Leaping Tall Buildings with Linda Smith

In this deeply personal interview, I talk with Linda Smith, an exceptionally talented leadership coach and learning consultant, and the founder of Jetstream Coaching and Consulting. We dive into her interesting journey in the world of coaching, the incredible obstacles she has faced along the way, and the power of friendship and community to help us overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. We also delve into the quiet ways she celebrates successes, the love of international travel that fuels her, and her sage advice for anyone who wishes to follow a passion or dream.

Simply click on the play button above and enjoy the conversation!

The Backstory

I first met Linda Smith in 2018 during the first of three, 3-day coach training sessions in Dallas offered by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. She was sitting in an adjacent row of seats—looking perfectly peaceful and serene. Given that I was feeling nervous and ever-so-slightly nauseated, her countenance seemed remarkable. (Truth be told, I was more than a little envious.) Throughout our amazing, year-long training program, Linda and I had the chance to coach one another. And we’ve never stopped! Until this day, Linda is one of two excellent coaches to whom I turn whenever I’m making big decisions or working through challenges of my own.

Three words I would use to describe Linda are (exceptionally) bright, insightful, and creative. She has a knack for getting to the heart of a matter quickly and, with a few thought-provoking questions, helping you to see your situation from a completely different perspective. She also happens to be a gifted photographer, avid art lover, and world traveler. As an extraordinary difference maker in the lives of her clients, I knew she would be perfect for the show.

The Interview

This inspiring interview is packed with insight and wisdom gleaned from a life and career that spans four plus decades in academia, corporate America, and private business. You’ll hear about the latest leg of Linda’s professional journey; the two biggest obstacles she has faced, including a terrifying cancer diagnosis; and what she dreams of accomplishing in the next five years.

Two of my favorite parts of the interview are when she talks about the guilty pleasure that fuels her and the person in the world with whom she would most love to share a day-long bus tour in Wales. And you don’t want to miss her excellent advice for anyone who wishes to follow a passion or dream. She’s truly one of a kind.

Fun Facts

  • Official graduate of a “Fear of Flying” class offered by American Airlines years ago, which opened up the world of international travel for her
  • Big fan of Olive + Mabel, two sweet, funny Labrador retrievers and companions of sports commentator Andrew Cotter
  • Card-carrying “Pentaholic,” the passionate fan base behind Pentatonix, the wildly talented, 5-person a cappella group
  • Has seen every Star Trek episode ever made and knows way too much about alien cultures
  • Has traveled to India, Japan, Hong Kong, Macao, Amsterdam, Paris, and the UK (the latter of which she’s visited 16 times)
  • Launched her passion as an amateur photographer with a tiny Olympus camera and a move to England
  • Mom to a lovely, black cat named China

 Cool Links



Pentatonix – Linda’s Favorite Pop Music Group

Olive and Mabel’s Delightful YouTube Channel

Linda’s Heart: Animals + ASPCA

Linda’s Passion: Social Justice + ALCP

Quotes by Linda Smith

“My coaching is designed to help people clarify their goals, identify the obstacles, find strategies through those obstacles, and shatter those obstacles to the results they want.”

“Conflict when done in a healthy way really creates a healthy tension—[and] the results [will] be better because of it.”

“The energy that it takes to go for a goal has to come from the inside. It has to be a passion and not an “I should, I will.”

“What I help [people] do is the unpredictable so that they can actually get to the end result that they want to have.”

The Perfect Shot with Marian Brickner

Joining us for today’s show is the remarkable international wildlife photographer Marian Brickner, who shares her fascinating story and the lessons she has learned from following her dreams. You’ll hear about the surprising way she got started in her photography career, the driving force behind her passion for capturing the individual lives of animals, and her practical advice for creatives or anyone who wants to follow a passion. You’ll love her delightful sense of humor—and how her captivating images landed her in National Geographic Kids, on the cover of a book by a famous Dutch primatologist and, yes, even on a billboard in France.

In short, you don’t want to miss this priceless interview. Simply click the Play button above, then sit back and enjoy!

The Backstory

I first met Marian Brickner during a Monday-morning strategy session at Medici MediaSpace, a creative, collaborative co-working space based in Saint Louis, MO. Having joined Medici as the newly minted founder and editor of Boomalally magazine at the time, I was there to learn as much I could about launching and growing a successful business. Turns out, Marian was there for a similar reason—to take her photography business to the next level.

My first impression of Marian was that she was fiercely observant, intense, and curious. Petite with piercing blue eyes and short, silver hair, she was filled with energy, enthusiasm, and passion for her work. I promptly invited her to speak at a Meet-up group that I also was starting. The captivating photographs and stories she shared about her life’s work during her talk were truly spellbinding.

Over the next four years, we kept up with one another. Then after two lovely conversations this year, she graciously agreed to join me for this podcast episode.

The Interview

In this heart-warming interview, you will hear how Marian began her journey as a wildlife photographer at the age of 55, how capturing the lives of Bonobos (the fourth great ape) became her passion, and the gutsy, unconventional ways she gained access to both animals and people in some of the top zoos and publishing outlets in the world.

You’ll be inspired by her keen sense of responsibility for capturing the lives of animals as unique individuals and her fierce determination to make a difference through her mesmerizing images. You’ll also be captivated and moved by her intriguing stories and her powerful, straightforward advice for anyone who wants to follow a purpose, passion, or dream.

Fun Facts

  • Launched her career as an international wildlife photographer at 55 years of age
  • Traveled the U.S. (and world) capturing images of animals ranging from dragonflies and green tree pythons to jaguars and Bonobos
  • Documented the life of one special Bonobo named Lucy growing up over a 13-year period
  • One of her images of Lucy playing with her baby named Yuli was featured on a billboard in France
  • At 85 years young, she continues to be a prolific nature photographer

Cool Links

Marian’s Magical Photography Website

Marian’s Fantastic Facebook Page

Quotes by Marian Brickner

“When I was 55 and I was working, I woke up one day and said, ‘Why do people keep killing each other all the time? I really need to do something about that.’”

“I am looking for respect for the individual no matter what body they happen to have. You never can tell what body [you’ll be] born in. That has nothing to do with you.”

“What I’m wanting to do with my images is cause an inadvertent smile to everyone who sees the image. So, all the images are always about there’s an individual living in the body they happen to have, and we get respect for that individual, and those are my images.”

“We all have spikes, but generally we don’t see them on each other. And the question is how do we get along? To me it’s all about that: How do we get along when we have all these spikes with each other?”

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