Hi everyone! It's Janet Fanaki and I'm back with Season 3 of the RESILIENT PEOPLE podcast. We're doing things a little differently this year.
For the first two seasons, we met regular people from around the world who are admired for their resilience. Men and women who have experienced major life challenges, found a purpose from these events and are now inspiring others to be resilient too.
As a midlife, single mom I have now found myself looking to other midlife women for guidance and inspiration.
So this new season of RESILIENT PEOPLE will be exploring the stories of women who have encountered various challenges and found that this latest chapter is one of the best and most rewarding of their lives.
The aim is to show that we are always evolving and big exciting changes can still come our way. Even in the midlife years.
It can also be a platform to help you find new meaning, and build a positive and resilient mindset.
Meet grief coach Sherrie Dunlevy. She is the creator of the Graduating Grief Academy and her goal is to help people find joy again while living with loss. As she says, “For 13 years following his death, I would describe myself as a mother who was existing, not really living. I was surviving, but I certainly wasn’t thriving.”
We all remember being in high school and dating someone new and thinking that that person was all that mattered. When things went south, where were your friends? They would be the ones to lift your spirit, get you drunk to feel better about the break-up and help you move on.
The same happens as middle aged adults. We need our really good friends more than ever to help us feel okay. And we need to teach our children the importance of good solid friendships.
This episode of REVELATIONS on RESILIENT PEOPLE is all about the importance of maintaining our good friendships to build resilience.
For this episode of the RESILIENT PEOPLE podcast, I spoke with Caitlin Starr. Caitlin is a young woman from Toronto who started posting to social media about living life with Type 1 Diabetes.
Early into her diagnosis, Caitlin recognized the power of social media in connecting her with others who are living with T1D. Like them, she uses her influence to raise awareness for T1D, how to continue living a normal life with it and the importance of not believing that you are the label of this disease.
In this episode of RESILIENT PEOPLE, Caitlin and I spoke about her purpose, where she gets her resilience from, McDonald's food and how to battle ignorance.
In this episode of REVELATIONS on RESILIENT PEOPLE, Janet Fanaki wants listeners to think about leaving a legacy of kindness. With many of us worried about the current state of the world, kindness matters more than ever.
Janet references a recent event that was held in memory of her husband who passed away from brain cancer in 2020. She talks about what he is most remembered for in the legal and business communities in Canada and around the world. A skilled and well-respected competition law lawyer, Adam Fanaki is most remembered for his kindness.
A caregiver almost her entire life, Donna Thomson calls herself a "serial family caregiver". She helped to care for her ailing father who passed away when she was a teenager; has been caring for her 34 year old son who was born with severe cerebral palsy; as well as for her mother for ten years until she passed away at 96 years old.
Through these different experiences in caregiving, Donna found a purpose in advocacy work, writing and research with the goal to help caregivers everywhere.
In this episode of RESILIENT PEOPLE, we spoke about her purpose, where she gets her resilience from, how caregivers can care better as well as how their support systems can care back for them; and the value in having a good laugh.
In this episode of RESILIENT PEOPLE, host Janet Fanaki is joined by longtime contributor, Susan Mintz. They are two widows who talk about the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and how to live a happy life. This is an episode that promises to give a new way of looking at life after loss.
As Agnes Chen states on the welcome page of her website for Starlings Community, "Children do not get a choice in the kind of home environment they are raised in. But as a community, we have a choice in the kind of community environment that supports them." She started Starlings to address the trauma that children experience while living with parental addictions.
Practicing gratitude can help in building resilience. After surviving a near amputation from flesh-eating bacteria, Chris DT Gordon developed The Attitude of Gratitude. He shares his experience and thoughts with the host of the RESILIENT PEOPLE podcast Janet Fanaki.
Susan Heinrich is excited about being middle aged. She is 54 years old, has done solo trips to India and Paris and wants to inspire other midlife women to embrace their lives with the same sense of adventure.
She is known as the Midlife Globetrotter on social media and posts about her travels, food and fashion. Susan doesn't see age as an obstacle but as an opportunity to reinvent ourselves or just get reaquainted with our passions and interests.
David A. Grant lives with a traumatic brain injury after being hit by a teenage driver while cycling. People who have a TBI face many issues that in some cases are permanent. Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, depression, irritability and memory problems to name a few.
Living with difficulties like these can cause the people around them to disappear, leaving the affected person with a sense of despair and loneliness.
