Ellen Pompeo is eager to share her voice — and give others the opportunity to be heard.
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the Grey's Anatomy star, 51, opens up about the launch of her upcoming — and highly anticipated! — podcast, Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo.
"I feel like we're so divided right now and anything that connects us is a wonderful medium," Pompeo says of her decision to start a podcast. "It's a way to bring people together. I listen to podcasts and think of things that I never thought of before, or have empathy for a situation after I've heard somebody's opinion about it or the way someone else thinks about something, as opposed to the way I think about it. So I'm hoping that this can be a connector of sorts and a teacher and a platform for people."
On the weekly show, Pompeo will sit down with guests from all walks of life, including attorneys, doctors, authors, creators, for candid conversations on a wide range of topics.
One guest fans can look forward to hearing from? Her former Grey's Anatomy costar Patrick Dempsey.
"It was really fun to catch up with all his stuff," she says of her chat with Dempsey, who made a brief return to Grey's last season. "I mean, him and I talked privately obviously, but I think to give our fans 45 minutes of what our conversations look like when we do talk or when we hike or when we have lunch, that was pretty fun to be able to give the fans a little peek into what our conversations look like."
Though Pompeo admits she's passed on the opportunity to do a podcast in the past, the actress and producer says she finally felt like the perfect time had come to take on the project.
"I had been approached by several different companies [to do a podcast] and I always said, 'No,' because I have a job," says Pompeo. "I have a few jobs. I'm a mother and I have three kids, and I have my day job. So I wasn't really interested in taking on something else. Plus, I wasn't really into podcasts. I didn't really listen to them ever, so I didn't really fully understand the marketplace."
"And then COVID hit, and I was approached again and thought, 'Well, if we're in this pandemic another year and I'm stuck in my house and can't work, this might be something to keep me busy and something interesting to do.'"
Pompeo says her goal for the podcast — which is produced by Cadence13 — is to simply give her audience something "fun and enlightening" to listen to.
"I hope they just find it fun and enlightening," says Pompeo. "I hope they think of something they hadn't thought of before, or they come away with more empathy for a situation that they didn't have before, or they think about things from a different point of view."
"It's called Tell Me because it's about listening, which I think is something that everybody can benefit from doing," she adds. "I tell my kids all the time, 'Listen more than you speak.' I think there's a lot of value in listening."
The first three episodes featuring Yara Shahidi, Michelle Harper and Dempsey will launch Sept. 29 everywhere podcasts are available. New episodes will be available Wednesdays.