Changing the Conversation

Changing the Conversation

A podcast by African Leadership & the Mocha Club.

We believe the greatest asset we have is our love.  But how do we best love others? On our podcast, “Changing the Conversation”, we take time to explore a variety of topics to challenge our perspective in pursuit of better loving people and the world around us. We sit down with artists, writers, country leaders, CEOs and more to consider a different way of looking at a situation by taking the time to listen.

African Leadership Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to educating world-changing leaders all over the continent of Africa.  Mocha Club, an impact partner of African Leadership, focuses on creating a community of givers who can leverage their assets to support these leaders as they build healthy, more sustainable communities in Africa.

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    Episode 017: How does God’s faithfulness change our perspective? With Annie Downs

    On today’s episode, Emily and Fallon sit down with author, speaker, and podcaster, Annie F Downs. She’s been a LONG time friend of the organization and even was on staff with Mocha Club for a few years. We talk about God’s part in the work Annie does and how He got her there. We talk about her journey and the way the Lord moved details to do HIS work and also helping Annie define who she is and what she is called to do. We also focus on the aspect of time and how we can experience a more full life when we honor rest and sabbath. It’s a sitting-on-a-couch-with-a-group-of-friends kind of conversation. Enjoy!

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    Episode 016: How do you start a non-profit? with Barrett Ward

    That’s right, friends! On today’s podcast episode, we sit down with the founder of Mocha Club, Barrett Ward. He shares the seemingly radical moments that changed the course of his life to be in a career caring for the greater world. At the time, coffee was just getting popular, community social platforms were building, and faxes were still in existence — and this helped create the Mocha Club. Barrett shares about how the organization birthed the business he currently works for called ABLE - a lifestyle brand that focuses on economic opportunity for women.

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    Episode 015: What’s it like to travel to Africa with the Mocha Club? with Kathryn Tuck and Allison Buchignani

    On this week’s episode, Fallon sits down to chat (and reunite) with Kathryn and Allison - two of the members of the Mocha Club Journey team who traveled to Kenya last summer! We bet that if you’ve never traveled to Africa, you have some questions about what it’s like. This conversation is a great way to learn more about how African Leadership and Mocha Club approaches international travel. Kathryn and Allison share why they decided to join the trip, how they spent their time in Kenya, and how it was meaningful and impactful for themselves and our partners. Can’t make it to Africa with us? You feel like you’re right there with the team as you listen to this conversation. Off we go!

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    Episode 014: How can fear lead to beauty and change? with Jeremy Cowart

    Emily and I were so glad to grab some time with Jeremy Cowart on this week’s podcast. Jeremy is a well-known photographer, writer, and visionary and he was a big part of the beginning of Mocha Club supporting African Leadership. We are honored to be part of the start of his journey into philanthropic photography and loved hearing his story! We talk about how Jeremy has pushed past fear to create beauty, impact change, and grow personally. It’s an encouraging word for all of us who face fear in one way or another - fear can actually be a tool to leverage you into your dreams. Jeremy confidently shares stories of failure and how he uses it to move forward.

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    Episode 013: How can you experience Scripture and this Easter season in a fresh way? with Kara Gause

    As we prepare for Easter next week, Emily and Fallon sit down with a dear friend, Kara Gause, a writer and editor for She Reads Truth. Kara has a gift of teaching & knowledge of the Word. She shares how her early introduction to theatre and story-telling inspires her understanding & teaching of scripture. Kara and Emily share about their recent trip to Ethiopia where they spent time with women teaching them scripture through story-telling and how they experienced the power of story and scripture when they are aligned together. Kara is one of those women who leaves you feeling heard & known & accepted. We know you’ll feel the same way after you listen. Learn more about She Reads Truth by following them on Instagram and visiting

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    Episode 012 : What’s the secret to capturing authenticity in your photos? with Char Beck

    If you’ve been part of the African Leadership and Mocha Club community for a bit, you know about our amazing friend & photographer Char Beck! Char has a gift not only in photography but also in connecting with people through capturing empathy, adventure, and positivity. You’ll never meet a person who doesn’t love Char. On this week’s episode we talk about his unique way of leveraging his personality as he approaches photography, how to capture authenticity in photos, and the impact of his MANY travels to Africa. And we chat about our upcoming Mocha Club Journey trip to Kenya!

