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The Over My Shoulder Foundation, directed by Dawn Carroll, a stone designer with Everett-based Cumar Marble and Granite, has just released an enlightening podcast series. Tune in weekly for interesting conversations about mental health, environmentalism, social media, and everything in between. 

Over My Shoulder, a media-based nonprofit organization that aims to raise awareness of the impact of mentoring both cross-culturally and cross-generationally, was founded ten years ago by Dawn Carroll and Grammy Award winner Patti Austin. The two women founded the Over My Shoulder Foundation together in an effort to pay forward the benefits of mentoring that they both have experienced in their lives.

The Over My Shoulder Foundation is a multifaceted organization, encouraging creativity of all kinds, connecting mentors with mentees, and sharing inspiring mentoring stories, all to cultivate the art of what the organization calls “Mentorology.”

Carroll recalls the first time she was introduced to the importance of mentoring years ago when Austin spoke about her mentors in an interview. “Patti launched into this amazing story about yes, she was born with incredible gifts, and yes, she had perfect pitch… but then she gave all the credit to the people around her,” says Carroll. “Quincy Jones, Dinah Washington, Ray Charles, all these people who embraced her and helped develop her foundation so she could survive as a young woman in the industry.”

Since Over My Shoulder (OMS) can’t hold in-person events right now, they’re getting their message out a different way: through a new podcast. Called the Over My Shoulder Podcast and available on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, the hour-long segments dive deep into some hard-hitting topics like sustainability or substance abuse. 

“This podcast is about inspiring people to share their wealth of knowledge, creativity, and kindness to the next generation in order to elevate the human creative potential,” reads the podcast description. “In other words: do good, talk good, be good, teach good.”

“COVID gave us all a great opportunity to reflect on what was important,” says Carroll. “And we realized just how hurting people were. Between race problems and political separation… we all just decided to roll up our sleeves and give it a good push.” So they launched the podcast, aiming to provide some illumination and encouragement in this challenging world by finding and telling unique stories. 

Some of the folks you’ll hear on the podcast episodes include Carroll, Austin, Barry Orms (Austin’s manager), Alex Tran (OMS’s chief e-commerce officer), and Elizabeth Peñaranda (OMS’s chief web officer).

In the first podcast episode, released on October 26, the group talks about the importance of intergenerational mentoring. Their inspiration for that first episode, Carroll says, came from a recent phone conversation about the bleak state of the world during which Carroll told Austin, “Wait! You are the daughter of Edna!” laughs Carroll. “Edna, [Austin’s] mother, was the one of the most powerful women I’ve ever met,” says Carroll. “She was just a remarkable lady.”

Following that conversation, Austin rounded up some music industry heavy hitters and launched TWIST 2020. An incredible lineup of women like Chaka Khan, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Lisa Fischer all detail why they vote for their mothers and their grandmothers in this series of inspirational videos aimed at getting out the vote on November 3. 

In another episode, the group discusses climate change and environmental issues like sustainability, detailing when they first learned about climate change and who their mentors were. In a future episode, the group will speak with Rick Dyer on mentoring and mental health issues like substance abuse. 

To learn more about OMS, visit their website and their YouTube channel. And Carroll encourages folks to reach out with their own interesting mentorship stories. “Maybe you have a story that we have to feature on our next podcast,” she says. 

“There’s such great joy in stopping and reflecting on how did you get to where you are now? Who is your greatest influence in your life? And when we ask those questions, we find those are the greatest stories and we can’t wait to hear them.”