Improvisationally Speaking Episode 19 with Grammy Nominated Conductor Alastair Willis

March 9, 2018

Grammy nominated conductor ALASTAIR WILLIS currently serves as the Music Director for the South Bend Symphony Orchestra in South Bend, IN. Alastair has guest conducted major orchestras around the world in Chicago, Philadelphia, the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Herford Germany, Hong Kong & Bejing China.

What kind of skill does it take to lead a group of 60+ diverse musicians in the spontaneous creation of orchestral music (perhaps the most collaborative art on the planet), live and in front of a concert hall filled with an audience? Well, it takes passion, courage, daring, musicianship, plenty of skill and, as it turns out, the ability to "make it work" in the moment.

Hear Alastair's story and how all of these skills play out in his life and work in this episode of Improvisationally Speaking the podcast.


Improvisationally Speaking Episode 18 with Nationally Recognized Lawyer-Entrepreneur, Peter J Strauss

January 26, 2018

Peter J. Strauss is the founder and managing member of The Strauss Law Firm, LLC, located on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. He is also the founder and CEO of Hamilton Captive Management, LLC, one of the most respected management firms in the country. Strauss has authored several books on captive insurance, including Captive Insurance Companies for the Small Business Owner and The Definitive Guide to Captive Insurance Companies. He regularly speaks at public seminars and professional society meetings such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Strauss is a graduate of the New England School of Law, holds an LL.M. in estate planning from the University of Miami, and is currently enrolled at Harvard Business School. Peter built his practices from the ground up and has lots to say about the organizational value of being a person of integrity and trusting in your team members. For more on Peter, visit


Improvisationally Speaking Episode 17 with Journalist, Author, Artist, National Public Radio Talk Show Host Celeste Headlee

January 14, 2018

Journalist, author, artist, national public radio talk show host Celeste Headlee has had an amazing career. On episode 17 of Improvisationally Speaking by Improv Alive, she talks about her work and life, and how she uses authentic conversation and elements of improvisation in every aspect of her work and life. 

Celeste is an award-winning journalist who has appeared and anchored on NPR, PBS World, PRI, CNN, BBC and others in shows such as The Takeaway from PRI & WNYC, Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. She currently hosts a daily talk show called “On Second Thought” for Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta. Celeste has been a mentor and managing editor for NPR’s Next Generation Radio Project, training young reporters and editors in broadcasting. She has won numerous awards for reporting from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists and she was selected twice to be a Getty/Annenberg Journalism Fellow and was selected as a fellow with the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources. She was also among the first fellows in Reporting on Native Stories for National Native News.


Improvisationally Speaking Episode 16 with special guest, Paul Pierce Producing Artistic Director of the Springer Opera House

December 29, 2017

Paul R. Pierce, Producing Artistic Director of the Historic State theater of Georgia, the Springer Opera House, has led the Springer for more than two decades. During his tenure, audiences have tripled and the Springer has instituted popular programs like Springer Theatricals and the Springer Theatre Academy. In addition to being a veteran stage director, he is also a playwright, actor and musician. Throughout his career, Paul has lead a number of theaters and performing arts organizations. He has faced lean times and cut-backs, and navigated the immensely challenging path to make the Springer Opera house a thriving, relevant and powerful force in American theater. His story is one of perseverance, improvisation, passion, vision, energy and grit. Give it a listen.


Improvisationally Speaking Episode 15 with Junkyard Dog, Visionary and Entrepreneur, Dr. Joey Rivera

December 12, 2017

As a youth, Joey Rivera was a high school drop-out and a juvenile delinquent, bouncing in and out of prison. From a troubled childhood, Joey was in and out of the foster care system, and after repeated attempts to run away, he was ordered to join the Marines by a court judge. From that moment, Dr. Joey Rivera’s life and story did an about-face. His is a story of a second chance. A ‘life do-over’ in which a boy - a man, decided to create a life that mattered from a life that didn’t. It’s the story of a person with no initial advantages, grappling his way from nothing, to everything, relying on perseverance, momentum, and leveraging the creativity & intelligence of others. 

Joey is the founder of one of the most respected small and growing business in the country, Rivera Group. The Rivera Group developed and provides some of the most cutting-edge intelligence software solutions to the government and to companies around the world. He has spent over 32 years in the military, starting as a Private in the U.S. Marine Corps and rising to the rank of Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel, where Joey is currently assigned to the U.S. Cyber Command, providing expertise in cyber warfare. His passion for helping disabled veterans and youth has him serving on various Boards for such causes in his IN/KY community. He holds a Ph.D. in Software Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. In addition to serving as President and CEO, Joey also leads Rivera Group’s R&D team.


Improvisationally Speaking Episode 14 with Marine, Veteran, Paralympic Champion, Cross-Country Cyclist and Mega-Marathoner, Rob Jones

November 26, 2017

From October 12th to November 11th of this year, Rob Jones (Rob Jones Journey) ran 31 marathons in 31 consecutive days, in 31 different cities from Seattle, WA to Washington DC, and many points in-between (including London, England & Toronto, CN.) This 812.2 mile self-imposed challenge would be an incredible achievement for any world-class athlete, except Rob Jones has prosthetic legs. You see, Rob Jones is a Marine who had both legs amputated after being wounded in Afghanistan, clearing IED’s for his fellow Marines in 2010. Sinse this time, Rob has become a Paralympic medalist in rowing, biked 5,180 miles across the country and devoted his life to raising money for veterans’ charities. From the Improv Alive Studios in Seattle, WA, Improvisationally Speaking is very proud and honored to bring you Rob Jones.


