the inspired minds podcast

Join Sam and Rick as they go in search of ideas for restoring American civic virtue.

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DR. JEFF THOMPSON – HEALTHCARE IN THE SERVICE OF THE COMMUNITY

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by Dr. Jeff Thompson, executive advisor and chief executive officer emeritus at Gundersen Health System, to discuss healthcare and the common good, including the context of the current pandemic. Dr. Thompson notes that as an organization you can be competitive and values-based, using creative solutions to both serve the community and meet organizational goals. The conversation explores healthcare organizations’ responsibilities to the communities in which they operate; viewing resources, including finances, as tools to meet goals; and engaging stakeholders by first listening to understand their perspectives.

Our guest today is Dr. Jeff Thompson. Dr. Thompson is executive advisor and chief executive officer emeritus at Gundersen Health System, as well as a nationally-recognized pediatrician, author, and speaker on values-based leadership.

During Dr. Thompson’s tenure, Gundersen Health System gained national recognition for its sustainability efforts and was recognized by independent healthcare ratings organizations for high-quality patient care. It also earned the highest honors of Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Award for 2012 through 2016 and the White House Champions of Change award in 2013.  Dr. Thompson is a founding member and past board chair of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality and the La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium. He also serves on boards for the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, the Wisconsin Statewide Value Committee, About Health, and Practice Greenhealth.

Dr. Thompson has authored and been featured in many articles, book chapters and abstracts on healthcare, leadership and sustainability topics. He is the author of Lead True: Live Your Values, Build Your People, Inspire Your Community, .  He is board certified in Pediatric Critical Care, Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine, and Pediatrics and has been caring for patients for over thirty-five years. He earned his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West.

SENATOR GARY HART – THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF LIVING IN A REPUBLIC

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by Senator Gary Hart, who has served the nation for over 50 years in numerous capacities, discussing the rights and responsibilities of being an American citizen in a democratic republic. Senator Hart has written that “there are a thousand small ways to distinguish the true citizens and patriot from the lowly opportunist,” and the conversation explores themes such as finding a distinct national purpose, restoring civics education, identifying and dedicating ourselves to our commonwealth, and finding pride in public service.

For over five decades, Gary Hart has dedicated his life to public service. Senator Hart was first elected to the Senate in 1974, having never before sought public office; he represented Colorado in the United States Senate from 1975-1987. During his time in the Senate, he served on the Armed Services Committee, where he specialized in nuclear arms control and was an original founder of the military reform caucus. He played a leadership role in major environmental and conservation legislation, military reform initiatives, new initiatives to advance the information revolution and new directions in foreign policy. He is widely-recognized as among the first to forecast the end of the Cold War. In 1984 and 1988, he was a candidate for his party’s nomination for President.

Since retiring from the Senate, Senator Hart has been extensively involved in international law and business, as a strategic advisor to major U.S. corporations, and as a teacher, author and lecturer.  He has also continued to serve the nation in various capacities. He served as chair of the Threat Reduction Advisory Council at the Department of Defense, was vice-chair of the Secretary of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council, former chair of the Council for a Livable World, chair of the American Security Project, and co-chair of the US-Russia Commission.

Senator Hart also served as co-chair of the U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century. The Commission performed the most comprehensive review of national security since 1947, predicted the terrorist attacks on America in 2001, and proposed a sweeping overhaul of U.S. national security structures and policies for the post- Cold War new century and the age of terrorism. Most recently, Senator Hart served as the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. 

Senator Hart holds a doctor of philosophy degree (D.Phil.) from Oxford University and graduate law (J.D.) and divinity (B.D.) degrees from Yale University. He is the author of over twenty books.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West.

Additional Information/Reading:

The Hart Center for Public Service website: https://www.msudenver.edu/president/hart-center/ 

Viterbo Lecture Featuring J. Drew Lanham: https://www.facebook.com/viterboethics 

CHRIS WOOD – ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP THROUGH THE LENS OF OUTDOOR RECREATION

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, to discuss conservation and environmental stewardship through the lens of outdoor recreation. Throughout their conversation they recognize conservation efforts face significant challenges, but confront them with a sense of optimism and hope. As they consider this, they examine how shared values and a nonpartisan approach builds partnerships and brings diverse people together in collaboration for the common good. 

