What Makes Life Truly Yours?
What leads people to evolve, unlearn, or drastically change the course of their life? What happens when you stop relying on societal constructs and start questioning what you’ve been taught to believe?
Join Edvo CEO Shireen Jaffer and an eclectic mix of guests as they attempt to find the answers to these questions. Earnest, raw, and compelling, this is a look into how we make the most important choices of our lives.
#15 | LaToya Zavala: Sexual Trauma, Overcoming Abuse, Healing
In this episode, LaToya opens up about the sexual and emotional abuse that started for her at the age of five. She tells us about the societal messaging that prevented her from recognizing the toxicity of her environment and worse, influenced LaToya’s understanding of her self-worth. We learn about how LaToya finds her voice and overcomes years of trauma, limiting beliefs, and millions of voices telling her she’s not good enough. We further discuss her work as a chaplain in the military and the path to get there as a woman.
#14 | Emily Adams: Choosing a Different Life, Finding a Support System, Visualization & Manifestation
In this episode, Emily talks about her decision to leave her family, the Amish culture, and everything she knew at the age of 17. We discuss the many culture shocks and challenges that she had to overcome, from identity crises to abusive relationships. As Emily takes her happiness into her own hands, she commits to making positive changes and finding strength within herself. This road brings her to powerlifting, and Emily tells us how she went from a scared 17-year-old to a nationally competitive athlete, mom of 2, and a successful businesswoman
#13 | Chris Atoki: Homelessness, Fighting Depression, Living For Yourself
In this episode, Chris talks about experiencing homelessness at the age of 19 and finding himself without a job, unable to pay for school, and without support from family or friends. This month, four years later, Chris became a home owner at the age of 24 and is making six-figures. Chris shares how he overcame depression and suicidal thoughts to find his path despite the odds being against him.
#12 | Alex Smith: Getting Sick From Stress, Societal Expectations, Choosing Happiness
In this episode, Alex shares how she built a successful sales career in New York City, only to leave the glamorous lifestyle and buy a one-way ticket to Brazil. She tells us about dealing with a pre-cancer diagnosis at the age of 24 and battling fear, insecurities, and awakenings all at the same time. We further discuss the importance of stepping outside of your environment and unapologetically being yourself.
#11 | Nabila Ismail: Feeling Unhappy, Solo Traveling, Self-Empowerment
In this episode, Nabila shares her experiences as a solo-traveler and how she visited 30+ countries while being a full-time student. Coming from a traditional South Asian family, Nabila talks about being the girl that always followed the rules and stayed on the path that her parents wanted for her: going to pharmacy school, getting a job, marrying, and having a family. But when Nabila found herself miserable during school, she decided to make a change. She tells us about overcoming familial and societal pressures to empower herself and beginning her journey as a solo traveler. Nabila believes traveling has been her greatest teacher and shares the invaluable lessons, as well as some fun (and not so fun) memories she made along the way.
#10 | Rebecca Jacobs: Betting On Yourself, Entrepreneurship, The Dark Side of Non-Profits
In this episode, Rebecca discusses her decision to reject the corporate route after business school and fly to Tanzania instead. She talks about her realizations during school regarding the type of work she wants to be doing, and asking herself, “What would I do if I only had one year to live?” Rebecca then tells us about her journey into the world of international development and discovering the darker side of “good” work. We further discuss entrepreneurship, the loneliness of betting on yourself, and how it feels to feel alive.
#9 | Austin Belcak: Side Hustles, Feeling Stuck, Finding Your Passion
In this episode, Austin shares his struggle with school, how he learned to ignore bad advice, and how he discovered his passion. We discuss his five failed businesses and his fear of failure. We then learn about how Austin built his current successful business, grew his platform to 300K+ followers, and managed his time while working full-time at Microsoft.
