Originally from the islands of Bermuda, Kjeld Mizpah (KJ) Conyers-Steede has called New Brunswick home for the past five years. After having studied at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John and becoming a young professional, Conyers-Steede recently established a new podcast, called Catalyst Conversation, that is available online.
Each episode of the podcast will feature a conversation between Conyers-Steede and a special guest around that person’s trajectory and/or an important issue in the region. In his online explanation of why he founded the podcast, Conyers-Steede says he will ask each guest: “what does the future of your province and region look like from your viewpoint?”
The first two episodes of the podcast have focused on themes of innovation and microaggression. Episode one, called “Changing the mindset and creating your own business” was an interview with Kayla Johnson, a “New Brunswicker to watch.” Titled “Dealing with microaggression in New Brunswick,” episode two strove to understand “the barriers when it comes to diversity and inclusion within the province of New Brunswick” through the experiences of poet Thandiwe McCarthy.
Conyers-Steed also has loftier aims for future pieces: “This podcast will touch on the social, environmental, political, and economic issues that affect New Brunswick, and the Atlantic region as a whole.”
The founder of the podcast saw a need in New Brunswick for this type of project: “Our current media outlets do the region a disservice by not addressing complex social issues in an accessible and inclusive way.”
In presenting himself, Conyers-Steede admits: “I am a lover of public policy and a big believer that diversity and inclusion need to start by having tough conversations that make us feel uncomfortable.” He hopes that his conversations with guests on a variety of issues will open up greater debates for the public: “I want the broader population to start having tough conversations about the region, along with showcasing the innovative projects that are happening.”
By asking questions of his guests and having engaged discussions about complicated issues, Conyers-Steede wants to transform New Brunswick: “My goal with Catalyst Conversation is to help provide a mindset change surrounding the province and to encourage folks to develop a sense of interest surrounding civic engagement and our complex issues.”
To access the podcast, click here.
Sophie M. Lavoie writes on arts and culture and is an editorial board member of the NB Media Co-op.