Toby Dorr
Podcast Episodes

Podcast Episodes

Judy is a life educator, family coach, and keynote speaker who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family, parenting and relationship issues, including communication, encouragement, and end of life. She also focuses on personal issues like anxiety, depression, confidence, and self-esteem and works with many small and large organizations–from Head Start to child care resource centers.
Judy is a certified Pet Grief Coach who takes pride in her work with Animal Human Connection. She has written extensively on the topic of grieving and offers guidance, counseling, and communal sharing for many grief clients.
Artichoke Press is not Judy’s only self-starter project. Judy has owned and managed numerous small businesses. She and her husband Dwain, alongside their six children and foster kids, worked family businesses in order to teach them Responsibility, Respect & Resiliency.

Episode 33, One Little Pearl, May 14, 2024

Judy has written more than 20 books, and hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family, parenting, and relationship issues, including communication, encouragement, and end-of-life.

The symbol of the artichoke has great meaning for Judy in her teaching and writing. As she works with families, she sees that frequently only the outer edges are exposed, which can be prickly and sometimes bitter to the taste. But, as you expose the artichoke – and people – to warmth, caring, and time, gradually the leaves begin to open and expose the real treasure–the heart.

Some of our fierce topics today:
[05:30] My main passion has always been gathering stories. One of the things we found with the Montana storykeepers is that when we allowed someone to tell their story, an end-of-life story, their pain went down. Their transition was so much easier, and I do think that people don’t fear death, they fear being forgotten.
[07:37] My book is not how to write a memoir, but why you should and helping you narrow down into that particular pearl on a strand pearls. So you don’t get overwhelmed by the whole necklace.
[11:34] So my favorite color is red, and it’s very powerful and a little story … When my mom was in a hospice unit, assisted living, I would wear bright red lipstick and I would always kiss her on her forehead. So, every CNA, every doctor, every cleaner that came in thought, “Oh, she is well loved. Somebody’s in here. I better take good care of her.”
[15:43] I was walking to the mailbox with my 15-year-old, he’s now 40. And he started telling me something and I said, “Andy, stop. I have listened to problems all day long. Go for a walk”. And he touched my arm, which in our family is a signal. ‘This is important to me’. He said, “Who do you want me to tell my problems to?” And I went in the next day and quit.

Charli is a Clarity Coach & Meditation Teacher as well as a survivor of sex trafficking, homelessness, child abuse, and domestic violence. Charli is also an adoptee and suicide survivor living with cPTSD, anxiety, chronic illness & ADHD and teaches people about designing a life where they can thrive no matter their trauma, capacity, and background.”

Episode 32, Focusing on the Next Best Step, April 30, 2024

And the point is, you can do it. You have more strength than you think you do. You can go through these tough situations. You move through that adversity, and you move through those struggles. And you keep going. 

Some of our fierce topics today:
[04:58] At 13, I came home from school one day and my mom had put all of my stuff in garbage bags on the porch and locked the house and told me I didn’t live there anymore.
[06:39] Books were my salvation.
[07:49 I was in so many unsafe situations, but I could make someone laugh.
[10:11] There’s great value in putting yourself in situations where you’re not the smartest person in the room.
[20:09] It’s that I had it all figured out, it’s that I just focused on the next right step, just the next right step…

Susan Godwin is a fervent educator, writer, and freelance artist whose world has always been steeped in books, from Harold and the Purple Crayon; she couldn’t resist drawing on her bedroom wall, no matter how many reprimands; to her first job as a library book mender in her Shaker Heights High School basement to teaching English at the prestigious University School of Nashville. A former Oxford scholar, Godwin has received writing awards from the University of Michigan, Middle Tennessee State University, and Bread Loaf School of English. Though writing is her true passion, she is also a visual artist working primarily in oils and pastels. Her home is outside of Nashville, in Dickson, TN, on the banks of a winding Tennessee river, in a hayloft renovated by her sweet, sexy husband, Tony; with help from their rotty, Roady! 

Episode 31, The Age of Invisibility, April 16, 2024

And the point is, you can do it. You have more strength than you think you do. You can go through these tough situations. You move through that adversity, and you move through those struggles. And you keep going. 

Some of our fierce topics today:
[03:28] it shouldn’t be called breaking up, because that implies a quick break. It’s more like a taffy pull.
[04:50] I discovered a female court of writers in the late 17th century.
[09:31] Crazy David was my boyfriend who faked his own death and then showed up at my house in the middle of the night a couple weeks later.
[13:22] I was cocktail waitressing in LA at the world-famous Palomino Club and I waited on Manuel (designer to the stars) and we fell in love and got married and had a baby.
[17:19] But If felt it I didn’t leave him I would get cancer and die – it was such a toxic unhealthy moment.

