Insights on empathy and trust in remote work culture

What's Betwixt Us: Stories of Working While Human is a series of conversations about empathy at work, at work. It’s about diving into the messiness and the specificity of being human on the job—any job—and how empathy isn’t just a nice-sounding buzzword for company PR, it’s a rebellious act of remembering that we’re Human First, Everything Else After. What’s Betwixt Us is powered by zanie, designed to build trust and authentic human connection in remote workspaces. More at

The Good Burdens for Better Connections

With: Christina Crook

In this episode of "What’s Betwixt Us," you’ll hear a conversation recorded on Instagram Live with author, speaker, and digital well-being expert Christina Crook. We chatted on launch day of her new book, Good Burdens: How to Live Joyfully in the Digital Age. Christina is also the author of The Joy of Missing Out and host of the JOMO(cast) podcast. All of her work focuses on how to balance and find joy in an overwhelming world. Good Burdens champions the idea that leaning away from our culture’s obsession with speed and convenience, and toward effortful intentionality, pays massive spiritual dividends. We talk about the paradox of choice, the longterm value of making commitments, and daily practices that lead to more fulfilling relationships, especially with oneself. To learn more about Christina’s work and to purchase a copy of Good Burdens for yourself, visit

Episode 34: Subconscious Made Conscious

With: Jason Acosta

In this episode, we talk with life strategist, intuitive coach, and energy healer Jason Acosta. We take a deep dive into what it means to be an empath, especially as a leader. Jason shares how crisis moments in his life led him to breakthroughs about the importance of rigorous self-reflection and self-care, and to his calling as an energy healer. With history in the hospitality industry, Jason brings first-hand wisdom about how empathy creates productivity and about how you don’t manage everyone the same. To learn more about Jason, find him on Facebook, where you can check out other interviews he’s done with impactful people around the world.

Episode 33: If I Lose, So What?

With: Manpreet Bawa

In this episode, we talk with coach, speaker, and self-identified Mind Architect, Manpreet Bawa. Manpreet is passionate about technology, wellness, and where the two intersect. We discuss the process involved in making choices, starting with small, aligned changes, catalyzing wake-up moments, and leaving a legacy to be proud of.

Episode 32: Phoenix Rising

With: Raj Subrameyer

In this episode, we speak with tech career strategist Raj Subrameyer. Raj is an international keynote speaker, coach, and author of the book Skyrocket Your Career. As a former self-proclaimed “toxic leader,” Raj reveals how he walked through the fire of his own life transformation, from being insecurity-driven to harnessing fear as a catalyst to drive him to the next level. We discuss self-experimentation, mindset changes, and helping people create lives they love. To learn more about Raj's amazing work, please visit

Episode 31: The Skill of the Future

With: Ajit Dodani

In this episode, we speak with the delightful and generous Empathy Strategist, Ajit Dodani. Ajit is the CEO of EmpathifyU. He brings his extensive background in business and finance consulting to his work as a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, helping companies foster a healthy, positive work culture. We talk about the importance of self-care and self-love, and the need for leaders to learn to recognize and deal with trauma among their employees. To learn more about how Ajit is helping organizations embrace empathy as a superpower, go to

Episode 30: Connection Before Content

With: Sue McDonnell

In this episode, we chat with executive coach, team developer, psychotherapist, and self-proclaimed “soulpreneur” Sue McDonnell. Sue combines her years of business experience with her intuitive empathy skills to bring energetic alignment to clients across a variety of industries. We talk about doing vs. being, post-traumatic growth, and listening to the wisdom of your body. To learn more about Sue’s transformative work for teams, culture, and individuals, please visit

