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.
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.