Kidnapped mom advocates for better vehicle safety
NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | 36:55 | S2:E24
How often have you found yourself sitting in your vehicle and wondering about the safety features around you? The interior trunk release. The rear safety camera? And the switch for your power windows? Janette Fennell is a vehicle safety advocate in the US. Back in 1995 an alarming thing happened to her and her husband when they were kidnapped in the trunk of their car.
On August 1, 2007 the I35W bridge in Minneapolis suddenly collapsed during the drive-home rush hour. Thirteen people were killed and 145 people injured. My guest on this episode of RESILIENT PEOPLE, Lindsay Walz, was one of the survivors...
Before the pandemic hit, Kyle White weighed over 400 pounds. At 28 years old he was living with high blood pressure, bad eating habits and an inactive lifestyle. He knew that something needed to change. He began by walking and soon that turned into running.
Within 18 months he completed his first marathon and lost over 185 pounds. Kyle credits his mindset and the community around him. He takes us back to the moment when it all began, the hardest parts of his journey and how he keeps going.
Welcome to Season 2 of the RESILIENT PEOPLE podcast. It's great to be back and I'm so happy to have you along with me.
This season, we'll be hearing more from regular people around the world who are admired for their resilience. As we heard from previous guests, the power of purpose will continue to be a central theme in the upcoming season. We've learned some terrific lessons for building resilience and these will continue as we move forward.
All of the episodes will demonstrate that, with the right tools and resources, it is possible to find a purpose from life's challenges.
A great comeback story with popcorn queen Emily O'Brien
JUNE 24TH, 2021 | 25:56 | S1:E19
Emily O'Brien made one bad decision that landed her in prison. While spending time with other inmates watching television and making popcorn, Emily also developed a business idea. A gourmet popcorn company called, Comeback Snacks. It not only satisfies cravings but also helps former inmates by giving them a second chance - a comeback. Emily chatted with Janet Fanaki, the host of RESILIENT PEOPLE about her experience and why this purpose is so important to her.
Like any special day in the year, Father’s Day can be happy and terribly sad for many people. Losing one’s dad, husband or father-like figure can make this day very difficult to navigate alone.
Janet Fanaki, host of the RESILIENT PEOPLE podcast and lead content creator for the RESILIENT PEOPLE blog, lost her 51 year old husband Adam to brain cancer in 2020. Married for 21 years and the father to her two children Isobel and Sam, Father’s Day continues to be a tricky one for her to navigate.
“The first year without him was really hard,” she says. “The kids and I have had to learn to manage the special days of the year in new ways.”
Janet offers some techniques that have helped her through other trigger days including Valentine's Day and her birthday (which she shared with Adam) along with advice from those with lived experience.
Conquer any mountain with adventurist Sean Swarner
JUNE 10TH, 2021 | 29:45 | S1:E18
In this episode of RESILIENT PEOPLE, I had the pleasure of speaking with extreme adventurer Sean Swarner. Sean has scaled the world’s seven tallest summits, hiked to the south and north poles making him a member of the exclusive Explorer’s Grand Slam. He did all of this with only one lung. A survivor of 2 children cancers, Sean has proven that anything is possible and aims to inspire cancer patients and others to conquer their own mountains. As someone who has spent his entire life overcoming challenges, I was keen to learn what inspires Sean, where he gets his resilience from and what standing on top of the world is like given everything he’s been through.
We're spending a lot, maybe too much, time on our computers and devices. From checking text messages to fooling around on social media and hopping on video conference calls there are many days when it can seem like we're forever staring at a screen. It's no surprise that it's not great for our mental or physical health.
The acronym S.H.A.D.E.S was developed as a self check-in, to ensure that we pay attention to the things that keep us healthy, focused and resilient: Sleep, Hydration, Air, Diet, Exercise & Stillness.
Janet Fanaki, the host of the RESILIENT PEOPLE podcast and lead content creator for the RESILIENT PEOPLE blog, walks us through it in this 4 minute clip.
Explaining death to children with author Marnie Hill
MAY 27TH, 2021 | 29:29 | S1:E17
Marnie Hill wrote the book, Daddy's Blue Eyes, following the death of her son-in-law Matthew Leslie. He left behind a young wife and two daughters. A professional communications specialist, Marnie was coping with her own grief while also looking for a way to help her granddaughters to understand their dad's passing. By writing this book, her goal is to also offer parents, grandparents, teachers and caregivers a way to gently start a conversation with young people about grief.
REVELATIONS: Tips & takeaways for resilience from RESILIENT PEOPLE
MAY 20TH, 2021 | 03:24 | S1:BONUS
Resilience is the outcome but how do we get there?