Pat Black-Gould, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and an award-winning children’s book author, fiction author, and playwright. Her children’s book The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey, tells the story of a hidden child of the Holocaust. The book is the recipient of the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, the Northern Lights Book Award, and the Vinnie Ream Award. Pat is currently turning her book into a stage performance featuring dance and music composed specifically for her work. Pat and co-author Steve Hardiman will publish their first novel in 2024. All The Broken Angels is a coming-of-age story set during the Vietnam War era.

As a psychologist, Pat has worked on an inpatient Deaf unit and, along with co-author Dr. Neil Glickman, published in the field of mental health and Cultural Deafness.   Pat has also worked as a neuropsychologist and a forensic psychologist in an inpatient forensic unit and at a men’s state correctional prison, working primarily with maximum security level inmates.

Episode 30, Stories That Matter, April 2, 2024

And the point is, you can do it. You have more strength than you think you do. You can go through these tough situations. You move through that adversity, and you move through those struggles. And you keep going. 

Some of our fierce topics today:
[09:19] The Paperclip project, is a teacher’s desire to show her students just how big a number is.
[11:43] Turning a children’s book into a ballet performance…
[13:04] Creating a staged production with a dramatic reading of the book, an artistic collage, music and dance. [14:42] Pat discusses her work as a prison psychologist and discusses the problems faced by those who never had a mentor figure to look up to. 

I came to realize that most women in prison are not dangerous. What characterizes them more than anything else is their heartache. Instead of frightening me, they seemed lost, with tragic lives.
I knew nothing of the fellowship that exists in prison. Women inmates seek relationships, and thrive on it.
It is this prison community that sustains women who do time. It is this community that taught me to value the prisoner’s lives, to like and respect them, and to understand that they are more than news stories tucked away on a back page in our local papers.
While it is true that prison is a repressive environment, the one who offers hope in the classroom has the potential to effect change.
The women of Framingham sought a way out, and their struggles gave them dignity.
I could hear their voices… speaking out of the darkness.

Episode 29, I Could Hear Their Voices Speaking Out of the Darkness, March 19, 2024

The women of Framingham (Prison) sought a way out and their struggles gave them dignity. I could hear their voices speaking out of the darkness.

Some of our fierce topics today:
[02:49] I began working with people in prison and, it changed me, it turned me into a prison activist and it turned me into a writer.
[04:41] If my students tackled Shakespeare, a writer they thought beyond reach, they would also be learning to take on what was most difficult in life.
[30:25] My new book is called Mother Love and it’s a book of short stories about ten different women whose child killed someone.
[38:27] Poetry comes to you when you need to say something that comes so deep from the heart that you can’t say it unless you do it in a poem. 

Episode 28, I Am Enough, February 27, 2024

After giving 10 years of her life to the Florida Department of Corrections, Tanaine Jenkins has dedicated her voice to shining a light on the Second Sentence that Returning Citizens face once they are released from confinement. Tanaine is the best-selling author of From Prison to President: 7 Ways to Succeed in Your Second Chance, the President of Everything I Am LLC, the CEO of The Loc’d Line, a member of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Policy Council, and a 2022 TEDx Jacksonville speaker. She has also been featured in Forbes, on the CW Channel and PBS. Through her company, Everything I Am, Tanaine has helped hundreds of returning citizens and justice involved individuals find their ‘Why’ and learn the power of self-forgiveness.

Episode 27, Filling a Niche, February 20, 2024

Hannah Rumsey talks with those who have experienced the death of friends, grief experts, and more, to normalize the complex grief of losing a friend in a world that often doesn’t understand. “I lost a dear friend several years ago. Now, my goal is to create a loving community of people who know what it’s like to grieve a friend. It’s a specific, unique type of loss, and I think it’s important that we come together and talk about it. If you’re grieving or missing a friend, I’m here for you. I understand.”

Episode 26, Together We Can, February 6, 2024

Natasha Dasher is on a life mission to help Returning Citizens realize their true potential in themselves. After graduating from Delaware State University with a Bachelor in Business Administration she has over 20 years of experience starting and growing small businesses. It wasn’t until the tale of her two worlds collided that her true purpose of advocacy for Returning Citizens came to light. As an appointed Commissioner for Returning Citizens and Re-entry Affairs, the Co-Chair of the DC Democratic Caucus for Returning Citizens, a mother of one daughter, and the grandmother of three, a fourth-generation Washingtonian she has helped many children, women and men see their true potential through business development, operational strategist and being a true community advocate. 