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    Episode 011 : How can you impact the water crisis in one easy step? with Mark Brown

    World Water Day is March 22nd! And we are celebrating by hanging out with our friend Mark Brown, author of the best-selling kid’s book series, ZenPig. For the past five years, Mark Brown has been partnering with Mocha Club to donate a portion of his book sales to provide clean water to communities across Africa. You will LOVE Mark! He has never-ending energy and spunk! We talk about how he started ZenPig and his passion to teach kids about self-forgiveness, gratitude, love, and compassion — lessons he learned later in life. And we share how Mark & all his ZenPig readers have made a huge impact on communities in Rwanda through clean water. And it's not always just about building a well. It's about restoring dignity to people by listening to the desires and dreams of the community and finding different, innovative ways to fight this crisis. You will feel encouraged and inspired listening to this conversation - and you’ll laugh a lot too!

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    Episode 010 : What does changing the world look like when you are doing it with your best friend? with Tito & Geoffrey (and special guest, Caroline Peeples)

    Tito and Geoffrey are our Country Directors in Sudan and Uganda and they have a sweet & goofy friendship. They work closely together as Tito works in the Sudanese refugee camps in Uganda due to civil unrest. And since they met in 2005, they have become the best of friends.  In this episode, we get to hear both Tito and Geoffrey share a bit about themselves — what life was like growing up, why they choose to work for African Leadership, and the hilarious story of how they met - including a bird and lost cell phone. We also have a special guest join the conversation: Caroline Peeples is another one of the Fabulous Friends for Africa and we are all together getting ready for the 12th Annual Fabulous Friends Dance in Nashville. We wanted to bring all these folks together because it paints a great picture of what is looks like to work with African Leadership and the Mocha Club — each person playing their unique part to impact the world. But the “why” all being the same. We hope this conversation inspires you to see that you too, are a hero; right where you are. Would you leverage it?

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    Episode 009: What does life look like in South Africa? with Allan Knowles

    A new host joins Emily Blackledge on today’s episode: Emily Hickey is the Director of International Program for African Leadership and Mocha Club. They sit down to chat with Allan Knowles, our Country Director for South Africa to discuss all the things — the effect of sports and politics on one another, witch doctors and ancestral superstitions, growing up in South Africa during the apartheid and the age of Mandela, and how faith has shaped Allan’s personal sense of hope that he now passes on to others through everyday moments of loving and serving people in his community. If you’re a lover of knowledge, this is a GREAT episode to educate you on the history and current story of South Africa. We know you’ll love this episode!

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    Episode 008: How can you add purpose to what you are already doing?

    What do you get when you have 10 women, 10 birthdays, and 10 hearts that want to do some good for the world? The Fabulous Friends for Africa! On this week’s episode we chat with Terrie Hill, one of the original Fabulous Friends to hear the story on how a group of women used their birthday to support leaders and communities in Africa. And now more than a decade later, it continues to raise more than $700,000 for African Leadership and the Mocha Club. We also chat with Terrie’s daughter, Edie High, who along with her 9 friends have taken over hosting the dance with a new generation of women. It’s a perfect example of someone looking at something they are already doing (celebrating a birthday!) and adding more purpose by benefitting others. It’s a chat with two change-makers. We hope it inspires you to see how your everyday actions can be purposeful. You too are a change-maker.

    The Fabulous Friends for Africa Dance is happening THIS Saturday, February 9th at the Factory in Franklin, TN. Bring your spouse or friends, or come yourself and celebrate a night of fun, food, and of course, dancing! Proceeds benefit Africa Leadership and the Mocha Club.

