In the beginning
When I started the journey that would become the Terms of Reference Podcast in January of 2014, like so many other entrepreneurial ventures, I really didn’t know where it would go. I didn’t have a business case for it (nor a business model with which to monetize it). I didn’t have any experience podcasting, or broadcasting, or hosting any type of media program. All I had was what we were learning over at International Solutions Group and a gut feeling that having an ongoing conversation with professionals in the development and humanitarian aid space would yield something good.
What has TOR accomplished?
Now, two years, more than 12,000 downloads and 99 episodes later, I feel like we’ve not only accomplished something worth while – I think we’re just getting started.
Because the podcast wasn’t designed with any purpose other than to have conversations with current, active professionals, there wasn’t a considered outcome I was trying to achieve. That made it all the more sweet to discover at the end of 2015, when I looked back over the first 52 episodes, that I had inadvertently gathered a rich body of data about what it means to be a development or aid professional. And, luckily, because I was consistent in the format, questions and general focus of the interviews, I was able to pull out some very real findings that ultimately answered the question: What does it take to build a sustainable and satisfying career in development and/or aid work?
I packaged that learning up in the free eBook Making It: The 7 Things You Must Do To Claim Your Spot as a Development or Humanitarian Aid Professional. If you’re interested in joining this community of wonderful people, I encourage you to check it out.
The really great news is that now, over the subsequent 47 interviews, I’m happy to confirm that those findings continue to not only ring true, but they have been underscored by our guests, time and time again.
What have been the highlights of the past 99 episodes?
I’ve truly enjoyed every interview on TOR and seriously consider myself to be one of the luckiest people around because I have the privilege of listening to so many amazing stories from people whom I consider colleagues, co-workers, friends and partners. It would appear that you too have enjoyed these stories:
What are the most popular episodes?
Hands down, our most popular episode has been with Belabbes Benkredda of the Munathera Initiative (TOR045). This conversation about how he began what is a cutting edge debate platform in the Middle East is not to be missed.
The runner up is TOR030 with Sandra Sudhoff of CartONG, about how she uses GIS to further development and aid work. Humble, reserved, but clearly passionate, you’ll love this episode about one of those “I didn’t know this was even an option” careers in the industry.
The third most popular episode is TOR033 – my conversation with Jodi Nelson while she was the Director of Strategy, Measurement and Evaluation at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Jodi embodies what many of us aspire to be – a highly educated and experienced leader who is well connected, tuned in and always on the edge of the most important happenings in the service of others.
Which episodes are my favorites?
Of course, I love each and every guest we’ve had on the show, but a few have stuck out for me as some of the most fascinating, honest, fun and informative interviews I’ve done thus far. These include:
- Understanding cutting edge fundraising through philanthropic giving with Jen Haile in TOR040
- Getting a taste of backroom deals with Independent Diplomat, Carne Ross in TOR053
- Learning to be a digital humanitarian with Dr. Patrick Meier in TOR061
- Finding mindfulness and self care with Alessandra Pigni in TOR065
The list above does not diminish any other the other episodes, and my very heartfelt thank you goes out to all 100 guests who have been on the show.
Where do we go from here?
It is time for the Terms of Reference Podcast (and the focus of Aidpreneur overall) to pivot to a new topic – one that I find more fascinating everyday, but also one that is increasingly on the forefront of our community’s thought leaders: Innovation.
Going forward, I’ll be talking with guests who are on the cutting edge of innovation in how we deliver development and humanitarian aid assistance and we’ll be investigating how innovation happens, what innovations are out there now and what the future might hold.
It is my expectation that, in addition to TOR, I’ll also be featuring the most important updates and news related to innovations on this blog, so…. watch this space!
Now onto the next 100 episodes of TOR – click here to listen to the latest episode (or catch up on the ones you’ve missed)!