What i do
Press & Interviews
Interviews by Aldo
Episode 60: Dr. Michael Trayford – ‘The Neurologist’
We are going to talk about the power of our brain today with an expert neurologist who has extensive knowledge as a Chiropractic brain specialist about how our brain adapts, how it grows, how it responds throughout our entire life.
Dr. Michael Trayford has founded APEX Brain Centres, a clinic that offers extensive brain rehabilitation programs for people who are suffering from addiction or have suffered a traumatic impact on their brain because of an accident. We speak about the road to recovery, the agility of our thinking, the era of technology addiction and how different our brains evolve, one generation to another.
It was a mind-blowing conversation with an extremely interesting guest. Hope you will enjoy pur 60th Episode!
Episode 59: The Audio Aficionado with Drew Vernon
Happy Thursday all and welcome to our very first Audio Aficionado Episode. So different to our Messy & Masterful Interviews these conversations are all about the power of Audio and more particularly podcasting. We dive into other podcast programs together with people who are doing something great and also have been inspired by this mighty tool of the Gods of Audio. And today my guest is Drew Vernon, the creator of 2 podcasts himself, and an Audio Aficionado in the purest sense of the word. This undoubtedly loving husband and father of 3 is also a Marketing Director at Tonies which is an audio company that produces the Toniebox which are incredible devices that have the power to generate any story your kid wants to hear. Drew is a great guy, an inspiring Podcaster and just like us a devotee to improving the state of Education in this world - could not have asked for a better guest to launch our first Audio Aficionado interview with. Hope you will enjoy it!
Episode 58: Paz Levinson – ‘The Sommelier’
It is so good to be back with our Podcast Program. A new series of episodes brought to you every week with also (as you might have noticed) a brand new name. So we took a short break from podcasting taking some time to work with a professional audio consultant to listen to our previously published conversations. We did this because we absolutely love bringing this program to you and we want it to only get better. Now in order to do this we felt it was good not to stay too long in an echo chamber, taking each other’s advice as a production team but also to work with third parties to tell us how we could improve. The big takeaway was - papapapapa - they love it! Don’t change too much other than maybe adopt a name that better represents the topics that we discuss. So we did just that. Our production team came up with a list of 20 names that with the entire team at TeachPitch we shortlisted to 3 - we took those 3 names to our community and an overwhelming majority voted for the name: Messy and Masterful!! So here we are - welcome to a brand new episode of Messy and Masterful powered by TeachPitch. We are very happy you could make it!! And boy oh boy do we have a treat for you, because our new guest is one of the very best sommeliers in the world! A sommelier according to Wikipedia is a wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, normally working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food pairing. The role of the wine steward in fine dining today is much more specialized and informed than that of a "wine waiter." And I was so delighted to speak to Paz Levinson who was the best sommelier of the Americas in 2015 and became 4th globally in 2016. She is now traveling the world working as a sommelier for the world-famous chef Anne-Sophie Pic and her restaurants all over the world. Paz is absolutely lovely, modest and hardworking and it was a great pleasure talking to her about her challenges in making your mark on the map having one of the best pallets in the world. Cannot wait to hear what you think - please enjoy episode 58, Paz Levinson, The Sommelier!
Introducing ‘The Audio Aficionado’
We live in an era of absolute information overload. I am sure you are aware but there is so much content to find out there.
Visually you have your pictures, videos, reels and images all over our social media. Audibly you have your audiobooks, Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse meetings and yes also Podcasts.
Now when we started the TeachPitch Podcast little over 1 year ago we did it to highlight the hard work of people who have achieved great things in their own right. Now more than anything I was set on making it clear to our listeners that yes our guests have achieved great success but no this did not happen automatically. Each and everyone of my guests have been through hardships, challenges and needed to overcome huge obstacles to get where they are today. From the President to the Trauma Surgeon, from the CIA Spy to the Psychologist - the deep adversity rimed with their great accomplishment is everywhere.
Now some of you might know that our Podcast is born out of a community of educators that wanted to realize change.
And the change they all want to see is all focussed on improving the global state of education. Now if you were to go to TeachPitch.com and sign up you will see that we have curated loads of content (over quarter of a million resources to date) that we all brought together in a big online library - ready to use for educators who are keen to improve the situation in their community, classroom or school.
I am happy to say that this library is being used by over 62,000 people from over 200 countries to date and it is for those people that we originally developed this program.
Our community is very active and I was overjoyed to see that its members also started to help and train one another by creating tutorials and reviews on great educational content and technology they were using - leaving very useful manuals for their peers.
Now to make a long story short - with our Podcast we want to extend our line of thinking not only on the platform but also in this show. This is why we are building a community of Audio Aficionados that will help us to review great Podcast shows, Episodes, hosts and guests out there.
If you like to listen to Podcasts like I do, you are bound to have your favorites and I want to hear all about them. We want to know from you from the over 1 million of podcasts that are already out there which one we should listen to. We love it that you are listening to us but the last thing we want is to just be dropping content without being aware of the other great Podcast Episodes that are being made all over the world.