Episode 29: The Wisdom of Being Stuck in Between

With: Sejal Thakkar

Sejal Thakkar is an attorney, educator, and TEDx speaker specializing in employment law and human resources training for employers. She’s the self-dubbed Chief Civility Officer of TrainXtra, where she puts her skills and experiences to use helping company cultures thrive. We talk about preemptive empowerment of both employers and employees, the importance of sharing your mistakes, and how a culture of respect at a company starts at the top. You can find out more about Sejal and watch her TEDx talk on LinkedIn. To learn more about TrainXtra, visit

Episode 28: Making Everyone Comfy

With: Caralie Chrisco

Caralie Chrisco is the People Operations Manager at Chaincode Labs and the Content Lead at Hello Bitcoin. Coming from a background in theater, film and TV as a talent manager, Caralie moved into the tech industry and found her ability to empathize and bring warmth to the table to be a unique asset within the team. We discuss leading by example when it comes to vulnerability, setting boundaries as a woman in tech, and her favorite tools to implement for engagement and wellbeing. You can learn more about Chaincode Labs at, about Hello Bitcoin at, and you can find Caralie on Twitter @caralie.c.

Episode 27: The Human Condition at Work

With: Asiya Hasan-Damen

Asiya Hasan-Damen is a workplace culture strategist, coach, team-builder, workshop facilitator, and the co-founder of Cultuurloop. We talk about change fatigue, acknowledging the feelings in the room, the resistance that might be present around them, and the empowerment to build a business from scratch if you really believe in it. She discusses how you can still care about people in the workplace and have a bottom line. To learn more about the great things Asiya is doing for the future of work culture, check out

Episode 26: Empathy Within and Without

With: Paul Peglar

In this episode of What’s Betwixt Us, we chat with Paul Peglar. Paul is a performer, producer, musical director, and the co-founder and Artistic Director of ECHT, an arts non-profit that believes “authentic expression creates genuine connection.” We talk about the empathy muscles that are naturally built through artistic collaborations and how those skills are transferrable anywhere. We also discuss the importance of learning to meet people where they are, dealing gracefully with big transitions, and the intelligence of the gut. To learn more about Paul, check out, and for deeper insight into what ECHT is all about, visit

Episode 25: Empathy Between the Pages

With: Melissa Boles

Melissa Boles is a lifelong storyteller, writer, and the Marketing Manager at BookClub, which brings authors and readers together via online book clubs, led by the authors themselves. Melissa is passionate about mental health awareness, and we discuss how empathy for mental health issues can be built by reading. We talk about the importance of self-knowledge and self-reflection to raise empathy by talking through what you’re processing. To learn more about Melissa and read some of her writing, check out You can also find her on social media @melloftheball, and learn about BookClub at

Episode 24: Fighting for Heart in Fashion HR

With: John Mezzo

In this episode of What's Betwixt Us, we chat with John Mezzo, a human resources executive in the fashion industry. John has lent his heart and expertise to several multibillion dollar global brands including Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and Burberry. John shares his story growing up in his family’s friendly neighborhood bakery in Brooklyn, his background in theater, and how he has transferred those skills into his corporate life. We chat about the importance of authenticity, the gray area, and being the most yourself. To learn more about John and connect with him, you can find him on LinkedIn.

Episode 23: The Body is Our Compass

With: Rajkumari Neogy

In this episode of What's Betwixt Us, we chat with Rajkumari Neogy an executive coach, speaker, and self-professed "AwesomeSauce Alchemist." She is the Founder of the iRestart coaching framework and the Biology of Belonging Bootcamp. Rajkumari uses her expertise in epigenetics and neurobiology to develop empathy in leadership and work culture at companies all over the world. We talk about bringing conscious practices into meetings, the importance of sitting with our own discomfort, the permission to mourn, the value in psychological dynamics in team culture, and the dark side of belonging. To find out more about Rajkumari and her life-changing coaching programs, visit

Episode 22: Empathy in Ritual

With: Rabbi Jessica Marshall

On this episode of What's Betwixt Us, Rabbi Marshall discusses her journey in finding a connection to Judaism, going from a traditional setting with a synagogue and congregation to "exploding paradigms” with heart-centered connection. Her work is now focused on building creative, diverse, and personal offerings for lifecycle rituals, retreats, women’s gatherings, and spiritual coaching. We talk about the power of sitting with and witnessing people in pain, seeing everything as an invitation to the sacred, and the wisdom in our hearts that’s as knowledgeable as what’s in our brains. To learn more about Rabbi Marshall, please visit her website at and on Instagram @rabbijkm.

