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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.

Osagyefo Sekou

Speaking Truth with Grace

Chanda sits down with Rev. Sekou to talk about the many layers of civil disobedience, philanthropy’s role in activism, and how the fight for racial justice has evolved.


Andrea Jenkins

The Freedom to Be

Chanda and Andrea discuss the importance of owning your truth, why representation and policy matters, and the struggles of navigating systems that were built on racism.


Jillian Peterson

The Data Behind Mass Shootings

Chanda and Jillian sit down together to talk about the psychology of mass shootings, the best ways to prevent this violence, and the power of human connection during times of crisis.


Curtiss DeYoung

Getting to the Roots

Chanda and Curtiss discuss philanthropy’s role in conquering hate, the integrity problem in our organizations, and how getting to the roots of injustice is essential for reconciliation.


Tim Wise

White Privilege

On March 4, 2020, Chanda spoke with Tim about how “Minnesota Nice” stands in the way of justice and how white privilege plays out in today’s systems and institutions.


Christian Picciolini and Keith Ellison

Breaking Hate

Chanda, Keith, and Christian sit down to talk about the rise of hate and intolerance, how trauma can lead to hate, and how we can best prevent extremism.

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.

View Chanda’s LinkedIn

Souphak Kienitz Podcast Producer Meet Souphak +
Souphak Kienitz
Podcast Producer

Souphak helps welcome guests, manage the front desk, and record, edit, and sound-engineer the award-winning Conversations with Chanda podcast. An achiever and jack-of-all-trades, she constantly evolves, flexes into multiple roles and channels, and thrives in hungry and nimble environments. Sou 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 Curator Meet John +
John Cuoco
Multimedia Content Curator

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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Become a

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

Contact Souphak

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