Improvisationally Speaking Episode 13 with Shian Chuan - Leadership Coach, Facilitator and Certified NLP Master Practitioner

October 16, 2017

We live in a world where, by many measures, our differences in culture, custom, beliefs, geography, color and sex are a separating force. You need only to turn on the TV or open a newspaper to see examples of this, and the sheer amount of discord, misunderstanding and mistrust can make the most optimistic person feel overwhelmed and helpless to change the tide. In this environment, working to forge bridges between peoples across these divides can feel like a very uphill battle, but someone’s got to do it:

Enter Leadership Coach, facilitator and Certified NLP Master Practitioner, Shian Chuan. Rather than being drained by this problem, Shian is energized by it, and passionate about finding new ways for people to work together in business, commerce and govt. Her approach with the teams and leaders that she coaches is personal; helping people to recognize and tap into their greatest source of motivation so they are able to face personal and professional challenges and create an environment and follow strategies that enable them be their best and most contented self.


Improvisationally Speaking Episode 12 with Charlie Gary of Planetary Resources Inc

September 29, 2017

The life of a professional model maker is all about making things from nothing.. Taking what you have and making it work. In a company like Planetary Resources Inc., which is on the leading edge of space exploration and technology, a model maker's job is all about high stakes, and making it happen, even when you have to improvise.

Meet Planetary Resources' Manufacturing Engineering Lead, Charlie Gary. A man whose job is exactly this.

In the hyper-dynamic, potentially dangerous environment of commercial space exploration, Charlie Gary is a pioneer, an inventor, a scientist and an improviser. His models serve as the very physical manifestation of the ideas of some of the greatest thinkers on the planet. In such an environment, does improvisational thinking have room to exist? Let’s find out…


Improvisationally Speaking Episode 11 with Jack Tucker of SpaceX

July 28, 2017

Let’s say You work for NASA, and you are in charge of the rockets. Specifically, keeping all the rockets and teeny-tiny rocket pieces that are under development in one place, and all of the rockets and teeny-tiny rocket pieces that are fire-tested and ready to fly astronauts into space, in another place. Your single-most important task is to schedule both unique sets of parts to pass through the same shops and machines so that you achieve both your engineering development needs, and your customer-focused launch schedule...all while making sure the two piles remain accounted for and separate. Your ultimate failure is someone, in a mad fervor to meet a deadline, accidentally grabbing one of your test rocket bits, and slapping it onto a launch vehicle that is carrying real people, or a company's critical satellite, into space. In this ultra-high stakes environment, what would you do to ensure mistakes weren’t made? Now it’s time to meet a man whose job, and concern, is exactly this.

Jack Tucker began his space career as a Structures Engineer on Delta IV rockets before transitioning to a Systems Lead with the Atlas V, and finally, Chief of the Space Launch Systems Team with the USAF before transitioning from the military to assume the role of Manager of Master Scheduling with commercial space exploration company, SpaceX. He is also the founder of NewSpace Ventures, an amazingly popular online spreadsheet that allows Space Enthusiasts, Technologists & Entrepreneurs to share, discover, and discuss leading edge space technologies, products and companies with the aim of spurring excitement, generating ideas, and furthering commercial space entrepreneurship. 

In the incredibly competitive, potentially dangerous, and hyper-dynamic environment of commercial space exploration, Jack is the ‘keeper of the clock’. Decisions he makes can mean the difference between the kind of success that creates legacy and goes in history books, and the kind of failure that destroys lives and dreams.

 In such an environment, does improvisational thinking have room to exist? Let’s find out…


Improvisationally Speaking Episode 10 with CAPTAIN ENCOURAGEMENT A.K.A Nicholas Domingo

June 16, 2017

Nicholas Domingo was a little chubby, and had crooked teeth as a kid. He was a target for bullies. and as he grew, he learned to channel his negative energy into his training to become a semi-pro football player, a weight-lifter, and a cage-match and street fighter. A brain hemorrhage at the age of 19, and the loss of 3 of his best friends to suicide turned his life upside-down, and changed his life trajectory forever.

There are no super-gadgets that can help you deal with bullies. No special powers that can magically heal hurt feelings. In the comics, obstacles are usually overcome by fists and willpower, but that’s not how it works in the real world. Nicholas Domingo was walking down the streets of L.A. one day and he decided to just start doling out compliments to the people he walked past. As he saw their faces light up, he realized that the world needed a superhero who CAN deal with those complex issues. A real live hero who resolves conflict without violence; whose superpowers are infectious positivity and the ability to encourage people to do their best and spread kindness. And so, burning with the desire to help the world, Nicholas transformed into Captain Encouragement.

His mission: to perpetuate positive change in the world, starting by giving all children the tools to break the cycle of violence that is inherent in our society and the media.

Taking advantage of the world’s unprecedented interconnectivity, Captain Encouragement travels from school to school, library to community center, across the country, to wake up the new generations, and trade our apathy and isolation for the love and kindness of a more positive humankind.