Hi and welcome to CausePods, I’m your host, Mathew Passy. Here at CausePods, we have one simple mission to highlight the amazing folks who are using podcast as a way to raise awareness for good causes and make the world a better place, whether it’s in their own local community or their taking on global issues.
Please visit us at CausePods.org where you can learn about our guests, show their favorite charitable cause. Join our Facebook group of resources for CausePods podcasters and find a link where you yourself could be a guest here on CausePods. Again, that’s all at CausePods.org.
Something very, very different here on CausePods today, we’re talking with Kimi Kulp, who is the host and creator of the All the Wiser podcast, which actually is a very similar mission. What we do here on CausePods, she interviews folks for the show and then they donate money to charities doing incredible work. Sounds familiar. Well, it should can be cool. Thank you so much for joining us here on CausePods today.
Thank you for having me, Mathew. So where did this all the wiser start? Where did it all come from?
Well, I spent or have spent, I guess, my entire career a basically obsessed with with telling stories and telling stories of real people. But I always did that behind the camera as a producer. I worked in documentary film. I worked in television for The Oprah Winfrey Show. Back in high school, I wrote for the school newspaper finding all the best scoop on the, you know, lunch yard. But I think, you know, looking back to a young age, that’s what I wanted to do, was find stories of real people and tell them.
And podcasting came to be and I realized that I could, you know, instead of being behind the scenes, have my conversation and my connection with the other person be a part of the conversation, which was really exciting to me, literally was like immediately out of the gate, like when Tom Cruise and the one for one model came to on the scene. I was obsessed. Right. Like, this guy has a model where he does something really cool, but it has a bigger meaning and a bigger purpose.
And so I got really excited about this idea of playing at the intersection of cause and art and cause and media. I had done it. My previous project was a documentary film. We did it with the film. And I was like, OK, I want to, you know, step in front of the mic. I want to have really compelling conversations and share people’s stories and do with intention and find a way to give back. And podcasting was the perfect place.
And I started all the wiser, having done a lot of stuff. What seems like behind the camera, behind the microphone producing, what was it like getting on Mike? I mean, obviously not for the first time, but what was it like really spearheading the whole thing for yourself and wanting to take this on as the lead?
Horrible. I hated my voice. I listened to my first. I made a huge mistake. And I tried to I went to New York and I was like, well, I’m going to be really cost efficient. I interviewed five people in one day back to back. It was really hard. I was used to being behind the scenes, creating the safe space for the conversation, but not having the voice in the conversation. By virtue of my job, I would send you a tape, ah.
Or feed it somewhere and say, cut out my voice. That was what I did, you know, for two decades, literally, like I will fly across the world to do this interview and spend weeks filming and I’m going to send it back to you and just cut out my voice and insert it in X, Y, Z. So that was a big thing for me. I didn’t like my voice. I questioned myself. I didn’t like the way I asked questions.
But like anything, I think the more that I’ve done it, I’m so much more comfortable. I mean, I haven’t gone back and listened recently to Episode one versus now. So, yeah, at first I was really hard on myself.
And then with all the experience you’ve had in media, what was it about podcasting specifically that drew you to this form of medium versus, say, doing this as a video, doing this in documentary form, any other way that you could have?
Because I fell in love as a podcast listener. I took a break. I was tired from working so much and having young kids and not feeling available and present. And so I was like, I’m just going to not dove into the next thing professionally. I’m going to, you know, grateful to be able to take some time off and think about it. And I fell in love with podcasting as a listener. And I thought, like, oh, wait a second, there’s very little barrier to entry.
I know how to do this thing called find people great stories and share them and ask the right questions and create the intimacy that’s needed for these conversations. So I understood that I could take my skill set and now apply it to this medium that I had really come to love. As a listener.
