Toby Dorr
Episode 15

Episode 15

Toby Dorr: Hi, this is Toby, and today I’m delighted to introduce you to Mark Packard, part of our FIERCE team. Mark is our audio engineer, our sound engineer, our music mixer, and he’s the publisher of the podcast, he’s all the things behind the scenes that nobody sees happening, and it’s more work, I think than I have to do to get this podcast out. So, I’d like to introduce you to Mark, who works with Number 3 Productions, which is a division of Grace Point Publishing. Hey, Mark!

Mark Packard: Hi, Toby.

Toby Dorr: So, what kind of things do you have to think about when you’re putting a podcast together?

Mark Packard: Oh, that’s a good question. It’s a lot easier now than it was about two years ago when I really got into the podcast realm, because you know I came from music production into podcast production. What I really try to look for if there’s like one big answer to that is how the listener perceives it. I think that’s the critical part. So, there are technical aspects like always making sure the sound levels are accurate. And if there’s like a siren in the background, I’ll cut that out, you know, so there’s simple things that go into everything, but it’s really looking into how the person’s going to hear it or in our case, how the person’s going to see it. So moving the cameras around, especially when there are multiple people on your interviews where those are going to be placed. My part is mixing the music and…

Toby Dorr: Oh, that’s the favorite part, you know.

Mark Packard: It is.

Toby Dorr: And I love Lisa’s song, who’s the other member of our Fierce Team behind this podcast.

Mark Packard: Gosh. It’s so good.

Toby Dorr: I love how it all comes together and I most especially love that I don’t have to worry about how to do it.

Mark Packard: That’s what Karen, the other current podcast in production says.

Toby Dorr: Yes, yes.

Mark Packard: I give it to you and it’s done.

Toby Dorr: It gets posted everywhere and you pull little promo videos to create. It’s just magic, you know, and, and I love that. I’m so thankful for everything that you do and that we’ve been able to team up on this and get this podcast out into the world.

Mark Packard: Yeah, yeah, it’s been a good, good journey so far, and it’s just started.

Toby Dorr: Yeah. So, do you have a favorite episode?

Mark Packard: The one that actually, well, the first one with Justin Brooks really good. But I’ve worked with Justin a couple of times before. So I knew that 1 was going to be good. And I mean, they’re all good. Let me say that for sure. Um, Catherine Bell, just because it was Catherine Bell. That was a great interview. But the one that like personally got me and I don’t remember all their names, but, um, was the one with the four men

Toby Dorr: Oh, yes, yes. All they wanted was justice.

Mark Packard: Yeah. that one

Toby Dorr: Chris and Charles, Clifton. And yeah, that is a powerful one. And actually, I’m going to be meeting up with them again in a couple of weeks. They live in the DC area, and they’re having another event, and I’m going to go there, and I get text messages from Chris every now and then, and he’s like, know, you’re just doing awesome things, and we need to get together, so I’m looking forward to that. That was a heartbreaking episode, I think. But also…

Mark Packard: It was heartbreak. Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say it was like when you hear like what happened and wrongful imprisonment? Like, I, like how as I didn’t even have words and then when you hear when I would have never guessed that they were in prison for 30 years from that interview if I didn’t know. Like, I feel like I would have just been broken, like completely done. Just like out there, like I’m getting goosebumps!

Toby Dorr: Yeah, they’re out there helping other people who are getting out of prison and they’re being spokespersons in the re-entry community in Washington D. C. and you know, and you’re right, statistics and history would have had them being homeless in a gutter and, and they’re not. And I think that says a lot about them. And you know, when I first met them, it was at a book signing for Thomas Dybdahl’s book, which featured them. And I saw these, there were six of them there. I only got four on the podcast. I thought, who are all these preachers that we have here? You know, because they’re so dressed up and they just look so classy. And I thought, wow, these men are somebody, who are they going to be? And then it turns out they’re these men who spent 25 years in prison just blew my mind. Yeah. Pretty cool. Pretty cool. Yeah. So, I think, you know, we were going to talk a little bit about some aspects of the podcast today. And so I’m just going to let you kind of lead that part of it.

Mark Packard: Okay, cool. Yeah, go into the questions and stuff on your side of it. Let’s go into that. So, uh, this will be posted as a full video. So, I’ll give a little introduction and we’re gonna cut into the promos too, which is cool. But, um, was it a month ago? One of the members of the Gracewood Publishing team who did a lot of work editing on your book, Living With Conviction, which side note for anybody, for everybody watching this, I also had the honor of producing that audiobook.

Toby Dorr: That was the first project I did with Mark. My audiobook and that was pretty exciting.

