Episode 37 – Refashioning 50B Tons of Waste Into Runway Worthy Clothes with Melissa Feezor

On today’s episode, we learn about the 50 billion tons of waste the fashion industry generates per year goes into our landfills and how Melissa Feezor of Raw Materials by Melissa is determined to change that fact.  Melissa Feezor shares her journey of operating a boutique one-off fashion business to struggling to pay her bills and take of her two children and back again.  Melissa is creating cool stylish looks out of unlikely sources specifically “old man pants”.


Melissa Feezor worked in the creative field most of her adult life. She founded a graphic design company, enjoyed a fine art career and launched raw materials, an upcycled fashion line. Then she lost everything. During the economic downturn of 2008, she went thru a divorce and lost her home. With two small children to care for, she gave up on her creative career and worked as many odd jobs as she could to keep them afloat. It was a dark and humbling time. The loneliness, isolation, and shame of living below the poverty level nearly broke Melissa. But, it never got to her sweet and incredibly brave kids, age 6 and 9 at the time. Mia and her brother Michael sat vigil outside mom’s bedroom door during Melissa’s “time outs” to cry, and would say under the door; breathe mommy, just breathe”. 

As she got back on her feet the strength of her children stuck with her. She felt a desire to help other children who came home after school to a parent in a desperate situation and through no fault of their own had to be a kid and an adult all at the same time. She knew the only way to help these courageous kids was to help their parents get back on their feet and help make the family whole again. Melissa learned, through her own challenging experiences, that kids just want their parents back to being parents.

Melissa eventually went back to the corporate world. There she tried to rally coworkers to see the needs of the poor and show them how thoughtfully designed products and programs could “solve the world’s problems, with the world’s problems”. This crusade leads to several humanitarian programs, including a virtual food drive and a volunteer engagement program. These ideas caught the eye of top-level executives of her billion dollar employer. Although she had CEO level support, corporate red tape and layers of management caused the eventual demise of her big, world-changing ideas.

What can only be described as divine inspiration thru a Christian faith-based journey, Melissa was led to her earlier love of upcycling clothing. Her son, Michael, once told her after a particularly upsetting episode early in the divorce, “mom, you take everything bad and make it good”. Focused on that principle, equipped with the skills of being able to design wearable fashion out of old clothes and a special vision to see textile waste as a valuable commodity, Melissa relaunched raw materials. This time to benefit humanitarian causes in addition to environmental benefits.

With the blessing of a second chance at love and the support of her new husband she left the safety of her corporate job and is devoting herself full time to raw materials and its basic principle: making high fashion from old clothes for good causes. Through product line development, pops ups, fashion fundraisers and workshops she is hoping to fill a great need as a social enterprise element for those needing way back to society. She currently is focused on several non-profits who serve sex trafficking survivors and is teaching what she knows to others. Melissa hopes this will provide not only a trade for these survivors but also a dignified, sustainable way back to society.



Follow @rawmaterialsbymelissa on Instagram

Raw Materials by Melissa on Facebook.

http://greenorlando.com/sustainability/high-fashion-with-the-right-vision.html  Article on Raw Materials by Melissa 

Episode 36 – Transforming Business with Dani Chesson

On this episode, we speak with a Dani Chesson who is a Business Transformation Consultant with Chesson Consulting in New Zealand.  Dani shares her journey from New York to New Zealand with a few stops in between and shares her excitement for helping businesses to not only becoming more profitable but also more rewarding.  Dani’s work and passion are in building the capabilities needed for change!


Dani Chesson, Ph.D.

With a unique blend of design, business, and organizations development skills, Dr. Dani Chesson’s helps companies tackle complex challenges to reach their full potential. Dani is the creator of Chesson’s DESIGN THINKER PROFILE, Dani takes a Design Thinking approach to creating innovative yet pragmatic solutions to complex business challenges.

Throughout her career, Dani has taken a design perspective to help organizations create new products and services, adopt emerging technologies, and successfully implement large-scale transformational change. Prior to starting Chesson Consulting, Dani was a former Vice President at Bank of America where she led global teams in operationalizing innovation, managing change, and responding to regulatory requirements. She has also held leadership and consulting roles at Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting, Sherpa, LLC, and HSBC.

