Ikigai Stories showcases the quest for alignment between actions and priorities.

Host Sam Ushio interviews people who have taken intentional steps to discover and live their ikigai. Each episode features inspiring stories that highlight the journey toward a living a life filled with purpose.

Episode 0.  Introduction to Ikigai Stories. Host Sam Ushio describes the goal of the Ikigai Stories, his personal journey to discovering ikigai, and context behind the first three episodes labeled “Rational Right Brain.”

Rich Sasaki, Founder, iKokua

Ikigai Stories, Episode 1.

Sam (re)launches the podcast with Rich Sasaki, founder of iKokua, a platform that allows you sell goods and send the proceeds to your favorite non-profit. They discuss Rich’s path from a lettuce farm, to a moped in Hawaii, through Seattle tech heavy weights, to the meaning of "kokua."

Danna Redmond, CEO and Co-Founder of HeyThrivy

Sam talks with Danna Redmond, founder/CEO of HeyThrivy, a concierge service for your home at a flat monthly fee. Highlights: Danna's corporate background, how to stay true to your purpose in the face of too much advice, and the importance of slowing down."

Joshua Monuteaux, Artist 

Ikigai Stories, Episode 3

Sam talks with artist Joshua Monuteaux about his creative work that celebrates life in the face of a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Josh discusses his journey from manufacturing to art, how the two worlds intersect via lean techniques, and his mantra "time is a commodity." 

Eric Silverstein, Founder, Peached Tortilla

Sam talks with Eric Silverstein about leaving a lucrative law career to open a food truck fraught with challenges, eventually finding traction and becoming one of the leading hospitality companies in Austin.  Eric shares candid insights about growing up in Tokyo and Atlanta, his leadership philosophy, the balancing act between work + home, and his upcoming book, The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food from Tokyo to Texas.

In this episode, Eric shares candid insights about: 

  • Leadership:  You're not a good leader if you're not willing to bus tables.
  • Growing up "Japanese"  Born and raised in Tokyo with a Chinese Mother and American Father. 
  • The balancing act between work and home
  • His new book, The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food from Tokyo to Texas

Erin Mursch, Founder of Organized for Good

Sam talks with Erin Mursch about her journey to become the first KonMarie Certified Consultant in Texas and the experience of participating in the first global cohort to learn directly from Marie Kondo.  Erin shares insights into her work that does much more than tidying one's home, she provides a tangible framework for self-discovery one item at a time. 

In this episode, Erin shares candid insights about: 

  • The KonMarie process. Erin provides accountability and support to help people lead transformation. 
  • Mind shift.  Rather than thinking about organization as MORE storage products, take a closer look at what's causing clutter. 
  • Spain x 2.  Learning about life and people through the lens of living in Spain on two separate occasions. 
  • Physical Medium. Clutter can be stressful, but the emotional attachment to items often carry more stress. 
  • Identity.  People tend to identify "things" as a reflection of their identity. 

Ahmad Corner, Founder,Young Professionals of Seattle 

Ikigai Stories, Episode 6

Sam talks with Ahmad Corner about the journey to build the 13,000 member YPOS network  stemming from a personal desire to shift careers.  Ahmad discusses his passion for coaching startups, building community, and snowboarding's impact on his entrepreneurial journey.

In this episode, Ahmad shares candid insights about:

  • The catalyst behind launching a new type of networking platform.
  • How YPOS thaws the "Seattle freeze."
  • Understanding yourself and taking cues to guide your career path. 
  • Where to find the best snowboarding in PacNW.

John B. Johnson, Identity Architect + Co-Founder,

a small studio

Ikigai Stories, Episode 7 (two parts)

Sam talks with John about his remarkable journey from the streets of Cleveland  - to the world of architecture - to a failed entrepreneurial leap  - to a successful creative studio.  He opens up to share the challenges he faced and conquered as a fatherless, African-American young man and the bond that he forged with his brother in prison as they simultaneously discovered greater meaning and purpose in life.

In this two-part episode, John shares candid insights about: 

  • His passion for entrepreneurship and the lessons he's collected along an incredible range of life experiences.
  • Filtering moments - Conscious decisions to leave behind non-productive elements in life. 
  • Confronting realities and switching his mindset to serve others.
  • "Look for that glimmer of light" 

Evan Oeflein, Co-Founder, Seattle Strong Coffee

Sam talks with Evan, a 22-year-old entreprenuer, about launching a successful coffee company in the backyard of the world's most iconic coffee brand....while in college. Evan shares the story behind Seattle Strong Coffee, a bootstrapped company initiated in a class at the University of Washington; as well as his decision-making process that led him to go all-in.

In this episode, Evan shares candidate insights about: 

  • Juggling school and entrepreneurship
  • Velocity of time and the power of now
  • Democratic product innovation

Tori Dunlap, Founder, Her First 100k

Sam talks with Tori, Founder of Her First 100k, a 25-year old “financial feminist” on a quest to empower millennial women with the resources to earn, save, and invest their way to the first six-figures. The money and career platform blends personal finance with behavioral psychology and has been featured on CNBC, Marketwatch, and Yahoo. Tori discusses her personal journey including launching her first business at 9-years old, conquering imposture syndrome, and the range of emotions associated with going viral.

Alex Mondau

Co-Founder and Community Manager, The Collective

Sam talks with Alex, Co-Founder and Community Ambassador at The Collective. The 15,000 square foot "urban basecamp" has evolved the traditional membership club model with a focus on inclusivity, experiences, and building community around shared passions. Alex shares his personal and professional journey that led to the Collective's launch, including a trip to Nepal that transformed his definition of generosity, the messy yet rewarding journey of entrepreneurship, and the clarity gained in letting go of control.


Kim Morrison and Noelle Alix, Co-Founders, Beanz & Co

Sam talks with Kim and Noelle, Co-Founders of BeanZ & Company, an inclusive café in Avon, Connecticut, that employs people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The mission is inspired by their special needs daughters, Megan and Cate, and the observation that 80% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed or underemployed. Kim and Noelle reflect on their journey as friends, successful professionals, and mothers of daughters with down syndrome that led to the BeanZ & Company's tagline: "Everyone Belongs."

Listen to Stitcher

Sponsored by