Mark Packard: It was a good time for sure. That was my first, I know I’ve told you this, but that was the first audiobook that I produced solely front to back. And so was a learning process for me too. Like I’d done bits and pieces of lots of podcasts, but that was the first like start to finish recording everything I’d ever done. And it was, uh, I was like, Oh man, I’ve underestimated the time that it’s going to take. It came out really well!

Toby Dorr: It did come out good and it was a great process and you made it really smooth and, and you know, you’d call me and go, we need to rerecord this line because went and it’s like, oh, how can you hear that? Do you know?

Mark Packard: Yeah, I don’t know why I got those ears, but I do. There I hear things others don’t.

Toby Dorr: I think you need them.

Mark Packard: Yeah, exactly. May I tell actually one more story just on my process that I like to share. So there’s Seth MacFarlane. he’s the creator of Family Guy and American Dad and a bunch of stuff. And I don’t know much about him as a person. Like I don’t know if I align with his personality or anything, but he is a fabulous creator and creative. and one thing that has stuck with me for years is he said in an interview once he always uses live orchestration from well-known composers on his shows and he says, you know to the average listener they can’t really tell if I created it with a computer or in a studio or with a composer. But I know that the subconscious picks up on the high quality of it. That’s how I feel about my productions. Like I know nobody’s gonna really notice this but subconsciously they’re gonna hear the difference So that was always really inspiring to me.

Toby Dorr: That’s pretty cool. Yeah, and we do have a live orchestra on my podcast, which is so exciting

Mark Packard: That is so cool. I love that too so much. Toby, now we’ll switch gears and I’m gonna play interviewer for a bit.

Toby Dorr: Okay, cool

Mark Packard: So first question, what is a fierce conversation to you and how do fierce conversations make you feel?

Toby Dorr: A fierce conversation to me is something that most people avoid talking about like the tragedy of losing a child or going through a divorce or having a miscarriage or being wrongly imprisoned for a crime you didn’t commit. Working hard to free others who are imprisoned and all the work that goes on behind that. It’s a conversation that isn’t soft, and it isn’t easy, and it often brings tears or emotion to the surface. And, you know, there are two definitions of ‘fierce’. The most popular one is having or displaying intense or fierce aggressiveness. That’s not the definition I use. I like the definition of showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity. So, it’s believing strongly in something, something that you just have to speak up and speak out about because it burns inside of you. And you know, there are lessons in those conversations and there’s feelings and emotions in those conversations, and there’s moments that stick in people’s minds and they replay over and over and over. And to me, that’s what a fierce conversation is.

Mark Packard: I like that. It’s so important because it’s so easy to hide behind not wanting to talk about things, but I love that definition of fierce. I’ve heard it many times, but I heard it differently it’s so fierce that you have to do something about it. It’s got that drive. I know the answer to this next one, but are you ever afraid of fierce conversations?

Toby Dorr: Oh man, no, I am never afraid of a fierce conversation. What I’m afraid of is being in an elevator with somebody I don’t know. And they want to talk about the weather. That I can’t do well. It’s just not me. I think conversations need to have a purpose. They need to have an impact. They need to be meaningful. And I’m not into small talk or, you know, superfluous, just. conversations over a cup of tea. That’s just not me. In fact, I can’t even stand to do it. You know, when somebody wants to have a fluffy little conversation with me, I find it really hard to stay there and contribute because it just almost is a waste of my time, that small talk stuff.

Mark Packard: I get that for sure. I’m actually really good at small talk because I spent so many years working in restaurants. I can talk about anything for sure, but I don’t enjoy it.

Toby Dorr: Yeah, my husband – and my mother was – excellent at it, and they always get in these long conversations, you know, and I’m standing next to him going, come on, come on, we got things to do, and I think there’s a place for that. I think we need people like that too, because that is a service to others to just be able to make them feel like you care about their day. But you know, I just never developed that.

Mark Packard: Yeah, yeah, that makes sense for sure. It’s good to have both. Lots of types of people in the world. Um, okay, next one. Would your younger self, because you’ve written a memoir, a beautiful memoir, and you have a book of poetry out, and you have, is it, is it…

Toby Dorr: Three workbooks.

Mark Packard: Three Okay, okay. There must be two more coming.

Mark Packard: That must be why.

Toby Dorr: Yes, there are.

Mark Packard: two somewhere.

Mark Packard: Do you think your younger self, young Toby, would have sought out a book or workbooks similar to the ones that you wrote? Is that something you would have been looking for as a young Toby?

