Episode 19

Meg Leahy: Talking Career, and ADHD Awareness Month

Join Nikki C as she sits down with ADHD Strategist and Advising Coach, Meg Leahy as she talks about how she got started in her career, how it connects to students with ADHD and some of the cool activities that she has been working on during ADHD Awareness Month.

Guest BIO

Meg Leahy, MS, NCC, BCC is an award winning therapist, coach, counselor, author, speaker, and mentor. As the founder of Leahy Learning, Meg has provided the skills, understanding, and resources to help people change their lives for over 20 years. 

An international ADHD strategist, Meg treated college students and adults in the Adult ADHD Treatment and Research Program in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. Co-author of two editions of ADHD Throughout the Lifespan, she has also written numerous articles, presented expert webinars, and spoken to audiences around the world on the topics of ADHD, mental health, and education. 

Meg received the Best of Philly Award for College Advising, and has been named a Wall Street Journal Woman of Note. When not working or collaborating, you can find her reading, relaxing at the beach, spoiling her dog, Arthur, or searching for good oysters. For more information, visit leahylearning.com.

Guest Contact and Social Media Information :

IG: @ therealmegleahy

Twitter: @ insideADHD

Facebook: @leahylearning

Clubhouse: @megleahy

TikTok: @megleahy – exciting content coming soon!

Website: www.leahylearning.com

Email: leahylearning@gmail.com

Phone: 484-222-0272 

Arthur’s Instagram (service dog): @littleblackdogg

LIFE GOT IN THE WAY

IG: @lgitw_podcast | FB: @lgitwpodcast

Website: www.nikitacanderson.com/podcast

Transcript

Meg Leahy: Talking Career and ADHD Awareness Month

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[00:00:20] Provided the skills, understanding our resources to help people change their lives for over 20 years, an international ADHD strategists make Trudy college students and adults and the adult ADHD treatment or research program. And the department of psychiatry at the university of Pennsylvania Poe author of two additions of ADHD throughout the lifespan.

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[00:01:03] All right, everyone, you guys ready to learn even more about men?

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[00:01:46] Nikki C: hello, Meg. Welcome to the show. We are so happy that you can join us.

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[00:01:56] Nikki C: Awesome. We are excited to listen and get some [00:02:00] really cool nuggets of information from you. So that'd be awesome. So, all right, let's begin. As you know, this podcast is all about, um, how life got in the way and we focus not only our own personal journey.

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[00:02:35] Meg Leahy: Fantastic. Thank you. Um, I guess for me, life got in the way pretty much right after my first job, because I think growing up, I had always been an avid reader. Reading was one of my favorite things to do. I enjoyed writing. And in my mind, I was going to grow up, go to college, become a writer, [00:03:00] moved to New York, work at the new Yorker as a writer and write fiction stories.

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[00:03:27] So they thought that. Phone was going to be in your desktop computer rather than cause there weren't mobile phones. Weren't what they are today. We'll need to have the phone integrated into your desktop. Um, so they just got a little backwards, but, um,

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[00:04:15] Um, so, you know, I took the obvious next step and I, um, Went and started making handmade tile.

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[00:04:28] Meg Leahy: Um, cause I had been a fine arts minor when I was in college and I really enjoyed mosaics and I did it part-time, you know, in my free time, even when I lived in New York.

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[00:04:58] And it was really interesting. [00:05:00] Did a lot of cool projects, um, in center city. There's a fountain in Rittenhouse park and we did, we redid the. Tile in the fountain there because it was historic and we had to replicate it. So that was a fun project. I learned a lot, but again, found out that I still wasn't really helping anybody in any way.

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[00:05:43] They improved his reading and like, I think eight weeks by two levels, two grade levels. Um, so his dad was talking to me and he was like, you know, I can just see you doing that. Like you would great with the kids. You'd be great with the employees. That's just something. And so I called them and I went to [00:06:00] work there and, um, I really enjoyed it.

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[00:06:31] He doesn't, he's not using the tools that you gave him. And so what I started to realize was that if you don't see yourself as being good at something, being a good reader, being a good student, being good at whatever it is, then you're not going to use those tools, even if you have them. Right. So for me, That was like a light went on.

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[00:07:16] Academic piece with the psychological piece and help students realize that they could do the work and be good at it and enjoy it. And even when it's stressful and terrible to find a way to get through

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[00:07:47] Um, yeah. Just tell us a little bit more about your work and I love, I love hearing these stories. Go ahead.

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[00:08:14] And so all of these strategies and techniques that I was developing work for kids. Had learning disabilities and kids who did it. Right. So it was all about organization on this executive function that they talk about. So my practice grew and at some point I applied to do some. Counseling at the hospital at the university of Pennsylvania.

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[00:09:01] What the needs were and firsthand working with the psychiatrist and psychologist who were doing the research and writing the articles and. All the stuff that's happening and knowing what's true and what's not true about ADHD. And from there, um, I got to share that work with my clients, but I also started speaking at conferences and I co-authored some textbooks and webinars, and now I, um, Have classes and things where I just try and help people, whether they have ADHD or not, if they're stuck somewhere, um, my superpower is pretty much meeting them where they are and helping them see who they can be and then putting together a plan like with them and breaking it down so that they can get there to have the life that they want.

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[00:10:19] ADHD on what it is it's for, for listeners who may not, um, really under have a bet or may, may need a better understanding of it. And what is, uh, one of the common myths about ADHD?

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[00:10:42] So what we're at right now is, um, attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder, and a lot of people, when I say ADHD, they say, well, no, I just have add, because at one point it was just called attention deficit disorder. But now that age doesn't mean you have [00:11:00] it. It's just the name. Disorder, you can have the attention deficit where there without the hyperactivity, but it's in the name.

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[00:11:34] And the one way to measure intelligence is how much information your brain can hold. So with ADHD people, that part of their intelligence is usually like above average or superior. So their brain can hold a huge amount of information. The other one of the other types of. Intelligence is how quickly your brain can process that information, how it can access it, how it can open the drawer and get that thing that you need.

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[00:12:23] Those tabs are all the information that you could hold in your brain. And all of a sudden, you see your computer starts going slower and slower and slower, right? Because you have so much going on and then you get that little color wheel of death. I call it that we'll call her wheel lots ADHD. Cause what happens when that comes up, you're like, oh, you know, either get frustrated or you just like stare and wait for it to come back on or you get up and go do something, you know?

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[00:13:09] And so that helps you function better in your day-to-day living.

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[00:13:38] And I'm like, cause I got like 1500 tabs open

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[00:13:54] But they don't really know what it means inside their heads. So that seems like, yeah, something that is valuable to share with

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[00:14:14] Um, I mean, they, they are now considered kind of under the same umbrella, so that that's good information too, to kind of, uh, Be more familiar with it because it's been a while since I, I was like, I don't ever hear that term anymore. And that's probably why, because it's all under one umbrella, so that's cool.

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[00:14:32] Meg Leahy: from, they went from add to Ady slash HD and the slash I think just got new things. So now it's just,

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[00:14:54] Meg Leahy: So, one of the things that I, well, this podcast, obviously, [00:15:00] um, so I'm excited about that.

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[00:15:28] Nikki C: Okay, I'm sorry. No, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to

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[00:15:53] And just helping understanding, like what ADHD is really getting into, what it looks like in people's lives, [00:16:00] what it looks like in academics, what it looks like in how to. Healthy communications and then all the different resources for treatment and strategies and things like that.

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[00:16:11] I like that. Um, uh, okay. It's a starter kit that that's a good foundation for a lot of different things and a lot of things can go under that under their hat. Okay, cool. Cool. Cool. Um, What I know you had to switch, um, during your time where you went from, uh, kind of your dreams were a little killed a little bit because of the new Yorker experience and everything.

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[00:16:47] Meg Leahy: I think it was. That there's this expectation that you're sup and I see this with my clients that you are supposed to know what it is you're going to do, and you're supposed to stick [00:17:00] to that. And it wasn't frightening or scary for me to go and try a lot of different things, but it was sometimes hard to deal with the reaction of people like, oh, what are you doing now?

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[00:17:39] And there are people along the way who are going to be excited and join you and network with you and collaborate with you. And there are people who are just going to be very confused by what you do and. They're going to be okay in their lives and you're going to be okay in your life and surround yourself with people who are positive and want to [00:18:00] help people as well.

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[00:18:04] Nikki C: Good, good. I'm sorry. My microphone is doing a thing of its own. Um, it keeps swinging to the side. I'm like we haven't got on to the side. Cause that's where the microphone wants to be. Can you hear me? Okay.

