Ryan Berman talks to thought leaders from around the globe in business, sports and entertainment to uncover what it means to be courageous in today's world.

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Season Two

The Courageous Podcast—Episode #130

Paul Hutchinson – Founder of Child Liberation Foundation

The universe had different plans for Paul Hutchinson who, today, is the Executive Producer of Sound of Freedom which grossed more than $100 Million in box office sales within its first 2 weeks. While he was training to be a doctor, Paul suffered a life altering injury in a horrible car accident. Unable to pursue his path in medicine, Paul pivoted and co-founded what turned out to be a multi-billion dollar company in Bridge Investment Group Partners. Today, not only does Paul raise and donate millions of dollars to child related charities, he risks his life for the rescue of children in slavery. In this episode, Paul shares some stories from his 70 undercover rescue missions across 15 countries in the last decade. The two also discuss the power of having “unwavering conviction” needed to overcome fear. Finally, Paul makes a case for why we all should start giving back now and he shares how any person can incorporate his “do good” give-back formula in their everyday life.

The Courageous Podcast—Episode #129

Kate Winick – Social Media & Brand Marketing Expert

Kate Winick is a Social Media Swiss Army Knife. She is a keynote speaker, thought leader, and an elite player in building social media programs for brands like Clique, Elle, and, most recently, Peloton. Her work has appeared in ELLE, Who What Wear, Today, Yahoo, and Martha Stewart. In her conversation with host Ryan Berman, Kate shares her journey from journalist to social media guru and many lessons she has learned along the way.  They discuss what it was like to lead a social media team at a company going through exponential growth. And they reminisce on what it was like to guide a brand — and the severe challenges that came with it (See: all UGC content) — during the height of the pandemic. Kate also shares why she believes happiness wins over anger on social and provides a handful of other high-level insights for any leader looking to make a meaningful dent through their social channels.

The Courageous Podcast—Episode #128 

Gary Ware – Founder of Breakthrough Play

Unleash the power of play. Gary Ware integrates playfulness into every aspect of his work. It’s not for the sake of play itself, but to help teams unlock and be more productive. He is an author, founder, speaker, and improv actor who quickly discovered that combining improv and play could be a powerful solution to achieving various business challenges. Thus, Breakthrough Play was born. In their conversation, Gary gives actionable advice on how he goes about opening up a team to have a hard but necessary conversation to speak their truth. They also discuss Gary’s book, Playful Rebellion, a literal “play” book for unlocking success across your organization.

The Courageous Podcast—Episode #127

Shelby Stanger – Author of Will to Wild

Don't be afraid to take the scenic route.  Shelby Stanger treats everything in life like an adventure.  Whether it’s writing her latest book, Will to Wild, or hosting her hit podcast Wild Ideas Worth Living, she embraces the peaks, valleys, and everything in between.  In her conversation with host Ryan Berman,  Shelby speaks on the transformational power an outdoor adventure can have to build courage and inspire new ideas. The two also touch on the popular concept that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Spoiler Alert: Shelby shares her “top five.” Finally, They dive into the power of humor to move people and discuss why including detail is essential to eliciting emotion in storytelling.

The Courageous Podcast—Episode #126

Eason Yang – Founder & Design Director at NED

Eason Yang was on top of his game in his career until cancer shattered his life at the age of 33. But you know what they say about tough times—they reveal the toughest people. Instead of letting the cancer blues bring him down, Eason willed his way into social entrepreneurship and birthed NED (Not Entirely Dead) to take on the biased systems that put cancer survivors and career gaps in a bind. Within just 18 months of its launch, Eason bagged the AIGA Social Design Award in 2022 and even snatched the prestigious Fast Company's World Changing Ideas award in 2023. In a candid and empowering conversation centered on confronting fear amidst adversity, Eason shares with Ryan his remarkable two-year journey battling cancer head-on. He recounts the incredible tale of how he connected with Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, the esteemed physician of Lance Armstrong, through a daring cold call. Their conversation delves into Eason's profound motivation for founding NED— and how what once felt like a solitary struggle, a "you vs. you" battle, now transforms into a unifying force, bringing people with a common cause together.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #125

