Tag Archives: producer

Meet Madelin, who’s bringing clear information to the world of gastroenterology… and LOVES it. No seriously, read on to learn more about her work/life/passion balance journey…

Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?

I’m the Senior Manager of Clinical Guideline Development at the American Gastroenterological Association Institute (yikes, what a mouthful!) Basically, in my day-to-day job, I coordinate the development and publication of guidelines for doctors in the gastrointestinal field. These guidelines are based on very rigorous reviews of the scientific evidence about how to diagnose, evaluate and treat all sorts of digestive disorders, from colon cancer to acid reflux. Our goal is to make sure doctors across the country are all up-to-date on the latest scientific evidence so that they can provide the best care possible to their patients.

As part of this job, I also write patient summaries for each guideline. These summaries take our guidelines and put them into plain, everyday language so that doctors and patients can better understand one another – the doctor can explain a diagnosis and how they intend to treat a condition, and the patient is more likely to know what questions they need to ask their doctor as well as how to care for themselves when they get home.

We’ve all had experiences when we walked out of the doctor’s office after a diagnosis or treatment decision with our head spinning with so much information, and wondering, “okay, so… what did we just talk about in there?” I hope that with my patient-oriented summaries, we can ensure that patients get all the information they need to manage their conditions effectively from the start and avoid problems down the line.

Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
One of the first real magazines I ever read was my father’s monthly subscription to Skeptic magazine. One of my yearly Christmas gifts was a World Almanac, and every Christmas morning into my adolescence was spent cozied up on the couch with my nose in the new edition, soaking up all the information that excited me. I have an insatiable appetite for new information, especially when it comes to things related to health and science.

Over the past year, it’s dawned on me that my career interests, my hobbies and my overall lifestyle all have two shared threads running through them: the theme of soaking up information, and the theme of applying that information to practice. Evidence-based medicine is a huge interest of mine and guides just about everything I do in my “day job” developing clinical guidelines. But it also plays a large role in my time outside of work – for instance, I love to participate in online skeptic and science advocacy forums and listen to podcasts about evidence-based fitness and nutrition. When I’m not plugged in, I’m either in the gym using science and evidence-based methods to prepare for my first bodybuilding competition, or in the kitchen experimenting with different ways to create healthful meals that satisfy my raging sweet tooth – which is almost as insatiable as my zest for knowledge!

So as you can see, my passion for seeking out evidence and applying it to my life – and also communicating science-based information to others – pops up just about everywhere throughout my day, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I find that because my interests and hobbies complement my 9-to-5 job, it helps me make sure that I don’t get too bogged down in working. I have so many outlets through which to express my love of health and science, and my job is only one of them! I feel lucky to be starting on a career that is fed by my biggest passions in life. There’s so much rampant misinformation around health these days, and I want to be part of improving the conversation and improving lives through the spread of information that’s based in facts, not emotions like fear.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
My interests ranged from oceanographer to movie producer! Somewhere around the age of 12, I saw my first episode of “The West Wing” and instantly decided I wanted to be in politics. I loved trying to figure out what makes people “tick” – why they vote for a certain candidate and how they form their beliefs. It took me 10 years to figure out that the extreme lack of work/life balance that’s inherent in politics was not a good fit for me – I value self-care too much to go down that road. I had an epiphany while I was working 80-hour weeks and living off of pizza one summer during college that what I really wanted to do was change lives through health communication, and keep my own health and sanity while doing it. Not to mention, if what you really care about is getting the straight, scientific facts to your audience, politics is probably not the best field to go into.

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
I want to be the person behind the scenes of a highly impactful public health campaign  – hopefully, several! – that will get people to change their behaviors around health. As Mad Men’s Peggy Olsen said, “I want to create something of value.” In fact, advertising and health communication are very similar – I just want to sell better health to Americans, not panty hose.

Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you? – but be forewarned that you will regularly encounter gym selfies and food pics – the two most hated of all digital photography subjects.