Dani holds a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications with a focus in graphic design. She holds a Master of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Organization Development from Queens University of Charlotte where her research focused on how designers approach their work. As part of her graduate work, Dani also completed a Certificate in Executive Coaching. She is also accredited in the DISC Value Index, a certified Six Sigma Green Belt, and a trained facilitator of the Immunity to Change process. Dani earned her Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational Change from Antioch University where her research involved developing an assessment for measuring the capabilities of Design Thinkers and expanding the use of Design Thinking in organizations. Dani is a scholar-practitioner who brings insights from research into organizations and whose research is informed by her work with clients.


Dani Chesson contact – dani@chessonconsulting.com




Episode 35 – Social Entrepreneurship as Scholarship and Practice with Sara Frost

On this episode with speak with current doctoral student and aspiring social entrepreneur Sara Frost.  Sara is finishing up her coursework for the Ph. D. in Leadership and Change, from Antioch University and will be embarking research on risk-taking in social enterprises.  Sara shares her aspirations to begin her own “Art Bus” social enterprise that would travel around the United States bringing the Arts to school children.  She also shares her own journey in discovering, studying, and practicing social entrepreneurship.


Sara Frost, Ed.S.

Data Systems Manager at The Guild for Human Services and Ph.D. Student at Antioch University

By day, Sara is the data systems manager at a special education school in Massachusetts; she uses data to inform the agency in decision-making. By night, she is a Ph.D. student at Antioch University. Her dissertation is on barriers to Risk-taking for Social Entrepreneurs. She has been excited about social entrepreneurship since 2008 when she came up with an idea for a social enterprise that she wants to start. At the time she was unaware of the exciting world of social entrepreneurship.

Along the way, she has tried to gain the necessary education to start such an endeavor. Although she hasn’t quite gotten her idea off the ground, she has learned about some really cool people who are changing the world.

Sara is also a sloth enthusiast, a mom to a human and two dogs, and wife to a 3D Animator and video game designer.

Sara has a BA in Theater from Florida State University, an MS in Human Services Administration from Louisiana State University Shreveport, and an Ed.S. in Special Education from Bay Path University.

Given the opportunity to tell you what to do, she would encourage you to be kind to everyone, do one thing that excites you every day, and stay awesome.


Sara Frost contact – sfrost3@antioch.edu

Jerrid Kalakay’s Dissertation – “JUST” Business and Often Personal: An Exploration Into the Incidents Social Entrepreneurs Identify as Critical to Leading Their Enterprises

Guild for Human Services Website – www.guildhumanservices.org

AmeriCorps NCCC – https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-programs/americorps-nccc

Sara also encourages you to buy the coloring book that has a picture of her baby, called Dogs Are Mean: The (ADULT) Coloring Book (Animals Are Mean) (Volume 2) https://www.amazon.com/Dogs-Are-Mean-Coloring-Animals/dp/1729812589/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1542998965&sr=1-1&keywords=animals+are+mean+dogs+are+mean

Episode 34 – Building a High School for Change Making with Randy Bartlett

On this episode, we speak with Dr. Randy Bartlett on his project of creating a new progressive independent high school named City of Bridges in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Randy is the founder and will serve as Head of School when the school opens in the Fall of 2019. He has three core values at the forefront of the school’s development real work project-based learning, peace and justice, and student agency. Randy shares why a new high school is needed in the Pittsburgh community and why change making is an essential education component.

Core Values

The City of Bridges School will:

Have real work project-based learning as a cornerstone of its educational offerings;

Be explicit in enacting the values of peace and justice within and outside of the community;

Have the student voice and agency in all major decisions related to the operations and curriculum.


Dr. Randy Bartlett, M.Ed., Ph.D.

