Work and Life with Stew Friedman


Ep 215. Ulcca Joshi Hansen: The Future of Smart

Ulcca Joshi Hansen,  a researcher and education advocate, is the author of The Future of Smart: How Our Education System Needs to Change to Help All Young People Thrive. Ulcca believes each young person deserves the chance to discover their unique potential, and to explore what that means for how they contribute to the world. She explores the disconnect between what we want for our children, what we value, and what our education system is actually providing. She’s a mother of two and a former elementary teacher who has worked in education for two decades. She is herself an English as a second language learner and a first generation college graduate. Ulcca is the Chief Program Officer at Grantmakers for Education, the nation's largest and most diverse network of education grant makers dedicated to improving educational outcomes and increasing opportunities for all learners. She has a BA in philosophy, a PhD from the University of Oxford, and a JD from Harvard Law School. She is a two-time TEDx speaker and has been recognized nationally for her leadership as a Harry S. Truman Scholar, a British Marshall Scholar, and a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. 

In this episode, Stew talks with Ulcca about what we want our children to learn and what they are actually being taught in our schools. We discuss what it means to be “smart” in today’s in today’s complex world -- and in tomorrow’s -- and how the educational system we have had for centuries has to change.  Ulcca describes what we can do to make the necessary changes, as parents, business leaders, policy makers, and citizens.  

Here then is an invitation for you, a challenge, after you’ve had a chance to listen to this episode. Have a conversation with anyone you know about how a more holistic approach to education would make our nation stronger, better prepared to meet the challenges the next generation will face.  Share your reactions to this episode and your suggestions for future shows with Stew by writing to him at or via LinkedIn

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Ep 220. Rob Cross: Breaking Free From Collaboration Overload

Rob Cross is the Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Leadership at Babson College and the author of Beyond Collaboration Overload: How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead and Restore Your Well-Being. He has studied the underlying network dynamics of effective organizations and the collaborative practices of high performers for more than 20 years. Rob is cofounder and Research Director of the Connected Commons business consortium. He writes about practical approaches to enhancing collaboration, and is the coauthor of five other books, including The Hidden Power of Social Networks.In this episode, Stew talks with Rob about the causes of the epidemic of too much collaboration at work and how this problem has reduced productivity and well-being in all parts of our lives. They discuss Rob’s research on how effective collaborators break free from the tyranny of inessential collaboration and then focus their attention and energy on, among other things, finding simple ways to cultivate diverse networks that give them greater courage via fresh perspectives they gain on how to live a good life. Rob describes how to identify and reduce what he calls the now-common “micro-stressors” in our lives.Here then is an invitation for you, a challenge, after you’ve had a chance to listen to this episode: Identify one micro-stressor in your life – over which you can exert some control – and see if you can come up with a small step you can take to reduce or eliminate it. Share your reactions to this episode and suggestions for future shows with Stew by writing to him at or via LinkedIn.