So if you are listening to this and want our growing community to know more about your favorite podcast (or even the opposite - perhaps you hate a certain show and want the world to know as well) get in touch with us via our show notes or social media and together we can make an excellent Audio Aficionado Episode about it that will change this world forever!
Very exciting!! In the next Audio Aficionado Episodes I will surely be talking about the shows that have inspired me. Some of them, I dare to say, have changed my entire outlook on life and I cannot wait to share it with you!
Episode 56: Kristan Serafio: ‘The Hollywood Hairstylist’
We are glamming it up today and we are taking you to Hollywood! In our continuous search for the world’s most unique jobs and careers we surely found a diamond today as we had the great honor and pleasure to interview Kristan Serafino. Now Kristan is a hairstylist and not just your regular one. Throughout her 20 year career she has been responsible for the looks of actors like Matthew McConaughey, Robert Pattinson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniel Craig, Shawn Mendes, Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, Michael J Fox and the list just goes on and on. Next to being a genius with coiffures (Kristan gave me a lot of good tips and tricks on how to never have a bad hair-day) she is also the most lovely and hard working person you have ever met. She is continuously on the go advising people whether this is on TV programs like Good Morning America or working with people in her salon, that is if she is not on the road for a film project. Kristan is now devoted to growing her hair wax company The Best Paste that is winning lots of awards and accolades at the moment and we talk about her stellar journey as hairstylist, CEO and amazing person in general. Special call-out to Kristan’s Chief Operating Officer Doug Church who we also mention in the interview! Doug you rock! So without further ado let’s get into a set of new challenges, beautiful hair, great styling tips & tricks and the great glitter and glam of the movie industry for Episode 56 with Kristan Serafino, the Hollywood Hairstylist.
Episode 55: Dr. Michael Vlerick: ‘The Philosopher’
The next Episode is one for the deep thinkers among us. I really enjoyed this interview and definitely would like to have this guest come back to our show many more times as he has the talent, experience and words to make us all properly reflect. Dr. Michael Vlerick is a Philosopher. Currently affiliated with Tilburg University in the Netherlands as an Assistant Professor in Philosophy of Science. He is an excellent lecturer, speaker and thinker and authored two very interesting books. His most recent book is called ‘Critical and Scientific Thinking: A Short Introduction’ and the ebook version of this book is freely available to download for everyone who is keen to get their brain juices flowing. I really enjoyed talking to Michael as he is one of those people who can make very complex things and matters sound very easy. Whenever I speak to people like Michael I feel the world is in very good hands - because there are people who actually get it. We talk about the difference between thinking and critical thinking, writing books, meditation, ‘Philosophy for Dummies’ and how to achieve world peace. Just your regular podcast banter. So if you are interested in any of the above listen to this interview with Dr. Michael Vlerick - ‘The Philosopher’.
Episode 54: Zeneca: ‘The NFT Influencer’
Another Thursday, another Episode and today we are taking you to an almost parallel universe of Decentralized Finance, Digital Assets, Crypto currencies and a lot of other Web 3 matters that for many among us is still an unknown. Now my next guest is someone who is working on being a bridge for those people who feel that all of this unclear, too intangible and frankly scary. He is what you call an NFT Influencer who goes by the name of Zeneca. His real name is Roy and he is the nicest guy you have ever met. Now Roy has been very successful in educating, informing, myth-busting and even comforting people who have the desire to further immerse themselves into the NFT world. He even founded his own educational platform called ZenAcademy where he teaches people the do’s and don’ts of this rapidly evolving world. I genuinely enjoyed this interview as Zeneca was very open and upfront with me about his life, his successes but also his vices and failures. Really learned a lot from him not only as someone interested in what Web 3 has to bring, but also as a human being. So without further ado, please enjoy this interview with Zeneca.
Episode 53: Janhvi Maheshwari-Kanoria: ‘The Innovation Director’
It is Thursday which means we are here with another interview and this conversation is taking us back to our educational roots and we are very happy to connect you with the Education Above All Foundation, an organisation that is on the forefront of improving the global state of teaching and learning in our world through a variety of programs, and more specifically with its amazing Innovation Director Janhvi Maheshwari-Kanoria. Janhvi is a guiding light and a force of nature with the work she does at Education Above All and I highly enjoyed speaking to her about all the programs of the Foundation, the many teachers they trained, the funding they provided, the scholarships they have granted and all the other work that is so, so relevant to make sure that everyone of us will be granted the right to a high quality education. So without further ado, let’s dive into the world of Global Education with an awesome Innovation Director, Janhvi Maheshwari-Kanoria.
Episode 52: for ThinkTech Kosovo with Uranik Begu
For this interview we are going back to the Balkans and more specifically to Pristina, the capital of Kosovo where I had the great honour to speak to Uranik Begu, the Executive Director of Innovation Centre Kosovo. We again had the great honor of attending and speaking at ThinkTech - Kosovo and while being there I seized the opportunity to speak to many interesting people who are seeking to dramatically change the situation in this country for the better. One of these people is Uranik Begu who with the Innovation Centre has helped thousands of startups, hundreds of products and through its many events managed to support many, many ICT businesses in the country. I felt that Uranik and the centre are well placed to assess how Kosovo is evolving - specifically when it comes to getting more people into technology. The conference we spoke at was called ‘Building Bridges’ and it was very inspiring to hear the many notable guests speak about the bridges they felt needed to be built. Among others we had the Minister of Industry and Innovation speak at this event and I, for one, was very impressed with the drive, ambition and energy of the young people attending to change the situation in their country for the better. Uranik was a great spokesperson for these people and I sincerely hope you take the time to listen to what he had to say.