Episode 21: Empathy on the Couch

With: Dr. Gustavo Cutz

In this episode of What’s Betwixt Us, we chat with Dr. Gustuvo Cutz, a psychologist specializing in CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and DBT, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. These intense practices are rooted in the importance of the empathetic dynamic between therapist and client, which Gus describes as “radically genuine,” and “a relationship between equals.” Dr. Gus talks about his lifelong curiosity, what he has learned from his fellow therapists and his clients, and why we must always wonder about another’s world experience. You can check out Dr. Gus’s practice Cognitive Behavioral Associates at

Episode 20: LIVE from the IEEE ISTAS Conference

With: Jumana Abu-Ghazaleh & Shaina Stigler

In this episode of What's Betwixt Us, we get an inside look into the creation of zanie and the philosophy behind it from fellow zanie builders Jumana Abu-Ghazaleh (founder and CEO) and Shaina Stigler. This episode was recorded LIVE as part of the IEEE ISTAS Conference, which brings together a variety of pioneers in new and emerging voices in advancing technology. We talk about the transformation of work culture to be more empathetic, the importance of being seen and heard to foster innovation, and what it means to feel safe. Please visit to learn more about advancing technology for humanity.

Episode 19: Notes Across the Universe

With: Amy Giddon

In this episode of What's Betwixt Us, we chat with Amy Giddon, the Co-Founder and CEO of Daily Haloha. She talks with us about the story behind this exciting new app that promotes empathy and positivity, the importance of connecting with one another globally, and what inspired Amy to be a pioneer for empathy. She tells us her story working in corporate finance, in women's leadership, and how this paved the path she is pursuing today. Please visit to download the app and learn more about the work Amy is doing.

Episode 18: Kinetic Connections

With: Bob Kulhan

In this episode of What's Betwixt Us, we are joined by Bob Kulhan, the founder and CEO of BusinessImprov and the author of the book Getting to Yes, And. Through the corporate training and development he offers through his company and the actionable practices mentioned in his book, Bob teaches companies how to implement improvisational methods into their work cultures to promote engagement when it comes to communication, teamwork, and empathy. We discuss the psychology of safe spaces, the pillars of reacting, adapting, and communication, and the importance of making others look good both on stage and off. Learn more about Bob and his dynamic work by visiting

Episode 17: Wonder, Play and Empathy

With: Kristin Hanggi

In episode 17 of What's Betwixt Us, we're joined by Tony-nominated Broadway director Kristin Hanggi. Among her many projects for stage and screen, Kristin is also the author of  the book God, Sex, and Musical Theater. Kristin is a deeply inspired, compassionate and wise coach, mentor and creative guide. She talks with us about trust in team-building, the importance of play in your work, and inner listening. She says, “Fun has a way of unlocking things.” Please learn more about Kristin by visiting her website

Episode 16: Real Talk for Real Change

With: Jared Karol

Jared Karol is a speaker, facilitator, and coach who works in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. On this episode of What's Betwixt Us, Jared talks with us about his journey and why it's important for cis white men to enter into conversations around DEIB. He shares anecdotes and insights into how to implement empathy at work and the power inherent in strategic storytelling. Please learn more about Jared by visiting

Episode 15: Seeing People in Their Best Light

With: Patrick McAndrew

In this episode of What's Betwixt Us, we're joined by Patrick McAndrew, an actor, podcast producer and tech philosopher who works toward having humanity at the core of all of the projects he pursues. We discuss how acting and improv training helps fuel empathy, the concept of digital wellness, and what it means to be authentic and to create personal brands online. To learn more about Patrick's work, please visit

