EndCAN External Relationship Manager
Episode 21: Get to Know EndCAN! Part 2
Get to know us! In this episode, meet Adam Soisson, EndCAN’s External Relationship Manager. Adam and Lori discuss Adam’s drive for EndCAN’s mission and what drew him to his role.
Transcript of the Louder than Silence Podcast Episode #21 – Get to Know EndCAN! Part 2
Transcribed by Adam Soisson
[Inspirational theme music plays.]
>> Lori: Thank you for joining us. In this podcast, we are real people, talking about real things. Child abuse and neglect: a topic that is all too often left in the shadows of silence, leaving survivors alone, fearful, and oftentimes without a voice. We’re having conversations to become Louder Than Silence. It is here, where we will invite you to join us and be the change needed to end child abuse and neglect.
>> Lori: Good morning everybody my name is Lori Poland, I’m the Executive Director of the National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect. I am so thrilled today to have one of our small team members here for you all to meet. Adam has been on our team for about 3 and a half weeks now and we are elated that he’s here. Every day that I interact with Adam I get more excited and more pumped up. You know it’s almost like having a winning lotto ticket when you find an employee that just kills it and blows you away. Adam was a blessing from the beginning. He came to us in a unique way, his interview was outside the box and then here we are with him on our team and we’re just so happy to have him here. So today’s podcast is about us, you know? This is a little bit about us, what makes us tick and so I’ve got Adam here and I want you all to meet him and also see what an incredible human being he is and how lucky we are to have him so we’re just going to learn a little bit about Adam and we’re going to start with – Adam if you could just tell us who you are and then we’ll get into some fun stuff.
>> Adam: Yeah awesome well thank you for that very glowing introduction. Not sure I deserve all that but as Dick would say, the preceding was a paid political endorsement [laughs]
>> Lori: [laughs] right.
>> Adam: So I really am so excited to be a part of the EndCAN team. Just knowing how much you guys care about this subject and how hard you’re working to end child abuse and neglect in our lifetime. It keeps me going every single day and I know I haven’t been on for long but it has really been a truly great experience so far and I really look forward to continuing the work we’ve been doing and grow EndCAN and grow the field as we continue to work hard. I guess just a little about me, I’m originally from South Bend, IN which is probably the greatest town in the world if we’re going with the Leslie Knope kind of idea. I graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2016 and then moved out to Colorado soon after that. I’ve had a couple of interesting jobs. I’ve worked with a startup, I’ve worked with a large corporation in their marketing office. At the time their marketing office had about 250 people just in marketing so it’s definitely interesting to work with a team of 5 people now in the whole organization. Most recently, at least before EndCAN I was working for the presidential campaign for Mayor Pete Buttigieg, someone I’ve known for about 10 years now. He is just an incredibly smart, very charismatic person who always seems to do what’s right for the people around him and honestly I get the same feeling when I’m working with you, Lori. Just someone who’s really dedicated to their craft. They understand so much and they are so happy to share that with the world. I’ve said this before – when I left Pete’s team – I knew eventually it was going to end, I didn’t think that his path right now was to the White House – but it was really disappointing to feel so strongly about something and then to have it end prematurely. I really didn’t think I could find something that I could be as passionate about or that I could care so much for, for a long time but luckily I was dead wrong and I found you guys just a couple months after that. It has been an awesome ride so far and I’m really excited even more for the future.
>> Lori: Awesome. Very cool thank you. So tell me, as a little boy, imagine between 3 and 7, were you a cape wearer? Were you a WWF wannabe wrestler or were you more of a LEGO guy? Or were you something else?
>> Adam: Well I have three sisters so we had a lot more Barbies than LEGOs so I was sort of overruled on that one [laughs]. I’ve always been very interested in sports, it’s something I’ve always done for as long as I can remember. I ran track for a long time, I played hockey, lacrosse, golf, football, tennis, squash. I played squash in college, I know that kind of sounds ridiculous but I would say in the cape/ wrestling / LEGO area I would go more towards LEGOs. I love Kinex. I remember building a roller coaster with my dad, we got this kit for my birthday and I was just so happy to put it all together. His perfectionism definitely – I was more of the ‘well let’s just shoot the cars off into the living room’ and he disagreed and said we need to make a full loop.
>> Lori: I’m making a note right now for roller coaster Kinex.
>> Adam: It will take hours and hours to put together and it will be even more fun when it’s done. Then, depending on how your kids are, it’ll be even more fun to tear apart.
>> Lori: For sure. So we’re here about working on child abuse and ending. I know when I asked you what drives you, I know you’re so passionate about this. I even know a little bit about your family and kind of where some of the dedication around child abuse comes from but our listeners don’t so tell me why this topic? I mean you come from Notre Dame and you’re an athlete and you look like Superman and all this stuff – the original Superman, I don’t know what the new Supermans look like but you are just this All-American boy so why child abuse and why EndCAN? How come we’re so lucky to have you?
