1) Rewind: What did you value at 13?
My family has always been the most important thing to me. Up until that age I was doing my best to abide by the values that my parents instilled in me, and Jewish rituals and traditions were a major tool that they used. I started growing out of my goody-2-shoes stage right after that though, as my mother (half) kiddingly says that if I’d had my Bat Mitzvah at 14 she would have given a very different speech than the one she gave just a year earlier (I guess that’s when I started my teenage talk-back phase).
2) Play: What's important to you today?
Family is still the most important thing to me, but now I’m looking at creating my own with my wife Sara which is exciting and beautiful and complex. Balancing caring for the roots of the family that I grew up in and the new, distinct branch of it that Sara and I are growing can be tricky, but there’s so much that my parents and brothers gave me that I want to give our future children. At the same time, as a couple we’re looking at how to “reboot” the Jewish rituals and traditions of my heritage meaningful in a way that feels right for both of us.
3) Fast Forward: What do you commit to doing for yourself, your family and your community?
I commit to staying true to myself, my family and my friends, while continuing to grow, learn and change. I commit to using my passion and my skills for the greater good in whatever ways I can. I’ve taken a particular interest in education and poverty and as I look to help make a dent in those overwhelming areas, I will try to remember that no deed is too small to be worthy of taking the time.
Talia Osteen Hess is half of the songwriting duo, The Wellspring. They've toured the U.S., released 4 albums, and have composed the score for comedy films COFFEE TOWN (HBO) and SLOW LEARNERS (IFC/Sundance). She has directed and produced in the film industry and was previously VP of Production and Development at Overnight Productions in NY. Talia is currently using her producing skills in a new field that she's become passionate about - education. She is working with the Youth Policy Institute to start a pilot program called the Promise FAMILY for economically disadvantaged high schoolers in Los Angeles, providing tutoring, mentoring, community advocacy, career/college planning and financial aid in an effort to decrease the high school dropout rate and increase college enrollment in impoverished communities.