You interview folks one on one and then you don’t need two thousand dollars to a charity doing incredible work on the website. You talk about fifty of these being done, hundred thousand dollars being donated. What’s there? Where is the money coming from? From this where how are you deciding who you’re talking to and the charities based on the guest or is it something that you pick, you know, on behalf of their topic?
The charities are based on the guest and so often they’re tied directly to the subject matter. Actually, interview 50 meet reaching our goal of fifty stories. One hundred thousand is on. I’m recording thirty six hours from now with the founder of Charity Water. His name is Scott Harrison. It’s going back to Charity Water. So sometimes it’s very literal, right? It’s somebody who was blown up. Bob Woodruff was blown up by an IED being a war correspondent in Iraq.
That was a story that went back to. With head trauma at the Bob Woodruff Foundation, right, getting support to something that’s that was a bad siccing synopsis, but it’s directly related to what we’re talking about, if that makes sense. And sometimes it’s completely random, like we interviewed Damien Echols, who survived 10 years in solitary confinement and his charity was a cat rescue. So we it’s not always linear sometimes. In the case of Bob, it goes back to something that’s related to the subject matter, but it’s always sort of rooted in the person and there an opportunity for us to give to something that they’re passionate about and also to introduce the charity to our listeners.
I was lucky enough to be able to have a relationship with a private foundation who anonymously said, we’re all in. As I said, I’ve done a lot of media and a fair amount of impact media before. I definitely had the relationship and the network to to be able to give it a certain level. But I think my message when it comes to the charitable piece is I often don’t even think that the actual monetary piece is the greatest value. Sometimes I think sometimes just being able to introduce people and get inspired by a new charity.
And certainly when we tell a really compelling emotional, high stakes story that’s related to the cause, that that is of equal or greater value than a financial contribution, if that makes sense.
Now, it’s funny.
There are so many times that we’ve talked to people on this show where it turns out that even a dollar is a powerful donation, because what it does is it shows these causes, these charities, the reporting that more people are interested. So sometimes it’s better to actually get more people to give less than to get a few people to give a lot more. So I totally get what you’re saying in that regards. It’s also just a matter of, you know, we’ve done a lot of mental health, I shared my life with bipolar disorder, which I had my entire life on the podcast.
But a lot of people will say I never thought, you know, I lost my cousin to suicide. We’ve done several episodes. You know, we did Kevin Hines survived jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. And is that really, really powerful voice in suicide prevention. So, yes, the charitable donation is impactful, but what is equally impactful is the parent or the spouse or whoever who listens in either rethinks something in their own life or takes action on something their own life.
So sometimes you can’t even quantify it. Right. So it’s as much in the story, I think, as it is in the contribution.
And what’s interesting is that not only do you do these interviews, but then you kind of do like a, you know, or review episode afterwards and you talk about it. So given that you’ve done so much impact work in the past, I’m curious, has there been in it? Maybe it’s one that you’ve already brought up, but has there been an episode or two that really just, I want to say, shook you to your core, but really like made you stop and think differently then or surprised you or just kind of caught you off guard?
The name all the wiser was wisdom rooted in wisdom on the other end of unthinkable and extraordinary things that we can go through hard things and we can learn things about ourselves in the world through them and come out the other end with wisdom. Right. Which we can then share, which ideally is cathartic, the person sharing and the person receiving. So to me, the whole thing, it’s just been like a massive lesson, like even addiction. I did interview with the founder of Shatterproof, which is a huge addiction charity in New York, and he lost his son to addiction.
And I asked a question and I said, you know, how long had he been clean and sober before? And he said, I want to correct you. He was never dirty. And so now I’ve done other interviews where I do my research. And I realized that somebody’s part of their story was they were, you know, suffered, you know, lived with addiction. For my whole language has changed. But things like that that just make you like I don’t know if that makes sense, but simple things I’ve changed.
And just to talk to people who’ve been through really, really hard things and are able to distill the lessons is really impact. Yeah, I mean, there’s been many moments.
