Finding Fertile Ground: Stories of Grit, Resilience, and Fertile Ground

Finding Fertile Ground: Stories of Grit, Resilience, and Fertile Ground

Host Marie Gettel-Gilmartin of Fertile Ground Communications scouts out and helps people share their stories of grit, resilience, and fertile ground. I interview immigrants, people from marginalized communities, cancer survivors, and others who have overcome hardships in their lives and emerged on the other side stronger and fiercer.

Episodes

September 29, 2022 30 mins

Dr. Ronnie Taylor was born to extremely young parents who divorced after a few years of marriage. His mom converted to Mormonism and moved the family to Salt Lake City to start a new life. Unfortunately, the missionary who converted and recruited her failed to tell the church Ronnie’s family was Black. They weren’t exactly welcomed with open arms.

His mom worked and went to college full time, and eventually she remarried. Growing up...

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Dr. Melissa Jenkins Mangili is a neuropsychologist and medical school faculty member who has reinvented herself as a fashion and fitness model. 

Her life began with grit and resilience. She and her three siblings were was raised in poverty in rural Maine by a single quadriplegic mother. 

 “The nice thing about being from a small town is that everybody knows each other…and rallied to help us. (My mother) couldn't drive at first. ...

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Vernita L. Bowe is a survivor. As a smaller-than-average child, she experienced bullying in school. When she grew up she married the wrong man and wasn’t able to get out of that marriage for 24 years, three kids later.

Parenting has been about huge loves and losses for Vernita. Her middle son landed in prison, and four years ago her oldest son Byron died in a car accident.

“You really don't wanna bury your children. But what I&a...

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Happy Pride! What better month to launch this fun episode and celebrate a wonderful queer story.

Growing up in Germany, when Nicole moved to the U.S. as a teen she never felt like she fit in. Then she joined the military during Desert Storm, and she ended up playing Taps for 600 funerals of her colleagues. That nearly broke her. She married a man before coming out as gay, and her dad and sisters rejected her.

Around the same time of ...

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This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Cheryl Parks, sales and mindset coach. Cheryl works with my business coach, Liz J. Simpson, and has provided me invaluable advice and confidence boosts as I reboot my business. 

Cheryl and I immediately connected, and I was especially lucky to meet her in person in early March, since the Big Money Movement coaching program happens all on Zoom and social media. It was a del...

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Michele Heyward is a civil engineer who built the U.S. power grid. Now she's a tech startup founder building the future of work at PositiveHire. 

Michele grew up in rural South Carolina in a three-bedroom house full of kids. She had four siblings. She describes herself as the weird kid, really good at math.

Encouraged to pursue science and engineering, she went to engineering camp 30 years ago at 13 years old.

“But what really go...

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When Gresh was a kid, his military dad worked overseas for a year and this English major/entrepreneur started a family newspaper to keep his whole family up to date on what was going on. His first business was born!

This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Gresham Harkless, Jr., founder of CEO Blog Nation and Blue 16 Media, and host of the I AM CEO Podcast + CEO Chat Podcast. Gresh graduated from Howard Universit...

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This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Chantal Cox, a special educator, author, speaker, and Transformation NeuroCoach™. 

Chantal lives in Wichita, Kansas, now but she grew up all over the world. Her birth dad is Mexican, but her mom remarried when she was three years old. Her adopted dad was in the army, so the family moved every two years. They lived in several states as well as Panama, Luxembourg, and The Ne...

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This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Devin Tomiak, founder of The Biggies Cards.

After losing her youngest brother Grant to suicide 7 years ago, Devin Tomiak became driven to understand resilience--in particular, how to build resilience in kids. 

As a mom of two young boys, her preoccupation had a unique urgency. She created The Biggies cards, an innovative, research-based take on conversation cards designed t...

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This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Mahlena-Rae Johnson. Mahlena was born in Arkansas but grew up on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mahlena is a speaker, comedian, author, and communication expert for introverts.

After graduating from the School of Film and Television at Loyola Marymount University, earning her MBA at the University of Southern California, and working a variety of jobs,...

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This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interviewed Barbie Liss from Toronto, Canada. Barbie is an anti anti-aging coach who guides women as they heal their wounds and shed shame around aging.

Barbie found her own fertile ground through a traumatic incident. Her daughter was raped at age 21. Barbie had to work through her own secondary trauma while supporting her daughter. They both entered into a restorative justice proc...

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This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, it was a joy to interview Julie Allen again. I had the honor of interviewing Julie earlier this year for my Companies That Care podcast.

During this interview, Julie shared her 15-year battle with eating disorders. She was in and out of treatment during her entire teenage years and into her early 20s. Her breaking point was a rape at 18 that took her eating disorder to a whole new lev...

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This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Mike Ganino, a storytelling and communication expert, podcaster, and public speaking coach. He’s also husband to Phil and dad to Viviana, who was born at 29 weeks gestation in Mexico during the first stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

I loved hearing Mike’s life story, starting with growing up poor and getting diagnosed with diabetes as a kid. He also shared about coming ou...

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This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Nura Elmagbari, a Muslim-American mom, wife, scientist, educator, nonprofit leader, activist, and community leader. I met Nura several years ago through my church, Spirit of Grace. Nura was our guest preacher for Mother’s Day, spoke on an interfaith women’s panel, brought her teen daughter to our youth group and talked about Islam, and emceed an immigrant storytelling eve...

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This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Paula Dunn, who was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. Paula is my first Australian guest, and my first with a cleft lip and palate like me.

On her first day of school, Paula was bullied by her classmates and when she told the teacher, she was called a tattletale. The bullying stunted her academic abilities and self-esteem during primary school and filled her with...

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This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Lily Shaw, a powerhouse actress, an expert writer, and an award-winning motivational speaker who was rescued and inspired by the make-believe world of cinema at the age of 7. 

When Lily was just starting out, her first Hollywood agent told her, “if you only had the right look, you could be Sandra Bullock.” 

Despite this subtle racism, Lily had some initial success as an act...

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This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Tracey Osborne from Dallas, Georgia. After bouncing around in various locations during her childhood, Tracey got sexually assaulted by her live-in boyfriend the night of her senior prom. It was not her last sexual assault, and soon she found herself in and out of several domestic abuse situations and getting married several times. 

Tracey shares how she identified her fear...

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Trigger warning: This episode contains some racist and adult language

This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Daniel Sartin. Daniel is just a bit younger than my oldest son, but he’s survived a lifetime of trauma and difficulty. Born into the foster system, he got adopted and raised by a relative. He was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness even though he is queer, which resulted in deep shame about his sexua...

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If you like what you hear or read, visit my Fertile Ground Communications website.

This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Terri Kozlowski. She is a proud Native American warrior of the Athabascan, Tlinglet Tribe and Raven Clan. When she was just 11 years old, her mother sold her for drugs and shut her out on the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  

After many years of trying to process what had happened to her ...

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As a podcaster for justice, I stand with my sisters from the Women of Color Podcasters Community. We are podcasters united to condemn the tragic murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and many others at the hands of police. 

If you like what you hear or read or would like to see photos of Leslie, visit my Fertile Ground Communications website.

This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I reflect back on the last 13 months. ...

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