My name is Janet Fanaki and I'm the host of RESILIENT PEOPLE. In a new segment called REVELATIONS, I'll be sharing easy tips and takeaways for you to try. These will drop every two weeks and come from my fantastic conversations with guests on the podcast.
Each episode of REVELATIONS will only be a few minutes and be like a mini workshop in making you more resilient. I'm looking forward to sharing these ideas with you.
Resilience through better nutrition with Dietitian Ashley Koff
MAY 13TH, 2021 | 31:31 | S1:E16
Registered Dietitian Ashley Koff is a leading expert in nutrition and creator of The Better Nutrition Program. She is also an author, public speaker, and consultant who lives in the US. Ashley's goal is to ensure that patients and clients are receiving the best knowledge to manage their health through food, lifestyle and supplements.
She loves talking about "gut health" and joined me on RESILIENT PEOPLE to discuss it's relationship to building resilience.
We also spoke about the pandemic and the importance of being kind to ourselves - especially as many of us have "fallen off the wagon"; check-in with our medical practitioners to ensure that we have our mental and physical health the best they can be; ways to pivot to make our health better; and the connection between stress and digestion.
Ashley has shared her expertise on shows like "The Doctors" and "The Dr.Oz Show".
Her son's death led Melissa Sheldrick to become a patient safety advocate
APRIL 29TH, 2021 | 36:24 | S1:E15
Melissa Sheldrick is a Toronto mom, wife and patient safety advocate. She came to this role following the sudden death of her son Andrew. He was only 8 years old when an error in the dispensing by a pharmacist had Andrew take a lethal dose of something other than his medication.
Heartbroken but determined, Melissa set out to make it her purpose to ensure that this never happened to another person.
In our conversation, we spoke about Andrew and his legacy to protect patient safety around the world.
Raising Black boys with Casey Palmer of #blackdadworries
APRIL 15TH, 2021 | 24:52 | S1:E14
Casey Palmer is an author, blogger, husband and dad from Toronto. Many of his posts are about parenthood and life with his wife and two young boys.
He created the hashtag #blackdadworries to raise awareness for the double-standards that exist for the Black community and the things he considers in raising his sons.
As the trial of Officer Derek Chauvin is currently taking place in Minneapolis for the killing of George Floyd, it seemed like a good time to share a conversation I had with Casey in the summer of 2020 when Mr. Floyd died.
We discuss code-switching for people in the Black community, what has changed for Casey from when he was growing up to now and how he hopes his platform will continue the important conversation about race.
Financial literacy with Financial Repair Specialist Doris Belland
APRIL 1ST, 2021 | 36:50 | S1:E13
So much of resilience is in being prepared for life's unexpected challenges. How does this relate to money?
Doris Belland is a Financial Repair Expert who has witnessed firsthand the power of knowing all about your finances. She was in her 20s when her husband was diagnosed with cancer and then following his death at a young age, she found herself dealing with deep grief but also a large amount of debt.
Doris learned the hard way that she should have known more about their finances and now counsels women on this very topic. She wants people to know that it's never too late to learn and to become comfortable with managing your finances.
The challenges of being a stay-at-home parent are real. There are many rewards but it's a job that is 24/7 and at times very demanding.
For Dale Allen Berg, being a stay-at-home dad to three active young children under the age of 6, is enough to make anyone run away in fear. On top of the regular chores he does at home: cooking, cleaning, driving for last-minute items, appointments, programs - his three children: Liam, and twins Ethan and Madison all have special needs that require a lot of medical and occupational assistance.
In addition, Dale is also living with his own serious health issues. He has said that people call his life a rollercoaster, that he’s been flung from the most exciting highs to the scariest of lows. As a former concert producer and executive chef, these high-pressure jobs may have prepared him for his life now. But it’s still a lot to handle.
Dale's resilience comes from sharing his daily experiences on a blog and prior to the pandemic he spoke to groups to share his life story and lessons learned.
Dr. Caitlyn Kirby wears a skirt made of rejection letters to normalize failure
MARCH 4TH, 2021 | 17:14 | S1:E11
Dr. Caitlin Kirby is an environmental science educator and researcher. She successfully completed her doctorate degree in October 2019. Normally 3 years long, there are many struggles in completing a PhD. Stress, funding, work life balance and in Dr. Kirby’s case - rejection.
“Rejection from what?” you may be wondering. For Caitlin she did something unique when challenging her doctoral dissertation that brought the issue of resilience and rejection to light and she hopes that it will help others. I contacted Caitlin after seeing a post she did on Twitter, that was actually originally done on an academic Twitter account, and it got her a whole lot of attention worldwide.