Episode 51: Yui & Takaharu Tezuka: ‘The Architects’
A very big welcome to Season 3 of The TeachPitch Podcast. I am hyper excited to be opening our latest season and cannot wait to hear your thoughts on all the awesome things we have in store for you for this series of episodes. We are kicking off and we are kicking off big because I have the great, great fortune to open Season 3 with some of the very best architects in this world. For our 51st Episode we are taking you to Tokyo, Japan where we had the tremendous honour to speak to the great Yui & Takaharu Tezuka. Now I am genuinely not lying to you when I tell you that this couple has shaken the world of architecture and that because of them and their magnificent designs this world is a more beautiful place. Tezuka Architects has won the Japanese Institute of Architects Prize (twice over), The Yoshioka Prize, The Architectural Institution of Japan Prize and the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2017. If you haven’t already seen it, please, please check out the TED talk of Takaharu Tezuka about ‘The Best Kindergarten You Have Ever Seen’ - 1.3 million people have watched his talk before you and for very good reasons. I loved Yui and Takaharu because of their simplicity. I am very much inspired and in awe about their choice to find their architectural ideas in nature or as they say themselves - merely amplifying what is already there instead of trying to rework or undo what nature has given to us. I also love the fact that they always wear the same colour of tshirts in the family - blue for Takaharu, red for Tezuka and I believe green and yellow for their son and daughter. Anyways, I learnt loads of loads of this interview and hope you will as well. We have also included the video recording of this interview on our YouTube channel so do check that out as well, if you want to get an idea of what these wonderful people look like. With that, please enjoy - ‘Yui and Takaharu Tezuka’ - The Architects!
Episode 50: Dr. Anne Mangen: ‘The Reading Professor’
This Episode is entirely devoted to reading and more specifically to how reading is changing for us humans in the year 2022 where some say we are dealing with a global ‘attention crisis’. Aldo speaks to Dr. Anne Mangen, a Professor at the Reading Centre of the University of Stavanger in Norway. Dr. Mangen’s research focuses on how reading shapes our brain and in her field makes granular comparisons between reading books and reading from digital devices. We talk about which one is better and what you can do for yourself and others to retain your focus.
Episode 49: The TeachPitch Podcast Secrets
As we are approaching the end of Season 2, Aldo shares 4 crucial (secret) takeaways about the Podcasting journey thus far. Great material if you are thinking of starting a Podcast yourself and/or are curious how such a show comes together.
Episode 48: Jojanneke van den Berge: ‘The Journalist’
Aldo talks to Dutch journalist Jojanneke van den Berge about her decades long journey as a TV presenter and Documentary maker, the many benefits of getting therapy and her latest series ‘Jojanneke en de Jeugdzorg Tapes’ (Jojanneke and the Childcare Tapes).
Episode 47: Metaphysics: ‘The MC’
We are living the music with this Episode as we get to talk to a member of the multi platinum selling band Soehne Mannheims (Sons of Mannheim). Aldo speaks to Metaphysics (aka: Herbert Schwamborn) about what is like to grow up in Zimbabwe being of mixed race, how music shaped his life and what his secret is to thrive in the music industry for close to 30 years.
Episode 46: Ana Roš: ‘The Chef’
A huge moment for the TeachPitch Podcast as we get to speak to one of the very best Chefs in the world!Ana Roš is a globally awarded and celebrated Chef who with her restaurant Hiša Franko has managed to attract thousands and thousands of people to come to see and taste the beautiful country of Slovenia. Aldo speaks to Ana about her enormous success, her never-ending love for cooking and her family.Ana also teaches Aldo how an incredible tragic loss can shape you to never ever give up on yourself.
Episode 45: Sabine Lubbe Bakker: ‘The Filmmaker’
Sabine Lubbe Bakker is an award winning Film and Documentary Director. Aldo speaks to her about her Documentary ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’ (2013) and Film ‘Becoming Mona’ (2020). Sabine talks to Aldo about her passion for story telling, sabotaging the love of her life on set and why failure is so much more valuable than success.
Episode 44: Keil & Laura Beveridge: ‘The Golf Pros’
Laura Beveridge is a rising star in the Professional Golf Rankings. We speak to Laura and her husband/ coach Keil Beveridge what the life of a Golf Pro is like. A life with many (many) travels, lots of highs, some lows but most certainly very interesting couple dynamics.
Episode 43: Sharon Epie: ‘The Peace Builder’
Aldo speaks to the Cameroonian Peace Advocate Sharon Epie who voices the needs and wishes of the next generation in her country. A nation that is tainted by its ongoing Civil War. Sharon is a Youth Advocate invited by Education Above All and the United Nations to speak on behalf of her peers. She speaks about how her voice and the young voices of so many others can help to hopefully bring this conflict to an end.