Toby Dorr: You know, that’s kind of a hard question because the young Toby should have been looking for those sayings. But I think the young Toby was just kind of lost and didn’t even know where she was going or what life was about and she was just kind of playing a role, as a mother and corporate employee and a volunteer for her son’s activities and a wife and she didn’t spend very much time on just being Toby. And I think that’s part of what the problem was that you know, caused my catastrophic break of helping someone escape from prison and throwing my whole life away and having to start over. I think if I had taken time as a young Toby to read some things like the things I’m writing now, life would have been different, but I, unfortunately, I didn’t seek those things out.

Mark Packard: You weren’t in the place and then yet I can relate to that one for sure. I think too, like, it’s so interesting because I know your story. I don’t, not as well as you do, but I mean, I’ve listened …

Toby Dorr: You know, it just about as well as anybody besides me …

Mark Packard: but I think that it’s interesting because your story is like so relatable where you were at when you got to the prison break, and I feel like that many people would have followed that same path if they were in the same situation you were in. It’s just not many people are in that place.

Toby Dorr: When I was in prison, of course, my story was all over the news. I got letters, dozens of letters from women I never knew. In states that I’ve never even visited who wrote to me and they all said the same thing “I saw your story on the news and I had to write to you and tell you I know exactly how you feel that could have been me. I could see myself in your shoes And so I just want you to know that you know I’m praying for you and sending you good wishes and hoping you come out of this.” So many women can relate which really surprised me too because I felt like I was going to be a pariah and nobody could relate to anything I’d done or said, but that wasn’t the case at all.

Mark Packard: Yeah, we all get to those places. Well, maybe not all of us, but a lot of us, myself included, get those places of extreme choice.

Toby Dorr: Yes.

Mark Packard: Okay, moving on to the next, next question. I’m going to combine these two. So, let’s say that young Toby did seek out these books. As your younger self, where would you have gone to buy those books or find those books? And… Now, where would you find those?

Toby Dorr: Well, I’m old. There was no Internet when I was young and there were no cell phones. So I would have gone to my local bookstore or to the library. I really spent a lot of time in libraries. This week I went to the library and when there’s a book I really want to read, but I don’t want to buy it cause I don’t think it’s going to be one I want to keep, I put it on my wishlist at the library. Well, yesterday I went to the library, and I had 14 books to pick up and it’s like, “Oh my, how am I going to read these in three weeks?” I would have probably gone to the library and looked for a book actually when I was younger.

Mark Packard: What about, what about now? Where do you think you… Would you still go to the library?

Toby Dorr: I still go to the library. There’s something about a library that I mean, what a gift libraries are to the world to have all these books of all topics and all authors that you can just read for free and bring back when you’re done. I just think libraries are such a blessing. And by the way, my book is in my local library and in a couple of other libraries, too. So that’s kind of exciting. But, I might, but the thing is, today I don’t go to the library and just wander through the stacks and pick one out. Occasionally I do, but usually, a book comes up in some kind of a news article, or someone suggests it to me, and so I go to the library and I look it up in their digital search, and then I put it on my waitlist. And I think that’s kind of sad because I discovered so many hidden gems just by wandering through the library. Although I will tell you that I picked up the 14 books I had on hold, but I also checked out three more that caught my eye as I walked by. So, I still do that, just not as much. So today probably look in the library, but you know, unfortunately, I’d probably say I’d do a search on Amazon. That’s usually where I go to first do a search on Amazon and I read about the book. And then I decide, is this a book I want to keep forever, or a book I just want to read? And if it’s a book I just want to read, I go to the library website and put it on my hold list. So, that’s kind of my pattern today. But I love independent little bookstores.

Mark Packard: Oh yeah.

Toby Dorr: My husband and I love to go for car rides. And we just get in the car, and we don’t have a destination, and we don’t use Google Maps. We just say, oh, let’s turn left here, and let’s turn right here. And inevitably, so many of the times we’ll pass by a little bookstore and always, always, always we have to stop. And I have to go in and I love the feel of those little bookstores and I always buy something. That was my dream when I was in prison that I wanted to get out of prison and work in a bookstore. But my real dream has always been to own a bookstore and make it also a gathering place. I don’t know, maybe put a coffee shop or something in there too and have a place where people just come and hang out. But they’re surrounded by books.

Mark Packard: I love that. That I didn’t know about you. That’s really cool. I’ll, if I may add just a little bit of my side to libraries. ’cause growing up we didn’t really have a TV or anything. I was homeschooled. I was the only one of us four, but I was homeschooled all the way through high school. We went. to libraries all the time. There’s one here in Colorado Springs that I used to go to when I was like six, seven, eight, 30 years ago. I just recently went back there again about six months ago for the first time, probably since then, and just like, one, the memories from childhood, but two, it’s just that walking through the aisles of books and like you feel the knowledge of all those authors just into your brain. Your audiobook is in our local

Toby Dorr: Oh, that’s cool. That’s awesome.