Just so you know, her original post read: “Successfully defended my PhD dissertation today! In the spirit of acknowledging and normalizing failure in the process, I defended in a skirt made of rejection letters from the course of my PhD. THANK YOU to everyone involved in my journey.”
Holocaust survivor Elly Gotz on the power of giving up hate
FEBRUARY 18TH, 2021 | 29:28 | S1:E9
My friend Maggie highly recommended that I somehow find Mr. Elly Gotz for RESILIENT PEOPLE. Her daughter attended one of his infamous school presentations.
My son also heard Elly speak at his school. Until the pandemic started in 2020, Elly Gotz was doing over 100 speaking engagements a year - and at the time he was 92 YO!
Not only is he a public speaker, but also an author, engineer, business owner, pilot, a husband for more than 60 years and he recently added skydiver to his list of accomplishments - and there are many more!
Elly’s presentations on living through the Holocaust and his message of giving up hate to find happiness leaves such an impact on all attendees - teachers and students as well as audiences everywhere young and old. I wanted to learn more about how he found resilience to move beyond the Holocaust, his message to others and where he gets this amazing energy to constantly challenge himself.
Bonus Episode: Surviving Valentine's Day when you are facing grief
FEBRUARY 10TH, 2021 | 08:41 | S1:BONUS
I’m doing something different for this episode. Instead of bringing you a conversation that I’ve had with someone, I’m going to talk about a topic that I’ve been thinking about for some time and anyone who is facing grief will be able to relate to it.
We’re a few days away from the biggest and most romantic day of the year - if you’re in a couple. Valentine’s Day. If you’re not in a relationship, it’s most likely a “trigger” day for you where you either don’t care about it, want to skip it or are doing some sort of a pivot with it.
This Valentine’s Day will mark one year minus a day that Adam passed away at only 51 years old. So as with all other special occasions during the past year, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, our anniversary and birthday (we shared the same day, same year) I’m doing a bit of a pivot.
I’m here to share some suggestions that will hopefully make the day a little easier for us all.
Dr. Jim Swan on living with terminal brain cancer and funding a cure
FEBRUARY 4TH, 2021 | 22:54 | S1:E8
In this episode, I speak with Dr. Jim Swan, an esteemed cardiologist from Toronto. He is one of the most highly-regarded physicians in Canada and a real trailblazer in the field of cardiology.
In 2019, Jim lost his twin brother George to Glioblastoma (also known as GBM), the most aggressive form of brain cancer. They were 70 years old. As fate would have it, only one year later, Jim would be diagnosed with the same deadly disease.
Just as Jim made the practice of medicine a mission in his life, he found a new purpose in searching for the root cause of GBM. With a $3M donation, he established a fund at the University of Toronto to research the genetics of GBM in order to prevent others from getting it. We met at his home in Toronto in the early summer of 2020 with his beloved golden retriever Hennessey by his side. We spoke about his love of hockey and the amazing relationships he has built from it, times with his brother and his resilience to look beyond his own terminal brain cancer to help others also living with a brain tumour.
Midlife motivator Elizabeth Verwey on conquering fears of aging
JANUARY 21ST, 2021 | 24:10 | S1:E7
Elizabeth Verwey had a major shift in her life when she was 56. Her husband whom she had known since she was 17 and married when she was 19 had decided that he wanted out of their seemingly happy marriage. She found herself as a single mom and faced her fear of being alone. I met Elizabeth, pre-pandemic, in her apartment in Toronto where she shared her story with me.
Even as a successful and award-winning business mentor to many clients, Elizabeth found herself having a fear of being alone in her mid 50s. She made a list of all of the things that she feared and decided to tackle them one by one. What she discovered was that it was exciting to do things on her own and she learned a lot about herself.
She also started a speaker series called Spoken Lives where like minded women gather together to listen to an empowering speaker share their story of adventure, success and what they learned along the way. Now these events have been taken online and they are just as motivating.
Lee Silverstein of We Have Cancer credits A.G.E. for his resilience
JANUARY 7TH, 2021 | 21:38 | S1:E6
Sixty-year old Lee Silverstein has lived with three different cancers in his lifetime including kidney, colon and liver. He created the We Have Cancer podcast to provide information, inspiration and hope. As Lee sees it, cancer affects everyone. I spoke with him and his wife Linda from their home in Florida. In between the laughs, we talked about his resilience, the valuable life lessons he's learned from his dad and why he started a podcast about cancer and the takeaways from his guests.
Education expert Jane Kristoffy shares tips to build resilience in children
DECEMBER 24TH, 2020 | 17:06 | S1:E5
In this episode, I speak with educational consultant, Jane Kristoffy, in Toronto. Jane is a teacher, guidance counsellor and operates a consulting business to help students, parents and educators everywhere.
