Preview of Series Nine

Sue Stockdale introduces some of the guests she will be speaking to in Series 9 of Access to Inspiration podcast. They include two people whose career requires them to work at height: Vicki Tough, an arborist, tree climbing Instructor and Rope Access Level 3 – Professional Work at Height professional and Maxim Ivanov, a multi-skilled circus artist who is a handstand balancer, aerialist and juggler. Other guests in the series will be Sanzar Kakar, Chairman of Afghanistan Holding Group, Thomas Luther, CEO of Nevel, and Sophie Dow, founder of the charity, Salveson Mindroom Centre.

Maxim Ivanov

Vicki Tough Photo: Andrew Walmsley

Sanzar Kakar





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Preview Series 9 Transcription

Sue: Hi, it’s Sue Stockdale, your host of Access to Inspiration the show where you can be inspired by people who may be unalike you. Welcome to the preview of Series Nine. Before I dive in and tell you what we have coming up over the next few weeks. I’d like to thank you for the continued positive feedback that you send us about the episodes that you’re listening to.

We were delighted also that our impact report published in January was really well received. James Cridland, Editor of PodNews describes it as a good report card for the podcast and could be emulated by others’. If you haven’t read it yet, go to our website and on the About page, you’ll find it there.

We’d also excited to announce that Squadcast are one of our sponsors for this year. All of our episodes are recorded on Squadcast, the remote recording platform, which empowers podcasters by capturing high quality audio and video conversations that listeners love. You can find out more about them at and listen to our episode from last series when I spoke to the founders, Zach Moreno and Rock Felder in episode 61.

Onto series nine. One of the themes that seems to be appearing across a number of the episodes over the next few weeks is air. Yes. I know you’re thinking air. Well, there are two guests who both work in the air in different jobs. The first is Vicki Tough who is a rope access specialist and climbs trees and buildings for a living. I asked her what her favorite job had been.

Vicki: For me, it was definitely the Olympic stadium in London. it was also the first one. And it was so huge and there was such an incredible group of people. We were really a big gang of vagabonds that came from all different ways of life and we were kind of thrown together in this motley crew of about 25 and just the whole scope of the Olympics was so huge. So not only the buildings, but also just the grandeur of the event and it bringing the whole world together. So it was like being part of something really huge. And then our little part you could see where it fit into the bigger picture. That was incredible. That was wonderful. But I must admit that was possibly the coldest I’ve ever been in my entire life. Cause sometimes dangling off a rope in mid winter in London when it’s quite windy, you’re not moving that much. And so that was also the coldest I’ve been. But that’s definitely the most memorable, for the people, for the London skyline is incredible. Absolutely incredible. And I think it’s probably my favorite in the world.

Sue: And another guest who flies in the air that I’ll be speaking to. It’s Maxim Ivanov, who is a multi-skilled circus performer. And I asked Maxim what his favorite discipline is.

Maxim: in circus school, I chose the hand balancing. I really love it, but now I really like flying with my wife doing dual straps. I really enjoy flying. Easy way to explain. For example, you learn some tricks and for example, one trick, you learn two years, which is really hard, but people don’t see how hard it is. And you don’t get back the applause and, and year by year you realize you cut something, you do the, the tricks, which people more appreciate. But in the air you fly in, people enjoy and everybody enjoy.

Sue: What I’m hearing from you is it’s as much about the audience appreciation

Maxim: we, we need a lot of audience appreciation. If you don’t get that, I think people stopped to do that. But yeah, so we have that fortunately.

Sue: And finally, if that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, I’ll also be speaking to Sanzar Kakar, who is Chairman of Afghanistan Holding Group and who runs a number of businesses in Afghanistan. And I wanted to find out and get a different perspective about what goes on business wise in the country. Sanzar explained more about a few of his ventures.

Sanzar: one of them is a school from K to 12, it’s called Mizan. And we help try to train the future leaders of the country. So it’s a small school. But we have an incredible curriculum out of Oak Meadows in Connecticut from the US and we’ve customized it for Afghanistan, local languages and culture. We also have AfghanNet which is the internet service provider providing, just broadband internet to homes and businesses across Afghanistan.. Actually a few tech ones, my background is computer engineering. So the one that we’re spending most of our time on now is called Hesab think of it like Apple Pay, where you can send money, pay in any shop, send money to anyone else and try to make it really easy for payments given the fact that the in a banking sector has collapsed in the last five months.

Sue: all this and lots more to enjoy in the next few weeks. And you can also listen to our extensive back catalog of 65 episodes that we’ve already recorded and read the transcriptions by going to our website on access to Remember to take a moment and leave us a review on Apple podcasts or tell your friends about access to inspiration so that they can subscribe to. 30 minutes of inspiration brought to your device every week. I look forward to connecting with you soon.

Sound Editor: Matias de Ezcurra (he/him)

Producer: Sue Stockdale (she/her)