Some of you may remember former Advancement Live host Ryan Catherwood, but what you may not know is that he is the founder and host of the Advancement Legends podcast. Advancement Legends is intended for engagement and fundraising professionals in higher education. Each episode contains an interview with a senior advancement leader from around the globe.
In August, Ryan sat down with two Higher Ed Live rock stars: Michael Stoner, founder of mStoner, Inc. (producer of Higher Ed Live), and Andrew Gossen, executive director, digital, alumni affairs and development at Cornell University and host of Advancement Live. Both legends had incredible insights to share about the state of higher ed, their career trajectories, and issues facing Advancement professionals today.
We asked Ryan to tell us about his experience interviewing these dynamic professionals.
HEL: Why choose to create Advancement Legends as a podcast?
RC: Over the last couple years, I’ve fallen in love with podcasts and audio storytelling in general. I have a long commute to work and eventually discovered podcasts to help fill the time. First I discovered Serial, like many others, then This American Life and other podcasts from NPR and Gimlet Media. Eventually, I was hooked on the format and medium, and now I subscribe to dozens of them.
It wasn’t long before I discovered David Axelrod’s podcast called “The Axe Files” and loved the long-form interviews. I wanted to try and create a show that was similar to Axelrod’s but one that features advancement pros.
With my experience interviewing senior leaders on Advancement Live, I felt like if I tried really hard, I could make listening to my interviews both entertaining and informative. So far the feedback has been great. Really awesome advancement pros like Andrew Gossen and Michael Stoner are agreeing to chat with me!
It was also great to have support from Melissa Schipke and the team at Tassl. Having a sponsor that believes in the show has been really amazing.
HEL: Why interview Michael Stoner?
RC: He’s definitely someone that has achieved legendary status in the world of higher education advancement. Similarly to Andrew, we still haven’t met in person. I’ve always felt a connection to Michael because of how long I’ve stayed connected to mStoner in different ways, particularly as a former Advancement Live host. Also, Michael is a Vermonter and lives close to where I grew up in Norwich, VT. Talking to Michael brings me back to my youth and teenage years growing up in the Green Mountain State.
Listen to Michael Stoner on Advancement Legends:
HEL: Why interview Andrew Gossen?
RC: Andrew and I were co-hosts of Advancement Live here on Higher Ed Live for two and a half years and I have always had the utmost respect for his work. He’s a real innovator in the field. It’s funny though… I feel like we’ve known each other other for a long time but we still have never met in person. I always learn so much from Andrew. Asking Andrew to be on the podcast was a no-brainer.
Listen to Andrew Gossen on Advancement Legends:
HEL: What were you hoping to accomplish with the interviews?
RC: With all of the interviews on the podcast, I try to start each episode by exploring with guests their early influences and “college-age self.” That allows me to get into a flow during the interview and also reveal each guest’s unique background. During the interview we move towards reflections and high level thoughts on higher education advancement. My goal is to produce something that’s fun to listen to, but also a great learning tool. I know I’ve learned a ton doing these interviews.
HEL: As one Advancement professional talking to another (Andrew) did anything stand out or surprise you during the interviews?
RC: What almost always stands out for me the most are the “getting started” years most people have after college. Andrew went to Princeton then moved to the UK while a Ph.D. student at Harvard to study The Gaelic College of Scotland. So cool!
HEL: As a higher ed professional talking to a consultant (Michael) did anything stand out or surprise you?
RC: With Michael, it was amazing to hear his journey into higher ed also included a deviation into the restaurant industry. I love uncovering those stories with my guests.