Michael Marquis – CEO at Raw Sugar

Michael Marquis is the CEO at Raw Sugar, a national lifestyle brand that makes clean, premium, and healthy living products affordable. Prior to Raw Sugar, Michael held several major executive roles at Johnson & Johnson where he oversaw the success of brands such as Clean & Clear®, Listerine®, and the OGX® hair care brand. In a candid conversation with Ryan, Michael shares invaluable insights emphasizing the importance of team structure and relentless dedication to continuous improvement. We’ll also learn about Michael's leadership philosophy as Ryan probes whether he leads his team as a cohesive family unit or a high-performing sports team. Finally, Michael shares why he made the leap to lead Raw Sugar and what he learned from (once upon a time) being an All-American college rower.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #124

Nicole Ayers – Business Unit Director at General Mills

Meticulously crafted plans. The essence of decisiveness. The inevitability of change. Nicole Ayers oversees a staggering billion-dollar enterprise comprised of household staples like Lucky Charms, Trix, Golden Grahams, and Coco Puffs. As a key force behind the cereal empire at General Mills, Nicole delves into the makeup and psychology of these beloved brands found in most pantries across America. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, Nicole exposes her winning formula for surmounting challenges with her team that drive the business forward. Nicole also shares with Ryan what it's like to be a black woman in the boardroom today, delving into a few ways she is looking to move the ball forward in the arena of diversity and inclusion at General Mills and beyond. Finally, Nicole shares with Ryan her unique path from working in money to pivoting into marketing and how that has shown up as a competitive advantage for her.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #123

Dr. Howard Berman – Founder and CEO at Coya Therapeutics, Inc.

What if you could slow down Alzheimer’s or ALS? That’s exactly the deeply personal journey Dr. Howard Berman, Founder and CEO at Coya Therapeutics, finds himself on. To day, Howard runs a mission-driven company that is making remarkable breakthroughs in the world of T-Cells. Driven by his father's personal battle with Dementia, Howard has embarked on a relentless quest for a cure. Along his journey, he uncovered an extraordinary technology devised by the brilliant Dr. Stanley Appel that gave him the courage to leave his last life in pharmaceuticals. In this episode, Dr. Berman speaks on the science of fear and the negative physical effects it can have on our bodies. Howard also gives listeners an educational crash course on what dementia is and the many ways it can rear its unfortunate, ugly head. It’s Berman to Berman on this episode of the Courageous Podcast.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #122

Cody Barbo – Founder and CEO at Trust & Will

Spoiler alert: we’re all going to die some day. Yet, 67% of Americans are completely unprepared for that reality with no trust or will presently in place. Enter Entrepreneur Cody Barbo and his Trust & Will team. For the last 6 years, Cody and his partners have been working around the clock to disrupt a complicated estate planning industry. In this conversation, Cody shares with Ryan how he might not have been your first guess (see: not a Lawyer) when it came to entering this regulated industry. Cody shares how he and his founders were perplexed that there wasn’t an easy, fast, and secure way to set up an estate plan online — which is why they decided to create this on their own. Finally, Cody shares forward his entrepreneurial path inspired by the visionary Steve Jobs and the groundbreaking release of the first iPhone. Cody also gives some great advice staying a perpetual student in life which includes how he uses social media to curate the “classroom you want to be in every day”.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #121

Marie Griffin – Founder/President at GRIFFIN Media

Marie Griffin doesn't tell clients what to say, she teaches them how to think. From losing everything in her mid-30s to working with names like Gaga, Rhianna, and Beckham on the Media PR side of her firm GRIFFIN Media, Marie has defined her life by making bold moves. Despite lacking prior experience in broadcast or PR, Marie established a successful broadcast PR firm that has now partnered with renowned brands such as Nordstrom, Dior, Adidas, and the WSJ Magazine, just to name a few. In her conversation with Ryan, Marie reveals her superpower: building trust and consistently delivering on her commitments. Marie also debunks the misconception that people fear public speaking, emphasizing that our true apprehension lies in the fear of judgment, a challenge that requires internal resolution. Finally, they delve into CATNIP™, the speaking division of Griffin Marketing & PR, where Marie collaborates closely with clients to discover their irresistible qualities, fostering their development and enabling them to effectively communicate the unique attributes that set them apart.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #120

John Lehr – Comedic Performer, Writer and Producer

Fresh off a 6 city comedy tour, Ryan sits down with the multi-talented John Lehr. You might recognize John as one of the original Geico Cavemen, or from his numerous TV show appearances, including the legendary "Friends." But John is more than an actor - he's a seasoned monologist and comedian who isn't afraid to talk openly about his over twenty years of sobriety on his "Cold. Sober. Comedy." tour. In their conversation, Ryan picks John's brain on the Hollywood writers strike and what it means to creativity. They also dive into a concept Ryan calls "body jumping" and explore the art of observing ourselves in those moments when fear creeps in. Finally, they delve into the intriguing concept that sometimes the most challenging experiences can unexpectedly become our greatest blessings, as John unveils his awe-inspiring tale of rebirth following his courageous path to sobriety.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #119

Danielle Hawley – Global Executive Creative Director at Uber

It hasn’t always been a smooth ride for the people at Uber. In 2019, with the arrival of new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, the culture took a U-turn for the better. Four months into his tenure, our guest Danielle Hawley, was hired. Today, Danielle is Uber’s Global Executive Creative Director. A master at creating experiences that keep the promises brands make, Danielle will be the first to tell you that creative isn't a deliverable, it is the culture. In their conversation, Ryan and Danielle discuss her joining the company amidst the pandemic during a crucial moment of Uber’s transformation. Through the power of emotional storytelling and data-enabled creativity, Uber answered the question: “how can we service people as a movement company in a time where no one can move?” They also dive into what separates really good creatives from great creative leaders, and why “finding your people” in business should be your everything.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #118

Kareem Rahma – Comedian, Musician, and Media Entrepreneur

Comedian, Musician, Producer, Entertainer: The content cup has runneth over from the hilarious Kareem Rahma. If you’ve seen his “Keep The Meter Running” series then you know there are many layered notes to Kareem’s madness. From albums to deal-making to comedy, Rahma and his multifaceted endeavors all share one common thread: Fun. Fresh from his debut live concert performance, Kareem joins Ryan to delve into the captivating tapestry of his diverse ventures. Unraveling the distinction between hedonism and epicureanism, Kareem unveils how prioritizing fun has not only enriched his own life but transformed him into a better person. Finally, Kareem shares invaluable advice to fellow creators, reminding them of the importance of “taking L’s” without losing heart.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #117

Matt LeBris – Host of Decoding Success

A Forbes 30 Under 30 nominee, Matt LeBris is a born and raised New Yorker whose current hustle is the pursuit of turning inward, with the goal of unlocking his core essence. Matt has previously worked for Shark Tank's Daymond John and now hosts the globally acclaimed podcast, Decoding Success. In their conversation, Ryan and Matt chop it up around their unique, and somewhat unconventional definitions of success and unlock the secrets of the equation E+P=O. The two podcast hosts also discuss what brought them to the medium, and what they've learned along the way. The conversation also delves into Matt's remarkable journey, where every setback becomes a stepping stone, earning him a "masters degree in getting knocked down" and an equally profound "PHD in getting back up." It's another inspiring and engaging episode of the Courageous Podcast that you won't want to miss!


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #116

Taras Wayner – Founder of Fear Incorporated

After fighting and beating cancer for the third time, everyone told Taras Wayner he was the most courageous person they knew, but Taras didn't perceive himself that way. Intrigued by fear's impact on his life, he embarked on a journey to unravel its secrets. Thus, Fear Incorporated was born. In this enlightening episode of The Courageous Podcast, Ryan and Taras delve into the phenomenon of fear and its crippling ability to stop Corporate America in its tracks. They challenge the conventional notion of fearing fear itself and explore the liberating concept of embracing -- then conquering — fear altogether. They also touch upon Taras' upcoming book on the topic which is a satirical guide that unravels fear's playbook. Drawing from Taras' illustrious background as a former Chief Creative Officer at renowned agencies like Saatchi and Saatchi, Wunderman, and R/GA, the discussion ventures into the exciting yet nerve-racking crossroads of Taras' career. Together, Ryan and Taras navigate the path forward with an open mind, uncovering the potential for growth and transformation that lies within every fearful, daunting challenge.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #115

Tim Bantle – CEO at Eddie Bauer

It's almost as if Tim Bantle was destined for his current role as CEO of Eddie Bauer. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Live Your Adventure® could easily double as Tim’s personal slogan, as he has hopped from skiing to rock climbing expeditions throughout his life. Now, after time at both Patagonia and North Face, Tim's living his corporate adventure of driving forward a 100-year-old brand. In this episode, we learn how Tim is driven by questions (not his ego) which helps him sponge up new things about the company he runs on a daily basis. We cover the origin story of a real, live outdoorsman named Eddie Bauer. And we take part in a brave conversation on life, leadership, and the pursuit of a legacy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #114

