On this episode of Jessop’s Journal I’m visiting with a gentleman that I’ve know for years. He is what I would call a “master networker.” If you are looking for a person that knows about a particular topic, Joel McKay Smith is the guy to call. To put it into vernacular, he almost always “knows a guy/gal”. If he doesn’t know an expert on the topic, he “knows a guy/gal that knows the right person.”

You’ve probably heard the phrase “X degrees of Kevin Bacon” where you trace how many connections you have to connect to actor Kevin Bacon. Come to find out that Joel is 1 degree from Kevin Bacon. Here’s a little factoid for you, the movie “Footloose” was filmed in Lehi, Utah. Joel’s father just happened to be the drama teacher for the high school in Lehi and worked with said Mr. Bacon. How’s that for a connection!

DOUG – “What, to you, is networking?” JOEL – “There is no relationship that doesn’t have value. There is no introduction that doesn’t have value. If you have an opportunity to pass them off that you would perceive would enjoy their company, that is a way that you can walk away from something that is not likely to be a relationship that you would perceive or value of your interest. That’s the epitome of networking.”

Not only does Joel have a bunch of contacts, he uses those relationships to help causes that are important to him.

JOEL– “I’m extremely passionate about rural America and the restoration of our main streets which have been decaying for decades.” Let’s just say that a little birdie told me that Joel is a part of some pretty exciting things coming to the Price, Utah area.

Joel’s second cause is one that I’m passionate about as well…mental health. EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: -I like to use a phrase; “The last time I checked, the brain is connected to the body.” Mental illness is NOT a character flaw. Would you in a billion years tell a cancer patient to “snap out of it”… and yet some people seem to think that it is okay to say this to someone dealing with clinical depression or other mental health concerns.

Joel said; “Anytime I run across an instance of someone struggling with bi-polar disorder I volunteer because I’m bipolar.” Watch the full interview for Joel’s insight.

DOUG – “I interviewed a gal recently, Katie Higley, and one of the things she talked about. She had a friend that had attempted suicide and the message that they have is “it’s okay to not be okay.” What does that mean to you?” JOEL: “What is normal? What is a stereotypical way that somebody thinks? So if it’s okay to not be okay. You just find a balance point where you are not going to damage yourself or someone else or someone that you are responsible for. That is the topple point of the okay you have to be able to get to.”

DOUG- “What’s your third passion item?” JOEL – “Neurodiversity. The ability to provide employment for this incredibly brilliant class of people that has been referred to as autistic and Asperger’s, spectrum, and everything else.”

I agree wholeheartedly with Joel on the Neurodiversity issue. Guess what the unemployment rate is for people dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I promise that the number will shock you. You’ll have to watch the interview to get the answer (you really thought I was going to give you all the answers?).

I’m blessed to do a number of news story series that air on ABC4 News. It is also my pleasure to have a number of my stories appear on various Nexstar Media Group TV station websites.

*You can also see my positive business profiles called “Utah Success Stories” every Sunday in the ABC4 News at 10 p.m. and online at www.abc4.com/success

*Everyone has a Story. Stories have Power. They help us Understand each other. “Jessop’s Journal” features in-depth, on-demand interviews not normally available in the news. A new segment is published every week at www.abc4.com/journal . Sometimes I interview musicians on Jessop’s Journal and ask them to perform – those musical specials “Jessop’s Jukebox” are also available at www.abc4.com/journal.

*Watch my on-the-road series, “Jessop’s Journeys”, where I highlight People, Places and Things you might not know about, Wednesdays in “Good Things Utah” from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Previous stories are archived at www.abc4.com/journeys .

For a sneak peek at stories I’m working on and to see archives of previous stories, please consider following me at www.DougJessop.com, www.YouTube.com/dougjessop , www.Facebook.com/dougjessopnews, www.Instagram.com/dougjessopnews and www.Twitter.com/dougjessopnews

I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”

You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.

A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets , who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories. I invite you to watch each episode of Jessop’s Journal at www.ABC4.com/Journal and share these stories with your friends and neighbors.  Your feedback is always welcome at DJessop@abc4.com

I’m also grateful for the generous underwriting support of Rustico, Tailor Cooperative, JW Custom Hats and Ogden’s Own Distillery.

Thank you for watching, reading, liking, subscribing and all that other fun stuff. I’m Doug Jessop,  ABC4 News.

Doug Jessop
For Doug Jessop, it all started with a cassette recorder he got for Christmas when he was 12 years old growing up in Southern California. Doug interviewed relatives, friends and anyone else that might have a good story. You can follow Doug at www.DougJessop.com, on YouTube.com/DougJessop, and @DougJessopNews on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.