Head of School-Humanities Teacher

Randy has been working in education and non-profit organizations for two decades. He has been a teacher in small rural schools like the Acworth Center School, a school principal at Propel East and Propel Montour, a designer of the project based Andrew Street High School, a Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, and Data and A Senior Director of Research, Reporting and the Arts. He designed and directed the Pittsburgh Urban Teaching Corp and teaches graduate students on their path to becoming teachers at Chatham University. He has served as the president of the Board of Trustees for the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh, and as a curriculum consultant for The Sprout Fund.

Most importantly he is a father, husband, a seeker of new experiences and a joyfully curious learner.

Randy has a BA in History and Religion from Oberlin College, a M.Ed. in Integrated Learning from Antioch University New England, a post-masters certificate in Educational Leadership from Keene State College and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University.

A utopian at heart, he believes that enriching learning opportunities and supportive communities can transform our world


Randy Barlett Contact: randy@cityofbridgeshighschool.org

City of Bridges High School Website: www.cityofbridgeshighschool.org

City of Bridges High School Donations Site:  http://cityofbridgeshighschool.org/donate/

Episode 33 – Mom Power with Eryn Vargo

On this episode, we talk with Eryn Vargo founder of Moms Give Back, Shop with a Purpose, and Baby OK on the power of moms in the world.  As an amazing woman, mother of four children, wife, and social entrepreneur she is kicking butt in social impact with her three companies all working to improve the lives of others.  Eryn lives by the Gandhi quote Be The Change You Wish To See In The World; and thus, asked herself “How can I be the change” – Eryn Vargo

Biography of Eryn Vargo

Wife, Social Mompreneur & Catalyst for Change
As a social entrepreneur, Eryn is using her empowerment marketing platform to push purpose forward and to broaden further her social goals associated with the volunteer sector in areas of poverty alleviation, health and wellness, child safety and community development. Eryn can support the operational costs of the Diaper Bank of Central Florida and fund the development of Baby OK through Moms Give Back, her marketing & consulting business and her #ShopWithPurpose Market. So when you work with Eryn or shop with Eryn, you are Using Business As A Force For Good too!


Giving Tuesday Information: https://www.givingtuesday.org/

Change Maker at  Moms Give Back: www.momsgiveback.com

Founder of The Diaper Bank of Central Florida::diaperbankofcentralflorida.org)

Creator of Baby OK: mybabyok.info

Sign up to be a beta tester for Baby OK: www.mybabyok.info/beta


Email: Eryn@momsgiveback.com

Get Social: FB @momsgiveback;  IG @moms.give.back; PIN @momsgiveback


Episode 32 – Developing Young Leaders Through Scouting with Autumn Herod

On today’s episode, we speak with Scout Master Autumn Herod on the leadership development scouting provides to young boys and girls.  Autumn has been a scoutmaster with the Girls Scouts of America and currently the Boy Scouts of America as she raises her two stepdaughters and son.  Autumn is particularly excited about her upcoming female scout troop which will be aligned with a boy scout troop in February 2019.  She sees a tremendous benefit of the Boy Scouts of America becoming even more inclusive and increasing the number of females involved in scouting.  This February 2019 the 108-year-old organization Boy Scouts of America will officially become Scouting BSA to reflect the almost 60,000 young women’s inclusion in the organization.


Biography of Autumn Herod

Native Floridian that grew up in Jacksonville. A Jacksonville Jaguar fan from the day they announced adding the team, Autumn pursued becoming a member of the ROAR and cheered while attending college at the University of North Florida.  She has a dual degree in Business Management and Transportation and Logistics and has transitioned from business operations to creating software solutions. Currently, Autumn works on projects for Disney Cruise Lines as a business analyst. She has 3 children (2 stepdaughters, 1 son) and has volunteered as both girl scout and cub scout leader. Autumn is moving up to a Scout troop in February and starting a girl troop in the Orlando area. She has a passion for helping and teaching youth to make an impact in their communities and the world.