Episode 25, The Importance of Contradiction, January 23, 2024

I have long been a fan of Jeannette Walls. Her memoir Glass Castle gave me permission to tell my own crazy story. Today, I’m lucky enough to live within an hour’s drive of Jeannette and so I’ve been able to connect with her at several book events. A few months ago, Jeannette posted on Facebook a photo of her with a young college student, and shared the story that many years ago Jeannette was speaking at a college when a girl came up to her for a photo and shared that she wanted to be an author also. Today, that woman, Brittany Means, just published an amazing memoir. Jeannette reached out to me and said, “Toby, I think Brittany could be one of your fierce women!” I immediately scheduled her interview. Of course, I also bought the memoir – and you should too! Another powerful life story by a talented woman author!

Episode 24, Find Your Calling, December 26, 2023

Gina Hanna founded Beauty for Ashes Ministry with her husband Derk in 2009. Their vision was to drastically reduce recidivism in prisons across the United States by providing a biblically based Christ-centered program for prisoners and ex-offenders. Her vision for the ministry came from her own personal struggle with drug addiction which led to her incarceration in 1998. Through her journey to true freedom and healing, she discovered her life’s mission and now uses her story to help and encourage.  Beauty for Ashes provides programming in prisons in Missouri and Kansas as well as operates a residential recovery center for women, Shielded by Faith Recovery.

Episode 23, Discovering Self, December 12, 2023

Join us as Kimberly Braun shares her extraordinary life journey with us. Kimberly discusses her challenging decision to join a monastery at the age of 24, becoming a cloistered nun, and the emotional difficulty of leaving the monastery after ten and a half years.

She recounts a profound spiritual experience that led her to question her vows, ultimately receiving permission from the Pope to leave. Kimberly also reflects on the transition back to the secular world, the overwhelming noise and technological changes, and the emotional challenges of reintegrating with her family.

Together, we will learn about the transformative power of healing.

Episode 22, Thriving Beyond Cancer, November 28, 2023

In this episode of Fierce Conversations with Toby, we explore the beauty and possibility of life AFTER a stage 4 Cancer diagnosis.

Tekquiree prays her story empowers someone to thrive beyond any obstacle, setback, or health challenge. She was diagnosed with Stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer when 36 weeks pregnant in October of 2016.

“I am still here today and became cancer-free four months after my diagnosis and after my 3rd treatment because I’ve been able to hear and do what God told me to do. And now, through my non-profit, Thrive Beyond Cancer, I am showing people who have been diagnosed with cancer, they can do it too.”

Tekquire says her cancer journey was not been a smooth road. Being diagnosed with cancer was not only her biggest challenge, but dealing with her thoughts around death consumed her. “Am I going to live or die? Will I be around to see my son grow up? The challenge was getting out of a really dark space where I became the victim of my circumstances. I realized that wasn’t helping me, it was killing me. I had to start living.

Episode 21, The Ultimate Gift, November 14, 2023

In this episode of “Fierce Conversations with Toby,” we dive deep into the world of veterans’ support with guests Geoff and Laura Spetter, both military veterans with compelling stories and a shared commitment to making a difference. Geoff reflects on his journey from being a forward observer for field artillery to transitioning into the IT world, and how it led him to co-host “The Veterans Show” on WCBM. Laura shares her passion for helping veterans navigate the complexities of the VA system. Together, they emphasize the significance of building a strong veteran community, bridging gaps in healthcare and employment opportunities, and inspiring individuals to join their mission of support. This heartfelt and informative conversation offers valuable insights into the challenges veterans face and the power of collaboration and compassion in improving their lives.

Toby Dorr, our host and creator, is married to a Navy veteran, the step-mother of another Navy veteran, and the sister to a Marines and Army veteran. Happy Veteran’s Day and thank you all for your service. “Fierce Conversations with Toby” proudly supports our veterans.

Episode 20, Crossing Cultural Boundaries, October 31, 2023

Long before she could speak another language or have a sophisticated discussion on “cross-cultural relations,” Leslie Powell, an African American child from Connecticut, was fascinated by the glimpses of other worlds surrounding her.