Mark Packard: I was going to put a link to it in the show notes.

Toby Dorr: I was gonna say, let’s put in the show notes how people can suggest it to their library. I think that’s awesome.

Mark Packard: The best way to support an author because if, well, other than obviously buying the book is the best way. But even if you request it from your local library, one, the money does, as I’ve told you Toby, but for everybody watching. There is some money that goes to the author and the publishing company. It varies drastically from library to library, but it also, once the library gets the book, it’s in there and finds it.

Toby Dorr: I love that. You know, I have one more library story I’m going to share.

Mark Packard: Yeah.

Toby Dorr: We had moved into Kansas City from a small town about 100 miles away in mid-Missouri. And we were considering moving from the apartment we’d lived in for the last year. We just, you know, came and lived somewhere and we realized that really wasn’t the neighborhood we wanted. It was kind of a neighborhood for younger people. And so we were kind of thinking that we were going to move. And I went to a writer’s workshop. at a library up in North Kansas City, which was about a 20- or 30-minute drive. And I got to the library, and I fell in love with this library. It had a story center in it, it had a writer’s center in it had a machine in the front of the library where you could watch where they print books so you could have the library print your book and bind it. And it was a machine that was kind of clear so you could watch it happening. And I fell in love with this library. And when I was leaving, I noticed there was an apartment complex right next door. And so I got home and I told my husband, I know where I want to move. And we moved into that apartment complex so I could walk to the library every day. So that’s how much books mean to me.

Mark Packard: Yeah. I think you’re the only person I’ve met other than my mom that has that level of love for books. My mom is very similar in the way that she always has a new book, always reads a new book, and always gets books from the library.

Toby Dorr: Yeah.

Mark Packard: This turned into a pro library thing,

Toby Dorr: It kind of did, didn’t it?

Mark Packard: Yeah, I love it!

Toby Dorr: And so, let me say too about the audiobook. I never listened to an audiobook in my life. I was always the kind who wanted to pick up a book and hold it. And I want to feel the pages and I want to underline things in it. I never tried an audio book, I didn’t get why people would listen to audiobooks. But then I recorded my audiobook with you and we released it on Amazon. And I thought, well, I should buy a copy because I should listen to how it sounds. And so I listened to it and then I thought, I love this and I’ve been hooked now and I’ve gotten two badges on my audible account for the number of books I’ve listened to. The last one I listened to was 30 hours long, but I’ve gotten hooked on audiobooks and I always have an audiobook I’m listening to so I can, it’s funny because I do a lot of graphic work on my computer for social media and for the books I’m writing. While I’m doing that work, I can be listening to an audiobook at the same time. And, because it’s a different part of my brain, I have just become an audiobook fanatic now, which I think is beautiful too. Especially when the authors read their own books. Oh my, that’s just awesome. Yeah.

Mark Packard: There’s something I think to be said for example, Tentacles Guide to the Galaxy, the most popular version, cause I think it’s a few, is read by Stephen Fry, who is a famous narrator. So, there is something sometimes to be said for, I think, different voices to it, but overall, I agree with you. And that’s, I feel like that’s more in the fiction realm, when you have a narrator.

Toby Dorr: I think the memoirs are what mostly the authors read themselves.

Mark Packard: Memoirs and business books. I definitely agree with you on that. Okay, so since, since, uh, we have more questions, so this one’s a little, little more serious than talking about a book consumption book.? What does it look like to you to play it safe? And are you playing it safe? And again, I think I already know the answer.

Toby Dorr: I used to play my whole life safe. You know, I did everything right. I did everything by the book and now Safe is kind of boring and it’s kind of dull and it doesn’t get you anywhere. So, you know, I love to take risks. I love to. You know, we kind of talked about, I think Michelle, who’s the publisher that I work with at grace point there, said to me, you need to have a podcast. And I was like a podcast? I never thought about having a podcast. What the heck would I do with a podcast? And within a week I had named it and started my guest list. I just do things kind of, I don’t know if it’s spontaneous or just, you know, I just kind of jump in when I see an opportunity. I don’t dabble my toes in the water. I just jump in full force.

Mark Packard: I love that. That’s exactly how I do things, which is probably why we get along.

Toby Dorr: Yes, yes.