Buddy Teaster – CEO at Soles4Souls, Inc

Be clear on the ‘why’, flexible on the ‘how’. Let’s walk in the shoes of Buddy Teaster. Buddy is using shoes and clothing to create opportunities for millions as he runs Soles4Souls, where they collect and distribute shoes and clothing around the world. In his conversation with host Ryan Berman, Buddy gives listeners actionable advice to move towards a purposeful career, and also reminds us that you don’t necessarily need to switch jobs to start making an impact. Buddy also touches on how Soles4Souls has been able to help people through the power of shoes in places like Haiti, Honduras, and right here in the U.S. by providing free shoes that can boost morale, and enable the ability to walk long distances to places like school and work. He and Ryan also discuss what T.E.A.M stands for, and find similarities between Soles4Souls and one of Ryan’s organization, SockProblems, which “socks" problems in the world with altruistic socks.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #113

Will Misselbrook – Chief Creative Officer and Chief Content Officer at LA Galaxy

When most British folks talk about football, they’re bantering over the one where players score goals vs field goals. But in this episode of The Courageous Podcast, Will Misselbrook shares his story of being front and center for the most talked about rebrand in NFL history. Will takes us behind-the-curtain for a look at his work with the recent rebrand of the Washington Commanders. This includes a look into what it took to build and run a first-of-its-kind Branded Entertainment Studio in the NFL, composed of content creators, designers, producers, marketers and social media specialists. Will also touches on his new journey with his recent move to the “other football” — now the Chief Creative Officer/Chief Content Officer at the iconic LA Galaxy. This includes his current challenge of re-igniting a ravenous fan base who are craving a return to their glory days.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #112

Emma Lovewell – Author of Live Learn Love Well

You can’t hate yourself into change. You must love yourself into greatness. Star Peloton instructor Emma Lovewell’s journey to success began with a simple realization: Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. As of this week, Emma isn’t just the founder of Live Learn Lovewell, an Under Armour athlete, or an all-around wellness expert — she’s also now an author. In this episode, Ryan and Emma dive into her new book. Conversations run the gamut including her relationship with her family, her fellow Peloton instructors and her fans. Emma also touches on how she honed her storytelling skills through her Peloton classes, which ultimately helped her to become a stronger author. Emma also speaks on why she usually opts for the scarier situation when she has a choice, using these moments to learn and grow instead of remaining stagnant.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #111

Tim Ellis – EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at NFL

Think the NFL runs a six month season? Think again. The NFL is now an around-the-clock machine deliberately churning out content and programs year round. At the center of those stories is the NFL's EVP and Chief Marketing Officer Tim Ellis. A true innovator, Tim has accumulated more prestigious awards than he can count over his three decades as a marketing professional. This includes winning Marketer of the Year by Ad Age, being recognized as a top CMO by Adweek, while being awarded with 4 Emmys along the way. In this episode of the Courageous Podcast, Ryan asks Tim what it’s really like to work for Commissioner Roger Goodell. Tim also shares what he perceives to be his boldest move during his time with the NFL so far. And, finally, Tim explains what the NFL's “helmets off” strategy means, and why storytelling around players is the secret to the NFL connecting more authentically with audiences old and new.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #110

A Courageous Conversation with Robert Duran

A few months back, you may remember my podcast with Robert Duran who had been fighting Pancreatic Cancer. In late March, Robert entered hospice. Last week, Robert (as he would put it) left this world for “2.0”. Robert was an anomaly in more ways than one. He defied the odds and battled the king of cancers for just under a decade. Along the way, he raised heaps of awareness and money for PAN CAN. I was able to spend an hour with Robert at the end of March when he arrived home to start hospice. It covers a coherent soul having the conversations he needed to have as well as a look back at his life. His spirit and passion for making a dent lives on in a lot of us — including me. Please consider listening to our conversation and making a donation on Robert’s behalf at


