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ASPIREist is a half-hour reality feature news show which reveals the new digital newsroom, integrates inspirational stories across both linear and digital platforms and empowers 21st century viewers to take action on the issues that matter. 

ASPIREist has been called a 60 MINUTES for today’s generation. Click here to see ASPIREist in the news (pdf)

How Is ASPIREist Different From Traditional News Shows?

  • The people in our newsroom are not traditional anchors. Instead, they are “Personalities” – inspired, passionate and engaged twenty or thirty-somethings from a variety of fields. Environmentalists, activists, social entrepreneurs. All have appeared as TED Talk speakers.
  • We take audiences behind the scenes of the digital newsroom as each story is formed.  Digital assets curated on the show are all available online at our Flipboard Magazine for a deeper dive - viewers can explore story archives, and sources.
  • "Call to Action.” For every story that we cover, viewers have the ability to take action with a single click on  ASPIREist TV gets people excited about an issue and puts the power in their hands.

ASPIREist personalities


Shiza Shahid

Women’s Rights Activist
Shiza co-founded the Malala Fund with the youngest Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, and led the organization as founding CEO. She is now focused on supporting startups, innovators and entrepreneurs, particularly women, who are creating positive global impact.

Shiza has received many awards for her work including Times 30 under 30 World Changer, Forbes 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneur, WEF Global Agenda Council, Tribeca Institute Disruptive Innovator. She has been featured in multiple publications including Forbes, Fast Company, Elle, Glamour, Town and Country, The Edit, CNN, ABC, Al Jazeera, MSNBC and others.        

Shiza is a prominent speaker on millennial and women’s entrepreneurship. She speaks frequently at major international convenings including Aspen Ideas Fest, Milken Global Institute, Forbes Women, Fortune Most Powerful Women, Inc Women, Women Moving Millions, World Economic Forum and others. 

Debi Nova

Costa Rican Singer, UN Activist
Debi Nova is a Costa Rican Singer-Songwriter who has collaborated with artists including Boney James, Mark Ronson, Q-Tip, Sérgio Mendes, the Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul, Franco De Vita, and Ricky Martin.

Debi is an activist in the United Nations’ campaign “UNITE to end violence against women” organized by UN Women.

In April 2012 she was named ambassador of YUNGA (Youth and United Nations Global Alliance).

Debi has participated in 6 Grammy-nominated projects. Her album “SOY” was nominated at the 2014 Latin Grammy Awards in the category of Best Vocal Pop Album.

Philippe Cousteau, Jr

Environmental Activist, Explorer
Philippe is an award-winning television host, producer, author, speaker, philanthropist and social entrepreneur specializing in environmental activism.

Philippe is the son of Philippe Cousteau Sr. and grandson of Jacques Cousteau. 

His life-mission is to empower people to recognize their ability to change the world.

Philippe is the host and executive producer of Awesome Planet, a series that airs every Saturday morning syndicated on Fox and then Sunday free on Hulu. As a special correspondent for CNN he has hosted several award-winning shows including Going Green and Expedition Sumatra. Over the years he has hosted television series for the BBC, Animal Planet and Discovery Channel.

Clint Smith

Clint is a teacher, poet, and doctoral candidate in Education at Harvard University with a concentration in Culture, Institutions, and Society (CIS).

He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship with research interests that include critical pedagogy, mass incarceration, race, and inequality. 

Previously, he taught high school English in Prince George’s County, Maryland where, in 2013, he was named the Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council.

Seth Maxwell

Founder of Thirst Project
Seth Maxwell’s Thirst Project gets high school and college students on 320 campuses involved in solving the global water crisis. 

Over the last five years, the project has completed 829 water projects (wells and water filters) in 11 countries.

He was named one of Forbes 30 under 30.

Geena Rocero

Model, Producer, Trans Rights Advocate
On March 31, 2014, in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility, Rocero came out as transgender at the annual TED Conference, which has since been viewed almost 3 million times. Geena is the founder of Gender Proud, an advocacy and media production company that tells stories to elevate justice and equality for the transgender community.

She recently produced and presented  "Beautiful As I Want to Be" on LogoTV highlighting trans youth, for which they received a 2016 GLAAD media Award.

