Sharing Dreams and Creating Connection with Karen Hoffman

In this powerful, engaging interview, I talk with Karen Hoffman, the visionary and chief possibilities officer of Gateway to Dreams – and founding publisher of Be the Change magazine. We dive into her remarkable story, real-life heroes who’ve helped her along the way, and the wildest, craziest risk she’s ever taken that paid off – and what she learned about herself in the process. Along the way, we talk about the greatest challenges she’s faced and how she’s overcome them, and the ways she celebrates successes and honors mistakes.

If you’re looking for insights and inspiration from one of the best dream makers in the biz, come join us. Simply click on the play button above, and off we’ll go.

The Backstory

While living in Saint Louis for the past eight years, I had heard Karen Hoffman’s name mentioned more times than I can count. (A conservative estimate would be close to a zillion.) I also had heard a lot about her much-loved nonprofit, Gateway to Dreams, and the extraordinary ways she has contributed to building community in the Saint Louis area.

This year, when I was considering the amazing people and stories I would love to showcase in Season 2, Karen Hoffman’s name kept playing over and over in my head. How in the world would I be able to gather the courage to reach out to her? THAT was the million-dollar question.

That’s also when the power of connection kicked in. Two of my dearest friends happened to be friends of Karen. Like any great friends, they told me more about her, encouraged and cajoled me, and logically pointed out that I had everything to gain if (a) I sucked it up, and (b) she said yes. Guess what? SHE SAID YES!!! I immediately picked myself up from the floor, started doing the happy dance, then remembered she was still on the phone. Who knew she would say yes to the earliest available recording date, and we would get to launch Season 2 together? Simply. Brilliant!

The Interview

Amazing how time flies when you’re talking with a remarkable human being, and Karen Hoffman truly fits the bill. Her incredible energy, wisdom, and passion for championing our dreams – and her dedication to the cause — stand out throughout the interview. During our short time together, we talked about a wide array of subjects, including the surprising story behind Gateway to Dreams, her three proudest accomplishments to date, and success secrets she has learned along the way.

Two of my favorite parts are when Karen talks about the dreams she would like to accomplish in the next five years (spoiler alert:  they’re BIG), and the person with whom she would most love to have lunch and why. You’ll smile out loud when you hear the topics she would love to discuss.

Fun Facts

  • Superpower: “Master connector”
  • Kryptonite: “Detail stuff”
  • Learns as she grows — and learns as she goes
  • Loves being a “dog mom”
  • Believes naysayers provide a valuable service
  • Co-authored a book called The Art of Barter

Cool Links

Gateway to Dreams

“Be the Change” Magazine

Karen’s LinkedIn Page

Karen’s Facebook Page

Quotes by Karen Hoffman

“I believe when we have a dream and share it, it gains power and energy.”

“I don’t care if your dream is a little dream. Little or big — other people embracing it for you and wanting to see you succeed, I just love that feeling of watching people do that for each other.”

“Mistakes end up with a learning experience or something better.”

“If we can change our community, we can change our world.”

“I just feel like there’s all this energy that we can create when we come together to dream.”

How Can This Be? It’s Go-Time for Season 2


Wow, how quickly time flies! I can hardly believe I’m sitting here at my computer again, talking with you about the making of Season 2 of Tiny Sparks, Big Flames.

We’ve all lived through so much over the past few months and years. In the U.S. alone, we’ve been grappling with the ongoing pandemic, harrowing stories and images of war in Ukraine, an economic downturn, mass shootings across the country, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade. And the U.S. is only one of 266 countries in the world, according to CIA’s World Fact Book – each with our own unique challenges and uncertainties.

Now more than ever, it’s time to pull together, rally our strength and courage, and hold on tightly to our purpose, passions, and dreams. Helping us to achieve these three important goals has served as the driving force behind Season 2 of the podcast.

Who better to kick off this season than the inimitable Karen Hoffman, founder and chief possibilities officer for Gateway to Dreams, and founder/publisher of Be the Change magazine? In addition to her journey, we talk about several important topics, including the greatest challenges she’s faced (and how she’s overcome them), how she celebrates her successes and honors her mistakes, what she hopes to accomplish in the next five years, and her success secrets for each of us. (Release date: July 5)

In the second episode, we take another deep dive into what it REALLY takes to follow our dreams with the masterful life + leadership coach, Bridgette Simmonds, founder of Limitless by Bridgette. You’ll hear interesting stories about her journey, what inspires and motivates her, her beliefs about the secret to life and living fully, and her sage advice for those of us who are committed to living life on our own terms. (Release date: July 19)

Following Bridgette in the line-up are the remarkable Michael and Charlotte Fritzius. This dynamic husband-wife team turned a cancer diagnosis into a quest to learn everything possible about contributors to cancer; create healthy, “clean products” for their family to use; then ultimately launch a company called Exactly Zero to share their knowledge and products with the world. We dig into a variety of interesting topics, including their own journey, the talents each of them brings to the party, the upsides and downsides of following a passion or dream, and success secrets they generously share with us. (Release date: August 2)

And that’s just our first three interviews. We have seven more inspiring, compelling, and informative episodes just for you.

One change this season is the frequency with which the podcast is released. Season 2 will now air on the first and third Tuesdays of each month instead of weekly.

This pivot is a direct result of exciting developments in my own career — which created a whole, new set of interesting challenges. Here’s the backstory: This year, I’ve been blessed to work on a major coaching contract that has allowed me to take my own dreams to the next level. With significantly greater coaching commitments came less time for other important projects and, more importantly, the people I love.

That’s when I turned to my own two amazing coaches for insights and a new game plan. After a couple of great coaching conversations with each of them, a clear answer emerged. Why not release the podcast twice a month to ensure the quality of the TSBF podcast and blog, my continued enjoyment of the process, and precious time with family and friends? Thank you, Christi Nix Bloomer and Linda Smith for always being there for me!

Please enjoy the Season 2 trailer and join me for another great season of Tiny Sparks, Big Flames. It’s go-time. Let’s see what magic we can create together. 

“Someday is now.” – Gaddy Bergmann, Ecologist, Zoologist, and Teacher

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