95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Powerful Women: Let's Talk – 71: Kishen Newton

Kishen Newton
Kishen Newton

Storyteller Kishen Newton is our guest on this edition of Powerful Women: Let’s Talk

Kishen Newton has a passion for helping people take a holistic approach to life, Kishen's personal identity statement is "I am a master storyteller with an extraordinary calling to heal the underserved and underrepresented through ordinary conversations."

With her Masters of Organizational Leadership, graduating magna cum laude, from Cornerstone University, she's working to make an impact on the lives of the community's youth and others. Kishen has lots of interesting projects on tap, some of which she discusses in Powerful Women: Let's Talk!

Powerful Women: Let’s Talk is created by WGVU NPR and made possible by WGVU NPR sustaining monthly donors. Become a sustaining monthly donor now at wgvu.org/donate to support WGVU NPR’s local programs, including Powerful Women: Let’s Talk.

Full Transcript:


>> Produced by women about women. Powerful Women, Let's Talk is a series of interviews with women who are trailblazers and have helped shape our world, transforming who we are and how we live.


Jennifer Moss: Hello, everyone. Time for Powerful Women, Let's Talk. Thanks so much for joining us today, I’m Jennifer Moss. It is a pleasure to bring you today's powerful woman Kishen Newton. Kishen has her master's degree in organizational leadership. Graduating magna cum laude from Cornerstone University and she’s taking her leadership experience and using it for training, making presentations, and facilitating conversations about life and community. Kishen identifies as a master storyteller with a calling to heal the underserved and underrepresented through ordinary conversations. Kishen has more than 25 years of experience in corporate America and part of her brand stories with Kishen has reached more than 25 countries and multiple cities around the U.S.. She's been very busy and her work has grown beyond the podcast. We’re going to talk about that in a moment but first, let's welcome Kishen Newton to Powerful Women, Let's Talk. Welcome Kishen.

Kishen Newton: Thank you so much. I'm really, really honored to be here and all that stuff you said about me, I’m like who is she talking about? About me?

Jennifer Moss: It is you. That is why you're here. First, we want to tell you a little bit more about Kishen before we start our conversation. You're also on a mission as we've talked about, to help youth and that's through a project entitled to finding their voice and you say that during the pandemic, the suicide rate of African Americans, doubled and domestic violence increased in some communities. So, you're finding their voice, give students a a platform for creative expression and a lot more. We're going to talk about that. Plus, you’re a holistic life coach strategist and much more. So again, we want to thank you for being here. Tell us what brought you to your podcast Stories With Kishen? What inspired you to do this to kind of jump into the podcast world and to share your stories.

Kishen Newton: Actually, I was told that I should start a podcast. I was co-hosting a radio program and the producer was like Kishen, you really need to share your story like no, I don’t want to share my story. I want other people to share their stories and he said, but you have a story to tell as we all know, when you hear someone’s story, you connect with, sometimes it gives you hope, it empowers you, it makes you want to say if they did it, I can do it too and so I started this podcast for that sole reason of having other people share their stories because sometimes people are stuck. They don't think there's another way, they don't think, they think their lives are just in that moment and they'll never get out of it and so when I started sharing the podcast and interviewing people, what I found is that people started reaching out to me and they were like, oh, my gosh Kishen, thank you so much for sharing that story and although it wasn't my story, it was someone else's story, I knew the power of storytelling and just to hear even men who would say, oh, my gosh, I had no idea, or I was crying when I heard this part of the podcast, It was healing, it was therapeutic for me but, also for those who are sharing their stories.

Jennifer Moss: What is your story that got you started or at least a snippet of it? I know we can do that. You know, sometimes you go like that could take days or hours. So, yeah, but kind of give us that snippet of what story prompted you to start this.

