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The Podcast

Conversations with Chanda
Video

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.

PRSA

Minnesota PRSA Diversity and Inclusion Forum

The conversation explores how a local journalist used her platform and curiosity to open a new window into a world few often see.

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Bill George

Finding Where You Fit

Chanda and Bill talked about the importance of finding a work culture that supports your authentic self, the pressures of leadership, and the connections between health, trauma, and growth.

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James Forman, Jr.

Knowing Your Power

James Forman, Jr. sits down with Chanda to talk about how his parents influenced his life, how intentions don’t always match impact, and the lessons to keep in mind when reforming the criminal legal system.

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Cherise Fanno Burdeen

Taking on Equity

Chanda and Cherise talk about how Cherise’s understanding of her whiteness has impacted her work, the racial divides in our systems, and how the time is ripe to reform our nation’s pretrial practices.

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Josie Johnson

Finding Hope in the Struggle

Chanda and Josie talked about Josie’s legacy of activism, how to stay connected to the struggles in community, and why understanding our history is necessary to move justice and equality forward.

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Yusef Salaam

From Pain to Positivity

Chanda sits down with Yusef for a one-on-one conversation about the power of owning your narrative, the scars of lost time, and how to get up and move forward after being knocked down.

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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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Sponsor

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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