In this occasional Finding America Team Corner, we’re introducing talent from the 15 Finding America productions. This Q+A has been lightly edited for space and clarity.
Finding America production: Producer with Beyond Belief at KCPT. Beyond Belief is led by independent producer Steve Mencher, with station collaborator KCPT Vice President of News Janet Saidi. With digital and broadcast storytelling and events designed with partners in Kansas City, Missouri, Beyond Belief is exploring the interplay of religious life with youth culture, race, civic engagement and economic disparity.
— Steve Mencher (@menschmedia) March 8, 2016
Bio: I’m from and grew up in Kansas City. I’m an undergraduate at Kansas City Art Institute double majoring in filmmaking and creative writing. I grew up with books and a camcorder. By the time I fell in love with video, I knew I wanted to make books and movies my whole life.
What is one thing you’ve learned while working on Beyond Belief so far? I learned the importance of good leadership. Being a leader means handling all situations with maturity, and that leads to good action. I see that in the communities we observe, good leadership is what separates good action from chaotic dialogue.
What are you inspired by right now? Bees, water, Jungian psychology, faith in God, snail shells, staircases, monochrome photography.
Do you have any podcast recommendations? I really love the seanwes podcast for creative entrepreneurs. The podcast Writing Excuses, I’ve been listening to for 10 years. And Tiny Spark, which talks about issues around philanthropy and charities — when or where else are you going to learn that?
What is one thing you love about the city you live in? Ibis Bakery.
What is one thing you wish would change about the city you live in? More public transit, for sure.
What does finding America look like to you/or in your city? Embracing the globalized economy while nurturing local economy.
Tell us one random fact about yourself: I’m synesthetic.
Anything to add? People will learn to accept each other when they learn to follow their own dreams.
Learn more about Ayah’s work on her portfolio. Find videos and images from Beyond Belief on KCPT.org, Follow all of Finding America with the hashtag #FindingAmerica on Twitter and Instagram. Sign up to stay up to date with Finding America here: http://bit.ly/FindingAmericaSignUp.