Kishen Newton: I think the story that prompted me to start this was my own personal journey of going through the healing process of divorce raising my children, the challenges with that and multiple job transitions, some through my own endeavor and some not and just what does that feel like, who has anybody else had this experience, and so when I would share with people, you know, some of the challenges that I faced on that journey, they would say, oh, my gosh and you're still smiling and I'm like, well, you've got to push through, you got to get beyond that and so just those challenges that I faced it just really caused me to reflect on what I was experiencing. And again hoping that somebody else who thinks that they can't get beyond the divorce or a relationship how can I move forward or someone who lost another job. Now, what? And so, it's just to give them hope that if I can do it, you can do it too.

Jennifer Moss: And that's kind of the basis behind powerful women as well, to empower women and to give them that sense of, you know, things aren’t closed off to me. I can make this happen. And when you again, it's that sharing of the information because a lot of times it takes a lot to come forward with that and like you said, you talked about how you wanted to share your story and that takes guts. You reach a lot of people with your podcast now, do you feel like you're making a difference? Especially when we tackle the youth piece of it.

Kishen Newton: I certainly hope so. I can only base it off of what people share with me. So, for those who listen and they are drawn to it, that is my hope. Now with the youth piece, my hope was to connect with a local high school to give them an avenue, give them an outlet and with the high school that I identified, I was finding it a bit challenging to reach out to the students because they couldn't meet after class or after school then the weekend's became a challenge and what I found out later is that about 75% of those students because of the pandemic, they have to work. They have to work to help, you know, bring income to the home and that really messed me up because I'm thinking high schoolers have to help out? But, you know, it's the nature of what's happening in the inner city of the Grand Rapids area for the students to have to work and help out, where I didn't have to do that when I was growing up, a lot of people didn't have to do that when they were growing up, but just to see some of the challenges that they're facing. The suicide rate has gone up, I talk to my son who is 18 years old he has experienced more death in his age group, than I can even imagine throughout my whole collegiate career into my early adulthood and so just talking with him about what does that mean to you? How do you process this? And it's really challenging, it’s really difficult for them but, I still encourage them, I say do you want to talk about it? Do you want to share your story to maybe a group of your friends? Want to talk about it on the podcast? I don't know, man and so they're not as, I don't know if it's because they're not as social because of the restrictions of the pandemic and, you know, social distancing.

Jennifer Moss: That could be part of it.

Kishen Newton: Exactly.

Jennifer Moss: Are you still doing the podcast are you using those voices? Or are they still resisting a bit?

Kishen Newton: They're resistant. They are resistant and so I said, well, is there a way that they can share maybe a question and then I'd take that question and share it in the form of a podcast and talk to maybe a specialist in that area? So, we're trying to, you know, maneuver around some of those barriers. So that's my next step with that but, I have not given up on these students because I think it's so, so important, especially to give them away to be expressive because if you don't talk, I mean, look at what just happened in the Detroit area or Oxford with the Oxford students. Who was talking to the student? What was his outlet?

Jennifer Moss: The alleged crime there. So, are you enjoying the journey that you're on?

Kishen Newton: I am and even more so with the students, some other endeavors that I've gotten into that I'm really enjoying, and in the process of in addition to the podcast in which I am going to resume and you talked a little bit about the coaching and that's a part of it but, then also I'm a part of a network. It's called Exposure Network, Exposure Network TV and we're having like a franchise. So, I'm going to be co-owner.

Jennifer Moss: Good for you.

Kishen Newton: The Michigan franchise.

Jennifer Moss: That is awesome. Congratulations.

Kishen Newton: It is really exciting. So, what we're doing now is starting to build that out. What does that look like? So, we have a I guess, an itinerary of how we're going to work through this, but I'm pretty excited about it and it's just another way to get not just the West Michigan community involved in what we're doing but, then also the whole state of Michigan.

Jennifer Moss: And you heard it here first.

Kishen Newton: Yeah. Exactly!

Jennifer Moss: There you go. So, you know, when you look at when we talk about powerful women, a lot of times women face many barriers. What types of areas perhaps as you traveled along your careers path have you faced or encountered?