Chris Wood is the President and CEO of Trout Unlimited. Before coming to Trout Unlimited in September 2001, Chris Wood served as the senior policy and communications advisor to the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service where he helped protect 58 million acres of publicly owned land. Chris began his career as a temporary employee with the Forest Service in Idaho and also worked for the Fish and Wildlife program of the Bureau of Land Management. He is the author and co-author of numerous papers and articles and three books including, Watershed Restoration: Principles and Practices (AFS 1997), From Conquest to Conservation: Our Public Land Legacy (Island Press, 2003), and My Healthy Stream: A handbook for streamside owners (Trout Unlimited and Aldo Leopold Foundation, 2013).

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West.

BETH CONOVER – DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION: WHAT’S CONSERVATION GOT TO DO WITH IT?

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by Beth Conover to discuss conservation in the context of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Through their conversation they discuss two approaches to conservation, the more traditional approach and a more collaborative approach. Furthermore, they consider challenges and successes of engaging seemingly disparate groups of people, building trust within communities, practical approaches to conservation efforts and establishing common ground to more effectively accomplish the various goals of conservation. 

Beth Conover has spent her entire career working at the intersection of environmental policy and community development. Beth is currently the Executive Director of the Salazar Center for North American Conservation, which works to support and advance the health and connectivity of the natural systems and landscapes of North America. Prior to joining the Salazar Center, Beth served as the Senior Vice President for Natural Resources and Community Development for the Gates Family Foundation. She has worked on community conservation program development in diverse places including Providence, Rhode Island; Zimbabwe, Southern Africa; and the Colorado Plateau. Born in Denver, she was Director of Parks and Environment for the redevelopment of the former Stapleton International Airport and a senior advisor and founder of Greenprint Denver for Mayor John Hickenlooper. She is the editor and co-author of How the West was Warmed: Climate Change in the Rocky Mountain West. 

For further reading:  Weaving the Strands Together: Case studies in inclusive and equitable landscape conservation

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West.

LARRY LONG – FINDING COMMON GROUND IN MUSIC

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by singer-songwriter Larry Long to discuss the role of music in promoting social justice and building community. Through stories and conversation, they examine music as a tool to build and create common bonds, which bring together generations and cultures, inspire change, and power transformation.

Lifelong social justice advocate, Larry Long is a singer-songwriter, poet, educator, organizer, activist, and storyteller. Long’s work has taken him from rural Alabama to the Lakota communities in South Dakota. He has given voices to struggling Midwest farmers, embattled workers, and veterans. He was the troubadour on the American Agriculture Movement Tractorcade to Washington DC for parity, ran with Oceti Sakowin children on the Run For Freedom from Standing Rock to the prison in Sioux Falls, performed on Soviet/American peace cruises along the Volga and Mississippi Rivers, sang for Mrs. Rosa Parks at the 45th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and organized the Mississippi River Revival, a decade long campaign to clean-up the Mississippi river. Through a curriculum called Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song, Larry has honored over one-thousand elders of many nations with youth in story and song from throughout the United States.

Long is the Executive Producer of the award winning documentary “Dodging Bullets: Stories of Survivors of Historical Trauma” and co-host of ‘Conspiracy of Goodness’ heard every Monday morning on www.WDRT.org radio at 8:30 AM (CT).   

Larry Long is a recipient of the prestigious In The Spirit of Crazy Horse Award, Bush Artists Fellowship, Pope John XXIII Award, Leadership In Neighborhood Fellowship (St. Paul Companies), and Sustainability Award for his work in forgotten communities.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

Laura Heymann – Section 230 and the Future of Free Speech on the Internet

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by William & Mary law school professor Laura Heymann to discuss Section 230, which recently has been in the news as people across the political spectrum have called for its repeal. The conversation begins by examining the nature and intent of Section 230 and why internet content is treated differently from newspaper or book publishers. The discussion then dives deeper into the implications of Section 230 on the First Amendment and free speech generally, along with the costs and benefits of social media and internet content as it relates to civil discourse.

