orion Pahl identifies as an artist, space-holder, ...

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Jennifer Detrich Smith is in the business of making something beautiful. She’s both the mother of two as well as the owner of Birdseye Rule, a magical store located in the heart of Logan Square—and it’s one of our favorite shops in Chicago. We first met Jen at an Enneagram panel she hosted in her space and we’ve kept in touch and kept ordering things from her thoughtfully-curated collection ever since.

As you’ll soon hear for yours...

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July 6, 2021 54 mins

Jake Nickell is the CEO and founder of Threadless, the nexus of a diverse and expansive artist community that partners with those artists to promote and produce their art. In 2000, Threadless began as a t-shirt design company based in Chicago. Since then, Threadless has grown into a fully remote company with a marketplace of full apparel, accessories, and home decor powered by their artist community. In lifting up the creative expr...

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Today’s guest is the effervescent, resilient, and powerful Agnes Igoye. Agnes is Uganda’s Deputy National Coordinator for the prevention of human trafficking and is a Labour Migration Expert at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. She’s also a Senior New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute and teaches an online child protection course at Harvard University.

Agnes has both lived through tremendous hardship and lives with...

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