Episode 14: Your Truth is Safe with Me

With: Bernadette Smith

Bernadette Smith is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion speaker, strategist and trainer. She's the author of Gay Wedding Confidential, as well as several other books, and has been featured everywhere--in Forbes, the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, the Today Show, the BBC, NPR, Fast Company and beyond. Bernadette speaks with us about psychological safety, the love languages of business and the "true employee revolution." She brings her raw, honest and personal experiences of vulnerability to her work and emits unmistakable warmth, and fierce, unbridled optimism. Learn more about Bernadette's work by visiting and signing up for the 5 Things Newsletter.

Episode 13: Empathy Off-Screen

With: Jess Kimball Leslie

In this episode of What's Betwixt Us, we chat with Jess Kimball Leslie, the creator, writer and Executive Producer of Kings of America, a forthcoming drama series for Netflix about the Walton family, produced by Amy Adams and Adam McKay. This project is Jess’s first foray into Hollywood, having previously worked as a journalist, writing about tech, the economy and authoring her book, “I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live In It.” Jess shares her unfiltered passion for justice, equity and uncovering the truth. She also chats with us about the humbling, empathy-building experiences of pitching, networking and production for TV. Learn more about Jess by visiting her on LinkedIn. Read up about Kings of America in Deadline, IndieWire or wherever you get your media news, and stay tuned to Netflix for the upcoming series release!

Episode 12: Humans are the Smartest Machines

With: Katina Michael

Katina Michael is a professor, speaker, writer and a passionate pioneer of thought leadership in the future of technology. From the School for the Future of Innovation at Arizona State University to Wollongong University in Australia, Katina’s impressive credentials pale in comparison to her unwavering commitment to deep, expansive compassion and empathy in technology and academia. Through her impactful words, Katina talks with us about how humans truly wield the power for empathy in our everyday lives. Please explore Katina’s web site,, where you’ll find her speeches, writings, research, and tons of recommendations for further learning.

Episode 11: Empathy in the Cloth

With: Rabbi Karen Glazer Perolman

Rabbi Karen Glazer Perolman leads Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New Jersey. She talks with us about being the first out clergy member of her synagogue. Rabbi Karen is a wealth of knowledge as she shares how she has cultivated empathy through mentoring young people (especially women), handling major lifecycle events with grace, and how, in her words, “Being vulnerable really helps people relate to you.” She also discusses the differences between sympathy and empathy and why it's important to distinguish the two. Please find out more about Rabbi Karen’s Rabbinic journey and her congregational home by visiting

Episode 10: Hecklers Just Need Love

With: Myq Kaplan

Comedian Myq Kaplan has performed on the Tonight Show, Conan, the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Seth Meyers, the Late Late Show with James Corden, and in his own specials on Comedy Central, Netflix and Amazon. He also recently released a new album called A.K.A. In this episode, Myq explores where empathy shows up in comedy, particularly when interacting with an audience. He breaks down, in his signature stream of consciousness style, how comedy, if performed mindfully, can be one of the most empathetic career pursuits there is. Please learn more about Myq and his work by visiting

Episode 9: Empathy as Curiosity

With: Michael Todd Cohen

Michael Todd Cohen is a content strategist, creator and brand and marketing specialist. MTC has created work for organizations such as CNN, IBM, Netflix and American Express, and he infuses empathy through the lens of curiosity in everything he does. He strives to place human story at the core of brands and products. Please visit and to learn more about Michael Todd Cohen and his work.