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #109

Chef David Burke – Author, Entrepreneur, & Award-Winning Chef

If you could have dinner with any four people, dead or alive, who would it be? Now what if you could make dinner for those four people? What would you serve up? On this episode, culinary master and TV personality Chef David Burke playfully shares his answers on what we he would create for a certain athlete, rock & roll star, family member (he never met) and love interest. While most know Chef Burke from his multiple appearances on Iron Chef and Top Chef, most are unaware that his culinary journey started as a Dishwasher. With passion, hard work, curiosity and courage, Burke's adventures began to take flight — literally — across the Ocean. He has cooked in Norway for Prince Charles. He has been honored with Japan’s Nippon Award of Excellence. And he was the first in America to serve-up his infamous “clothesline bacon”. If you wanted to know which of his senses is his favorite, how fear has driven Chef Burke to stay “in the arena” or what David Burke wishes his last meal on earth would be…and who would cook it for him….this is the episode for you.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #108

Emilia Fazzalari – Co-Founder & CEO at Cincoro Tequila

How do you bring five fiercely competitive NBA owners together off the court for the creation of a new joint venture? Through a shared passion for tequila, obviously.  On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, Co-Founder and CEO at Cincoro Tequila, Emilia Fazzalari, takes us on an exclusive journey into the birth of this iconic brand. Learn how Emilia, Jeanie Buss, Wes Edens, Wyc Grousbeck, and Michael Jordan joined forces and tirelessly tasted over 1,000 tequilas for three long years until they perfected Cincoro. We cover how this unique group came together, how Emilia took the reigns to become CEO of the brand and how Emilia learned to “be like Mike” when it came to sipping her tequila — with one large rock and a slice of orange. Finally, Emilia shares her you-can’t-make-this-up-if-you-tried, marriage-turned-Hollywood-sitcom coming to a TV near you this Fall thanks to NBC.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #107

Chris Detert – CCO at Influential

Celebrities are people too, you know. And not many people on the planet know exactly how true that statement is like Chris Detert — who from his first days on the job in Los Angeles had him interacting with some of the most influential (but real) celebrities on the planet. Formerly the CEO of American Rebel PR, a boutique agency Chris started from Los Angeles, Detert now teams up with his brother, Ryan, to run the largest influencer marketing company in the world called Influential. In his conversation with host Ryan Berman, Chris tells a few stories from his past including regular run-ins with celebrities like Britney Spears, LL Cool J and Shania Twain. Later in the episode, Chris provides invaluable advice on how he stays on top of what’s cool today. Finally, Chris shares a few tips about how he builds genuine relationships with celebrities, influencers, brand leaders and more.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #106

Karena Dawn – Co-Founder at Tone It Up

Growing up in Indiana, Karena and her family weren’t equipped with the tools to navigate their moms chaotic paranoid schizophrenia. It took Karena on a tumultuous tailspin where she now confesses, "I spent my entire teenage years depressed." Despite a difficult childhood, the true dawning of Karena Dawn came after a long night (and morning) at a Los Angeles rave where Karena chose to have a necessary heart-to-heart with herself.  The transformation of her life started soon after. Now, as the co-founder of Tone It Up, Karena has inspired millions of women worldwide to live their truest, happiest and healthiest lives. In her conversation with Ryan Berman, Karena opens up about her family’s struggles with mental illness and how that lead her to inking the now best-selling book, The Big Silence.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #105

Cedar Carter – CEO at The Good Patch

The joys of being named a first time CEO just before the world shut down. This is the real, live work-in-progress story of Cedar Carter. Cedar, an experienced marketer who navigated her way through the fashion, wellness, and sports industries, took the reigns as the CEO of The Good Patch just before the global pandemic. She joins Ryan on The Courageous Podcast and shares her incredible journey despite the odds stacked against her, including an expansion into over 10,000 retailers nationwide, with over 15 million patches sold. We also discuss her favorite of the wearable wellness patches (she has a few) and some precious advice for anyone looking to take a brave step in their career. Whether you're interested in learning how to transition to CEO, or simply looking to pursue a bold move in your career, this episode is one you won't want to miss.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #104

Jean Batthany – Creative Powerhouse

Jean Batthany is a seasoned brand builder and marketer with over three decades of experience. She has been recognized as one of Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative Women in Advertising and awarded Advertising Working Mothers of the Year by AWNY. Despite being "in between successes" at the moment, Jean is focusing on the art of pausing and leveraging creativity to make the world a better place. As Walmart's former Chief Creative Officer, Jean led a team of 300+ to enhance creative excellence, efficacy, and efficiency. She collaborated with agency partners to transform Walmart from a transactional company to an emotional brand. During her conversation with Ryan, Jean shares her insights on the advertising industry, the significance of awards, and the need to bridge the communication gap between brands and agencies. She also highlights the importance of asking difficult questions and having a clear and consistent message for effective communication. Tune in to hear Jean's invaluable advice for building successful brands and creating a positive impact.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #103

