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INTERVIEW // Ndidi Okezie from Are You Convinced?



INTERVIEW // Ndidi Okezie from Are You Convinced?

What happens when two experts with very different views go head-to-head over the key issues surrounding young people today?  Tension!? – disbelief!? Shouting?! Or a truly entertaining and thought-provoking podcast.

Are You Convinced? is the podcast from UK Youth where Ndidi Okezie (CEO of UK Youth) and Laura McInerney (Co-founder of Teacher Tapp) take turns to persuade each other to see an issue from another point of view. They cover a wide range of topics impacting children and young people – and at the end, ask guests to help settle the questions – “Are You Convinced?”. We spoke to Ndidi to find out more about the show…

Pod Bible: Why podcasting? What is it about the format that seemed like the right fit for this project?

Ndidi: Our audience are people who have very little time for themselves (much like us!) so we wanted the show in a format that could be listened to on-the-go. Podcasts are perfect for this, as you can have them playing in your car on a journey, or in your headphones when you are working out or walking the dog. You can also listen for a bit, pause the episode and dive back in later. This means people are more likely to engage in the issues framing the discussions, which is what we are aiming for.


Did you take inspiration from any podcasts in particular before you started?

I love podcasts so I would certainly say I took inspiration from the art form itself. Some of my favourites are How I Built This, Tim Ferriss, The Learning Leader and Start UP.

After the first series, have either of your opinions shifted? Or has this been an exercise in empathy?

I start from a genuine place of curiosity at the positioning of Laura’s propositions, we are authentically in two different places more times than not. But she is (frustratingly) utterly brilliant at making logical arguments and so it just depends how willing I am to go along with (often limiting) logic over a stubborn desire for more! Impact. But we both always walk away having learnt something new. Not just from each other but from our amazing guests. Our aim is to demonstrate that it’s important to understand different views and look at situations from various perspectives. And that you can be friends and not have the same opinion on everything.

The pair are reunited” can you quickly tell us what you worked on together prior to the podcast?

Laura and I go way back. We both started teaching via the charity Teach First and our paths have crossed for many years. When I had the vision of doing a debate style podcast, Laura was the perfect person to co-host with. Our first iteration of the concept was done when I was working at Pearson and called Go With Me On This. We are really excited to be back working together on Are You Convinced?

How have you found working together again?

It’s honestly one of the highlights of the month for me. Along with our Producer extraordinaire (Sarah Myles), we’ve all been doing this together for a few years now and we make a really great team. There is really something special here and we just hope we can get as many people to discover the show because they won’t be disappointed when they do.

We often ask if you have a dream guest, but I think in this instance it is more poignant to ask: who do you think most needs to hear these discussions?

We really want to bring professions that work with/for young people together. The goal of the show, is to debate topics from a diversity of lenses. Centering youth voices is a key feature for us and one we hope to use as a bridge to bring young people and the professionals who work with them together. Our guests are experts in their field and many have real front-line experiences of what challenges young people face, as well as the best methods for tackling these. It’s important that we provoke conversations so that people can work in a more joined up ways to create positive change.

Finally, are there any other podcasts you would recommend to learn more about some of the complex issues discussed?

Podcasts from media companies often engage in debates about key social issues. Shows like Moral Maze and the work of Sky news, The Guardian etc come to mind. We really do think that we’ve found a special nuance in the ability to use a debate/competition style format to discuss serious and controversial topics, so your readers are encouraged to check out Are You Convinced? and leave us a review letting us know what you think!

Are You Convinced

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