What is the meaning of life? It’s an age-old question that has no answer, but one Lynne Golodner is compelled to keep asking through her writing, her podcast and her work as a marketing and public relations entrepreneur.
As host of the Make Meaning Podcast, Lynne is driven by finding answers to existential questions.
Why Are We Here?
Lynne is a writer, author and educator who spent 15 years as an award-winning journalist before launching Your People LLC in 2007, a marketing agency that specializes in working with independent and Waldorf schools and universities as well as innovative entrepreneurs.
For decades, Lynne has been curious about how people find meaning in the mundane. Her articles and essays, poems and books, all reflect this curiosity, as she digs deep into how ordinary people create extraordinary moments.
As she approached her 40th birthday, Lynne pondered existential themes, like the meaning of an individual life and the purpose of the work we do.
“I’m a deep thinker. I’m always pondering why we are here as humans, what’s the point and what are we meant to do,” she says.
Finding Your Voice
Lynne started her company out of a need to create reliable revenue streams to support her family, but working in public relations and marketing didn’t always speak to her heart.
She loved creating content, developing Foundational Narratives for clients and creating Marketing Strategies to help build brand awareness, but her real passion remained with writing and helping people find their voice and put it to good use. That’s what led her to launch the Make Meaning Podcast in July 2018.
Podcasting blends several activities that come naturally to Lynne – interviewing people, drawing out their stories, and providing a platform to share their voices.
In the beginning, Lynne hoped the podcast might also be a marketing tool to attract more clients. “I’m not sure if that happened,” she says, but it didn’t matter as the podcast became a passion project.
“It’s morphed into an opportunity to talk to really interesting people who have a passion for what they do and how they live,” she says. “It really uplifts me, and I hope it inspires the people who listen.”
Lynne launched the podcast with a team of professionals who helped find guests, conduct pre-interviews, produce and edit audio, and write promotional copy for web and social media. She recorded in a professional studio, and interviewed local guests in person (with long-distance guests calling in), using state-of-the-art equipment in a soundproof room.
The pandemic changed all that. Now, Lynne does nearly all the work herself and loves it even more.
Recording interviews from home over Zoom, Lynne often stacks pillows around her computer to block out noise.
She instructs guests on how to get the best sound quality by improvising wherever they are.
“The best place is in a closet because it’s enclosed,” she says. “I recently interviewed a lovely artist named Ramona Pintea who lives in Rumania, and we laughed about the clothes hanging behind her.”
Ramona’s episode is set to air on July 15.
Since founding the Make Meaning Podcast, Lynne has recorded 117 episodes, which air every other Monday. Although she has enjoyed them all, a few are particularly personal:
A True Daddy's Girl
Lynne chose July 9, 2018, for the day she launched the podcast because it was the 80th birthday of her father, Norman Cohn, who was also her first guest. They talked about his entrepreneurial accomplishments, beliefs, personal growth, and family.
It was a poignant episode, as Lynne’s father had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia the previous summer, and they did not know if he’d make it to 80.
Lynne and Norm listened to the podcast on vacation in Utah with family all around, tears streaming down faces.
Treatments helped prolong Norm’s life so well, that to celebrate the podcast’s one-year anniversary, he returned to the studio to talk about his childhood in Detroit and the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
The interviews are ever more precious to Lynne as she lost her father on January 2, 2020.
“We were super close all my life,” she says. “We talked all the time, had lunch every week, and he was the person I turned to for advice, for comfort, and to celebrate important moments. I am so grateful to have these interviews now that he’s gone.”
Ask & You May Receive
Lynne has never believed that anything is beyond her reach. Many of her guests have been big asks, including for episodes 2 and 3 – friends who have been Lynne’s mentors for decades, who happen to fill prominent positions.
She wasn’t sure they’d say yes, but they didn’t hesitate before agreeing to come on the show.
First, her mentor, Barbara Jones, then-executive director at Henry Holt in New York, spoke of her career as a writer and offered insights into the publishing industry, the future of books and the state of our democracy in Episode 2.
In Episode 3, Paul Saginaw, co-founder of Zingerman’s, told the story behind his famous deli and the secrets behind his entrepreneurial success (“be of service,” and “just be nice!”).
In a more recent coup, Lynne landed a high-level interview with a New Zealand member of Parliament, the Hon. Jan Tinetti, Minister for Women and Associate Minister for Education.
Lynne wanted to explore the impact of women leaders to put an end to period poverty, to lead in the fight against COVID-19, and to make that country “the best place to be a child.”
She sent an email request, and the answer was yes; the result is Episode 107.
“My daughter wondered why a government minister on the other side of the world would want to interview on a small American podcast,” Lynne says. “I said, ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t have a chance of making things happen.’”
The People Who Impact Your Life Path
In honor of her 30th high school reunion, Lynne invited classmates from North Farmington High School Class of 1989 for Episode 48. They reflected on how they’ve changed over the years while staying true to the hopes and dreams of their younger selves.
“It’s one of the most popular episodes because it is so relatable,” Lynne says. “We know deep truths about ourselves at a young age but sometimes, as we go through life, we forget. Finding meaning and purpose is all about getting back to that truth.”
“We know deep truths about ourselves at a young age but sometimes, as we go through life, we forget. Finding meaning and purpose is all about getting back to that truth.”
— Lynne Golodner
Sometimes the podcast leads Lynne to new cherished friends, like Merle Saferstein, her guest on Episode 61. She found Merle in a book, When to Jump, by Mike Lewis. Merle hosts journaling workshops, and teaches about legacy through journals, scrapbooks and ethical wills. The two have become close via long, personal emails.
Some guests come via the Podcast Guest Request form, which Lynne reviews personally, looking for people who are driven by purpose and a desire to make a difference. Lynne also finds guests in books or articles.
That’s how she found eco-warrior Kehkashan Basu, who at age 12, became the youngest person involved with the United Nations Environment Programme, and later founded the Green Hope Foundation. Kehkashan appears on Episode 98.
An adept researcher and interviewer, Lynne encourages people to just be who they’re meant to be and tell their story.
Her goal? To get to the heart of personal and universal truths.
Listen to the episodes mentioned in this blog:
Episode 1: The Best Business Advice with Norman Cohn
Episode 2: Stories Can Change the World with Barbara Jones
Episode 3: Just Be Nice with Paul Saginaw
Episode 44: Celebrating One Year of the Make Meaning Podcast
Episode 48: The NFHS Reunion Episode: Reflecting on 30 Years Since Graduation
Episode 61: Leaving a Legacy with Merle Saferstein
Episode 98: Kehkashan Basu – How to Make the World More Sustainable
Episode 107: Hon. Jan Tinetti How to Eliminate Period Poverty