Episode 42

Published on:

27th Jan 2023

042: Sheila Rittenberg & Marda Stoliar - Finding Your Passion & Sowing the Seeds of Change

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Marda Stoliar has improved the world in war torn countries and countries with repressive regimes as well as wealthy and poverty-stricken U.S. neighborhoods. She didn’t do it through politics or activism; she did it through baking. Sheila has had a life and career that has spanned across geographies, years, and roles. She’s worked in health and medical research. She was a community organizer, has worked in public broadcasting, started a nonprofit and has raised money for documentary films.

A few years ago, as Marda started telling Sheila about her students and their special reasons for learning to bake, Sheila was lit up by Marda’s work and the impact it had on the world. Today, they join the show to talk about discovering a passion, persisting through hardship, and how pursuing your vocation - your passion work - can enhance your impact on the world.

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Key Takeaways

01:03 – Jonathan introduces today’s guests, Marda Stoliar & Sheila Rittenberg, who join the show to discuss early financial lessons they learned and what it means to truly pursue your passion work

08:00 – Marda’s gift, explained

10:19 – Sheila reflects on her career and what inspired her to make the documentary Marda’s Gift

18:05 – The Bread Doctor

25:23 – How Marda inspires her students through positivity, resources, and education

32:44 – One extra step we can take to truly understand our path and one thing to avoid

35:46 – A hidden gem walking among us

37:33 – One thing about Sheila that she would like others to know about her and the last thing she changed her mind about

39:22 – How listeners can learn more about the documentary Marda’s Gift

40:39 – Why Marda provides one-on-one classes

43:29 – The Forty-Six Percent Chocolate Rule

45:59 – Marda opens up about a difficult time in her career

51:22 – Finding your passion work and why Marda continues her work

59:26 – Marda describes her ‘perfect day’

1:00:51 – Jonathan thanks Marda for joining the show today to share her story

Tweetable Quotes

“Success for me was not about being rich. Success for me was finding a vocation, finding work, finding a purpose to matter in the world - to make a difference.” (06:07) (Sheila)

“I became a community organizer in those days because I was so riled up about the political action I was involved in. So it was a natural fit and the opportunity was there. It just felt right.” (13:36) (Sheila)

“There is only one life. What is most important? How can you impact others by taking risks yourself? So, we’re all models in whatever we do - in the way we walk our dog, in the way we discipline our children, in the way we speak to a clerk in a store - we are all modeling all the time.” (22:32) (Sheila)

“One person’s actions can have a ripple effect that we don’t necessarily think about when we think about changing jobs, or volunteering somewhere, or learning a new skill or trade so that we can help high school kids learn how to build. I don’t know, I’m making this up. But every step is inspirational. And so I hope that comes across in the film. That is a key lesson.” (24:11) (Sheila)

“I actually believe that, as a country, we don’t invest enough in our education system. Education and knowledge are the first stepping stones. They can and do change the world.” (30:53) (Sheila)

“It’s so important that you address one person’s interests and their needs and give them what they need, not what you want to teach a group of people.” (40:50) (Marda)

“I learned how to bake bread in Venice. I learned how to bake pastries in Paris as I was going to work as a shoe designer. I would work all day as a shoe designer and then I’d go work in a bakery all night. I don’t know why. I just did. I never planned on opening a bakery. In my life things just happen, but they’re all creative.” (49:41) (Marda)

“If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it. I just wouldn’t do it. Waking up to something you don’t want to do? That would be so sad.” (57:32) (Marda)

Guest Resources

Sheila’s LinkedIn

Marda’s Gift LinkedIn

Marda’s Gift

Marda’s Gift Instagram

Marda’s Gift Twitter

Mindful Money Resources

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About the Podcast

Mindful Money
Do you struggle with money? You’re not alone.
Money is a means, not an end. It’s a necessity of life for sure, but more money does not always guarantee a “good life”. Money enables many aspects of modern life, but as a dominant consideration it becomes destructive. 
The paradox is that more time and energy spent on personal finance does NOT create better outcomes. Unlike many other parts of life, we can’t create better outcomes by being smarter, spending more time, or putting in more effort.
Join Mindful Money author and experienced 40-year investor Jonathan DeYoe as he shares stories from artists, authors, entrepreneurs, and other advisors about how they mindfully minimize their need to think about money and get more out of life.
If you aren’t happy with your finances, feel like money takes more time that it should, or want to place your financial decisions into the broader context of your life, this show is for you. 
Each episode will draw the line between the “enough” activities that the academics tell us are additive to family outcomes, and those “little bit more” efforts that take time and sap energy, but do NOT improve outcomes.

About your host

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Jonathan DeYoe

Jonathan DeYoe is a best-selling author, speaker, financial advisor and angel investor. He is a husband, father and a practicing Buddhist. His simple underlying message brings a welcomed sense of order to financial chaos and restores a calm center to your financial life.