Geena has spoken at the White House, United Nations, and been featured on E's I am Cait, Cover of Candy Magazine, Marriott's #LoveTravels Campaign and CoverGirl #GirlsCan Campaign. 

She has been featured in media publications such as CNN, Al Jazeera America, MSNBC, Today Show, NHK Channel, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, People, Variety, Take Part, The Advocate, MTV and others.

Ben Gleib

Comedian, Writer, Producer
Ben Gleib named by TBS one of the "funniest comedians working today" is host, head writer and executive producer of "Idiotest," the Emmy nominated brain teaser game show on GSN (4th season, 210 episodes.) 

His standup special "Neurotic Gangster" is on Showtime, he's a regular on "The Today Show" on NBC, and his news / politics podcast "Last Week On Earth" debuted on iTunes at #9. 

Gleib has co-anchored ABC News digital, been a regular on-air contributor to CNN and NPR, (where he won a "Golden Mic,") co-hosted "The Young Turks," was one of the stars of "Chelsea Lately," voices characters in "Ice Age" and "The Book of Life" and made comedy history as the first comedian to stream a headline set on Facebook Live. 

ASPIREist Team

Michal Zebede (@MichalZebede), co-creator and executive producer, is a first generation American writer and producer with Costa Rican and Panamanian roots. She made her screenwriting debut with The Humbling, which stars Academy Award winner Al Pacino and was directed by Academy Award winner Barry Levinson. The film was co-adapted with Buck Henry from Philip Roth’s novel of the same name and was released in January 2015. She has written for ABC's primetime series, Castle, and for Marc Cherry’s cable series, Devious Maids. Before moving to Los Angeles, Zebede did some freelance investigative journalism for Ha’aretz, Israel’s oldest newspaper, where the topics of her front-page articles ranged from fatally ill refugees to child sex trafficking. Zebede grew up in Miami and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cornell University with degrees in Cognitive Science and Narrative Arts. Zebede is represented by CAA and The Shuman Company. 


Neal Weinberg, co-creator and executive producer, is a respected leader in the media and online advertising industry. He began his career at ABC Television in TV Network Advertising Sales for News, where he worked on Nightline, World News Tonight, GMA, and 20/20. Weinberg entered the digital advertising marketplace by co-founding Screaming Media back in 1995, which launched the first websites for major media companies and brands such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Ralph Lauren and many others. After consulting for Paramount Pictures to develop the studio’s first foray into digital advertising, Weinberg became instrumental in the launch of L90, one of the first online advertising networks which ultimately was acquired by IAC. As the founder of Involved Media, Weinberg has developed a multitude of ad technologies for Fortune 500 ad clients. The company was one of the early Facebook Preferred Marketing Developers.


Shawn Efran, showrunner and executive producer, is an award-winning producer, director, and media entrepreneur. He is the founder of Efran Films, a New York City production company specializing in high-quality documentary films. His company’s clients include NBC, ABC, The New York Times, AOL, The Weather Channel, Time, Slate, American Express, Intel, Shell, Bank of America, Schwab, Jen Air, Meredith, Vimeo, Verizon, and many more. Before starting Efran Films, Shawn was a staff producer/writer at CBS’s 60 Minutes. Shawn has received nearly every top honor in broadcast journalism including a Peabody, a Polk, two Emmys, three Society of Professional Journalist awards, the Overseas Press Club Award, an Investigative Reporters and Editors medal, a National Press Club award, multiple Editor and Publisher awards, and many others.  He is a five-time Webby honoree.


Solly Granatstein, executive producer, is a veteran TV show-runner, producer and director who specializes in human rights and investigative subjects. He worked for nearly two decades at ABC, NBC and CBS, including 12 years at 60 Minutes, where he was a producer for Mike Wallace, Bob Simon and Scott Pelley. In the past year, Granatstein was co-executive producer and Harrison Ford’s producer for Showtime’s Emmy-winning climate series Years of Living Dangerously. He directed The Real Death Valley, a multi-award-winning TV documentary. He is also co-writer of The Great Antonio, a screenplay developed by Steven Soderbergh. He is the winner of eight Emmys, a Peabody Award, a Columbia-DuPont Award, two George Polk Awards, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, four Investigative Reporters & Editors awards, including the IRE Medal, the Gerald Loeb Award, an Overseas Press Club award and three Society of Professional Journalists awards.