Anything else you want to share?

I came across a quote from Maya Angelou the other day that I felt describes my life philosophy perfectly: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive: and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Leave it to Maya for that mic drop.


alexbwAllow me to introduce Alexander Andrews, Principal at The Crux, LLC and all around energizer bunny. Seriously, he does more in a day than most do in a week, and I wanted him to share how he works, enjoys life and finds (some) balance.

Who are you? How did you get here?
Oh, hey Rikki.  I’m Alex – East Coast Blood, Midwestern Ambition & West Coast Personality.  I develop and produce TV shows.  Entertainment’s been a really exciting adventure.  I got my foot in the door as an intern at Saturday Night Live during the 2008 season of Sarah Palin. Then, just never stopped.

Randy Pausch once said, “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted,” and both my failure and successes started telling me I could try this on my own. I was fortunate enough to take a year, after climbing out of the trenches and up the executive ladder, to develop my own slate [a portfolio of shows to sell for us non-industry folk]; get an agent; find an investor; and form a team.  It wasn’t easy, but after going through the motions, we just opened our office last week.

What kind of work is on your plate right now?
One of my first collaborators was Huck Magazine, a UK do-it-yourself journalism and radical-culture magazine, similar to Vice (but a publication you’ll never take off your coffee table). Utilizing their vast portfolio of reportage, content and access,  partner project, Lena Katz, and I developed numerous TV formats, a few different digital series and even landed a branded campaign. The Crux was lucky to set the bar for prospective collaborators and are always searching for comparable opportunities.

I’m a producer, sure. Great. But the traditional model has changed – even from the industry I grew up in during the past decade. Today’s establishing producers should be asking themselves, do you stick with TV and try to sell a bunch of shows, or do you split your time for digital or brand outlets?  

To do both, it’s a fight to have access to everything all the time. Right now, we have 70 developing projects and pushing ourselves to constantly diversify our portfolio.  If there’s a splinter of interest in a project, we tailor the pitch overnight. And that’s what we’re all about. The Crux finds good original content or a great story and we get right to the heart of it, figure out distribution and the potential storytelling that could happen through television, digital, brand and talent. We create custom strategies to expand a brand or voice into the next era of entertainment.

What’s a good day for you?
I believe in feast or famine. I love it when you wake up, take four calls with England, then two with New York, run to pitch networks, take some meetings, introduce yourself at lunch and then you hit this wall, but all of a sudden you get that second rush of inspiration and you keep going. At the end of the day you can’t believe you did all of that. Hopefully you learned something, everyone is happy and there was a little success in there, too.

Okay, but what about sleep?
I keep reading these stories about entrepreneurs that say rest is important, and I”m working on it. But honestly? When you’re just starting out – it’s too exciting, too motivating, too much on the line.  How can I sleep away these pivotal years without really hustling? I mean, sometimes I need to rest and give myself a break because you can’t create when you’re totally exhausted, but, I really like to push.

What are your thoughts on balance?
My work is my life is my passion. There’s still balance in finding how hard can I challenge myself. This industry is like politics, as you get in it you realize how closely connected everything is. Which means you really build a network that has both competitors and collaborators and you find that balance.

My biggest issue is my attempt to balance between what I want to accomplish and what is biting off too much. Or balance between talking about it, versus shutting my mouth and just getting it done. I like to tell people what I”m trying to do, because that holds me to it, makes it real. Like, what I love is variety. And I want to bring back the 1960s version of a variety show. I’ve wanted to do that for maybe 11 years, but telling someone I’ll get it done in 2 years? Maybe I will!

So, what else?
My final point would be, everybody watches television, everyone is entertained by it, but the people who work in it, the best projects come from the more exposure you get in the life and times we live in. If you hit a plateau in the content around you then you see something new, innovative and it still entertains you with an element of surprise? Go for it and figure it out.

How can we learn more and stay up to date on all things The Crux?!



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