This spring, we challenged Up to Us alumni to tell us about an issue that matters to them and then create a podcast about it. In partnership with University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism Advanced Media Institute, a selected group of alumni were awarded a scholarship to learn the technical and narrative skills needed to immerse themselves in one of today’s fast-growing storytelling mediums. We provided the microphones, and our alumni brought their stories. Here is what they created.
Name: Amy Drake, Fall 2020
Tell us what you do: Rising Senior at Northwestern University
What is your podcast about?
Despite, and in part because of, the countless struggles created by the pandemic, last year saw incredible growth made by those who aimed to help others as a part of the social entrepreneurship and social impact sphere. I decided to speak to two members of a newly-created social impact-based collective to hear about their journey in creating a service intended for helping others to do social good. Pact Collective was created through the pandemic last year and is an amazing example of the power of a strong idea and a dedicated team.
What compelled you to pick the subject matter you chose for your podcast?
I am fascinated by the ways in which resiliency works to help individuals survive and thrive in times of adversity. Listening and learning from others has incredible value, and I wanted to convey this through a podcast. My personal interests in social impact-based ventures and learning from others led me to Pact Collective, which provided me with the opportunity to hear from members of an incredibly diverse, all-women team about how they came together to create something for good. I knew that I wanted to highlight a recently-created, social-impact based organization, because there are so many talented and passionate leaders out there whose journeys are still beginning.
What was one thing that surprised you or that you learned about using the podcast format to tell your story?
I especially appreciated hearing from my guests about their distinction between social entrepreneurship and a collective — their decision to root their mission in serving others and building as a team stood out from the conventional image of social entrepreneurship that I had in my head. I was reminded of the empowerment that can be created through acting on your values, without the goal of creating profit, and the podcast format really allowed this dedication to shine through; it allows those feelings of humor, hope, and direction to resonate on a completely different level than from a written piece.
How do you see learning how to podcast benefitting your current job or your future career goals?
I love the power of storytelling to share knowledge, culture, and information in order to create positive change. Learning how to podcast has so many applicable skills! Being able to conduct an interview and reach those important insights in an effective manner is an incredible skill to bring to any interaction. I hope to continue to use the power of storytelling for advocacy in my policy and law-related fields of study, and I would love to continue working on creative projects such as podcasts in the future!
What do you hope listeners will learn or take away from your podcast?
I hope that listeners are able to take away the message that profit doesn't always have to be the driving force for an idea, project, or venture that you are passionate about — sometimes all you need is a really great team of people or an idea that is especially meaningful to you. Although costs are an undeniable barrier to accessing many kinds of resources and services, I hope that listeners are able to take away the notion that it’s possible to pursue your personal interests if they’re important to you! This interview demonstrated to me that even during a time of great uncertainty, there is so much potential for us to learn from our resiliency and be inspired by each other, and I hope that listeners are inspired to go out and support similar organizations — or start one of their own!