>> Adam: Well I would say that I am the one who’s lucky to find you guys but it really is something that I have known about for a long time. My dad is still a practicing pediatrician and has been a part of child protection teams and different organizations in the child welfare system to try and help kids that have gone through horrible outcomes. It can be a very sad thing to think about. I have been extremely blessed to have parents that have loved and nurtured me from the very moment I was born and even before then. Unfortunately some people have not been so lucky. I’ve seen my Dad cry probably three times in my life. One was when my Mom was deployed to Kuwait for a little over a year. One was watching my sister get married, and the third time was when he came back and had one of his patients that died from neglect and it was just. There was this helpless feeling that he tried to get CPS involved, he tried to go a number of routes to help save this child and eventually it couldn’t happen. I’ve always held that feeling in the back of my mind that if I can do anything to prevent a situation like that, I have to do it.
>> Lori: So cool Adam. Your genuine heart is I think what makes you – I continue to be impressed by you because I think you’re just a genuine person and I think we’re both very lucky to have found one another. EndCAN is really going to thrive with you here. I’m just going to tell our audience a little bit about your position because it’s a new position that we haven’t found any other organization that has one like it but we knew what wanted and we knew what we needed so we created it. The issue was finding the title for your job, like what do we call that? I love wordsmithing and I think words are so valuable. Adam’s role – this last 18 months with our Board we really focused on trying to – we have this thing called a logic model where the end goal is ending child abuse and neglect. It is such a huge task that millions of millions of people have been trying to do for thousands of years so if they haven’t done it, how in the world can we? We even say ending child abuse and neglect in our lifetime so how do we do that and one of the things we’ve known to be true is we’ve watched so many other major issues become less painful and more attended to and more understood and even become non-issues. Not completely, but in a big way, just by people talking about it and just by people working together. So as an organization we decided we’re going to focus on a couple of things. One is partners with other organizations. Let’s be friends with everybody who has any sort of touchpoint around child abuse and neglect. That doesn’t mean does the pediatrician’s office work with child abuse and neglect but does child abuse and neglect show up in that pediatric office? Absolutely. In suicide? Absolutely? In mental health? Absolutely. Education, you name it. So we needed somebody that could help us amplify our partnerships and relations with other organizations outside in the world who are doing amazing things to help their issue, so we can help them do their issue better. That’s it. the other area of focus that we decided is we’re going to work on bringing a voice and eliminating the shame around child abuse and neglect. We saw this really – the best example I can think of is the LGBTQ movement that started really in the early ‘90s. When I was a child nobody talked about being gay or lesbian or transgender or even questioning. Nobody did and if you did somebody looked at you like you had a problem and you had to come out of a closet. I genuinely believed as a little girl that people lived in closets that identified as that. Then as I aged I watched people that weren’t even LGBTQ but knew somebody that was LGBTQ and they became supportive of their life. Even with something like that there are so many people with religious beliefs and groups and cultures that are against it. So they’ve had to climb these hills of being pushed down and yet there’s policy change, there’s right, there’s community. There’s flags, there’s walks so I think about that and I think we can do the exact same thing for child abuse and neglect. Never in my life, ever once have I met anyone that’s said it’s okay that we have people that abuse kids. I’ve never heard anybody say that. It’s a unanimous vote that it shouldn’t be happening so Adam is here to help us build our army and bring voices to volunteers and to the people who have been impacted, not just people who have experienced it but people who have been impacted by it. So he’s working with volunteers, he’s working with partners, and we’re going to go, when COVID is over, we see building communities so having all these events all over the country to bring communities together and enhance that voice. So Adam has these three huge buckets so we call him an External Relationship Manager. He’s killing it already in 3 and a half weeks. You should see this guy’s slide shows. Every meeting I have with Adam he has a slideshow for that. SO in closing Adam thank you for being here. We love having you here. We’re going to do a follow up podcast in 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, maybe every one of those. Whatever, we’re going to follow up and just continue to show our listeners and all these folks who are joining us how amazing it is to have you. But I have to ask you what is your favorite childhood toy as an adult?
>> Adam: That’s a very good question. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a toy but I still have the blanket that I was born with.
>> Lori: Does it have holes in it?
>> Adam: Yes it’s very holey. It is more a rag now than a blanket but actually my mom in her craftiness sewed it to another much larger blanket that actually fits over my body now and that is the one I took to college in the two minute car ride from my house to my dorm room.
>> Lori: That’s perfect.
>> Adam: I still keep that one. For toys, I still have my Nintendo 64 which my family loves to play and yell at each other when we’re back home just like when we watched on our square inch of TV in the car taking all our family trips.
>> Lori: Awesome. Well we’re going to wrap it up here. This is the National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect’s podcast where we’re bringing a voice to the voiceless and talking about difficult things. We’ve got Adam here, he’s part of our team. We’re so elated to be sharing him with you so you can get to know who’s making all the magic happen here behind the scenes here at EndCAN. Adam thanks again for joining us and everybody have a great day.
>>Lori: I want to thank each of you again for joining us today and listening in. If you or someone you know is being abused, please call 1-800-4-A-CHILD. To learn more about EndCAN, visit www.endcan.org or find us on all social media platforms. Join us in being Louder than Silence and being a part of the change. Please leave a comment, like our podcast, or share with your friends. The more the word spreads, the more of a collective impact we can have. If you have a question or you know someone who would want to be a guest on our podcast, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again, and have a great day.