person rock climbing

Resiliency | TCOM Podcast

We are introducing both Michele McFadden and Cynthia Alpan, who were recently featured on the new TCOM podcast, “shift, shift…Bloom!“. This podcast examines how people change, and to do this, we ask individuals who consider themselves change-makers, change embracers or change resistors to share their personal stories of transformation.

EP 6: See the Step in Front of You, with Michele McFadden

Michele McFadden

A native of small-town Missouri, Michele McFadden grew up the 7th of 9 children, earned a degree in Computer Science, ran marathons and had a thriving career in IT. In March 2015, she was struck by a hit-and-run driver on her way to work. Michele was left with a traumatic brain injury that significantly impaired her physical and verbal abilities and her memory, among other things.

“You can rehabilitate to a certain point, but you can never recover from a brain injury.”

Michele recounts her experience in physical, cognitive, and occupational therapy after the incident. After she was released by the hospital, she was told by one of her doctors that her brain will figure out how to do things, and no one would notice, and she found that to be true.

“I don’t have feeling in my feet, but I can walk. I don’t have feeling in my hands, but I can cook.”

Michele also says that she is grateful for all the people who are in her day-to-day life. She finds herself more accepting after her incident. She discusses how her daily life has changed (down to her senses), but how there is at least one positive that has occurred.  

“I was headed to a path towards substance abuse [prior to the brain injury] with alcohol, and suddenly that compulsion is gone. Somehow, with this brain injury, it just got turned off.”

While her recovery is ongoing, Michele is an accomplished home chef and devoted advocate for rescue dogs, donating countless hours to Buckeye Bulldog Rescue. Her conversation with TCOM podcast host, Kristen Cerelli, illuminates how a change that is thrust upon you can sometimes shift things for the better.

Podcast Episode:

Connect with Michele: Buckeye Bulldog Rescue – Website


EP 7: Imagine Your Money Gone, with Cynthia Alpan

Cynthia Alpan

Lebanese native Cynthia Alpan came to the United States to attend college and came to love the American way, working her way up the ladder in the financial services industry. In the late 1990s, love and motherhood brought her back to Lebanon, and she’s still there today, struggling through one of the worst financial crises the world has ever seen.

“My salary is worthless. It’s equivalent to nothing now.”

Cynthia has dedicated her career to understanding financial markets and advising others as they planned their fiscal goals. However, her knowledge took a backseat to the wishful belief that what happened in her homeland of Lebanon would not and could not happen. Practically overnight, everything changed in August 2019.

“People in Lebanon are committing suicide, starving, or depending on donations and family oversees.”

When the banking crisis started in Lebanon, Cynthia was with her daughter in Instabul, Turkey shopping and saw the news of the revolution. Once back in Lebanon, they found banks with locked doors and realized their credit cards stopped working. Banks restricted how much money people were allowed to withdraw, first starting with $1,000 USD a month. Now, the average Lebanese citizen is allowed to withdraw $172 USD a month, which is barely enough for electricity in her country.

Her story sheds light on the immense losses — of money, access, safety, and future dreams — now facing Cynthia and millions like her, and reminds us to find gratitude in the small things.

Podcast Episode:

Connect with Cynthia: LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: