Announcing A Slight Change of Plans Hosted by Dr. Maya Shankar

Pushkin Industries is teaming up with cognitive scientist Dr. Maya Shankar to launch A Slight Change of Plans, a new podcast premiering May 20th that explores the question: What exactly happens when we find ourselves at the brink of change?

When Maya Shankar was 15-years-old, her promising career as a concert violinist personally mentored by Itzhak Perlman came to an abrupt end. A serious hand injury forced her not only to give up her dream, but to rediscover her identity in the process. Inspired by her personal story, Shankar has spent the last two decades studying how and why we change. After earning a Ph.D. from Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and a postdoc in cognitive neuroscience at Stanford, Shankar served in the Obama White House where she founded the White House Behavioral Science Team, which worked to create better policy using insights from behavioral science. 

Each episode in the 12-part season of A Slight Change of Plans showcases a thought-provoking story of change, ranging from the extraordinary stories of real-life inspirations to the little-known personal stories of some very familiar names. “Through my experiences, I realized there’s this treasure trove of wisdom out there on how we navigate change. And it’s not in a textbook; it’s in people’s stories,” says Maya Shankar, who serves as both the Host and Executive Producer of the podcast. 

This season’s guests include Tiffany Haddish on her transformation from foster care kid to Emmy-winning comedian; a former member of the extremist Westboro Baptist Church on her experience walking away from a cult; Kacey Musgraves on how psychedelics changed her perspective on art; a 16-year old and a teacher who survived the Sandy Hook shootings on how they continue to process this change; a Black jazz musician who convinced hundreds of KKK members to leave the Klan; and Hillary Rodham Clinton on a career rife with changes big and small.

Maya Shankar brings warmth and curiosity to these intimate conversations, which combine raw, gripping stories with a hint of cognitive science. Shankar says, “My hope is that the range of stories we hear will leave us thinking differently about how we approach change in our own lives.”