Nearly three years ago, my interviews of local Oak Park notables for the village’s local cable access channel shifted gears. While I have continued the Q & A format that encompassed my smattering of segments dating back to 2009, the program’s alliterative hook has gone from “Oak Park’s Own” to “A Beer With Baron.”
In that time, buoyed by the skillful work of Village of Oak Park Media Production Manager Joe Kreml and the gracious hospitality of The Beer Shop downstairs from my office, I have had the pleasure of interviewing:
*Dave Revsine, a national sportscasting studio anchor with the Big Ten Network and author of The Opening Kickoff, about college football’s early stages.
*Matthew James Collins, an artist who splits his time between Italy and the U.S. (and who taught me enough Italian so that I could introduce the show in that language);
*Donna Peel, co-founder of the Pro Bono Network, which provides legal outreach to those in financial need;
*Stephen Green, the Chicago Cubs team photographer (whom I also interviewed in 2009, when he had an exhibit of Cubs photos at the Oak Park Public Library);
*Robert Elder, a journalist and author who specializes in “side hustles” and co-authored “Hidden Hemingway,” a coffee table treasure that plowed new ground about Oak Park native son and literary giant Ernest Hemingway;
*Jamael “Isaiah Makar” Clark, an up-and-coming spoken-word artist/artrepreneur who is easily the youngest guest (though still of legal drinking age!) I have had on “A Beer With Baron.”
Then, yesterday, I was delighted to shoot my latest segment of “ABWB”: a conversation with Kelly Richmond Pope, the multi-talented director of “All the Queen’s Horses.”
A fascinating, thoroughly researched documentary, the film explores how Rita Crundwell pilfered over $53 million during a 20-year span as comptroller of Dixon, Illinois.
The community, known by many as Ronald Reagan’s birthplace, is now a classic case of what can happen when there are insufficient checks-and-balances on those in authority.
Pope, an accounting and accounting forensics professor at DePaul University and daughter of a former college president, provides keen insight on the psychology that underlies these types of large-scale embezzling. At the same time, she speaks blunt truth about the deference (to a fault) that people within organizations give to those in charge of the numbers (and the dollars associated with those figures).
“The person who knows the numbers,” says Pope, “is the most powerful person in the room.”
She’s speaking my math literacy language! (For more about my math literacy, or numeracy, training and workshops, visit Go Figure: Making Numbers Count.)
See the entire interview with Kelly Richmond Pope: