SPU Voices host Amanda Stubbert interviews Laurra McGregor for the podcast episode, “A Cheesy Family Business.”

Seattle Pacific University has begun the SPU Voices Podcast, a monthly interview show showcasing the compelling stories and earned wisdom of SPU alumni, faculty, and staff. We asked host Amanda Stubbert ’95, director of Alumni, Parent, and Family Relations, and producer Kyle Brown ’15, assistant director of engagement and events, about their motivation for the project and what they’ve learned so far.

We invite you to listen, subscribe, and share your feedback and ideas with us!

Why did you decide to start a podcast?

A: To tell stories. I love stories and believe they are how we all learn and synthesize information. From parables to metaphors to fairytales, stories are how we interact with and understand the world around us. I also believe that every human being has a unique and God-given story — many stories, really. And, strangely enough, the more detailed and personal the story gets, the more universal and life-giving it can become.

K: Podcasts are a great way to tell stories. In print, you can miss the tone of what people are saying and how they are saying it, and it’s difficult to tell longer stories with video. A podcast allows people to feel like they are in the room with the person who is sharing their story. It’s the most intimate storytelling medium available.

How does podcasting align with SPU’s mission/place in the world?

A: SPU is known for personal attention to each student’s goals and dreams, including one-on-one relationships with professors who support and provide this care. We see people as individuals who use their whole selves to interact with the world, and I believe this podcast will showcase that fact.

K: This podcast shows how people are living out SPU’s mission. We showcase how our extended community is engaging the culture in their everyday lives and how those little choices they make matter.

“A podcast allows people to feel like they are in the room with the person who is sharing their story. It’s the most intimate storytelling medium available.”
— Kyle Brown ’15

What are your hopes for the podcast?

A: Worldwide reach, inspiration, and learning. That may be a bit of pipe dream, but why not shoot for the stars?

K: All I want from this podcast is to be able to have one of those cool drawings of me that they have in Response magazine. I want this more than anything I have ever wanted before. It would also be cool if people enjoyed the show.

How have you chosen your guests so far?

A: We chose unique stories within our community where we saw immediate, universal takeaways. Then, as we shared the project with the community, we were flooded with more great ideas. Now we get to share the amazing stories we know about and investigate new ones as well — some from “right next door” and some from across the globe.

K: The guests that we have lined up so far are people who have stories that are relatable. Everyone has experiences where they’ve told stories, had to be a leader, or have needed to communicate, so they can relate to these stories on a base level, but each story is also unique because they are from lived experiences.

Any favorite moments in pulling these together?

A: Stephen Newby breaking into song in the middle of our interview … having a singer who can sell out Benaroya Hall sing right to you is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But, in each interview, I end up hearing answers I didn’t see coming, and that is my favorite part.

K: My favorite moments are the ones we haven’t recorded. Everyone we have asked to be on the show so far has been so excited to be a part of this project. That’s what makes the episodes special. These interviews don’t feel like a chore for the guests; they are delighted to share their stories and that joy shows through.

What has most surprised you about this project?

A: How much we all have to learn from each other. The amount of wisdom that we all carry around is astonishing to me. What one finds normal because they have known it for years, another finds groundbreaking and life-changing. We all need to listen more and talk less.

“We get to share the amazing stories we know about and investigate new ones as well.”
—Amanda Stubbert ’95

K: I’ve been surprised at how open people have been willing to be. People have showed us what is on their hearts. I think the medium of podcasting contributes to that, but I also believe because many people feel so connected to our greater SPU community, they can share how they feel because they know people will be compassionate toward them.

Any lessons learned?

A: From Cami Ostman: Check in with God and myself each morning before I look at my phone. The story of my day should start with love and courage, not bad news or gossip.

K: The lesson I took away was also from Cami’s episode. She said that you have to just start what you’re passionate about. It’s not going to be perfect, but the best works of art are more about getting a cruddy first draft out and editing than having it be perfect the first time.

Who would you like to feature in future episodes? How can I submit “here’s a good person to feature” ideas?

A: We take submissions on the podcast webpage; we are always looking for good interview ideas. I’d like to interview Tim Hanstad, our 2016 Alumnus of the Year and Nobel Prize nominee. His work fascinates me.

K: I want to tell stories that don’t always get shared, but are relatable to a lot of people. I’d love to tell the story of a stay-at-home parent and/or an administrative assistant. Both of those roles are vital in business and in life, but they are often overlooked because they aren’t flashy.

What are your favorite podcasts?

A: Hidden Brain and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!

K: I am really into true crime. I’m fascinated by the stories of why these horrible things happen and how we can make changes in our lives to help prevent tragedy. I also really enjoy The Liturgists Podcast. They are really honest about their faith and talk candidly about their struggles.

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