    Can’t make the dance? You can still support online by participating in the LIVE online auction. Visit for all the information.

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    Episode 007: How can two socks be the start of world impacting change? with Peter Ochiel

    The stories of our life leave an imprint on who we are and typically change the trajectory of how we spend our time. On today’s podcast, you will hear Fallon share more of her story and how growing up in a family who valued travel left an impression on how she would spend her life as an adult. You also get to hear from one of our Project Partners in Kenya, Peter Ochiel, as he shares a beautiful story about the power of community leveraging themselves for one person. And how two socks changed the rest of his life. Peter is the founder of Blessed Camp in Mombasa and spends his time serving a leprosy community through education, health care, and sharing the Gospel. Our Mocha Club team is putting together a trip next summer to visit Peter and see the work on the ground, June 1-10, 2019. If you are interested in traveling with us to Africa and being part of this team, email Fallon at

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    Episode 006 : Are there change-makers outside of America that desire to help us? with Pastor Mezack & Duane Murray

    There are many Americans who have a desire to change the world around them. They see people and places far from them that seem to be in need and so they want to help. But have you ever thought about other people looking at the United States and wanting to help us? On today’s episode, Fallon sits down in a conversation with a member of our Board of Directors, Duane Murray and Country Director, Mezack from Rwanda and hears how his discipleship training has not only affected his own community but has its affects here in the States & specifically, here in Nashville, Tennessee! It’s an amazing story of how God’s plans made a full circle that included a sweet friendship between Mezack and Duane.

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    Episode 005: Can “no" be the positive answer? with Geoffrey Ocan

    No is not a fun answer…most of the time. In this week’s episode, we change the conversation to talk about how “no” can actual be a positive answer. Emily shares a conversation she had with African Leadership and Mocha Club’s Uganda country director, Geoffrey Ocan and her unique experience where he tells her no after she asks to see an education class the organization supports. You will learn quickly how this was nothing short of kindness for both Emily and the students.

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    Episode 004: What is a healthy life/work balance? with Tito Oturo

    Ahh, work/life balance. It’s a topic our society has talked about to death but it’s because it’s so important. On this week’s episode, Fallon and Emily share their own experience about what has worked (and not worked!) to make that balance healthy in their own lives. And we also hear how African Leadership and Mocha Club’s South Sudan country director, Tito figures out how to do work and life while he serves South Sudanese refugees in Uganda. We have a sneak peek into a hilarious conversation Emily has with Tito while visiting him on her recent trip to Africa. You’ll never believe what he didn’t know about newborn babies...

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    Episode 003: Who is your neighbor? with Shannan Martin

    This week’s episode is super special as Fallon gets the pleasure of sitting down to chat with long-time Mocha Club member and author, Shannan Martin. Shannan just launched her newest book “The Ministry of Ordinary Places” and encourages readers to be present and intentional in ordinary ways to better love the people around you. She talks about how we can all live a life of meaning by first starting with the people who live next door. She’s certainly changing the conversation about how to love people well in simple ways that turn extraordinary. This conversation will inspire you to want to put down the phone and look up to see the neighbors across from you.

    You can get Shannan’s new book on Amazon :

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    Episode 002: When is charity done well?

    We recorded on a Friday but we’re coming to you on a Tuesday (don’t be confused)! In this week’s episode, we talk about how there are lots of folks who have an innate desire to make the world a better place. But where do you even start? Emily and Fallon talk about the multiple ways of doing development work in Africa and why Mocha Club and African Leadership invests in local leaders in a particular way that seems the most dignifying and long lasting.

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    Episode 001: Why are we here? with Emily Blackledge and Fallon Klug

    Did you know there are 350 new podcasts launching EVERY DAY?! Emily Blackledge and Fallon Klug kick off the “Changing the Conversation” podcast by answering the question each new listener asks “Why are you here?”

    We hope that our common dreams of making the world a better place, our listeners will see these conversations as important & inspiring. Brought to you by African Leadership and the Mocha Club.

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