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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Lesbian CEO takes reins at New Thought Channel
by Melissa Wasserman
2018-10-22

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At New Thought Channel, Paula Langguth Ryan serves as the chief financial officer, chief operating officer, marketing director and promotions manager. Now, has taken on yet another role: CEO.

In Indiana, Ryan was born on the same family farm as all the other women in her family on her mother's side for generations. She then grew up in Des Plaines and her family kept moving west.

At 17, she went to college in Grinnell, Iowa. Halfway through her freshman year, she came out as a lesbian and her parents kicked her out of the house.

"My father raised us to believe that our parents would love us no matter what and I think I just had this huge midwestern naivety, so I'd always been 100 percent authentic and open about things," said Ryan. "So, I came out thinking 'okay my parents are going to love me no matter what.' So, I came out just because it never dawned on me there would've been any kind of rejection. People's fears are huge."

Growing up, Ryan originally wanted to be a minister.

"Somewhere I got in my head—I think it was right around the time Harvey Milk was killed—that gay people can't be ministers ... that gay people couldn't even be religious, was kind of the take on it," said Ryan. "When I found Unity [Church] … it was fascinating for me to walk my path and realize that it was not only okay to go to church and be gay, but it was okay to be a minister. So, I pursued that and I was ordained, formally, about 12 years ago now."

It was also at 17 that Ryan began her career in the entertainment industry, writing freelance articles and hosting her own radio show on KDIC-FM in Iowa, as a way of paying her own way through college. After completing her sophomore year, she could not afford school anymore, so she dropped out and moved to New York City. She supported her freelancing career in New York with four other jobs.

Wanting more for herself, she entered the editorial side of publishing, having worked at places like Scholastic Books, McGraw Hill, Computer Science Press and Phillips Publishing.

Ryan is also a long-time LGBT activist, during which she exercised her calm presence to serve as a mediator doing crowd control at the march to Battery Park in the mid-'80s.

In 1994, Ryan further pursued her passion for writing, editing and marketing and founded Pellingham Casper Communications, a corporate communications firm specializing in New Thought, metaphysical approaches to communications and publishing.

In 2007, Pellingham Casper Communications split into two entities: CM Press, a traditional direct mail publishing house; and Compassionate Mediators, a mediation firm specializing in communications consulting, mediations, negotiations and conflict-resolution training. As the chief financial officer at Compassionate Mediators, Ryan also serves as advisor, leadership trainer and communications consultant for businesses and spiritual organizations.

Over the years, Ryan has moved around the country, syndicating content to newspapers nationwide, including a book review column and film review column. She has also hosted her own radio shows: Abundance IS Yours! and Conflict Free Zone radio show was a daily show heard worldwide for two years. Additionally, she is the author of Giving Thanks: The Art of Tithing. Currently, Ryan lives in Denver with her wife and 10-year-old son.

"I'm the alphabet-soup girl," said Ryan, with a laugh, of all the office positions she has held at New Thought Channel. She officially took on the CEO position in July 2018.

"I'm loving it," said Ryan of her CEO position thus far. "I've ran my own company for 25 years, a mediation firm and a publishing company, and having to defer decisions and wait for someone else to catch the vision was a little challenging for me. So, now it's easier for me to say 'this is what I'm excited about, this is the direction I think we should take, here's why.' Jim [Lefter, New Thought Channel's founder and former CEO] trusts me, that's the biggest [thing]. We go back so long that he knows I'm not going to steer the company in a bad direction."

New Thought Channel is a niche streaming service for viewers interested in new thought, metaphysical, spiritual ( but not religious ), inspirational and empowering programming. While content is added on a daily basis, Ryan said there are more than 1,200 videos from almost 100 shows. The channel is also getting ready to produce its first feature film about The Kybalion ( the study of the Hermetic philosophy of ancient Egypt and Greece ). At least 10 percent of content is from LGBTQ community members, with more content coming, Ryan added.

Ryan emphasized the importance she sees in helping LGBT people get back in touch with a sense of spirituality and ritual.

"What fascinated me about New Thought Channel was here's a way that anybody can access these teachings," she explained of the organization that she came into by accident all those years ago. "There's a way for us to create a sense of connection with whatever that is that's bigger than us, whether we think it's within us, it is us, it's outside of us, whatever. My philosophy is always 'whatever path brings you peace.'"

To learn more about New Thought Channel, visit NewThoughtChannel.com .


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