Melissa Rosenthal – Chief Creative Officer at ClickUp

“The hardest days are the most fun sometimes.” First at Buzzfeed, then helping to grow and sell Cheddar, Melissa Rosenthal recently made the leap to San Diego to take on a new challenge in her career. As the Chief Creative Officer at ClickUp, Melissa is taking a bold approach to humanizing marketing in a space where it isn’t so common. Melissa has been named to Forbes' 30 Under 30, Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative People Under 30 and as one of Digiday's "Changemakers” for her creative brand work. As you’d expect, Melissa drops plenty of gems on this episode of The Courageous Podcast, including a few juicy tips on what it truly takes to “go viral.” Ryan and Melissa also dive into what it means to be a small fish that “punches up”, why being an outlier is important in differentiating your brand, and how Melissa has applied both of these tactics throughout her impressive career.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #102

Matt Gilhooly – Host of The Life Shift Podcast

At just 8 years old, Matt Gilhooly was struck with the abrupt and heartbreaking news that his mother had passed away in a motorcycle accident. This event marked the beginning of a long, soul-breaking journey of grief that lasted well over two decades. Today, however, Matt has found a healthy way to cope with his grief; using his experiences to help others do the same through his podcast, The Life Shift. As a host, he creates a safe space for his guests to open up about their own struggles and triumphs. But today, Matt shares his story for a candid, unfiltered episode on The Courageous Podcast. Matt delves into some of the most transformative moments in his life including the next time he had to face death in his family — the passing of his grandmother — and how that moment helped him move on with his life.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #101

Audrey Burger – Head of Commercial Strategy, Insights, & Planning at Primal Kitchen

Proper pacing, surrounding yourself with the right players, and realizing what you put in is what you get out. These are all lessons that Audrey Burger has taken from her days as a 3-sport D1 college athlete and has applied to her current role as Head of Commercial Strategy, Insights & Planning at Primal Kitchen. In this advice-filled episode of The Courageous Podcast, Audrey shares some great tips with Ryan on how to start eating cleaner by applying a few simple adjustments to our grocery shopping habits. Audrey also dolls out some advice to other women on successfully making change across workplace culture. Finally, Audrey speaks on the importance of trusting your gut in decisions where you don’t have ALL the data, and applying a “proud, not perfect” mentality when a new product goes to market.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #100

George Krumme – Centenarian

Life creeps up on you if you’re not careful. Those were the near exact words shared by our charming centenarian guest, George Krumme, on this special 100th episode of The Courageous Podcast. As you can imagine, being 100, George has packed a lot into his life including honor, legacy, duty, four great grandchildren and two love stories. George shares a wealth of wisdom including how his life was forever altered by World War 2 — where he walked away with a Purple Heart and the Silver Star. He also provides sound advice for anyone looking to know the secret to a long, fruitful life with minimal regrets. Finally, George recounts his two marriages, the first one lasting nearly 70 years. Here's to George and The Courageous Podcast reaching 100.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #99

Griffin Thall – Co-Founder of Pura Vida Bracelets

800+ global artisans. 2 million raised for charitable organizations. A $200 dollar investment that started it all. Griffin Thall has always been an entrepreneur. As a teenager, he was selling a steady stream of products on eBay, earning enough cash to fund his college ventures. Now, 12 years after he co-founded and served as CEO for Pura Vida Bracelets, a company he helped grow from his dorm room into a $130 million+ company, Griffin announced he is stepping away. In his conversation with host Ryan Berman, we’ll hear some of the strategies that Griffin used to grow his tremendous brand, and why he feels there is still room for them to grow on platforms like TikTok. He also touches on why they felt Vera Bradley was the right partner to acquire the brand after interviewing 25 potential suitors. Note: This interview was conducted a week prior to Griffins departure announcement.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #98