She studied Latin and Spanish in school, traveled to Italy, Spain, and Mexico in her secondary and post-secondary years, and embarked on a career as a language instructor of Spanish and English as a Second Language. While pursuing a Ph. D. in foreign language and culture education at The Ohio State University (1987), she met her future husband Mahmoud, a doctoral student in agronomy and gentleman from Iran who would eventually redirect her path from “established Spanish professor in America” to “adventurer in the Middle East.”  Look for her upcoming memoir of her cross-cultural adventures coming soon!

Episode 19, Creating a Healthy Community, October 17, 2023

Because of her sincere love and concern for women and their care, Marla is currently serving as a mentor with Catholic Charities in their Welcome Home Reentry Program. As a mentor, she works with women who were previously incarcerated. Additionally, through her Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Ministry, Marla educates young girls about puberty.

Episode 18, Keep Going! October 3, 2023,

Amanda Plasse had her college years interrupted with an eating disorder that caused her to leave school and focus on her mental health. After several unsuccessful programs and treatments, she finally found a method that worked for her.

She decided to share her story to help other young women out there who are struggling. Her message to them all is Keep Going!

Episode 17, Beacon of Hope, September 19, 2023

Lisa Nordike, who is portrayed by the name George in my memoir, served 8 years, ten months and sixteen days in federal prison, where she was one of my cell mates.

After her release from prison, Lisa took in a dozen teenage foster children who were homeless or whose parents were in prison. She adopted one of them, but they all still call her mom.

If she can change the lives of twelve troubled teenagers, what’s stopping you from changing the world?

Episode 16, Healing Your Inner Child, September 5, 2023

Moira Dadd, international bestselling author of the memoir Cherishing Me: Letters to a Motherless Child and today’s guest on Fierce Conversations with Toby.

Content Warning: This episode discusses the healing journey of Moira Dadd after experiencing childhood abandonment, stays in multiple orphanages, and the death of her mother by suicide. While this podcast is intended to facilitate healing and hold space for all, some listeners may be troubled by the subject matter.

Episode 15, Defining Fierce Conversations, August 15, 2023

Sometimes you can be significant by being insignificant… 

We all have it within us to make a difference.

You don’t have to be wealthy. You don’t have to be famous. You don’t have to have a title.”   – Toby Dorr, host of and the interviewee on today’s episode of @fierceconversationswithtoby

Special behind-the-scenes episode! Join Toby Dorr, host of Fierce Conversations with Toby, and Mark Packard, producer of Fierce Conversations with Toby, as they dive deep into the inspiring stories that make their podcast shine. Discover what drives their passions and ignites their guests’ stories.

Let’s uncover the heart behind the mic!

Episode 14, Life After Loss: Picking up the Pieces,

Love can be messy. Loss can be hard. Life can be raw. The creek has become my happy place. Each piece of cracked glass I find I am reminded of my Morrison, my love for her, and her love for me. The jagged edges remind me of the pain and the loss of her life before I even got to meet her face-to-face. But when the pieces are put together with other broken pieces a beautiful creation comes to life. These creations bring light to the darkness and is a gentle reminder of the peace that overflows into joy, as the story of our family continues to unfold.

Episode 13 Living Louder,

Episode 13 features Portia Louder, who shares her story of triumph against the odds. Her memoir is called Living Louder and she is an advocate for incarcerated women. Portia is working on her second book Born to Be Brave. You won’t look at your world in the same way. Learn how you have the power to envision a new life.

Episode 12, Cultivating a Support Network

Today’s episode features my author pod sisters. Randomly assigned in a conference more than two years ago, we have cultivated a true sisterhood which we have each relied on in different moments to lift us up. In addition, we encourage and push each other towards our individual goals of publishing our memoirs.

Meet Wendy, Kathryn, Lisa, Leslie, Marilynn and get to know me a little bit deeper. Enjoy!

Episode 11, The Art of Living and Loving

In today’s episode, we will embrace the art of living and loving through letting go.

Our guest today is Kathryn Boxill, a living out-loud enthusiast, foodie, Howard University Bison, and radio producer/host. Kathryn encourages us all to Live our SOULfull Purpose with an abundance of love, grace, courage & FUN!

Episode 10, Diversify My Hustle

Frederick Johnson, the founder of Diversify U, is a program director and mental health therapist with 25 years of experience providing services for youth, families, veterans, and persons experiencing homelessness. Throughout his career, Fred has always been drawn to innovating creative methods and programs focused on serving historically excluded and low SES populations. Diversify U is a capacity-building firm specializing in program development and culturally sensitive curriculum encouraging out-of-the-box thinking and creative alternatives. It also provides timely and affordable school counseling services to students in need, with the goal of increasing academics, mental health, and the overall well-being of the students.

Episode 9, Perspective is My Superpower

Carly Fahey-Dima, Communication and Culture Manager at GracePoint Publishing in Colorado Springs, Colorado, shares her parents’ dysfunctional divorce which led to jail time, but Carly refused her circumstances, choosing instead to lean on a wiser perspective to guide her behavior. Let Carly’s story inspire you.

Episode 8, The World Through Music

Lisa S. Plasse is the owner, director, flute, and voice teacher of From The Top Music Studio in Midland Park, NJ which offers instrumental and vocal lessons. Lisa composed, directed, arranged, and played the flute in the theme song for Fierce Conversations with Toby.

Lisa has produced and directed many musicals, theater productions, and workshops. She is also a member of the International Association of Women and has appeared as a speaker in their Fireside Chat Series. Most recently, Lisa was inducted as an Honorary Member of the Eta Delta Chapter, Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority, Incorporated through Howard University.

Episode 7, Doing Things That Scare You

“If a movie was made about your life, who would play the lead role?” This classic conversation-starter question was actually answered for Toby Dorr who was portrayed by Catherine Bell in the @Lifetime  movie Jailbreak Lovers. Since Jailbreak Lovers was created from public news stories and without consultation from Toby, the cast was not allowed to speak with Toby during the filming and production. Join Toby and Catherine as they talk about what it felt like for Toby to have someone showcase the story of the biggest turning point in her life in a movie… and not have any control over what was said.

Episode 6, They Wanted Justice

Our guests today spent 30+ years behind bars, for a crime they were not involved in. “The men – boys, mostly, when it all began – were just guys from the 8th and H NE neighborhood in D.C. They had limited education and experience and resources… But each of them had a core of basic honesty. Under immense pressure, day after day after day, that core never cracked. They were offered leniency in exchange for statements of guilt… But they hadn’t done the crime, so they wouldn’t say otherwise. They did not want mercy. They wanted justice. They got neither. Yet they endured. They never sold their integrity for their freedom.” Hear their story!

Episode 5, When Innocence is not Enough

“What’s at stake when prosecutors conceal evidence—and what we can do about it.” – From the description of the book When Innocence Is Not Enough: Hidden Evidence and the Failed Promise of the Brady Rule, written by today’s guest, Thomas L. Dybdahl. Through stories of real criminal cases in which justice wasn’t served, Tom’s book and the discussions in this interview may outrage you. I hope it does. Let’s take our anger and our outrage and use it together to change our broken justice system.

Episode 4, Uncovering Grief’s Beauty

Wendy’s conservative values are tempered by a smattering of scandal which wrenched her from the Mennonite community at six years old. She grew up secular and went on to hold a job, get married and raise 4 children, but life is a roller-coaster. Her precious five-year-old son died instantly when his plane, piloted by his father, crashed in the woods. Wendy chooses the beauty in the flaws and the perfection in her mistakes. 

Episode 3, Making a Difference

Carla loves others by speaking for the voiceless and advocating for the powerless. She also counsels legislators about the true impact of policy on incarcerated women. Carla works as a Re-Entry Coordinator in the DC area and also volunteers for two other prison-related organizations. Learn how you can also make a difference in the world!

Episode 2, Bearing Witness

Laura Collins is an Emmy award winning investigative journalist who is often invited to sit down with people who have survived unthinkable horrors and other families and loved ones who have not. She is grateful for their trust, to have been invited into their lives, and for the opportunity to have borne witness to the strength of the human spirit as well as its depths. Join us to learn how Laura balances the power of journalism with the fulfillment of life while bearing witness to these monumental events.

Episode 1, You Might Go To Prison

Globally accredited, Justin Brooks, the Director and Co-Founder of the California Innocence Project and others throughout Latin America, helped dozens of innocent people through broken justice systems to exoneration. Academy Award-nominated actor, Greg Kinnear, portrays Brooks in the feature film, Brian Banks. Justin’s new book, You Might Go To Prison Even Though You’re Innocent is an eye-opener. This inside look at our ‘justice’ system might just change your life.


Welcome to Fierce Conversations with Toby, where we tackle those hard conversations with love and inspiration. Join us in making a difference and changing the world! The life you change just might be yours. In the telling of our hard stories, we offer each other more opportunities to heal and grow. None of us is ever our worst mistake.

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