Her goal is to help elementary, high school, university and college students to reach their personal and education goals. She can help you if you’re struggling in certain subjects and need extra support, preparing your applications for post-secondary institutions, or getting your resume ready for a job hunt. But Jane says there’s more to think about when getting our kids ready for the real world and it doesn’t just involve getting high marks.
Jane and I spoke about building resilience in children, and how this generation of parents may be getting things wrong. She offers some great tips to gently loosen our grip and how our kids will benefit in the long run.
Running Through Cancer blogger Matthew Pullan inspires us to live a full life
DECEMBER 10TH, 2020 | 13:48 | S1:E4
Matthew Pullan is 18 years old and lives in Bury, near Manchester, in the UK. He’s preparing for university, continuing to study, spends time with friends where possible during the pandemic, and blogs about running and exercise.
The blog was called Matthew's Running Journey until a recent name change to reflect a big change in his life. A terminal brain cancer diagnosis. Matthew and I spoke about his illness, where his resilience comes from, how his blog inspires others to push themselves forward and his future plans.
Terrence Rodriguez on building community for LGBTQ+ youth in Toronto
NOVEMBER 26TH, 2020 | 12:22 | S1:E3
In this episode, I speak with Terrence Rodriguez who faced struggles, isolation and loneliness through his journey as a transgender man.
Terrence’s story of resilience stems from his desire for community. By recognizing the struggle that many LGBTQ youth go through, he launched a social hub and advocacy group in Toronto called, REXpride.
It is a safe space for them to gather, make friends, be among their peers and feel open and confident in their identity. If there’s one thing we can take away from this episode it’s “you’re not alone”. There is always a community out there who understands you and wants to help you.
And even in your own journey through hardship, you can take your experience and do something positive with it.
Triple amputee Morgan Frey focuses on abilities of people with disabilities
NOVEMBER 26TH, 2020 | 23:33 | S1:E2
Morgan Frey is a young woman from Toronto who grew up like most kids. Going to camp, dance and skating lessons - she was also drawn to the theatre and decided to pursue a career as a writer - even mounting her own show in the prestigious Toronto Fringe Festival.
Morgan is also a triple amputee but she hasn’t let that stand in the way of going after her dreams. I sat down with Morgan, pre-pandemic, to talk about what it was like to grow up with such unique challenges, and how a person’s limits shouldn’t stop them from realizing their abilities.
The word that sticks out in my mind with Morgan is the word “try”. You will notice that she has no excuses when it comes to trying anything new. She has lived her life with the resolve that anything is possible if you “just try”.
She blogs about her experiences and has written them into storylines to normalize the idea of people living with physical challenges.
To honour his late wife, Jason Fiorotto established The Tory Day Fund to bring comfort to cancer patients
NOVEMBER 26TH, 2020 | 24:25 | S1:E1
In a group of friends, it’s not often when some start to date each other. It might be even less likely that they get married. But when it does happen, it’s one of the most beautiful things to witness. This is what happened between my friends Jason Fiorotto and Tory Butler.
I had just had my second baby in 2002 when I got a call from him letting me know that they were engaged. Married life and a beautiful daughter Kate followed along with summer days at the cottage - their beloved getaway.
Things took a turn for the worse in 2016 when Tory discovered that she had advanced breast cancer. In March 2017, just months after her diagnosis, Tory passed away.
Although heartbroken from her passing, Jason was committed to an idea they had hatched together. To start a fundraiser to help others living with breast cancer. It was that purpose that helped him move forward along with those around him.
Jason shared with me how his purpose helped to build his resilience to continue to be a great father to Kate, continue Tory's legacy and bring comfort to other cancer patients.
Resilience explorer Janet Fanaki introduces you to RESILIENT PEOPLE
NOVEMBER 13TH, 2020 | 05:24 | S1:TRAILER
I never imagined in my worst nightmares that at 47, my husband would be diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and that I would lose him by 51.
My name is Janet Fanaki and during my husband Adam's surgery and treatments, I spent a lot of time people-watching in the waiting room. How were they getting through the day? How do they find strength?
I started interviewing people who I admired for their resilience and began a blog. Soon I was getting more and more recommendations and strangers started tweeting me their stories.
RESILIENT PEOPLE became a way to prove that you don't need resources or connections to start a movement. Just the passion to make a change. I interview people around the world who faced adversity, bounced back and now help others be resilient too.
Join me as I introduce you to the people you wish you always knew, and now do.