Episode 8: The Empathy of Words Written & Spoken

With: Mai Al-Nakib

Mai Al-Nakib is a writer and professor of literature at Kuwait University. Her award-winning book of short stories, The Hidden Light of Objects, tackles big issues of war and family, as well as poignant everyday moments of longing and connection often overlooked. She spent the early part of her life traveling the world and, through traveling, observed human behavior in all its variety of facets. These experiences have led Mai to some deep truths about empathy in the intimacy of our creativity, the rigor of academia, and how we might pass on compassion to the next generation. To learn more about Mai and her beautiful work, please visit

Episode 7: Could Be, Who Knows? Empathy in Finance

With: Lauren Leslie

Lauren Leslie, Director of Investor Relations at a financial firm, joins us in this episode of What's Betwixt Us to talk about empathy in the world of finance. From seeing suits and ties as costumes to being the only woman in the room, Lauren injects empathy into an industry where it is often lacking. She discusses why we may see the work culture of the finance industry pivot towards a greater emphasis on humanity in the near future. You can learn more about Lauren and connect with her on LinkedIn.

Episode 6: Equity and Empathy in Social Justice

With: Elz Cuya Jones

Elz Cuya Jones is the Deputy Director of the North Star Fund, a community foundation working to create a more just and equitable New York. Elz, as an enthusiastic and passionate activist, is a bright spot in a dark time, and she brings her love for grass roots justice, wealth redistribution, and learning deeper empathy onto the job with her every day. In our conversation, she discusses the key to unlocking empathy in the social justice system. To learn more about Elz, please find her on LinkedIn. You can learn more about how the North Star Fund is fighting for justice and equity in New York by visiting

Episode 5: Empathy in the Wings and the Classroom

With: Barbara Butts

Barbara Butts is a professional stage manager, activist and professor at Northwestern University. In this episode, Barbara shares a wealth of wisdom with us about honest communication, dealing with difficult people, and leading and reading the room with diplomacy and finesse. She also uncovers key gems about facilitation and communication that you'll want to take with you into your life. Please connect with Barbara on LinkedIn.

Episode 4: Cultivating Empathy Between Rocks and Hard Places

With: Liz Glazer

Liz Glazer, a law-professor-turned-comedian-and-writer, joins us to talk about cultivating empathy in her life. Her unique take covers a wide spectrum, from her time as a student and a teacher to her days as a performer, working in a difficult field that tests her at every corner. Cultivating empathy and a compassion for oneself is not only preferable; it's mandatory to survive and thrive. Please visit Liz's website,, to learn more about her work.

Episode 3: How We Bring Empathy to AI

With: Renée Cummings

Renée Cummings is a criminologist, criminal psychologist, and an AI ethicist and strategist. She is the Founder of Urban AI and she provides us with a unique take on empathy and technology and the current biases present within its development. Renée believes deeply in the possibilities of AI, augmented intelligence, and collective intelligence and strives to implement empathy into the design of new technologies. You can find out more about Renée's work on LinkedIn.

Episode 2: The Intersection of Empathy and Hot Dog Cars

With: Robin Gelfenbien

Robin Gelfenbien is a writer, storyteller, comedian, speaker and creative director. Robin is a ball of energy who wears many hats. She describes herself as an "ambassador of fun," and encourages us all to expect the funexpected. She's the host and creator of the critically-acclaimed storytelling show, "Yum's the Word," for which she makes homemade ice cream cakes. Robin's work experience is diverse, from advertising to driving the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. She gives her personal take on empathy and how we can harness it better in the workplace. You can learn more about Robin by visiting

Episode 1: Our Avatars, Ourselves: Empathy in Tech

With: David Ryan Polgar

In our inaugural episode of What's Betwixt Us, we're joined by tech ethicist David Ryan Polgar. David Ryan Polgar is the founder of All Tech Is Human, which connects the organizations and people of the Responsible Tech movement. He is also an international speaker, commentator and passionate leader on how technology is affecting our lifestyles as humans. We discuss the difference between our physical selves and our online avatars and what this all means in terms of discovering empathy. You can learn more about David by visiting his website at or following him on Twitter @techethicist.

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