Episode 42: Dr. Bee Berx: ‘The Oceanographer’
We dive into the Ocean for this Episode and speak to Dr. Bee Berx, an Oceanographer working for the Scottish government. Dr Berx takes Aldo on a journey under the sea and speaks about why we need the Ocean to keep life on our planet intact.
Episode 41: Erion Isufi: ‘ThinkTech’
Aldo speaks to Erion Isufi, founder of ThinkTech. Erion is an Albanian business man and marketeer who speaks passionately about the future of his country and how technology can play a pivotal role in its economic growth; a deep conversation about technology, entrepreneurship, the country of Albania and Albanian youth.
Episode 40: Diana Al-Dajani, Jo Besford and Leonora Dowley: ‘The WISE Accelerator’
Happy 40th Episode! We are taking you on another journey into the magic land of Global Education. Aldo speaks to Diana Al-Dajani, Leonora Dowley and Jo Besford who, together with TeachPitch, were part of the accelerator of the World Innovation Summit for Education in 2015. We talk about the many challenges a starting Education entrepreneur can encounter and how a global accelerator like the one of WISE can help.
Episode 39: Dr. Carika Weldon: ‘The Science Advisor’
This is the very remarkable story of Dr. Carika Weldon, a brilliant scientist who, as a young girl, left her home in Bermuda to pursue a career in academia. After an impressive career path, including lots of scholarships and scientific praises from some of the world’s best universities, Dr. Weldon returns to Bermuda in 2020 to help her island navigate through the pandemic. Carika talks to Aldo about her profound love for her island, the many challenges on her path and her exciting plans for the future.
Episode 38: Houtan Froushan: ‘The Programme Director’
Aldo talks to Houtan about his journey into Education and Education Technology and how his organisation is helping many initiatives, organisations and companies to become more effective and (academically) rigorous to optimally help the students, teachers and parents they seek to serve. Houtan speaks about the 300 organisations his organisation helped to date but also about its exciting plans for the future.
Episode 37: Andrew Bustamante: ‘The CIA Spy’
A very thrilling interview with former CIA Spy Andrew Bustamante about his journey as an operative for USA’s Secret Service. Andrew shares his perspective on the current state of the world but also talks about all the skills he learned while being in training, how he fell in love with another spy and - most importantly - how he now teachers others to use spy skills in everyday life.
Episode 36: Special Episode: ’12 Effective Ways to Help the People of Ukraine’
Here are 12 initiatives that you can support immediately - financially or otherwise.Also note there are lots of great local initiatives being set up where people are collecting material (dry food such as rice, yoga mats and/or sleeping mats, hot water bottles, tampons/pads, flasks, sleeping bags, etc.) to bring to the Polish/Ukrainian border. So have a good look around you which initiatives are developing.
Episode 35: Hannah Brannigan: ‘The Dog Trainer’
We are talking Dog communication, motivation and discipline this week with an absolute expert. Hannah Branigan is a Dog Trainer who uses groundbreaking techniques to ensure that both owner and Dog develop a better relationship. A fascinating conversation on Dog parks, Dog psychology and everything Dogdom.
Episode 34: Terry Tucker: ‘The Motivational Speaker’
Many people desire to become a life-coach, motivational speaker and/or lifestyle guru but only a few manage to achieve actual results. This becomes even more challenging when you go through a really tough patch yourself. Meet Terry Tucker who, despite being a cancer patient whose left leg had to be amputated to prevent the disease from spreading, is the most positive soul you will ever meet. Aldo speaks to Terry how his journey taught him to never give up and to live life to the fullest, every single day.
Episode 33: Richard van Hooijdonk: ‘The Hyperactive Futurist’
A deep conversation about the Metaverse, Cybercrime, Data Privacy and having electronic chips implemented in your body so you can automatically open your car. Aldo speaks to futurist and trendwatcher Richard van Hooijdonk what tomorrow might bring but also what, contrary to his futurist expectations, it has not brought.
Episode 32: Zuriel Oduwole: ‘The Girls’ Education Activist’
Aldo speaks to another power house fighting for Girls rights all over the world; the 19 year old film maker Zuriel Oduwole. Among others, Zuriel talks about how she is trying to influence many Presidents, Prime Ministers and Heads of State with her work to ensure that every girl on this planet will have access to a proper education.
Episode 31: Jessica Posner-Odede: ‘The Social Entrepreneur’
’She who wears the shoe knows exactly where it pinches...’ A deep conversation with social entrepreneur Jessica Posner Odede about the profound work she is doing with ‘Girl Effect’, an organisation that uses the power of media to unlock the power of girls. Aldo speaks to Jessica about the great work she has been doing in and from Nairobi for over 15 years and how technology can be successfully applied to help young women all over the world.
Episode 30: Naza Alakija: ‘The New Philanthropist’
Aldo talks to Naza Alakija, Founder of the SAGE Foundation about how philanthropists can best help others in 2022 and beyond. Naza speaks about her experience as a young Iranian refugee arriving in the UK and how important the role of education is in her life. Naza also shares her insights in how you can ensure that the effects of philanthropy are real and will hopefully last well beyond our lifetime.