Laura Heymann is Chancellor Professor of Law at William & Mary Law School. Prior to joining the faculty in 2005, Professor Heymann was the inaugural Frank H. Marks Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Administrative Fellow in the Intellectual Property Law Program at The George Washington University Law School. She has also served as an assistant general counsel at America Online, Inc., and as an associate at Wilmer, Cutler, and Pickering in Washington, D.C. She also served as a law clerk to the Hon. Patricia M. Wald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Professor Heymann has received several awards for her teaching and served as Vice Dean of the William & Mary Law School from 2013 to 2017. She has published numerous scholarly articles in the areas of copyright law, trademark law, and naming, including recently “The Satellite Has No Conscience: Section 230 in a World of ‘Alternative Facts’.”

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

Minnijean Brown Trickey & Spirit Tawfiq – Education and Storytelling to Forge Social Justice

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by Minnijean Brown Trickey and Spirit Tawfiq to discuss storytelling and education as catalysts of change, particularly in relation to racism and social justice. Through their conversation they examine America’s need for a more inclusive and complete telling of our history, developing a vocabulary for talking about racism as a means to bring bigger change, and educating young people to become societal change agents against racial injustice.  

Minnijean Brown Trickey is one of the “Little Rock Nine,” the students who desegregated Little Rock High School in 1957. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her community work for social justice, including a Lifetime Achievement Tribute by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and the International Wolf Award for contributions to racial harmony.  With the Little Rock Nine, she received the NAACP Spingarn Medal and the Congressional Gold Medal.  She holds a Bachelor of Social Work in Native Human Services from Laurentian University and Master of Social Work from Carleton University, in Ontario Canada, and is the recipient of four Honorary Doctorates.  

Ms. Trickey  is the subject of a documentary, Journey to Little Rock: the Untold Story of Minnijean Brown Trickey, which has received critical acclaim in international film festivals across the globe.  She has been featured on Oprah, People Magazine, Newsweek, the Ottawa Citizen, the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, CNN, the History Channel Turning Points in History, and the HBO documentary, Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later. 

Spirit Tawfiq is an Antiracism Educator & founder of Roots of the Spirit, an organization created to uproot racism through Storytelling, Education and the Arts. She is the creator and host of Roots of the Spirit Podcast, a space to galvanize change through honest conversations about identity, “race,” racism and intersecting social justice issues.

As a professional speaker and playwright, Spirit speaks and hosts workshops in k-12 classrooms, colleges, universities and organizations about her legacy as the daughter of Minnijean Brown Trickey, inspiring people from all walks of life to discover their own roots and our interconnected history.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

Jacob hundt – Community, common values, & Education

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by Jacob Hundt for a discussion on education as a means of engaging together in community. The conversation explores the influence of common values and shared stories, the value of experiential learning, and the role that conversations in the classroom play in creating moments for personal and intellectual growth.

A big thank you to guest Jacob Hundt. Jacob is a founder and current Director of Thoreau College in Viroqua, Wisconsin. He grew up on a dairy farm in the Driftless Region of southwestern Wisconsin. He studied at Deep Springs College, the American University in Bulgaria, and the University of Chicago Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences, earning a BA in History and an MA in Social Sciences.  Since 2004, he has worked as a trained Waldorf high school teacher and guidance counselor at Youth Initiative High School in Viroqua and was a founding board member and instructor of the Driftless Folk School.  Jacob is passionate about the importance of the liberal arts for our civilization and has created a model that enables students to freely choose a post-secondary education dedicated to the cultivation of thinking, feeling, and willing.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

Lee Rasch – Ethics in Politics

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by Lee Rasch to discuss ethical leadership in politics. Beginning the conversation, they define ethical leadership and then delve deeper, contemplating tough questions: how did Americans become so politically polarized? How do we find middle ground? And what can the average citizen do to encourage responsible and ethical political leadership? 

A big thank you to guest Lee Rasch. Lee founded LeaderEthics-Wisconsin, a non-profit/non-partisan organization committed to promoting ethical leadership among elected officials, in 2018. He serves as the Executive Director of the organization. Prior to this experience, he served as President of Western Technical College from 1989 to 2017. Throughout his career, he has actively promoted leadership development, continuous improvement, economic development and sustainability at the national, statewide and local levels. He has written articles and given numerous presentations on these topics. Lee was Chair of the Legislative Committee for the Wisconsin Technical College System for more than 15 years, and he was a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Congress in 1994 and 1996. In his spare time, Lee sings in a quartet and plays bass guitar in a rock band.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

andrew o’shaughnessy – Thomas Jefferson’s legacy

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam are joined by Dr. Andrew O’Shaughnessy to discuss the civic importance of education, especially as Thomas Jefferson viewed it in the context of the American experiment. Examining the principles of the founders, in particular Jefferson, they discuss how education can teach us to put aside self-interest for the public good and the role of education in America’s progress as a nation. Additionally, they discuss Jefferson’s optimistic view of America and the continued debate over the complex legacy of the founders.