#8 | Melissa Strawn: Feeling Insecure, Overcoming Biases, Making Positive Change
In this episode, Melissa shares her story of living in poverty, getting pregnant at 16, and ultimately deciding to take control to create a more aligned life for herself. We discuss her evolution into a successful startup CEO and she tells us about how she overcomes systemic biases. We further discuss the way our society treats people who have unconventional pasts, and how we can do better collectively.
#7 | Veline Mojarro: Racism, Police Officers, Unlearning & Showing Up
In this episode, Veline tells us her story about growing up with a father who served as an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department and a passionate mother who took her to her first protest when Veline was still in a stroller. She shares her experiences of growing up in a white suburban neighborhood as a brown woman and the ideological differences within her community. We further talk about her feelings of being a daughter of a police officer with the current debates in our society, as well as the work she’s currently doing for racial justice, equity, and inclusion.
#6 | Sasha Shilko: Tech Burnout, Dealing with Anxiety, Sabbaticals
In this episode, Sasha tells us her story about working in San Francisco at a “sexy” tech company and living the life she dreamt of as a child. As she recalls her experiences, Sasha shares both the good and the bad. She also talks about navigating the high-performing tech culture, understanding the concept of “golden handcuffs,” and dealing with immense burnout. We discuss the moments that lead her to make a pivot and the aftermath of her decisions.
#5 | Trish Lindo: Gut Instincts, Developing Perspectives, Self-Reliance & Resilience
In this episode, Trish joins Shireen to discuss her move from Hollywood, FL to Hollywood, CA to pursue a career in entertainment, despite many people advising her not to. She further shares her experiences working with countless celebrities and building a successful career in LA, and then ultimately asking the big question: “What else is out there?” Tune in to learn how Trish went from working with Oprah to working with women fighting homelessness and listening to stories on Skid Row.
#4 | Jill Knobeloch: Dealing with Emptiness, Rationality vs Intuition, Relationships
In this episode, Jill tells us why she chose to walk away from her “perfect life:” a supportive husband, a beautiful house in California, and a good job. All before the age of 30, Jill files for divorce, moves to Chicago by herself with no job or friends, and deals with two life-threatening health concerns. We discuss the aftermath of her decisions, question why we believe certain things and quickly dismiss others, and consider her epiphanies along the way.
#3 | Deborah Benton: Chasing Stability, Learning to Think, Success in School & Work
In this episode, Deborah Benton, former COO of Nasty Gal and current partner at Willow Growth, shares how success was defined for her during her childhood and how it led her to a “prestigious” job that got her physically sick. This wake-up call serves as a catalyst for Deborah to re-define success for herself and do things her own way. We also discuss her opinions on our education system and the beliefs that limit our thinking.
#2 | Daria Tsvenger: Childhood, Emotional Trauma, How Our Brains React
In this episode, Shireen talks with mindset expert Daria Tsvenger about growing up in Russia, moving to America, and the feelings of helplessness, loss of identity, and hopelessness that stemmed from it. Find out how studying neuroscience helped Daria overcome her fears—and what she’s doing now to help other people navigate life changes and develop positive mindsets.
#1 | Elizabeth Marks: Navigating a Financial Crisis, Freelancing, Career Advice
In this episode, Liz tells us about how she navigated her career after graduating into the financial crisis of 2008. Despite doing everything she was told to do--excelling in school, going to NYU, and even getting a job at the Times in NYC--Liz learns early-on that she must create her own path in order to live the lifestyle she wants. And she does just that.
About the host
I like to build. Currently building Edvo to inspire critical thinking, make learning meaningful, and help people take control of their careers.
I’m fueled by finding solutions to age-old problems that shift mindsets and the norm. Spending this decade on re-thinking how work is done and how people are educated.
I enjoy getting to know people and their stories. I enjoy brainstorming and bringing ideas to life. I learn best by doing and sharing. I learn better by having what I do and share questioned.
I have a lot to learn. You have a lot to learn. Let’s talk: firstname.lastname@example.org