Ronnie Polaneczky, Award Winning Journalist

“Listening, real deliberate listening, is the bedrock of empathy.”

Ronnie Polaneczky

Ronnie Polaneczky, Award-winning journalist and veteran storyteller, shared the story behind her title with us on January 25, 2023.

Ronnie is an award-winning journalist, speaker, and certified positive-psychology practitioner who uses her deep listening and reporting skills to uncover and honor what matters to us the most: Our dreams – for ourselves and for those we love. Our relationships – with others and with our own hearts. Our courage and strength – which is always, always greater than we realize. 

She’s adept at seeing the unexpected ways that decisions and actions – conscious or unconscious – shape the moments of our days. How we choose to interpret them makes all the difference in creating lives filled with meaning, joy, love, and belonging.

It just takes compassionate curiosity. 

In her TEDx talk, “The Power of Deliberate Listening,” Ronnie makes the point that the social engagement of the digital world has actually created conditions for social estrangement, encouraging us to substitute judgment for curiosity and to hold on with a death grip “our right to be right.” What can get lost, she says, is our willingness to be who we really are, “in all of our glorious, messed-up, perfectly imperfect humanity.”

Ronnie’s expertise helps us find joy again, one meaningful conversation at a time. 

She brings these insights and more to her work as a public speaker, onstage interviewer, and emcee whose warmth, smarts, honesty, and humor quickly engage and connect her with audiences – and audience members with each other. And she makes it fun!

Ronnie is a veteran journalist who has written for Redbook, Men’s Health, Marie Clare, and Good Housekeeping, among others. She has won numerous local and national journalism awards for stories she wrote over two decades as a metro columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer. In 2015, she received the coveted Eugene S. Pulliam Fellowship from the National Society of Professional Journalists and used it to explore the lives of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the families who love them. (The resulting, awarding-winning series, “Falling Off the Cliff,” can be read here.) In 2019, she created the Inquirer’s popular positive-news section, The UpSide, whose stories celebrate the best of us – and the best within us. And in 2021, she earned her certification as a practitioner of Applied Certified Psychology from The Flourishing Center in New York.  


As one of the oldest of 9 children growing up in the Philadelphia area, Ronnie was not always sure of what her place was in the world.  She would go on to discover that the option to listen to people’s stories and then write about them was actually a job!  That discovery would lead to a 23 career with her own column at The Philadelphia Inquirer.   

Listen to our interview with Ronnie below, on your favorite podcasting app, or watch on!

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