A big thank you to guest Andrew O’Shaughnessy. Andrew is Vice President of Monticello, the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and Professor of History at the University of Virginia.  He is the author of An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean and The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire. The latter received eight national awards including the New York Historical Society American History Book Prize, the George Washington Book Prize, and the Society of Military History Book Prize. His newest book, The Illimitable Freedom of the Human Mind:’Thomas Jefferson’s Idea of a University, will be released in 2021.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

CRISTA VALENTINO – YOUTH ENGAGEMENT & CONSERVATION

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam discuss youth engagement and leadership with guest Crista Valentino. They touch on youth engagement, and how youth are making a difference in conservation and the world today. Sam and Rick bring the discussion full circle by connecting youth engagement and empowerment to American civic virtue. 

A big thank you to guest Crista Valentino! Crista founded CoalitionWILD in 2013 based on the recognition that youth leadership in conservation is an untapped potential for positive change. She continues to be an international spokesperson and advocate for the integration and support of youth in leadership and decision making about the planet. With a decade of experience navigating collaborations with global environmental leaders and fostering grassroots community action, Crista’s work bridges the gap found between generations, cultures, and tactics to bring about sustained change for the future.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 


Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

Joseph Bruchac – THE POWER OF STORIES

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam begin with a discussion about the role that stories and storytelling play in our lives, particularly that stories express virtue and help us make sense of our world. They are joined by Joseph Bruchac, renowned storyteller and writer, who elaborates on the power storytelling has on us and those around us. 

A big thank you to guest Joe Bruchac! For over forty years Joe has been creating literature and music that reflect his indigenous heritage and traditions. He is a proud Nulhegan Abenaki citizen and respected elder among his people. As an award-winning storyteller, Joe has shared tales of the Adirondacks and the Native peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands around the world. He is the author of more than 120 books for children and adults, and in 1999, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

rusty cunningham – WISDOM & JOURNALISM

In today’s episode, Rick and Sam continue their discussion of American civic virtue, highlighting wisdom and its role in American media and culture. The conversation continues as they are joined by guest host, Rusty Cunningham. Please join them as they contemplate journalism and its relationship to wisdom. 

A big thank you to guest host, Rusty Cunningham! Rusty recently retired as executive editor of the La Crosse Tribune and River Valley. He has been a journalist for more than four decades — the last 41 with Lee Enterprises — and is the fourth consecutive member of his family to serve as a journalist. He and wife Gail have a son, Corey, a doctor of musical arts from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West

daniel wildcat – Indigenuity

Join Sam and Rick as they kick off their first episode of the Inspired Minds Podcast, as they search for ideas to restore American civic virtue.  In today’s episode, Rick and Sam discuss the meaning of values and virtue and their relationship to American civics, as well as the connection between civic virtue and climate change. Later, they are joined by guest speaker Daniel Wildcat for a discussion about “indigenuity” (indigenous ingenuity) – drawing on ancient wisdom to solve contemporary problems. 

A big thank you to guest speaker Daniel Wildcat! Dan is a Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma. He is director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) Center and member of the Indigenous & American Indian Studies Program at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. Dr. Wildcat has been an invited speaker on American Indian worldviews at Goddard Space Flight Center, National Museum of the American Indian. Harvard Medical School, Dartmouth College, University of Kansas Medical School, Kansas State University, University of California (Riverside) and many other institutions. He is the author and editor of several books, including Power and Place: Indian Education In America, with Vine Deloria, Jr.; and Red Alert: Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge.

Sam Scinta is President and Founder of IM Education, a non-profit, and Lecturer in Political Science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University.

Rick Kyte is Endowed Professor and Director of the DB Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. 

Music compliments of Bobby Bridger- “Rendezvous” from A Ballad of the West