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[00:18:45] Meg Leahy: I think. Being able now. So it's been about 20 years that I've had my practice.

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[00:19:17] I actually have, um, two clients that, um, got married last year. They both came to me.

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[00:19:28] Meg Leahy: both clients of mine. I worked with both of their families, so they each had two siblings. I saw all six of them and they did not know each other when they came.

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[00:19:53] Nikki C: Oh, that is so sweet. I love that. Wow. You just never know it's a [00:20:00] small world in a big world and a small world all at the same time.

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[00:20:07] Meg Leahy: yeah. We've worked with families and people like that and to see the change that's happening. I think that, um, has been the biggest takeaway for me and also. No. I thought having this, having my own office was going to be this most exciting thing. And I thought when COVID happened that I didn't know what was going to happen to my business, but I was very lucky in that everyone, all of a sudden was thrilled to go virtual.

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[00:20:48] Nikki C: that's amazing. I love that flexibility you have now. Yeah, that's really cool. Um, we talked about, um, earlier you mentioned about, you know, motivation.

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[00:21:09] Meg Leahy: um, I think probably the one that helps me the most is sometimes when you get overwhelmed and there's so many, like we were talking before the podcast about how we have so many things to do. And I know that like, it's like, you just want to rush from one thing to the other.

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[00:21:50] So that would be my, yeah.

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[00:22:10] Um, so just that's when I come up with some of my best stuff is when I'm walking and I'm like, yes, of course, I don't have a pen and paper. Now I have to learn to walk with a notebook. Because it'd be like a great idea. Now I was like, I got to hold on to this idea till I get home and write it down

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[00:22:29] Nikki C: Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. That's a good one too.

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[00:22:42] Nikki C: saying, it does. It does. Um, so you've like you said, you've been in this position or that position, but you've been doing what you're doing now.

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[00:23:16] Meg Leahy: Um, I think. The worrying about the future. Isn't going to change the future. What you're doing is what's going to change the future, but that worry doesn't help you get it.

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[00:23:42] So I, I liked that. You know, stop worrying about the world. And I bet you no one worried about a pandemic and through that in the mix, um, I, I love how you talked about that despite, you know, the pandemic and [00:24:00] you feeling that. Your business was going to suffer because you had an outside office, right? Yes.

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[00:24:26] Cause

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[00:24:55] And that's the part of, um, you know, of course you [00:25:00] hate that, that COVID and everything happened, but I loved. It opened up eyes and ears to, to different things and, and connecting with different people like this podcast. You know, I was always thinking, like, if I did a podcast, I got to be sitting right next to the person, get a microphone and who I'm going to bring in as guests and I really, and that was another thing that kept me from doing the pod.

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[00:25:42] And so now it's like, I can do zoom. There's a Riverside. There's there's all these different techniques to. To have a podcast. And I was like, wow, this is kind of cool. This is kind of cool. It's amazing. But enough about me, this is the value. [00:26:00] So, um, throughout your career, um, a lot of times we are, were mentored, we're inspired by people.

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[00:26:18] Meg Leahy: It's been really important. Um, I think that I've had some fantastic mentors, um, who have helped me out along the way. One of the very first was, um, a speech and language professional. She did.

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[00:26:50] And we were at lunch one day and she was always very, she spoke very quietly and she just leaned in and she's like, you just need to go. You just need to start your own

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[00:27:03] Meg Leahy: She said you'll be full by August. And I think this was like March. She was like, if you leave, you'll be full by August.

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[00:27:33] Dr. Tony Rostain, he's fantastic. And we get a lot of emails from people, you know, sharing things outside of session, and you can take a lot of time and, and effort and energy getting sucked into those emails. And what should I used to worry about how do I reply? And he said, I don't, I don't, I don't worry about emails.

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[00:28:14] Yeah. Yeah. We create things in our head and it just takes someone to say two sentences to you. And you're like,

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[00:28:33] And they were like, that's fine.

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[00:28:40] Nikki C: right. So I was like, you know,

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[00:29:00] Yeah.

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[00:29:22] I'm like. Yeah, life is, there's not an excuse. Like you had some, really, a lot of stuff happened and that's like, the professor has no idea. That's not an excuse, that's life, you know, and then we understand it, you know, things can happen. And, and then, you know, finally got the students had courage enough to say something to the professor.

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[00:30:03] Some people now they do, they do milk it, but we know who though they are. It's like, you know, I'm like, well, how, how many times? Cause I mean, this whole grandfather died thing. You've heard that about five times already. Just like, like we know we speak to each other. And I speak to them that the parents are parents.

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[00:30:36] Meg Leahy: So true. So true. Yeah. And I try to explain to my students, I'm like, professors are people too. Like they get up, they put on their pants in the morning.

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[00:30:58] you.

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[00:31:18] But you're also educating people who are not as knowledgeable and, and maybe giving them a more understanding of someone's circumstances situation so that they can, um, they can navigate it better. So I applaud. So I think this is such a, a unique concept of just advising and then. You know, working with, uh, a group of students who normally, when people would not really pay attention to them or give them necessarily the best advice in terms of how they should navigate they're they're, uh, they're looking for colleges and, and things like that.

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[00:32:18] So are you still, um, I'm curious to know you still doing the time, like, you know, keeping that crap handy there.

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[00:32:42] Nikki C: I feel like I used to draw.

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[00:33:04] And when I'm forced to sit here and not draw and I wanted to draw and draw things that, why am I drawing this forks? Styrofoam cup. I don't want to draw this. So, you know, things like that

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[00:33:20] Nikki C: Yeah. But I also also learned a great deal about those different projects and stuff.

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[00:33:50] Meg Leahy: My dog.

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[00:34:01] Meg Leahy: Yeah. Um, Arthur, I got about six years ago and he is the most fabulous dog. Um, I mean, other people have dogs that are fabulous, so I don't want to step on anybody's toes, but to me he's the most fabulous dog ever.

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[00:34:40] Um, he enjoys fine dining likes to go to

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[00:34:47] I just live in better light.

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[00:35:05] Nikki C: I love it. I love it, man. I'm very, I just, I got, I got a glimpse of Arthur today. I was that made MEI, uh, that made my heart fell because, you know, I love dogs. I can't have one in my apartment complex, unfortunately, but when I can, I'm going to get me a dog and I love, I love animals. So that is very cool.

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[00:35:30] Meg Leahy: And he works it too. He's he just loves the tension.

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[00:35:39] Meg Leahy: on him because everybody else's dog was like, oh my family's home. I'm so glad. He was like, so wait, it's just all, what just us? What, where did all the people go then make a fuss over me all day long.

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[00:36:02] Meg Leahy: Let's see coffee and coffee is an important one. Um, if I get to go to the beach, that's always a great day. I love the beach. Um, I have a couple of really great friends that when I talk to them, that makes my day because we get to talk about the things that are crazy and life and. The things that aren't crazy and laugh about most of them, so,

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[00:36:33] This is one of my favorite ones. Um,

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[00:36:44] Meg Leahy: Ooh. The worst advice I've actually listened to.

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[00:36:58] stumped for [00:37:00] some reason. First advice and action.

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[00:37:14] Meg Leahy: and I'll think about that one. Maybe we can come back to,

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[00:37:21] Meg Leahy: My morning ritual is, um, I'm not a morning person. I've always been a nightmare. Had a great relationship with David Letterman growing up can wait for him to come on.

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[00:37:59] And [00:38:00] then I start to do some work. I usually have a client or two. And by then, Arthur, um, I have to go in and wake him up cause he likes to sleep till about noon. Oh my God. Shop

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[00:38:23] Meg Leahy: Yeah. Like if I'm talking too loudly while he's sleeping, he just tell me like, and he'll go and move to the other room. I can't make love author.

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[00:38:38] Nikki C: Okay. Okay. Well, thank you. I just, um, thank you so much for being an awesome guests today and giving us all these little nuggets and telling us all about what ADHD is and breaking it down and telling us all the things that you're, you're kind of doing. And so in the spirit of you telling us everything you're doing.

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[00:39:14] Meg Leahy: Thanks. Um, so I have a website and that's, um, Lahey learning.com. Um, and I have a lot of information on there for people who might have questions and there are resources and things.

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[00:39:56] And, um, I think that's it for right now. [00:40:00]

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[00:40:22] And until we meet again, I'm your host, Nikki C. And remember, it's time to get back to dreaming again, if not now, then when?

About the Podcast

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LIFE GOT IN THE WAY

About your host

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Nikita Anderson

NIkki C - host
NIkki C is an author, editor, screenwriter and educator who loves connecting with people, and playing music and video games in her spare time.