Episode 29: Andrew Ashe: ‘The X-Prize Winner’
Aldo speaks to the amazing Andrew Ashe - CEO and Founder of onebillion; an organisation that wants to make sure that one billion children will have the genuine ability to numerate and read in their own language. Andrew’s organisation was granted the famous ($15 million) XPrize in 2019. In this interview we discuss how onebillion has grown since receiving the prize and how it will not rest until every child can thrive.
Episode 28: Gitanjali Rao: ‘The Kid Inventor’
Our future is bright if it is left in the hands of amazing, young people like Gitanjali Rao. Aldo speaks to this 16-year-old inventor chosen by TIME magazine as the first-ever Kid of the Year how the next generation can get involved in changing our world for the better.
Episode 27: HRH Intisar Salem Al Ali Al Sabah: ‘The Happy Sheikha’
A very frank conversation Sheikha Intisar Al Ali Al Sabah from Kuwait on why happiness and optimism should be key in the teaching/learning process. Sheikha Intisar talks about her personal journey and why mental health and our well-being must be a priority at all times.
Episode 26: Dr. Marc Brackett: ‘The Emotion Scientist’
Aldo speaks with Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Centre of Emotional Intelligence and Author of 'Permission to Feel' on why it is so important for us to understand a LOT better than we do today.
Episode 25: The TeachPitch Podcast
In this last Episode of Season 1 Aldo looks back with Producer Natalie on all the great things that have happened and that are yet to come. Lots of reflections on the TeachPitch Podcast - past, present and a VERY special announcement for the future.
Episode 24: Alden Mills: ‘The Navy Seal’
A profound look behind the scenes in a life of rigour and discipline. Alden Mills explains how his life in this elite squad of the US Navy gave him the skills to start and grow a company to one of the fastest growing consumer businesses in the USA.
Episode 23: RVDK: ‘The Fashion Designer’
A deep conversation with Ronald van der Kemp (RVDK) a very creative soul who speaks about how staying true to himself and his own beliefs made him achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a globally celebrated sustainable Fashion Designer.
Episode 22: Craig Newmark: ‘The Internet Entrepreneur’
Aldo talks to Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, about his journey as an entrepreneur and as a philanthropist. Having donated over 60% of his net worth to charity, Craig reflects for the very first time to stop pledging & giving his fortune.
Episode 21: Conrad Wolfram: ‘The Mathematician’
For our next episode Aldo talks to Maths Genius Conrad Wolfram about why he feels he is in a unique position to help us understand why Mathematics should be taught radically differently.
Episode 20: Dr. Patch Adams: ‘The Clown’
Aldo speaks with Dr. Patch Adams who founded the Gesundheit! Institute 50 years ago. Patch shares the secret that has allowed him to remain an energized optimist, always ready to make a change for the better in this world and more.
Episode 19: HRH Princess Laurentien: ‘The Power Princess’
Aldo speaks to HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands about education. A plea to create genuine equality between child & teacher, stepping away from tests & exams and aiming to achieve measurable progress through the process of ‘shared learning’.
Special Episode with Dr. Edith Eger: ‘The Psychologist’
Happy Birthday TeachPitch! We are 7 years old today on UNESCO’s World Teachers Day. Recent times haven’t been easy for educators and with this interview we wanted to do our little part in showing that we care. In search for tips & tricks to cope with all the challenges coming our way, Aldo speaks to life-long teacher and best-selling author Dr. Edith Eger about the adversities she overcame as a Holocaust survivor & refugee. Loads of wisdom and valuable advice from this 94 year old world-renowned Psychologist. Guest Introduction: You have books and then you have Books with a big capital B. As a reader you can be touched by a book for many reasons; its intention, its story line, its plot, the message it has for the world and/or fall in love with one or all of its main characters. Often just one of these components is already enough to make it a big success but very rarely have I read one or better said two books that have it all. ‘The Choice’ and ‘The Gift’ written by the renowned psychologist Dr. Edith Eger surpassed any expectation I had and left me in admiration, awe and with a lot of deep questions about us human beings. By any standard I can say that both works are absolutely monumental reads, undoubtedly here to stay. Dr. Edith Eger shares with us the story of surviving the most horrific atrocities in Auschwitz. Her ordeal as a 16 year old Jewish girl growing up in Hungary during the Second World War is beyond anything you can imagine. With both her parents killed in the gas chambers, having undergone the torture, the humiliation and many systemic attempts to be killed, Edith and her sister Magda miraculously make it out alive of this death camp. Step by step Dr. Eger tries to rebuild her life in post-war Hungary but not even 5 years after the war she is again led in incredibly difficult circumstances as the Russians seize power in the East of Europe. Dr. Eger, her husband Bela and daughter Marianne seek refuge in the United States where they need to start over their entire life again, with not a penny to their name and only the motivation to build something new. Both books by Dr. Eger ‘ are about resilience, loss, bereavement, bravery, anger, forgiveness but most of all about the unique power given to all of us that we can always make a choice. “We have the capacity to hate and the capacity to love. Which one we reach for,” Dr. Eger states, “is up to us.” When reading the incredible story of Dr. Edith Eger you are moved beyond belief. It is a story that overwhelms you not only because of what happened to her but also how you will be transformed when reading them. You cannot carry on as normal after you have read the books of Dr. Eger. ‘I will be forever changed by Dr. Eger’s story’ says the mighty Oprah Winfrey and who am I to disagree? Now this Podcast Program is all about challenges and how great people have overcome adversity and setbacks and went on to achieve great things. I for one cannot come up with a guest more befitting for our Podcast or as a journalist for the New York Times describes it: “I can’t imagine a more important message for modern times. Eger’s book is a triumph, and should be read by all who care about both their inner freedom and the future of humanity.” Without a doubt Dr. Eger and her story personify everything we stand for it is my distinct honour to bring to you this interview with her on our 7th birthday and UNESCO’s ‘World Teachers Day’.
