Asking Fearlessly with Jeremy Miller

by Hayley Brown

I’m often asked about how I prepare for interviews. To be honest, most of the time I don’t. If I know everything about our guest, I’ll start asking leading and pointed questions. Storytelling and conversation should occur naturally. Besides, many of the people we interview don’t have their lives documented by the media. This is different for Jeremy Miller.

I was an advocate for interviewing Jeremy. I knew it was risky interviewing a Gen Z guest since there isn’t as much time for reflection on how their childhood and mistakes have shaped their career. However, my gut told me that this interview would be enlightening. To reassure Jared, Fabian, and myself, I went against my typical preparation (or lack of), and as a true Gen Z, at the top of Jeremy’s LinkedIn profile was a document titled “Why I Exist” and a link to his personal website. He was the perfect guest to diversify our audience and highlight young local leaders.

My house was the location for the recording, so I was a host in many ways. After coordinating a Natural Born Juicers pick-up, I raced home to make sure every decoration and accent piece looked equally inviting and Pottery Barn magazine worthy. As Tim was setting up the camera equipment and determining the proper window coverage for lighting, Jeremy pulled up in his bright blue Subaru. Fabian and I met him at the door with handshakes and hugs. I grabbed mason jars for the juice, Fabian took a pre-recording restroom break, and we got comfortable.

I was right. Jeremy’s interview was unlike any of our others. Although he has been involved in a myriad of businesses and could tell you more about digital marketing than you knew existed, that’s not what we talked about. Fabian’s first question was about his alien tattoo. He opened up about something I related to, and probably many of you do too – not following the same path or having the same interests as your peers in high school. Therefore, we were living in a world not built for us, which felt alienating. It wasn’t until Jeremy explained the story behind his tattoo that I realized how it is truly a strength to understand that you don’t fit in. Instead of wasting time and energy trying to re-mold who you are, you can accept it and find your tribe elsewhere. I hope that since we have it in common I can also conjure up the magic business pixie dust that he seems to carry with him.

Our guests have been introduced to entrepreneurship in a variety of ways, many of which are repeated during the last 100+ episodes. Jeremy’s was a first – it was a vehicle for him to consistently experience what medicated his depression: serving others. He realized through the process that his tribe was people dedicated to a purpose bigger than themselves and found that marketing analytics and storytelling was how he could combine passion, purpose, and income.

Magazines have picked up Jeremy’s story. Over fifty, to be specific. Many before he was even 18. However, Jeremy has only recently opened up about his battles with depression, which I think is admirable. Being vulnerable is scary because, as Brene Brown has pointed out, it’s not the opposite of courage. It’s the same. Vulnerability has incredible value because for Jeremy, it would have been easy to hide behind the perfect future millionaire persona that Forbes magazine created for him. No matter your age, life isn’t that easy.

After Jeremy’s recording, I was not only illuminated by the new knowledge I gained and enthusiastic about the future of Indianapolis as I am from other interviews, but ready to dive into my journal and dig through the ideas he presented. Remember when I said that the problem with interviewing a guest from Gen Z is that they don’t have as much time to reflect on their life? He proved me absolutely wrong.

If there are two kinds of people in this world, who are they? In this context, I think it’s people who ask fearlessly and those who are afraid to ask. Sometimes those questions aren’t about the next step in your career, but rather about who you are becoming as success is accumulating. I hope from this episode you learn to ask fearlessly because you never know what answers you’ll find.

To hear Jeremy’s story, listen to Episode 108 wherever you listen to podcasts.

Taking Flight with Mario Rodriguez

by Hayley Brown

I’ve never left an interview without moments of reflection. Many of them transpire while on the phone with Fabian since I can count on a call from him approximately three minutes after our departure. I always welcome his bubbling, post-interview enthusiasm because through this podcast, we have learned things that I never want to forget and always feel compelled to share. This blog - that will hopefully become regular - will be my way to fulfill what seems like a duty. I hope you enjoy my reflection from Mario Rodriguez’ interview.

I drove up the parking ramp of the Indianapolis International Airport sensing two distinct feelings. First, the one that we all get when going to an airport, even if you aren’t boarding a plane - the sense of adventure. Second, the eagerness to hear Mario Rodriguez tell his story after experiencing his frank, lively humor at an Orr Fellowship speakers series. Specifically, to feel the full body chills that are onset by his recollection of managing the airport in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

He was unforgettable, and so was my path to the upstairs offices. When I confidently took it again (“Jared, come on. I know where we are going! Just through this door…”) I set off some seriously loud and probably important alarms. Sorry, Jared. 

Have you ever looked up when walking to your security gate at the IND Airport? If you haven’t in your scurry to get to your flight, there’s a walkway the size and shape of a regulation track that wraps around the concession area. If you look out in the distance due East through the floor-to-ceiling windows, you can see the city skyline. That’s the view we overlooked on the East side of the walkway while setting up our video and audio equipment. After the satisfying sizzle of a freshly opened Circle City Kombucha, Mario turned the corner with an upbeat stride and animated smile. It was time to begin.

We started how Fabian always does, by talking about a passion of the guest’s or a shared experience. For Mario, it was his experience at the University of Miami during an undefeated year of football. The conversation drifted through his upbringing, entrance into aviation, national recognitions and journey to Indianapolis. Do you remember how J.K. Rowling would describe Albus Dumbledore as having a “twinkle in his eye”? It must come from years of experience and wisdom because Mario has it too. 

Something that’s difficult to believe once you learn that Mario was appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Department of Transportation Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection is that Mario believes that “it’s better to be lucky than good.” And, he seems to attribute much of his success to luck. If you remember anything from listening to Mario’s interview, it should be that charisma and confidence go a long way. Maybe it’s because it puts you in those lucky situations where you can use your skill to make incredible change. Or in the case for Mario during Hurricane Katrina, to save lives. As someone who only guarantees limitless enthusiasm when walking into a business meeting, I respect that and admire that he’s stayed true to himself over the years and through all of the PR managers who have sat through interviews sweating, hoping that he glances at them before telling a risky story. (You can only imagine how many entertaining tales he has from working in a public facility his whole life.)

To experience Mario yourself, search for Episode 107 wherever you listen to podcasts, or visit our YouTube page to watch the full interview!