Has there ever been a better time to decide what our lives should look like? We are emerging from a once-in-a-century cataclysm where our lives were upended, our communities remade and our priorities readjusted. Now as the call to return to “normal” grows more insistent, we get to ask the question: what does “normal” look like? Did the old normal serve me? What do I want my new normal to be? And what will that mean for my career, my community, and my family? These are the fundamental questions to building our lives – and now, rebuilding them. As a therapist and coach, Shoshanna Hecht has been wrestling with these very questions in her practice – and now, on this podcast. With guests from all walks of life including media, culture, politics, tech, business & activism, Shoshanna examines the overlap of our goals, relationships, boundaries and priorities, and how we can navigate them all with self-awareness and intention. What do we want our lives to look like? Welcome to Your New Life Blend.
The through-line of Umbreen Bhatti’s career has been helping people tackle, as she says, “big, complex, sticky challenges.” As the Director of the Athena Center for Leadership at Barnard College, and in her previous work as a lawyer and Director of the Innovation Lab at KQED, Umbreen looks at these challenges from all perspectives and then zooms out and kicks the tires on the underlying frameworks, paradigms and default assumptions to find new, and better, pathways forward.
(She does not have time for “this is how we’ve always done it” and still less for “this is why it can’t be done.”) Umbreen had been at the Athena Center for almost a year when the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in March 2020, and she got her wish: “this is how we’ve always done it” was no longer an option, and “this can’t be done” never was. It was, ironically, a perfect crucible for learning about leadership – which, for Umbreen, meant equipping her students to move forward an uncertain world, and find ways to seize challenges and turn them into opportunities.
In this episode, host Shoshanna Hecht talks to Umbreen about how leadership means looking at challenges as new possibilities, and moving beyond them to envision the world we want to live in, and then build it.