Kishen Newton: I've been in and it's funny that you should ask because just this week I've been asking myself, what have I faced? And I think, well, I know a lot of what I faced has been my own internal struggles. Not thinking that I was good enough, not thinking that I could do it because I looked different, you know, I have Brown skin versus, you know, the majority color. They were my own, I guess barriers that I put up and so now I’m starting to remove those and as I set goals for myself, I have to set goals because then that removes any barriers that I may put on myself because it's the goal I'm trying to accomplish not looking at what somebody else is thinking about me or what they see and who I am. So, I think my own insecurities has been the biggest challenge that I am now even at this age overcoming.

Jennifer Moss: Well, and it's a process too. I think we continue to grow as well. And so, a lot of times we do again talk about barriers and then there's obstacles for our listeners and now our viewers. What has it taken for you to become comfortable in your own skin? What would you attribute that to? Because to continue to do what you're doing, you have to have some confidence.

Kishen Newton: You know what, my faith. Honestly, because when I start to reflect and you know what God's word tells us that we're created in his image and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. That is my go-to because I know God is the respecter of persons so if he did it for one person, why would he not do it for me? And so now I have to know that he said that not just to me but, for anybody but, I take that to heart and like, wait a minute, yeah, I can do this. And think about it this way for anybody who has accomplished something for the first time, it took them to do it. So, even if it seems impossible, if I don't think I can then I won't. You know, if I think I can, I think I can.

Jennifer Moss: Absolutely.

Kishen Newton: But, setting a goal helps me accomplish and say, you know what, okay. I didn't do it this way, now have to go this way, or I have to take a detour, or I have to step back and assess and then move forward. I just have to move forward and it's just something that's in me now.

Jennifer Moss: It’s that I'm not giving up that whole that idea of not giving up and keeping it moving.

Kishen Newton: And resilient, and I talk to people they say Kishen, if that were me, I don't know how and I say you know what I have to do this because I remember as a little girl, I would say I want my grandchildren to know me as an inventor, I did do a little invention thing, I have this book with inventors to help. So, I did that part but, I wanted to leave a legacy and I still do want to leave a legacy and I'm going to be a Grandma soon. Oh my gosh.

Jennifer Moss: Congratulations on that as well.

Kishen Newton: Thank you. So yeah, I just I have to know that no matter what it looks like, it always took that first person to be that first in order for it to come to fruition. So, there's a lot of firsts that I'm trying to accomplish and I'm the only one who's going to hold me up.

Jennifer Moss: Absolutely. So, if you're in production and whatever you do in that area, you work with a lot of people to generally speaking are you know a lot and you touch base with a lot of people. What are the leadership traits that you perhaps like to see and those that are with you on this journey? Those you work with or perhaps even those you mentor.

Kishen Newton: I think the most important leadership trait is the ability to communicate and that can mean being respectful because sometimes if you are unable to communicate, it may come off as being disrespectful, or being condescending, or it can create a toxic environment. So, when I look at leadership vision, communication, and empowerment because a lot of times even in leadership roles, you can't do everything. So, if you can delegate, how do you delegate? Do you delegate in a way that this person feels empowered? Or do you delegate and micromanage and tear apart, everything that they do because it's not your specifications, but I'm thinking, well, if you place them in that role to execute whatever it is that you have given them just trust that they're going to do it. They're going to get to the end result even if it's not the way that you want it to be done but as long as it's done in excellence, and you're able to guide but, I think you have to be able to empower people.

Jennifer Moss: Very good. What would you say to your 25 year-old self? Not to say that you are not 25 just guessing that maybe you're not.

Kishen Newton: What would I say to my 25 year-old self? So, I would say take more risks. Think bigger, whatever that dream is go after it and it's funny what I'm doing now I said that at like 23 or 24 that I want to be this talk show host and I want, you know, I was watching Oprah and Phil Donahue and I'm like, yes! Oh my gosh. These are my heroes.