It’s hard to have these kinds of conversations. It’s hard to interview the kinds of people that you’re interviewing and talk the subject matter that you talk on without a high level of empathy. And that high level of empathy tends to help you better understand and adjust the way you think. Like you said, that person said I was never dirty lifestyle. Like you didn’t even think about the connotation of saying now you’re clean. What it would have implied. And just by you telling me that story, now I’m going to think differently about how I talk about those folks.
Right. So, like, it’s incredible what just being open minded to someone’s story and to someone’s experience can do for your reality and the way you perceive things.
Yeah, and I think that’s I mean, that’s my hope. That’s the goal. I, I hope somebody else listening to us right now has that same moment. And and like like you said, I mean, it’s hard to measure these things, right. Like maybe somebody is about to go and two weeks sit down with somebody who says, actually, I’ve been struggling with this and they rethink their language. And that makes for a softer conversation for those two people.
So, yeah, I just think to your point, it’s showing up with empathy that to have conversations that you think are have meaningful value in the world.
So it seems like one theme that you tend to come around to on the show often is around mental health. Is there something specifically about mental health personally or about the show or just about the topic in general that gravitates you around that subject matter?
You know, as I shared, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 19. I hid it from everybody I knew and loved and shared it for the first time on a podcast to thousands of people, probably including my ex boyfriends who were like, that makes a ton of fucking.
So I can’t tell you by sharing that how liberating it was, how it allowed me to be of service to others. Because now and sharing myself, I realized I had been sitting next to other people who were suffering and or their kids or so I became a resource to people which I never allowed myself to be when I was hiding in shame. But it also has allowed me to kind of flip the script on my own mental health. You know, when I was diagnosed, I was, you know, told, you know, you’re mentally ill, you’ll be on medication the rest of your life.
We don’t know what this is going to look like. We see you’re in a lot of pain, but nobody ever really kind of told me about a little bit of the magic for me that’s come with. My mental illness that a lot of my drive and creativity, all of that is balanced out with, you know, darkness, but I think I’m a more compassionate person as a result. I think I’m a more empathetic person. I think, you know, I probably wouldn’t do all the wiser or would never would have been born without this piece of my mind.
So I’m excited about having bigger holistic conversations. Right. Not just your damaged goods. And you’re going to be on medication, but let’s look at your whole mental landscape and your potential as a human being, because you’ve got potential. I don’t care what you’re suffering with or from, it is in there. And there are lessons as many lessons and the good stuff as there are in the hard stuff. And so that is a conversation I’m passionate about having.
Well, and I think especially now, given the world that we’re living in, you know, so many of us being isolated from work, family, friends, our regular social circles, you know, the impact and the consequences on strained mental health are all living through. And just the raised awareness that really mental health, you know, we talk about our physical check ins, but we should really be treating mental check ins the exact same way as, you know, routine and regular and not to be stigmatized and not to be criticized.
And so I think it’s so important that we talk about these issues and raise awareness and just normalize, totally normalize that mental health is part of overall health.
It’s a part of the human landscape. It’s a it’s a shared experience. I think when we can all talk about it more openly and let the stigma just fall to the wayside, we’re all, you know, better as a result.
So with as you’re saying at the time they were taping this, you’re about to tape episode 50 might drop shortly after the strops are around the same time. What’s next now that you’ve put together 50 episodes and we’ll have donated a hundred thousand dollars to amazing charities, a big old hassle to double down or at a minimum do twenty five more.
So, I mean, to be honest, Mathew like I have never loved what I do. More podcasting is so much work as you know. I don’t think people fully get it, but I think I really just like to be able to talk to fascinating people around the world, especially during the pandemic, and learn from them. As much work as got has been such a gift. And I love, like you do, the idea that we can find bigger meaning and integrate with causes and introduce people to causes, I’m very committed to finding a way to sustain the project and give it some more life.
So we’re going to take a hiatus and then hopefully come back strong this summer. You talk about the power of the podcasting medium, how much you enjoyed it, you’re doing it. So now for somebody else who has that cause, has that drive, has that passion, what would be your advice for someone else who thinking about picking up the microphone and doing this, whether it’s to get started, to sustain, to grow, would have been some of your best lessons about podcasting you’ve learned along the way or maybe even some things you still want to learn, but you’re going to try and tackle in the next iteration of the show.
There’s no barrier to entry, right? Anyone can do it. And I think if you can get out of your own head, there’s very little risk. So I think that, you know, the cliche kind of just go for it. And if you have something you’re passionate about, something you love, whether that is, you know, I don’t know, vegan baking, whatever it is. And when you talk about it, you light up and every time you meet another vegan baker, find a new recipe you want to share with the world.
Guess what? You’ve got an opportunity to do that and to connect with people and to share and to inspire people. And it’s accessible to anybody. And you can start it. I mean, I think the technology piece, I’m not particularly tech savvy because I came from the entertainment industry. There was always people who had areas of expertize people understood sound engineering and people understood, you know, lighting. So you have to learn everything. But I think that learning curve now, looking back, I’m really proud of myself that I learned all, you know, how to utilize all this audio equipment with confidence and way more tech savvy.
And I’m a 44 year old mom, like I’m not some hipster kid.
What would be your last bit of advice for the person hearing this, inspired by you, inspired by what you’ve done once to launch a podcast? You know, what would you say to them to give them the motivation to be successful?
I would say think about the thing that lights you up, the thing you’re animated when you talk about the thing you’re most curious about. And that’s what if you’re interested in podcasting, there you go. You’ve got your subject matter, you know, square one. I think if they’re listening to to your podcast, there’s somebody who is cause minded, who wants to make a difference in the world. And I think going back to what you and I said, there’s so many different ways to do that, whether it’s, you know, a dollar or a thousand dollars a call to action or, you know, doing, you know, mini micro episodes, profiling, you know, charities.
So I think there’s just so many ways in which is really exciting for people. So, yeah, I would just say, you know, close your eyes and tune in to whether it’s the right thing for you. And if you feel the calling, then dove in because it’s a lot of fun, it’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of fun and it’s deeply meaningful.
Well, and I think as you kind of alluded to earlier, you haven’t gone back and listened to that first one. So just dove in and hold your nose, enjoy the ride and maybe go back and check out that first one little down the road. You might get a nice, nice bit of nostalgia out of there. Maybe even a good blooper reel knows. Well, it is the all the wiser podcast you can go to All the wiser podcast dotcom.
You can also follow them on Instagram, all the wiser podcast Chemical. Best of luck on Episode 50 and however many are able to go after that. Congratulations on a fantastic concept and on being able to spread so much goodwill and good funds and raise awareness for so many good causes. And thank you for joining us here on CausePods.
All right. Thank you, Mathew. Thanks for listening to this episode of CausePods. If you’ve been inspired by the work of our guest, please check out the show notes of this episode in your podcasting app or at CausePods.org. There you will find links to their show, their website, their podcast, links on Apple, Google, Spotify, as well as a link to support the charity that they highlighted here in this episode. You will also find a CausePods.org way to subscribe to this show on your favorite podcasting app, How to sign up to be a guest on this show and a link to our Facebook group, which is going to have special resources just for the folks who are podcasting for a good cause.
And I can tell you right now, we’ve got one great deal from our friends, a pod page. But you’re only going to learn about it and get that special deal if you are a member of the Facebook group for CausePods. And before I go, I should say thank you in particular. The show is edited and produced by Ben Killoy of the Military Veteran Dad podcast and what a great job he has done. And all this is made possible because of the great support that I received from Shannon Rojas here at the podcast Consultive Dotcom.
Once again, if you want to learn more, go to CausePods.org. Thank you so much. And we will see you next time on CausePods.