Episode 17: Stavros Yiannouka: ‘The CEO’
Aldo speaks to Stavros Yiannouka, the CEO of the World Innovation Summit for Education about the past, present and future of this unique global platform. Every other year the beautiful, cosmopolitan city of Doha opens its doors to those who shake and make Education in this world. From all over the globe people fly in to discuss the latest innovative developments, bright ideas & best practices to improve the process of teaching and learning - every step of the way. Policy makers, scientists, entrepreneurs, writers, teachers and most importantly students join together to exchange their thoughts on how we can collectively move forward with Education in its core. The World Innovation Summit for Education, hosted by the Qatar Foundation under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Sheikha Mozha Bint Nasser is a fully immersive experience that one is not soon to forget. This summit really allows relevant stakeholders & enthusiasts to interact through a series of thoughtful workshops, lunch-ons, fireside chats, panel discussions and lectures that dive deep into the educational problems at hand, while at the same it has also managed to attract a lot of star power, enjoying the presence & speakership of many members of Royal Houses, Heads of State and incredibly impressive people like CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Michelle Obama and even Shakira. The ‘Piece de resistance’ of this bi-annual summit is the WISE Prize, an award of $500,000 given to people who have dedicated their life to positively changing this world through education. The summit always allows me to recharge my batteries and when stepping back on a plane, homeward to the UK, I am fully inspired, ready to take on the challenges that teachers all over the world have to cope with. WISE its objective is to connect innovators in such a way that they are encouraged to collaborate so together they can realise educational transformations where needed. And the summit is just the mere beginning of all of this. The WISE Accelerator, The WISE Awards, The WISE Emerging Leaders Program, A WISE Words Podcast...the list goes on and on. The mastermind behind WISE in its most recent form is CEO, Stavros N. Yiannouka who with his warm and personable approach makes sure this event as well as all the many other ongoing activities of the platform are a success. Before joining WISE in 2012, Stavros was the Executive Vice-Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY School) at the National University of Singapore, a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company and practiced corporate law for a variety of law firms in London. In a 2020 Forbes article Stavros rightly so expressed his concerns over the effects of the pandemic on education, urging all those involved to look beyond tomorrow: “Education needed fundamental change before COVID-19, and it needs it even more now. It’s still within our power to make it happen. But if we don’t look beyond simply being resilient, we’ll certainly never get there.”
Episode 16: Prof. Hugh Montgomery: ‘The Ultra Professor’
A deep interview with Hugh Montgomery, Professor of Intensive Care Medicine and Director of the Centre of Human Health and Performance at UCL in London. We speak about trying & achieving to do it all, what makes us creative and successful but also what can abruptly stop us in our tracks. My next guest is anything but predictable and even though I have never really had the honour of speaking to him before, I suspect he refuses to be defined by only one characteristic, job, profession or project. Seemingly Prof Hugh Montgomery has taken it upon himself to excel on many levels. As an inventor, climate activist, author of thrillers & children’s books, as an ultra marathon runner, a naked sky-diver, a normal deep sea diver, an avid visitor of very high mountain tops in the Alps, Andes and the Himalayas including Mount Everest. And - here is the one that impressed me most- as a world record holder in underwater piano playing. Yes - you heard that right! All of the above activities should however be qualified as “hobbies” because in his day job Hugh is an English Professor of Intensive Care Medicine and the Director of the Centre of Human Health and Performance at University College London. Hugh discovered the first gene for human physical performance, has authored nearly 500 research papers in the world’s most famous academic journals and has received over 11 national and international awards. In trying to find out what kind of a person my next guest is, I loved Hugh’s answer to the question what drives him to over-perform in all his activities in a 2019 Guardian article written about him typically entitled: “Physician, ultrarunner, thriller writer….meet the man who lives life to the full. “I’ve got this frustrating, peculiar awareness of my mortality. I know I’m going to die unfulfilled, because I don’t think there’s anything I can ever do that will make me feel as if my life’s been worthwhile.” Quite a statement that raises a lot of curiosity about this Uomo Universalis.
