Preview of Series Three of Access to Inspiration podcast

Sue Stockdale reflects on the impact that the podcasts have had on listeners to date, and also previews Series Three of Access to Inspiration which will feature conversations with guests from Germany, Greenland and Hong Kong.  The upcoming series includes:

  • Sarah Lang – Transforming the infrastructure sector in New Zealand
  • Virginie Goethais– How sport rehabilitates refugees in Hong Kong
  • David Liebnau – Why we need heart and courage at times of uncertainty
  • Nauja Bianco – Life up north – being a global Greenlander
  • John Miles – Improving economic prosperity for workers in Venezuela
  • Alysia Silberg – A Silicon Valley venture capitalist
  • Andrew Scott – How to gain and retain a Michelin star
  • Paul Rose – On the front line of exploration and adventure


Sue: Hi, Its Sue Stockdale – welcome to the preview of Series Three of the Access to Inspiration podcast.  This series is even more geographically diverse than the first two series with guests from Germany, Greenland and Hong Kong as well as other amazing individuals talking about their work in New Zealand, Venezuela and England. Before I dive in and tell you what we have coming up over the next few weeks, I’d like to let you know about the impact that the podcast series is having and the feedback we are getting from our listeners.

When we started this podcast at the end of 2019, we wanted each episode to have a positive impact on you – our listeners.  And that you would be inspired to do something differently or reflect on your own situation with some new perspective, from what you discovered in the interviews.   So we asked you, and several of you gave us your feedback, thank you. I spoke to two listeners in particular, to hear in their own words how it has impacted them.  Firstly Eveline, from the Netherlands who particularly enjoyed my conversation with John-David Bartoe the astronaut.

Eveline: I loved where he talked about dinner tables when he was growing up and how when there was a question someone would run and grab the encyclopaedia and they would all figure it out as a family. And I just love that sense of curiosity and that sense of family, like bringing those two things together. And I thought I want to use that more. So I’ve been trying to incorporate that also in my home-schooling, but also even like dinner table conversations when there’s something that, I have a four and a half year old.  She’s constantly curious about life, but there are so many things that my answer to her is, I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that. So then not just stay there, but actually like, okay, let’s figure this out together. And, it’s brought like a whole new energy also into our learning and growing together, which is really, really neat.

I think a lot of things were unexpected. I had never really, to be honest, like I’d never really even considered what kind of people go into becoming an astronaut, like what kind of people  choose that as a career or as a profession? I loved how he said, I think you asked him at some point like, does anybody fail or does anyone sort of drop out of the pre-program?  And he said, well, over the course of all the time that he’s been there, only one person that’s ever dropped out.  so, I don’t know, it just felt like it was just interesting. It was so interesting to hear him say  how he went from being young and wanting to be either a cowboy or an astronaut, and then choosing this profession that was so about adventure and, just the whole storyline.  I think it just took me into not only his life, but also thinking about. How all of us have our stories of how this sort of winds, and how we ended up choosing a particular profession and how little I really know about all these different professions that are out there and the people that are making the choices to go into them.  And, yeah. So I think the whole journey was like a big, wonderful surprise.

Sue: And then I spoke to Mike from the UK who was moved by what the astronaut had to say, and also an earlier interview with Celia Garland from series One, whose career journey resonated with him.

Mike:  I was struck by the serendipitous nature of careers or lots of the careers I’ve been involved with. The fact that its not training is something, and then working your way up to a hierarchy,  that actually she seized opportunities as they came along. It was those old classic, brilliant exploitation of a lucky break. Similarly, with the astronaut on the more recent series that actually he had been a scientist and working away and suddenly an opportunity to go into space comes along and how that opened up all sorts of possibilities for him.

In terms of what it made me do differently , one minor thing that did arise just few years when I was working away from home   I wrote a comedy screen play, which I’ve then submitted to the BBC didn’t go anywhere and you just kind of lay dormant.  I was quite happy. I’ve done it, learnt a lot in the process.  And then listened to  I forget which one of the access to inspiration podcasts it was made me think I ought to do something more with it. So I did since sent it to  a friend of mine who is a writer and she gave some very useful feedback.

Yeah. So that was one of the specifics that  it triggered in me. I think something more concrete came out with the was the astronaut guy. The notion of acting on specific simulations, which obviously is essential in the sort of  areas he has been involved with. One of the companies I now chair which runs hospitals  I thought we ought to be doing some more active simulation.  So I think those are things that  come to me as I’ve been listening to the podcast, which I find hugely enjoyable.

Sue: It’s very motivating for us to hear these examples of how the podcasts are having a positive impact.  But it’s not just listeners who are learning. For 60% of our guests this is the first podcast they have ever done. So, we are introducing them to a new communication medium, and helping them to find a new way to share their stories which we are very proud of. We are also always trying to improve our service to you, and if you have not checked it out yet, on our website you will find transcriptions for all the Series Two podcasts, and the others will be getting added soon.  So onto Series Three.  We will kick off the series talking to Sarah Lang, who is transforming the infrastructure sector in New Zealand in order to make it more representative of the world we live in today, and more appealing to a diverse range of talented people. Sarah’s work reminded me of the Dalai Lama quote – if you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.

Sarah: I’m very staunch about only working in areas where I can make a difference and leave a positive legacy. I think that the infrastructure sector is a great way to do that. Infrastructure is not just concrete and bridges. Actually infrastructure is built to improve the wellbeing of our people I’m very passionate about that.

Sue: Then there is Virginie Goethais, whose love of running was the impetus to set up a charity in Hong Kong that provides sports as a rehabilitation tool for particularly vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers.  All you need is a pair of shoes and the outdoors she says.  I think you might also need some energy!

Virginie: When you go, you exercise, even very mild exercise, your cortisol levels, that’s your stress hormone levels, they go down. Refugees face a lot of anxiety, a lot of depression, a lot of PTSD and very simple exercise just spending some time in nature really helps, To get them in a happy place.

Sue: And if that is not enough to whet your appetite, then I’ll also be speaking with Nauja Bianco, what it’s like to grow up in Greenland. And where a love for the outdoors and acceptance of responsibility comes at an early age.   It’s also a part of the world where cultural identity is becoming more important.  All this and lots more to enjoy in the next few weeks.  Remember if you are enjoying the series, please take a moment to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or tell your friends about it so that they can subscribe too.   Twenty-five minutes of inspiration brought to your device every week.  I look forward to connecting with you soon.