Jennifer Moss: Okay, if those are your heroes you are not 25 haha.

Kishen Newton: No, there's Youtube.

Jennifer Moss: That’s right.

Kishen Newton: So yeah, I would say take more risks. Do it, figure out how to get to it. Just because you're not seeing anybody or know somebody in your sphere that has accomplished it.

Jennifer Moss: That's right.

Kishen Newton: Do it anyways. Figure it out. I mean, social media has so many virtual mentors that you can just take hold of what somebody else is doing and even reach out to them. I've done that. Not everybody has responded but, still you have to take those risks travel more, go to those places. Those conferences, those workshops wherever these people are to get connected.

Jennifer Moss: That's what you say. So Kishen, do you have any upcoming are ongoing projects that you're doing or pursuing and are interested in?

Kishen Newton: You know what I wanted to come prepared. So, I did make a little list. I have been involved with a speaking tour, if you will, with *inaudible* and their consulting group. I've gotten a chance to speak. I did my first speaking engagement sort of kind of back in September of 2020. Since then I have gone across the pond and been invited to virtually speak in the UK with an organization called Kamari Youth and since even more recently another women's empowerment group, it’s called Her Story Circle Women's Empowerment a Global Movement and I got a chance to speak with her name was Gertrude Mattshee She she's from Australia. Ghana by way of Australia and then with her partner, with her on an anthology with about nine other women and this is a book that's coming out and I’ve been asking her where’s my copy? I'm going to get books at the end of the month and then the network. I'm pretty excited about that as well and re-engaging in podcasting. I'm going to some coaching emotional intelligence. I'm staying busy to say the least.

Jennifer Moss: So 2022 is off to a great start?

Kishen Newton: It is off to a fantastic start. Absolutely.

Jennifer Moss: So, what makes you laugh?

Kishen Newton: What makes me laugh? My children.

Jennifer Moss: We all need it.

Kishen Newton: We do that laughter and, you know, I think I wrote a blog recently that said something to the effect that there's longevity in laughter.

Jennifer Moss: I believe it.

Kishen Newton: And I've tried to do that more. I say, if I can just laugh once the day, a nice hearty laugh. Gut wrenching. Bu, my children they do. My family, sometimes just watching crazy tiktok videos and they're just crazy, even the baby ones. Just the simplest things sometimes.

Jennifer Moss: Sometimes can bring a smile to your face and throughout today, that might not have been going as you prefer, right. So yeah, so much happening in the world we live in today. People are often looking for that word of encouragement as we talk about empowering and encouraging others. Do you by chance of a favorite saying perhaps a motto that you use to encourage yourself or others?

Kishen Newton: What I do to encourage myself is I'm a big goal setter. I tell my children about setting goals and so what I do is I just refer back to like those little nuggets that I may have written down and sometimes they are daily goes and sometimes they’re longer-term goals. So, I would say just knowing what's before me and just referring back to and how close am I, you know, those benchmarks are what keeps me motivated because I haven't arrived yet.

Jennifer Moss: Still on that journey.

Kishen Newton: That's right.

Jennifer Moss: Absolutely. Kishen Newton, thanks so much. I really enjoyed this conversation. It is so nice to catch up with you again.

Kishen Newton: Thank you. Glad to be here.

Jennifer Moss: And I want to thank you all for joining us for this edition of Powerful Women, Let's Talk. We'll see you next time. I'm Jennifer Moss. Enjoy the day.


>> Produced by women about women. These powerful podcasts focus on powerful women and how their strength transforms who we are and how we live. Want to hear more Powerful Women, Let's Talk? Get additional interviews at WGVU.org or wherever you get your podcasts. Please rate and subscribe. Powerful Women, Let’s Talk is produced by WGVU at the Meijer Public Broadcast Center at Grand Valley State University. The views and opinions expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU, its underwriters or Grand Valley State University.


Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.
Related Content