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The Podcast

Conversations with Chanda

About The Podcast

What happens when people get together and dive into intimate conversation about our community’s grittiest, most vexing problems? Find out on our podcast, Conversations with Chanda. Hosted by Chanda Smith Baker, Conversations with Chanda unpacks complex topics—the power structures that surround wealth, navigating the world of philanthropy as a person of color, why criminal justice reform is something everyone should care about, and turning unthinkable grief into good.

Start listening on our website today or download episodes here:

Listen. Process. Share. Discuss.

We’re calling on everyone to join us on this rough but revealing path of discovery and civic action.

Nikki McComb

Unburden Yourself

Nikki McComb's work lies in the intersection of art and violence prevention. She is the owner of Art is My Weapon and the founder of the #ENOUGH Campaign for Gun Safety. Chanda sat down with Nikki to discuss the ripple ...


Artika Roller

Change is Possible

Artika Roller is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA). In this episode, Chanda and Artika discuss how MNCASA addresses sexual violence through advocacy, prevention, racial justice, and systems change.


Tameka Jones

Breaking Past Limits

Tameka Jones launched her business, Lip Esteem, in 2020 during the height of the pandemic and civil unrest. Chanda connected with Tameka to discuss Tameka's entrepreneurial spirit, the decisions that led her to the beauty industry, and how she found healing ...


Tish Jones

The Language of the Spirit

Tish Jones is a poet, narrative strategist, cultural producer, educator, and the Founder & Executive Director of TruArtSpeaks. In this episode, Chanda and Tish discuss the connection between art and healing, the relational work within the education system, and why there’...


Linda Villarosa

Under the Skin

Linda Villarosa is a New York Times contributor, professor, and author of "Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation." In this episode, Chanda and Linda discuss the structural changes ...


Miquel McMoore

Uncovering Talent

Miquel McMoore is the Founder and Managing Director of kpCompanies. Her business helps small, mid-size, to large multinational companies find the right executive talent for their culture. Chanda connected with Miquel to discuss job market trends, the complexities of DEI ...

Chanda Smith Baker headshot
Chanda Smith Baker Chief Impact Officer and Senior Vice President Meet Chanda +
Chanda Smith Baker
Chief Impact Officer and Senior Vice President

Chanda has more than 20 years of experience working in, for, and with underestimated communities. At the Foundation, which she joined in 2017, Chanda oversees grantmaking programs, provides strategic direction to community initiatives and partnerships, and is the founder and host of the award-winning podcast Conversations with Chanda. Previously, Chanda spent 17 years at Pillsbury United Communities, a complex community-based nonprofit where she served in a variety of leadership positions before assuming the role of president and CEO in 2011. In addition to leading Pillsbury in pursuing bold strategies to address systemic inequities, Chanda has served on numerous nonprofit and philanthropic boards throughout her career, and her civic leadership has been recognized with several awards and commendations. She unwinds by spending time with family and loves to travel, shop, and watch football.

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Souphak Kienitz Podcast Producer Meet Souphak +
Souphak Kienitz
Podcast Producer

An achiever and jack-of-all-trades, Souphak constantly evolves, flexes into multiple roles and channels, and thrives in hungry and nimble environments. Souphak earned a B.A. in business management at the University of St. Thomas. An avid reader, she enjoys learning about business, start-ups, marketing, technology, and the way of the future.

Darlynn Benjamin Executive Administrative Assistant to the Chief Impact Officer Meet Darlynn +
Darlynn Benjamin
Executive Administrative Assistant to the Chief Impact Officer

Darlynn provides high-level administrative support for grantmaking programs, community initiatives and partnerships, and the award-winning Conversations with Chanda podcast and event series. She has more than 25 years of experience in administrative and operations leadership. Previously, she served as vice president of innovations and collaboration at MACC, as a district director for former Congressman Keith Ellison, as principal and co-founder of the McClung Consulting, LLC, and as a director for two sizeable Minneapolis nonprofits. Her civic leadership includes serving on the boards of the YWCA Minneapolis and Appetite for Change. Darlynn is a native of Pittsburgh and holds an M.S. in public management and policy from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S. in business administration from Duquesne University. She is a wife and the mother of three sons.

John Cuoco headshot
John Cuoco Multimedia Content Manager Meet John +
John Cuoco
Multimedia Content Manager

John Cuoco joined the Minneapolis Foundation as the Multimedia Content Curator in July of 2021. He moved to the Twin Cities from Boston. John has spent his career working in television news as a reporter with stops in Texas, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. He is a strong believer in compelling and informative storytelling as an effective form of communication. His work in broadcast journalism earned him two Emmy Awards and a number of other nominations. John is looking forward to the personal and professional growth that comes from working at an organization like the Minneapolis Foundation. In his free time, John loves playing guitar, hiking, surfing, and his new hobby since moving to the land of 10,000 lakes, paddle boarding.

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Sarah Gillund Design and Digital Media Manager Meet Sarah +
Sarah Gillund
Design and Digital Media Manager

Sarah helps implement the Foundation’s brand and digital communications strategies. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2018, Sarah spent almost a decade working in nonprofits, most recently as Youth Frontiers’ Communications and Marketing Manager. She is a graduate of both Augsburg University and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband, connecting with friends and family, and playing with her corgi, Mose.

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Looking to sponsor Conversations with Chanda? We create custom solutions for our sponsorship partners. For more information, email our podcast producer, Souphak Kienitz.

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