Birmingham Shines

A show about the makers, creators, and innovators of the Magic City: Birmingham, Alabama.
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Apr 30, 2016

This week on Birmingham Shines my guests are Uma Srivastava, who is the product development manager for Pack Health, and M’kayl Lewis, health adviser manager for Pack Health.

Pack Health is a Birmingham startup founded by Mazi Rasulnia & Will Wright with a mission to help individuals suffering from chronic medical conditions take ownership of health and achieve positive outcomes through health advisers and condition management kits.

Find out more at

Episode Sponsor

Episode 39 of Birmingham Shines is sponsored by Vulcan Security Systems, a Birmingham company that offers customized commercial IP video surveillance services in the greater Birmingham metro area.

Owner Jason Maddox and his team offer video surveillance system sales and installation and monitoring through an IP-delivered video system for commercial property, churches and daycare facilities, private schools, manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and related commercial enterprises.

If you are a business owner, facilities manager, church trustee, daycare operator and would like more information on how video surveillance can be an added part of your risk management program, visit to learn more about Vulcan Security Systems and schedule your free consultation today.

Happy 1-Year Birthday

And I also want to mention that this episode is coming out on the 1-year anniversary of the launch of Birmingham Shines. So Happy Birthday to the podcast!

Changes are coming, moving forward, and I’ll be sharing more about those changes in the next episode.

Jan 29, 2016

Welcome to episode 29 of Birmingham Shines. I’m your host and producer Sheree Martin  and this week’s show is about TEDxBirmingham: what it is, why it matters, who it's for and more. We also talk about what makes Birmingham Shine and what makes a person shine.

My guest is Matthew Hamilton, someone I’ve been trying to have on the show since last summer and we finally had a chance to sit down just before the beginning of the year to talk about TEDxBirmingham. I’m a huge fan of TED talks and TEDx talks and use them to learn, find inspiration and spark my own innovation and creativity.

TEDxBirmingham 4th edition is set for March 12 and the leadership team just announced this year’s speakers a few weeks ago.

Matthew and I talk about the importance of TEDx events in the life of a community and the goals of TEDxBirmingham in particular. I ask Matthew to highlight a few of his favorite speakers from past TEDxBirmingham events and you can find videos of those talks on the Birmingham Shines blog. He also gives us a preview of this year’s speaker line-up.

You can apply for tickets right now through and Matthew explains the selection process in our conversation around the 43 minute mark. The deadline to submit your application is January 31, so only a few days left to apply for tickets. But you can also participate via the free livestream if you can’t attend in person.

Why does TEDx matter? Matthew says it creates a forum in a community where a diverse group of people can come together and share ideas. The TEDx event can be a spark or catalyst for innovation. Tt’s the sharing of ideas and bringing people together to connect that is the service TEDx events provide to a community.

The focus or mission of TED is to bring to light Ideas Worth Spreading. I like to think that my hero Benjamin Franklin would have been one of the forces to bring a TED-type of event to life. His Junto is probably the closest thing to a TED-type of event that existed in the colonies in the first half of the 18th century.

Matthew is a co-organizer with Dr. Sarah Parcak of UAB, who’s a TED Fellow. In curating the speakers for TEDxBirmingham events they try to focus on ideas that matter coming OUT of Birmingham, more than ideas about Birmingham.

“We want to share ideas that are originating in this city, out to the world,” Hamilton said.

One of the criteria used by the TEDxBirmingham organizers for speaker selections is that the idea is one that would be relevant to someone regardless of geography. The idea is not specific to Birmingham or relevant only to people in our city or region.

Matthew used the example of Dr. Pat Hymel’s TEDxBirmingham talk from 2013, which focused on how we grow and learn from our mistakes.

This year’s TEDxBirmingham has the theme of Pure Imagination. In curating speakers for this theme, Hamilton says the idea was to find speakers who consider the possibilities for the future with an emphasis on WHEN, not if.

Once we finish talking about TEDxBirmingham, past and present. Matthew shares some of his thoughts on how and why Birmingham Shines: It really comes down to the people.

We talk about two books Matthew recommends:

  • Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • How Will You Measure Your Life by Clay Christiansen


What makes someone shine personally? A similar theme echoed by other guests: A willingness to step out and do the thing you’re passionate about.

Oct 16, 2015

Industrial designer Scott Doty is the guest on episode 25 of Birmingham Shines.

We talk about the power of and importance of design in all facets of life and business.

We also get into tips and resources to help boost creativity and innovation, regardless of skill or experience.

Full show notes at

Please support Birmingham Shines and all of the Shinecast® resources and media content through Patreon. Visit to go directly to the Shinecast Patreon page.

Jun 25, 2015

What makes someone shine? Doing the thing that you love, makes you shine. So find what it is and do that.

Sage advice from Taylor Robinson, owner of Six Foot Five Productions & co-founder of Arc Stories, this week's guest on Birmingham Shines.

We talk about storytelling, creativity, the ultimate source of our creativity, fulfilling our unique purposes (and most of us have more than one, we both agree), and doing the thing that excites us.

I reached out to Arc Stories back in April, hoping to schedule someone to talk about the Arc Stories events and podcast for one of the early episodes of Birmingham Shines. Due to a death in the family, my original Arc Stories story coach guest had to delay and offered Taylor Robinson as his substitute.

I had never met Taylor prior to this conversation recorded June 4, 2015, but I knew a fair amount about his work as a filmmaker and videographer. What I found is someone with whom I seem to have great deal in common.

I love this conversation because Taylor and I seem to share a lot of the same values: A belief that kindness matters and that creativity comes from taking in lots of inspiration from myriad sources.

I hope you enjoy it.

As always, more detailed show notes will be available at



May 28, 2015

Amy Bickers is a professional writer and has had successful careers in feature writing, as a newspaper journalist and editor for Southern Living.

In 2009, Amy saw her ex-husband commit suicide. She used writing to make sense of the tragedy and deal with the grief. Ultimately, she turned from journaling to writing her truth of the experience and that turned into a memoir, The Geography of You and Me.

After literary agents turned down the manuscript because "no one knew her," Amy put the book aside for a while. Later she turned to Kickstarter and had a successful campaign. The memoir is now in production and will be available for sale by September. 

In this conversation, we talk about writing as catharsis, life as a journey, and taking the plunge into doing the thing that makes you shine.

Complete show notes are available at



May 1, 2015

We also have a conversation about what it means to "shine" in an entrepreneurial context and whether Birmingham is now shining as a destination for entrepreneurs, makers, and creators.

Full show notes will be available at:

Birmingham Shines is a featured show on the Shinecast media network. Shinecast is a registered trademark of Sheree Martin.

May 1, 2015

Sheree Martin explains how and why she created Birmingham Shines, the podcast, and the larger Shinecast® brand.

Sheree is a Birmingham, Alabama entrepreneur, lawyer and former college professor. She's also a professional writer and speaker. The Shinecast® media brand grew out of a vision for inspirational and educational media content to help others Discover, Grow and Shine in all aspects of life.

The Shinecast brand began in 2012 with the first Shinecast show, the Shine Springs Farm Shinecast. [Shine Springs Farm is so-named because of a geological landmark known as "Shine's Spring" which is located on the property, not because Sheree was originally fixated on the word "shine"....:)]

The preview episode of Birmingham Shines podcast was published April 30, 2015.