Contact Autumn at autumnjscouts@gmail.com

Scouting for America: https://www.scouting.org/ 


Episode 31 – Social Entrepreneurship as a Pathway to Happiness with Mohit Mukherjee

In this episode, we explore social entrepreneurship and social impact work as a pathway to finding true happiness with Mohit Mukherjee Founding Director of the Center for Executive Education at the United Nations Mandated University of Peace in Costa Rica.  Mohit shares how growing up in the streets of Paris and Calcutta left an indelible mark on his worldview and instilled a desire to create more social justice.  His work up to this point in his life has taken on many different paths and chapters if you will but his mission has been to build transformational learning experiences that combine heart and head to help people develop the skills and mindset to flourish in a rapidly changing world.

Biography of Mohit Mukherjee

Mohit is founding Director of the Centre for Executive Education at the University for Peace (UPEACE), headquartered in Costa Rica. In this role, he has developed and taught over 50 seminars in eight countries on themes ranging from ‘Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Social Change’ to ‘Designing Your Life’.

Prior to this role, he served as VP of Programs at Watson U and Education Program Manager of the Earth Charter Initiative, an international nonprofit organization. He also spent four years at A.T. Kearney management consultants. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and did his Master’s at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Mohit was born in Greece to Indian parents and currently lives in Florida, spending a week per month in Costa Rica.


Diploma in Social Innovation: http://centre.upeace.org/programs/onlinecourses/diploma-in-social-innovation/

VIA Strengths Finder Free Test: https://www.viacharacter.org/survey/account/register

Martin E.P. Seligman’s Book Flourish: https://www.amazon.com/Flourish-Visionary-Understanding-Happiness-Well-being-ebook/dp/B0043RSK9O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1504551464&sr=1-1&keywords=flourish+by+martin+seligman

Big Talk at Ashoka U on Well-being and SE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRWsHd6Kvgk&index=20&list=PL4c_sUqnnlfFHCTqFBwMVc38djirImAM7

Earth Charter Initiative: http://earthcharter.org/

Episode 30 – Finding Your Purpose with Student Guests

Purpose is a difficult concept to articulate for most people let alone follow towards a career or vocation.  On this episode, Jerrid explores what it takes to pursue one’s purpose with student guests Ryan, John, and Ian.  The Valencia College students, participated in the live radio podcast, while their classmates tuned in to the broadcast live from the classroom via Facebook Live. Students also enjoyed communicating during the program through Facebook’s chat feature, engaging in witty, fun and informative banter.


Live in-studio video of the episode on Facebook Video: https://www.facebook.com/Valenciacollegeradio/videos/273609083259748/

Episode 29 – The Change Maker Journey with Mentor Dida Part 2

In this episode, Mentor Dida of the International organization Ashoka explains how he and others developed the Change Maker Journey template that is utilized around North America in the K-12 Education system by Ashoka to create change makers.

Biography of Mentor Dida

I’m a people person who always gets excited about new ideas and possibilities to design meaningful solutions to advance humanity. Advancing humanity is dear to my heart because after having lived through the 1999 Kosovo war, I realized that the real problems were not the people who caused the problems, but those who did not do anything about them. I’m a firm believer that all of our problems are just opportunities that we have not designed the right solutions yet; what we need is some more empathy, sophisticated teamwork, collaborative leadership, and changemaking.

During high school, I found a deep appreciation for physics. It is a science that aims to make things simple and explain why things happen the way they do. That was the reason why I chose to study engineering, and I ended up graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Alternative Energy Technologies from Arizona State University (ASU).

While I was an engineering student, I had a realization that moved me profoundly and was the reason why I chose to dedicate my time on advancing humanity. That moment triggered an inner drive in me to take many leadership roles including co-founding 5 student organization, leading a university initiative, serving as a student senator, and co-founding two non-profit organizations. I continued to pursue a graduate degree in Global Technology and Entrepreneurship at ASU. My graduate thesis was studying the human-centered design approach to problem-solving; where I got to explore ways people come up with powerful ideas. ASU provided incredible recognitions including Valedictorian, Graduate Commencement Student Speaker, the prestigious Pitchfork Award as the Outstanding Graduate Student Leader, Lean Six Sigma Black, and Green Belt, and more.

All of this led me to Ashoka, the world’s pioneer network of system-changing social entrepreneurs, and its mission to catalyze a future in which everyone has the necessary tools and knowledge to drive change for the good of all.