Blogs by InnovatorsBox®


This is InnovatorsBox’s “IB Backstage series, where in celebration of InnovatorsBox’s 6th year anniversary that’s coming up in November 2021, we are highlighting the stories of our incredible team members.

Sam Lehmert is the kindest and most patient friend you’ll ever have. When Sam realized how much he loved sound and music, it was a natural progression for him to go all in with his craft. From toy industry to educational programming (and now InnovatorsBox), Sam continues to study ways that sound can make people feel connected and curious.

I’m delighted to have met Sam and I’m thankful to Alice at Woo Woo Company for introducing us as we were building our podcast team together. Without Sam, we wouldn’t have been able to develop the magic that we do now. Meet Sam, who’ll explain how you can fall in love with sound and music in ways you never knew existed. And why pursuing goals and working hard are important components of the enjoyment he gets from his work.

InnovatorsBox Studios Team

In my Q&A with Sam, we cover why he does what he does, what is it about sound and audio engineering that he’s the most passionate about, why is creativity important for him and how he stays creative, what are some trends in the industry that she gets excited and/or worried about, and so much more!

MONICA:  How would you describe yourself in three words? 

Sam:  Reliable. Offbeat. Patient.

MONICA: Why is creativity important to you? 

Sam:  It’s hard to imagine life without it; that would feel like a prison.

MONICA: What was your favorite project, experience or memory working at InnovatorsBox? 

Sam:  It’s so hard to choose, but one of my favorites was the Dear Workplace episode “Inclusion Dilemma”, which talked about the idea of psychological safety in the workplace.

Trends about work:

MONICA: Why is audio engineering important for you? 

Sam:  It’s taken me on a lot of adventures! I think I’ve always been obsessed with music and sound, and my experience in audio engineering has allowed me to collaborate with so many people and projects. I love to find people with interesting problems and to see how I can help.

It’s hard to imagine life without creativity; that would feel like a prison.

MONICA:  What is one skill that you found to be key in being a good audio engineer? 

Sam:  Patience. Audio Engineering generally requires both listening in real-time and being able to work with people; don’t expect to rush either of these things!

MONICA: What is something new you had to learn how to do in audio engineering that you are excited about?  

Sam:  With more people recording themselves at home or over Zoom during the pandemic, I found myself pushing my audio software beyond what it was designed to do, and in the process, finding I could get really usable results despite the recordings being done in a loose manner. Even post-pandemic, I expect a lot of these workflows will continue, so I appreciate getting the hands-on experience.

MONICA:  Is there any routine you have or do that helps you stay creative? 

Sam:  I think it’s important to unplug, get outside, and give yourself space to think; the ideas will come. I’ve been learning more about meditation in the past year; I think that’s a great way to tap into your creativity, and I hope to keep learning more about it.

MONICA:  What is one audio engineering hack that you’d share for someone who is starting off? 

Sam:  There’s no need to spend a ton of money when getting started. Whether it’s a microphone you have, or simply recording on your phone; use what you already have to explore what is and isn’t working about your recordings. Change the room you’re recording in, change the position or distance of the microphone; stay curious and listen critically to any problems you’re hearing. How can you make it better? Try to reposition until you’re satisfied you have a good balance. Even the very best audio engineers will use this approach instead of relying only on software.

MONICA: What trend(s) are you seeing in audio engineering and podcasts that you are excited about and worried about? 

Sam:  I think broadcast television and film has excluded a lot of voices, and what excites me about podcasting is the opportunity for other people who are experts in the field to share their stories and experiences, and that the format allows people from across the world to connect and contribute. 

Don’t wait for things to be perfect; enjoy the moment and keep moving.Don’t wait for things to be perfect; enjoy the moment and keep moving.

Getting to know Sam

MONICA:  What advice would you give your younger self? 

Sam:  Don’t wait for things to be perfect; enjoy the moment and keep moving.

MONICA:  What is a book that you couldn’t stop reading? 

Sam:  “Time is Tight”, the auto-biography for musician Booker T. Jones

MONICA:  What are you listening to lately – music or/and podcasts? 

Sam:  For podcasts, “New Jersey Is The World” by comedian Chris Gethard; he’s actually from my hometown. For music, it’s always a wide variety but I’d like to mention the group Bright Dog Red, who mix many different styles in a way that’s very original and feels very ‘New York’ to me. An old recording of Brazilian guitarist Luiz Bonfá, “Solo In Rio 1959” has really impressed me lately, too; how much he can do with just a single guitar!

MONICA:  What are you watching lately that you really enjoyed? Why? 

Sam:  I’m very excited for the new Ghostbuster film, and the Sopranos spin-off film The Many Saints of Newark, which was filmed near me.

MONICA:  What is your favorite way to decompress? Why? 

Sam:  I go for long walks; multiple times a day if I can. Audio work will keep you pinned to a computer for hours on end, and I think it’s important to step away from screens, get moving, and give yourself the space to reflect. That’s often when I’ll find the solution I was looking for.

MONICA:  If someone is visiting New York for the first time, where would you recommend they go, eat, or do? 

Sam:  I think the High Line is something everyone would appreciate and is 100% free; it’s an elevated park built over an old rail line, so you can enjoy some great views of the city and use it to connect to different neighborhoods. New York can be very expensive, but I don’t think it’s necessary to spend a lot of money in order to have a good time there.

MONICA:  If you could travel anywhere and do anything, where would you go and what would you want to do?  

Sam:  The Philippines is high on our list. My wife’s family was from there, but she’s never been so I’d love to visit the beautiful beaches I’ve seen pictures of.

Thank you, Sam for sharing with us your insights, wisdom, and tips, and for being and bringing your compassionate and passionate self. We look forward to many more months and years working on many more creative projects to come!

To connect with Sam:

Instagram:  @smop.sam


About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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