By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
For the October iteration of Palisades Podcast, hosts Maryam Zar and Steve Cron welcome writer, mom and Palisadian Lisa Sweetingham Wallin.
“Lisa Sweetingham Wallin is the equivalent of a literary hero,” Zar shared ahead of the release of the episode.
She wrote “Chemical Cowboys” in 2009, which is about a decades-long DEA operation that led to the toppling of a global ecstasy network worth billions of dollars, Zar explained. The book, which is now being developed into a documentary, took years of investigative reporting, including hundreds of interviews and gaining the confidence of both law enforcement agencies around the world and former members of organized crime.
“Less than a decade later, she co-wrote ‘Thirst,’ the story of a nonprofit that upended the traditional model of philanthropy and became one of the most innovative nonprofits around the world, providing water to millions of people around the world who live in nations where running water is not a foregone conclusion,” Zar said.
It was in that decade that Sweetingham Wallin became a wife and a mother, returning to Pacific Palisades where she met her husband, Bruce Wallin. She grew up in the area, attending Paul Revere and Palisades High schools.
“The two now live in the Palisades and are raising their daughter in the same places where they thrived as children,” Zar said. “Lisa credits her husband with making her professional achievements, as well as her role as mom, a success. He does all the cooking and the grocery shopping, and the two have managed life under COVID in a way that reminds them to be grateful for the privilege of being able to get by in these trying times, relatively unscathed.”
Sweetingham Wallin previously was the editor-in-chief of Time Out Los Angeles and later Angeleno Magazine, senior staff writer for “Court TV,” and copy chief for Icon—a fashion company that liaised with LA-based artists to create bespoke accessories.
She also collaborated on “The Power of Ethics,” which serves as a guide for ethical decision making in the 21st century, and edited “Instinct,” a book designed to help understand the human stress response under COVID-19 and what to do about it.
“Lisa, with the appearance of a supermodel and the disposition of an aid worker, is a trial reporter at heart,” Zar concluded. “She has an instinct for what’s authentic and an eye for revealing the truth behind any narrative.”
Zar and Cron sat down with the Columbia University graduate and karate black belt to talk about all of this—plus the power of resilient thinking, a productive spirit, a supportive community and the power of the written word.
The Palisadian-Post has teamed up with Zar and Cron to present the Palisades Podcast. Each month, we will bring you an interview, hosted by Zar and Cron, highlighting extraordinary lives you might not otherwise have a chance to meet.
Previous guests include Anne Kerr-Adams, LAPD Captain Jonathan Tom, Steve Soboroff and Councilmember Mike Bonin.
To listen to this episode of Palisades Podcast and more, visit palipost.com/palipodcast.
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