Mark Packard: So I think this is a cool follow up question. I am going to read the whole thing, but it’s a little long. It is, we all need to do things legally, play safe legally. And I mean, there’s even a caveat there. A lot of people don’t play it safe legally, like when you get into protests and stuff. But, in general, we have a certain level that we need to feel like we belong in the world. So. What are your thoughts on how you can be vulnerable in a way that shows it’s okay to not play it safe all the time while still following the legality that you feel you need to follow?

Toby Dorr: Well, there are all kinds of ways that you can speak up and not be violating the law. I’m not one for challenging a police officer. I think you have to respect authority. It’s there for a reason, but you can say anything you want to say without being confrontational and without being disrespectful. And there are so many opportunities in everyday life to be able to speak up and say something about anything. And I think we should always take those opportunities. That doesn’t mean going out and shouting at people, but if you’re in a conversation with someone and they ask you something and you know that you have a more profound thought about it, then bring it up. Don’t be afraid to talk about difficult things. Because I think we’re all looking for inspiration and answers and role models and things to strive towards. And I think every one of us has within us the power to be that for someone else. And to keep that lid closed and keep that light dampened doesn’t serve the world. I think, and you know, sometimes there are controversial topics like avoid. I do a lot of podcasts about wrongful prosecutions or criminal injustices, and a lot of people think, well if they got arrested, they did something wrong. Well, you know, that’s not the case. And people don’t want to hear about people in prison, honestly, because they’re in prison, they’re hidden away from the world. And nobody cares if they don’t have hot water for showers or, you know, it doesn’t matter. They’re there where they’re supposed to be. Cause they’re bad. They did something wrong. And I think it takes is a true human being to feel compassion for those in the hardest places and to speak up for them and make sure that they have rights too. So yeah, I think that’s the area that I think I make the most waves with are my thoughts about prisoners and inmates.

Mark Packard: I am very much in agreeance with you on your thoughts on prisons and inmates and it breaks my heart. In 2016, I spent two weeks in three different mental hospitals, not prison. And that was a horrible experience. I had hot water, and I had food, and I got to have visitors, and I know I had way more freedom than anybody in prison would have, and I can’t even imagine what it would feel like in there, and just to bring it back to the question a little bit, and when we look at the Justin Brooks interview we did, and the one we did with Chris Turner and everybody, I think those are just really such great examples of a person in a group of people who are standing up for what they believe in a legal way and being like firm about it, but without like being super confrontational and maybe acting in the same way that they’re in prisoners act.

Toby Dorr: When you’re in prison, visits are your lifeline. It’s what keeps you sane. It’s what keeps you connected to the world. It’s what gives you something to look forward to. And, we went through this COVID pandemic, and everything shut down, but the first thing that the prisons did is just stop visiting altogether. And they also stopped any volunteers from coming in. So, there were no types of educational programs or spiritual programs or creative programs, and people in prison during COVID just sat in their cells. And that is beyond devastating. They are just now starting to let volunteers back in and it’s been three or four years and we’re way past the COVID lockdown. But just more convenient to not allow those things in and, and nobody protests, no, except people in prison, but who hears them, you know, no one can hear them. It’s just so disregarded the, rights of a prisoner and, and the needs of a prisoner. And the sad part is that 80 to 90% of all inmates will be released back into society. So it’s in society’s best interest that they don’t become broken people while they’re in prison, because we’re going to be back out in our society and we need them to be healthy and whole and contribute to society.

Mark Packard: Yeah, I completely agree with It’s just, we could do a whole ‘nother podcast on that.

Toby Dorr: We could, we could.

Mark Packard: but that really does lead to the next question I have on my list is, is what is your main goal with this podcast? And I think you kind of just hit on some of it there.

Toby Dorr: My main goal really is to let people know about topics that they’ve never heard about before, especially when it comes to criminal justice and criminal injustice and mass incarceration and mandatory minimum sentences. A lot of things that people don’t understand, even that they exist, what they are, what the impact of them is. So I want to bring those things into the open so that we’re more aware because I believe that a country is only as good as the way it treats its prisoners. That’s how we tell what kind of society we have and we have so much work to do there. At the same time though, I believe that there are these topics that we just don’t talk about because they’re difficult like ‘how to deal with the death of a child’ or ‘how to bring your parent home from the hospital and put them in your home and give them the grace to die peacefully’. That is so difficult. And so many other things about someone surviving a tragic childhood. All these topics that we just don’t want to talk about because they’re not beautiful and pretty and make you smile, but it’s those conversations. that make you a broader, more caring, more productive, more constructive member of society. And I think that in talking about these difficult things, It helps us so that when suddenly we find ourselves in a situation where we are experiencing or a loved one is experiencing one of these tragic events, you know, their son being arrested or their daughter being killed by a drunk driver, or, whatever that they’ve already opened up thoughts about these things in their mind and they’ve heard stories from other people who have survived these things and how they’ve survived them and so they can draw on that whether it’s happening to them or it’s happening to someone they know. They might know the best thing to say to that person to support them when previously they never gave a thought to that particular incident ever happening in their life.

Mark Packard: So these conversations are so important to have. Um, you mentioned something I don’t know what made me think of this, but Thich Nhat Hanh is famous for saying “The way out is in”. It’s so easy to just not think about what’s inside us and just push it all away. Yet if we look inside ourselves first and be like, oh my gosh, this is what I don’t like this and I don’t want to keep it inside but work on that and then we to get out and fix it.

Toby Dorr: Yes, and I think that’s so beautiful, too, and that’s really the lesson I learned in prison, that to free myself, I had to look inside myself and set myself free. Um, I love that. The way out is in. I hadn’t heard that until just said that, but boy, it’s so profound.

Mark Packard: Thich Nhat Hanh got so many amazing things like that. But that’s the one that has stuck in my mind ever since I heard it. We’re getting deep into fierce conversations right now.

Toby Dorr: We are.

Mark Packard: This next one I’ve got here, you have already kind of answered, but are you teaching, leading, or entertaining, and which do you want to be doing? And I’m just going to say before you answer that, I think to some degree you’re doing all.

Toby Dorr: Yes. I do think I do all three teach, lead and entertain. I was on a podcast once that was a comedy podcast about true crime. And I thought how can this be funny? My story is not funny, but we laughed for two hours and I thought, you know what, it is funny. There’s humor in everything and I think humor helps us get through things. So I think entertainment has a role. I think teaching has a role because other people want us to give them answers so that they know what to do, but where I’m really called is to lead, and I want to be someone that other women follow or other people follow and say, I want to do what she’s doing. It’s almost like being a seed out into the world and you’re planting other seeds. And so, everything I do has leading in mind, even though I may be teaching or entertaining at the time.

Mark Packard: And I know for sure you fulfill that role because every time you interview somebody that you knew before the interview they’re always talking about how you’re an inspiration.

Toby Dorr: Yes.

Mark Packard: The author’s pod. And I know you feel the same way about them too, that they’re an inspiration for you.

Toby Dorr: And that’s right. Yes. Yes.

Mark Packard: So is that kind of, do you think your goal for each guest as well, or what is your goal for each guest?

Toby Dorr: You know, my goal for each guest, is just simply to give them space to tell their story. To give them space to tell about their experience. So that their stories can be birthed out into the world. And you know, a lot of people I interview have been on multiple podcasts. But I believe in every telling of a story, something tweaks just a little bit. You know, the host asks something in a little bit different way. Or the host really homes in on a particular thing that no one else has homed in on. So every time a story is told, it’s a new story out into the world. And sometimes, you know, there might be a story that someone tells on my podcast that reaches this particular person who really needed to hear it, and they may have heard it, the same story from someone else, but it didn’t click with them. So I try to help bring that message in so that listeners know what my guests are talking about. I try to find a way to turn it into a lesson or a moral or a story that can relate to the person that’s listening.

Mark Packard: I think you do that quite well, if I may be so bold to say so. And that’s kind of fun how each question is really leading in the right now, which was not intentional, but the next one is. What do you want people to take away to remember from your interactions with guests? What do you want? Like, and I think it’s kind of, uh, mixed into what is your goal with the podcast? What is the goal with each guest? Like, if people take away from each episode from the show, what’s, what’s kind of your goal there?

Toby Dorr: Well, you know, really my goal is to put these stories out into the world so people can hear them. But now that I’m thinking about it, I think a goal that’s been a subconscious goal for me is that I would like listeners to see how it’s possible to talk to people who’ve experienced something very difficult and to talk to them about it in a way that brings more depth out of the person you’re talking to without hurting them. Because sometimes when you’re talking to people about difficult things, it’s very easy for them to be hurt. I want them to see that it’s possible to talk with these people who’ve experienced something that they can’t comprehend in a way that’s loving and positive with that person. So, it’s okay to talk about it, and you can learn to talk about it with grace.

Mark Packard: So that kind of leads back into your teaching place, too, of people listening, of teaching them how to talk to other people or maybe be receptive to a

Toby Dorr: Yes.

