After his sales internship with the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in April, Jamar Root couldn’t help but feel unmotivated.
Needing to find a way out of his slump, he channeled his search for motivation into helping others find theirs.
“I knew that every time I had been successful at something, I was passionate about it,” said Root, a junior sport and recreation management major. “Once COVID hit, I gave it my all on the idea of a podcast.”
Root released eight of ten episodes of the first season for his podcast, “Root of Everything”, starting with “Your Biggest Advantage,” released on Nov. 30 last year, and uploads a new episode every Monday on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and the podcast’s website.
Root launched his podcast in November 2020 as a way to offer motivational and self-help tips to young adults pursuing goals related to their passions and life goals. Though he has aspirations for a career in sports marketing and management, Root feels he can use his voice to inspire other people.
He’s given talks about diversity and inclusion as a guest speaker at various conferences including the PHL Diversity 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Conference and the 2019 National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals Conference.
“I’ve had responses from people telling me I was inspirational when talking to them about certain topics,” Root said. “From there, I had the idea of starting a podcast.”
He structures each episode of his podcast around a specific theme for others to embrace to find their passion. Root’s episode “Never Compare” focuses on not measuring one’s goals based on the success of others, while “Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable” discusses getting used to doing something outside of one’s comfort zone.
“By doing things differently and going through these bumps and bruises of what your path is giving you is going to make you even greater in the long run,” Root said in his episode, “Never Compare.”
Root recorded episodes of the first season in his apartment in early November and his producer, Reyna Binondo, edited the footage and audio.
“I feel really good about where we are,” said Binondo, a junior communication studies major. “I’m happy that we moved forward with pre-recording everything because now it’s way easier to spend our time gaining feedback and focusing on our audience.”
Binondo joined Root because she resonated with the podcast’s message to help others find their passions and wanted to help him bring it to reality, she said.
“A lot of us grew up in homes where we were expected to meet goals that were set for us and not necessarily goals that we’ve set for ourselves,” Binondo said. “I think we’re acknowledging the difficulty of the journey but recognizing the glory in achieving your goals.”
Binondo is also responsible for managing the podcast’s social media presence. The podcast currently has close to 200 downloads among streaming platforms.
Still, Root measures his success by feedback from his listeners, not his number of followers, he said.
“I look at those numbers and I love them but I love that I’ve had a lot of people personally call me or text me about how the podcast genuinely affects them,” Root said.
Aaron Mannicci, a senior sport and recreation major, enjoyed Root’s “Never Compare” episode because he feels people should view success based on what it means to them. Mannicci listens weekly and uses the podcast as a way to motivate himself toward his career goal of working in college football recruiting, he said.
“It really lights a fire under me and pushes me to work harder on a daily basis,” Mannicci said.
Mannicci started listening after he saw the trailer for the podcast released on YouTube in November.
“It can do a lot for you in terms of having the right mindset and being as productive as you can on a daily basis, “ Mannicci said. “It’s all about following and living through your passion and that’s something young people like myself need to be reminded of.”
Once he finishes season one, Root wants to be more creative with the podcast by filming vlogs and interviews with other Philadelphia and Temple-based creators on how they found their passions in his second season. He hopes it will help him catch the attention of a broader national audience, he said.
“My plan with my second season is to make it blow up,” Root said. “The second season is when I think this will become what I think this can become and I think I can make that happen with the effect I have on people.”