Episode 15: Lex Sokolin: ‘The Blockchain Economist’
Crypto for Dummies! We are taking a very deep dive into the world of technology this week as we discuss NFTs, virtual currencies, #DeFi and loads of other exciting features of 'crypto life' with Lex Sokolin, the Head Economist at ConsenSys, the biggest blockchain company in the world. Your head will be spinning after this episode. We surely learned a lot and hope you will as well. Guest Introduction: For this episode of The TeachPitch Podcast we are going to take you to an almost alternate universe. No - we are not going to space travel like we did a few episodes ago when talking to a Space Lawyer - but we are going to travel deep, deep into our laptops, computers and smartphones. The world ‘blockchain’ has become a bit of a buzzword. When I hear it, I associate it with a new type of online safety and this mystic word ‘decentralised’ that everyone keeps bringing up. When other people hear it they might think crypto currency, bitcoin. Every day you hear about new initiatives where blockchain has become part of the mix. But was it really? With us today is Lex Sokolin who is the Head Economist of Consensys - the biggest blockchain in the world. Lex’ company uses Ethereum a system based on blockchain to build new enterprise infrastructure solutions for companies all over the world. And Ethereum is also tied to a currency that is growing up very quickly into the crypto world. Something that I suspect Lex knows a lot about. At Consensys Lex is working on the next generation of financial services. He earned a JD and an MBA from Columbia University and a B.A. in Economics and Law from Amherst College. Previously, Lex was the Global Director of Fintech Strategy at Autonomous Research, COO at AdvisorEngine and CEO of NestEgg Wealth, Lex also held roles in investment management and banking at Barclays, Lehman Brothers and Deutsche Bank. Lex is a contributor of thought leadership to the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Bloomberg, FT, Reuters, American Banker, ThinkAdvisor, and Investment News.
Episode 14: Matthew Hood: ‘The Online Principal’
Oak National Academy is a government subsidised online platform that has helped millions of teachers and their students in the United Kingdom so they could continue the process of teaching & learning throughout the pandemic. Aldo speaks to its founder and Principal Matthew Hood about his journey and the rapid growth of Oak. You hear it everywhere! The pandemic has unfortunately had many devastating effects on the essential pillars on which our society rests. Our day to day reliance on things that were previously considered obvious was suddenly interrupted. Overflooded hospitals, empty shelves in the supermarket and deserted tubes and trains previously crowded with passengers. There have been many stories - also on this podcast - on how frontline workers in the healthcare sector did their utmost to ensure that nurses, doctors and hospital staff could continue to do their work and today we are going to take a deep-dive in how people stood up for Education. The abrupt closure of schools in 2020 came along with a deep fear that this would mean the end of teaching and learning as we know it. Our own organisation TeachPitch was able to play a small role to ensure that education could continue in countries like Ecuador and Albania - and today we are going to talk about which specific steps were taken in the United Kingdom. The government provided more than 1.3 million laptops and tablets to schools so children could learn from home. Another notable government subsidized initiative that stands out is the Oak National Academy. This online school initiated by the Reach Foundation was created in April 2020 as a rapid response to the coronavirus outbreak. More than 40 teachers and colleagues from leading education organisations came together to support schools’ efforts to keep children learning. The Oak Academy to date delivered 130 million lessons. 86% of teachers recommended Oak to a colleague, thanks to its help in reducing workload and improving teaching and learning. In total, over 4.7m people visited Oak in its first term, with an average of 220,000 users each day. Serious numbers attacking a serious problem. With the support of hundreds of teachers, sector bodies, unions and subject associations, Oak aims to continually listen to its users feedback to improve and extend its range of free resources. And the online school will stay open for at least 2 more terms also as restrictions in the UK come down - this is what the Oak’s Principal Matt Hood recently announced in an article in the Times. Matt Hood is described as one of the most forward-thinking educators around. Matt previously worked on many levels in the Education sector, as a teacher, policy maker and entrepreneur. Matt’s initiative has had an enormous positive effect on education in times of crisis. Friend or foe - I agree with Schools Minister Nick Gibb when he says: “The impact Oak has made and the good it has done for the sector and children is immeasurable, and we will now look for the best way to harness that for the future.”
Episode 13: Ruth Mastenbroek: ‘The Nose’
It is all about smell this week as Aldo speaks to a real 'Nose'. We dive into the world of perfumes and talk about all the highs and lows of this very particular job with Ruth Mastenbroek, a life-long perfumer with her very own brand. The 1985 novel ‘Perfume’ (or Das Parfum) from the hand of author Patrick Suskind is one of the best-selling German novels of the 20th century. The title remained on all success lists for about nine years, and received almost unanimously positive national and international critical acclaim. The book was translated into 49 languages and more than 20 million copies were sold worldwide to date. For the movie-lovers among us the book was also made into a fantastic motion picture in 2006 - but that as an aside. Now it is true that Perfume has a sinister streak but I think that is not why it was such a success. The novel fascinated millions of people as it explored the sense of smell and its relationship with the emotional meanings that scents may have. The ability to catch a scent, to define it, to tie it to an emotion and then having the skill to reproduce and sell it - is a true talent that not many people possess. My next guest excels in it. Ruth Mastenbroek has been a Perfumer - also dubbed a Nose - for over 35 years. She has been commissioned by countless leading scent makers, fashion brands and even Royal Houses to create fragrances for men, women and for the home. Throughout her career Ruth worked with many names such as Kenneth Turner and Jigsaw. She was responsible for the Life With a View collection and for the famous Grapefruit candle from Jo Malone. (fun fact: the actress Jennifer Lopez loved that candle so much, she bought 300 of them for her hotel room) Ruth graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Chemistry and started her perfume career as a sales assistant at the perfume department at Selfridge’s. Her creativity, curiosity and knowledge of the periodic table led her to take on the perfume maker profession in the UK, the Netherlands and Japan - she was trained first at a big company - now called Givaudan - and in 2003 decided to start her own fragrance business. Meanwhile Ruth was also President of the British Society of Perfumers. In 2010, Ruth launched her own niche fragrance collection; her very own signature line to let her imagination run free. Giving life to her very own perfumes named: Signature, Oxford, Amorosa, Firedance and Dagian. Her fragrances are sold in many famous stores and outlets such as Fortum & Mason in London and Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumes has grown into a family business as her daughter Claire and son Nic have joined Ruth in making sure that the world can smell at its very best. When reading the descriptions of her perfumes on her website, Ruth herself sounds like quite the storyteller. I don’t know much about fragrances but I guess she is right when she claims that perfumes tell a story over time.
Episode 12: Johanna Jarvinen-Taubert: ‘The Finnish Teacher’
Finland has the best-developed education system in the world. Aldo speaks to an expert what makes it so unique and which elements can be adopted by other countries in this world to improve their educational outcomes. In today’s episode we go back to our teacher roots and explore the state of global education. And for this specific interview we are taking you to Finland. Despite the fact that this country is the world’s most northern and one of the most geographically remote states in the world it is fending very well for itself on an education level. According to a Global Competitive Study of the World Economic Forum of this year, Finland has the most well-developed education in the world. The country also has the highest world wide ranking when it comes to High School Completion. And Finland was again a winner in the first quarter of 2021 as the World Best Education Systems Ranking. The data keep on piling up that there is something about Finland and Education and I am very happy that we are joined today by Johanna Jarvinen-Taubert, a former teacher based in the South of Finland. Johanna is one of the authors of the book: Finnish Education in Practice, What, Why and How and Founder of the company LearningScoop that seeks to train teachers all over the world on how they can adopt Finnish methods to improve teaching styles and educational outcomes. Johanna is also a mother of six children and loves spending her time in Tampere the South of Finland by one of the country's most beautiful lakes.
Episode 11: Dr. Judith S. Goldstein: ‘The Historian’
Aldo talks to historian Judith Goldstein, Founder & Executive Director of Humanity in Action, how fragile democracy in our world is and what we must do to ensure that totalitarian regimes will not win. For those (like me) who can appreciate the design, style and user experience of websites, I can highly recommend the url: https://humanityinaction.org It is a website that completely draws you in with its warm inviting colours, stylish buttons, impressive pictures and beautifully animated short films. As a CEO of a software company I can warmly recommend it but I have to warn you, there is no such thing as a quick visit to this platform. I have good reasons to believe this has been done intentionally because the website just like the organisation as well as its founder have made it their mission to make you think. Dr. Judith S. Goldstein is an American author, historian and human rights leader. In 1997 she founded the international educational organisation Humanity in Action whose objective it is to facilitate and promote a dialogue to understand and respond to the challenges that democratic societies face as they become increasingly diverse. The organisation is right when it states: we are deeply engaged in human rights, pluralism and democracy, our uniqueness lies in our multitude of perspectives that are brought together in a vibrant international community. On its site I see many head-spinning questions flying by such as: 'How can you fix Democracy?' 'Do you know what the power of democracy is?' 'What is the connection between social cohesion and social combustion?' None of them have straightforward answers and require deep reflection and analysis in order to steer them to a satisfactory conclusion. And this is exactly where the educational element kicks in. Humanity in Action sponsors recent graduates through a wide variety of their ‘Fellowship Programs’ in over 6 countries to stop and think. Over 2500 fellows have benefitted from the programs of the organisation since its inception in 1997 and (full disclosure) I myself had the great privilege of being a fellow through its Dutch program in 2004 and as an Humanity in Action/Lantos Fellow in Washington DC the year after. "We are local in our activities, international in our collaboration, global in our community's reach. Much more than the sum of our parts" - states Humanity in Action. There is no doubt in my mind that the impact that Humanity in Action has had on the lives of their fellows has been profound. Whatever career choices they make after joining the fellowship, they undoubtedly carry with them the knowledge that the complexities of our world cannot be brushed off with a quick answer and that an open mind and dialogue is the only way to better understand one another. All of this ignited by its strong, ambitious and ever-kind founder who when asked what a significant learning in her career was gracefully answered: “the biggest, most important asset is friendship and trust”
Interviews with Aldo
Nifty Business: Your DNA in Web3 – GenomesDAO & the Geneticats NFT
Have you ever seen those ads for Ancestory.com or 23 And Me? They collect a sample of your saliva to sequence your DNA. This information can be used to find family, discover your heritage, and much more. Most companies in the industry have big central databases. This presents many security and privacy issues. However, there is a Web3 solution for those problems. Today, I have the pleasure of sharing a discussion I had with the CEO of Genomoes.io. There is truly no limit to Web3.