Mark Packard: This last one is kind of cool. Well, actually I’m going to ask a bonus question. I remember very specifically with Catherine Bell’s interview, but you’ve talked about it in other places, posting on your social media about the research you have done and continue to do on amazing women who are not, well known in the world. So you’ve done all this research and all these amazing women, do you have an overall takeaway or an overall goal? Maybe, uh, all of that research and you’d like to see from that.

Toby Dorr: Well, you know, what I try to do with my social media, I have Wednesday Women. Every Wednesday I post about a woman I found from history who’s done something amazing. And my goal with those stories is to let people know that these are just regular people. Very rarely do I post about Eleanor Roosevelt or someone that isn’t in a normal circle of people. Generally, I try to post about women who are just common women. They didn’t have any advantages that the rest of us don’t have. My goal is to let them know that anyone can do something to make a difference. You don’t have to be powerful. You don’t have to be wealthy. You don’t have to be important. You can still make a difference. And I think, you know, two of my favorite examples, and they’re so totally different examples, but number one, I discovered this beautiful, wonderful little woman who lived in Harlem, New York, and her name was Clara Hale. Clara Hale raised her – I think she had five children – I can’t remember exactly, but she raised her children. She had a two-room apartment in Harlem. She was not a wealthy woman. She was not an important woman. She was just a woman trying to get through life the best she could. And in the eighties, there was this great fluctuation of babies being born addicted to drugs, and no one knew what to do with these babies because they were so needy, you know, they cry, you just kind of had to let them go through withdrawals, and Clara Hale said, “I’ll take those babies”, and she took them into her little two bedroom apartment, and she took in over a thousand drug-addicted babies. It became her mission. And, she was an older woman, 50 or 60 when she started doing this. So, in the last part of her life, she made such a difference in the world. And she gave these babies love. And somebody asked her once, you know, how do you do that? How do you take care of these drug-addicted babies? And she said, “Oh, it’s so easy. Here’s how you do it. You just hold them. And you love them”. And I think that’s such a beautiful example. And any single one of us has the power to do just that.

The other woman that I really have stuck in my mind is a woman named Virginia Hall, and she was an American. She grew up in the thirties or well, no, I guess it had to be the twenties or thirties, but she, uh, she actually came from an affluent family and she rode horses and, but she wanted to do something that made a difference. And she ended up, but this was before the CIA had ever started and they realized that they needed some behind-the-scenes intelligence in France when the Nazis had invaded. And so she went to Britain. She wanted to be a diplomat. She wanted to work in an embassy and be a diplomat. And so she studied different languages. Well, she had an accident while she was hunting, and she got her leg caught in a barbed wire fence. And as she was trying to get her leg unhooked, her gun discharged, and she shot herself in the lower leg. And this was when she lived in London and her leg had to be amputated at the knee. She didn’t let that stop her. She even named her prosthetic leg – Cuthbert – was its name. And when they were looking for people to go into France and join the French resistance, she wanted to go. And the OSS in Britain said, well, you can’t go, you only have one leg. And she said, I’m going. And she went through all their training and passed, she beat people who had two legs. And so she ended up going into France for years. She was hidden in the French resistance and she led a couple of groups. She was so good. At one time, she had to escape the Nazis, and she climbed the Alps with her prosthetic leg – which was broken. I mean, this woman…

Mark Packard: Oh, my…

Toby Dorr: didn’t let herself be stopped. And in the end, it was her team, behind the scenes, who really, made the invasion at Normandy a success. Because they knew it was coming, this D-Day invasion. And their role was to blow up all the roads so that Germany couldn’t send reinforcements to the beach once the Allies landed and they were successful in that. So really it was because of her and her team that that landing was successful and nobody even knew her name and in fact, she won an award when she got back to the United States and she just put it in a box in a drawer and she said, rewards don’t mean anything to me. I was in the bookstore walking by and I was looking for a book about some woman of importance. And I saw this book on the shelf and it said, A Woman of Little Significance. And that was her story. And I was so immersed in her story. When she won her award when she got back to the United States, it was some big, big award, you know, like the medal of honor or something, you know, I don’t know what it was. But, she said, I don’t want to be known for what I did. I was able to do it because I was a woman of no significance because she was hidden in the resistance as this insignificant woman. And that stuck with me. Sometimes you can be significant by being insignificant. And I thought that was such a powerful message. So those are two of my favorite women in my Wednesday women research.

Mark Packard: That is, I’ve heard those stories briefly, but that was more in-depth than I’ve heard on those. those are powerful.

Toby Dorr: Yes, they are.

Mark Packard: If I may, what is what I hear your, your overall goal is with all these women is, to some degree showing that no matter where you come from, no matter where you are, you, you can make an impact on the world. And what it made me think of is there’s this, this kind of meme or quote that goes around social media occasions of you have the same hours in your day as Beyonce has. And I have so much respect for Beyonce. She’s so talented. She worked very hard to get where she was. But I think that actually is really not a fair comparison because yes, and with all of Beyonce’s money and all of her help that she has, her hours are very different. I think it can be very discouraging, and what you’re saying is, where you’re at now, you can actually make a huge difference,

Toby Dorr: You can make a huge difference. We all have it within us.

Mark Packard: Right.

Toby Dorr: You don’t have to be wealthy. You don’t have to be famous. You don’t have to have a title. You don’t have to have an inroad into some secret organization to make you stronger. You can do it on your own. And those are the women that I try to single out and share with people.

Mark Packard: So great. So, follow Toby Dorr on Instagram and social media, Facebook @TobyDorrAuthor, and Instagram @TobyDorr for the Wednesday women’s stuff. Yeah, that’s awesome. so that was my last serious question, but I think it’d be fun to close with your opening question what is your favorite color, Toby?

Toby Dorr: When I was a little girl, I loved pink. I just loved pink. I loved pink. And then there came a time in my life when I got to high school, when I realized pink was kind of a girly color and I didn’t want to be limited by what girls were limited by. So I chose purple as my favorite color and purple’s been my favorite color forever. And then about eight years ago, one of my sisters said to me, “But Toby, you always loved pink”. And I said, “I don’t like pink. I don’t love pink. I don’t even like pink.” And she said, “No, you always loved pink. Everything you did was pink.” And I went home and I started thinking about that and I thought, you know what? I do love pink. Pink is my color. And, now it is my favorite color, every shade of pink. And, I use pink as my brand color too. And it’s a bold, fierce pink that I use in my brand color. But the cool thing about pink is there’s also soft pink. So when you just want to be some of my interviews, I have to be that really soft pink to talk to someone, and some of the interviews I have to be that really bold pink. And it’s kind of funny, a lot of times when I was working in my corporate career and I was a dog trainer I used to interview my employees and the people I interacted with I assigned them to a dog breed because I treat different dog breeds in different ways because some dogs have different, you know, characteristics, like a border collie, Boy, you just got to give them work to do because they’re just all the time. I gotta do something. I gotta do something. And, you know, a little Chihuahua, you just have to give them some confidence. And so, you know, I used to think of people in my work environment as dog breeds because it helped me know how to interact with them best. But it’s kind of funny because as I’m telling you this, I’m thinking, I kind of act as the color pink and I have to pick the right shade of pink for the person I’m talking to and be that person. So definitely it’s pink and I’m so glad I’ve come back to it.

Mark Packard: That’s so good. I love that so Well, those are all the questions I had on my list. So thanks for being on the other side of, the camera.

Toby Dorr: Yeah, it’s really interesting. And I’m so glad we did this because, I’ve had listeners say, I want to know more about you in some of these interviews. So, I think we’ve kind of answered that with this episode.

Mark Packard: I agree. Well, at the end of the day, it’s Fierce Conversations with Toby, not with Mark. So I will put the camera and the microphone back to you. Is there anything you want to close out with today?

Toby Dorr: The one thing that I want people to come away with is that we all have it within us to be the person that someone else needs us to be. And we just need to find our voice and we need to find our place don’t be afraid to speak up and don’t be afraid to reach out because the world’s waiting to hear you and the world’s waiting to see what you do because the world needs each one of us. I think that’s it.

Mark Packard: Okay, thanks, Toby. A lot of

Toby Dorr: Thank you, Mark. This has been a lot of fun and people got to peek into you too, because you are kind of the behind-the-scenes guy and now they kind of, know a little bit about who Mark is. I think that’s beautiful. Thanks for doing I’ve had a great time.

Mark Packard: Thanks, Toby.

Toby Dorr: Okay. Bye, Mark.

Toby Dorr: Thank you for listening to Fierce Conversations with Toby. We appreciate all the support you can give, and I’d like to share four ways that really help our show. One, subscribe to our Patreon channel at slash Fierce Conversations, where 10% of our proceeds are used to provide workbooks to women in prison.

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Your support is truly what keeps this show going. The show notes contain links to our fierce team Mark, myself, and Lisa and this episode gives you a little bit more insight into what it really takes to keep a podcast going.

Fierce Conversations with Toby is created and hosted by Toby Dorr and produced by Number Three Productions, a division of GracePoint Publishing. Music was created and arranged by Lisa Plasse owner of From the Top Music Studio.

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