Lauren Teague – Founder of FanWagn

Lauren Teague knows the secret to building a great business is to cultivate fandom instead of followers. Currently, she’s focused on building FanWagn, a website specifically designed for sports fans to buy and sell apparel from their favorite teams. Before founding FanWagn, Lauren spent seven seasons as the voice of @PGATOUR, transforming how professional golf connects with fans online. On this episode of the Courageous Podcast, Lauren and Ryan dive into the realities of Lauren's major leap from her dream job with the PGA Tour to becoming a startup founder. They unpack why it’s become courageous to “do good” in business vs just “do well”, and why Lauren has a major challenge in catering to both buyers and sellers with her new startup. Lauren also shares some wise advice about reinvesting her income into training courses in areas she knows needs growth.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #97

Steven Cox – Founder of TakeLessons

If you write it, it will come. Steven Cox first harnessed the power of manifesting his destiny through pen and paper to lose 55 lbs and date the homecoming queen in highschool. Writing down his goals has led Steven to some incredible places. Most recently to Hollywood where he’s made the leap from successful entrepreneur to aspiring actor after the company he founded, TakeLessons, was acquired by Microsoft in 2021. In his conversation with Ryan, we’ll learn how a worn out cassette tape of Brian Tracy laid a foundation for understating the importance of mentorship in Steven’s life. He also tells the story of how TakeLessons humble beginnings were inspired by a former bandmate’s struggle to make it as a professional drummer…and stay tuned until the end to hear where that drummer is now!


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #96

Adam Markel – CEO at More Love Media Inc

RESILIENCE. That’s the word Adam Markel wears across his chest in big bold letters for his conversation with Ryan. Adam is a CEO, Best Selling Author, Keynote Speaker, and Business Mentor. In his most recent book Change Proof, Adam gives readers a blueprint to “Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-term Resilience”. A self proclaimed cynic with a hopeful heart, Adam does not subscribe to the mindset that “balance” is ever truly attainable - instead he has adopted a perspective that works with uncertainty rather than against it. In this episode of the Courageous Podcast, Adam shares the ways in which fear shaped his career, and how he was able to break free to live a life that is more authentic to himself. He also unpacks how a shift in environment can have big impacts on someone's mindset, and why the elusive work-life balance is a concept that is destined for failure.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #95

Ed Romaine – Head of Marketing and Brand Development, Sports at Warner Bros Discovery

Runner. Soccer Ball. Basketball. Basketball player. Hockey stick. English flag. American flag. These are the 7 emojis that Ed Romaine has carefully curated to present himself to the world in his Instagram bio. Ed is the Head of Marketing and Brand Development, Sports at Warner Bros Discovery, where he oversees a myriad of sports related properties including House of Highlights and Bleacher Report. In their conversation, Ryan and Ed bond over their love for sports while discussing highlight culture and strategies for connecting with the modern fan. Ed also gives a behind the curtain look into his unique role that spans far beyond the world of sports, and touches on his approach to managing a massive team with an emphasis on candor.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #94

Ryan Berman & Nicole Miller of Courageous – 2022 Year-End Special

It’s the last episode of the Courageous Podcast of 2022, and what a year it has been! We’ve been so honored to have an incredible line-up of courageous, inspiring, and passionate guests join us this year to share so many amazing stories, bits of advice, and even some laughs along the way. To wrap the year up in a nice bow, we are tapping guest host Nicole Miller from the Courageous team for a special year-end episode where many of our past guests have sent in their questions for Nicole to ask Ryan. We’ll hear what Ryan considers his most courageous act of 2022, and why his best advice for the year is to “pick the thing you want to be fired for.” The two also discuss why listening for the sake of remembering is a step toward becoming a better leader and reminisce about some of the inspiring leaders who made them feel seen in the early days of their careers. We hope you enjoy the final episode of 2022 and we look forward to bringing you another year of episodes in 2023!


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #93

Steve Mayer – Senior EVP & Chief Content Officer at the NHL

Steve Mayer is Senior EVP/Chief Content Officer at the National Hockey League where he’s produced a myriad of memorable events (and content) for the league. Since joining eight years ago, Steve has been on a mission to reinvent the way the NHL creates, with an emphasis on experience and authentic storytelling. In his conversation with host Ryan Berman, Steve touches on how story-making has attributed to the recent growth seen at the NHL, his simpatico relationship with misunderstood Commissioner Gary Bettman and why it’s so darn hard to get NHL players to brand themselves. The two also discuss what makes the NHL special and why their die hard fans are a unique breed in the sport’s world.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #92

Steve Pacheco – President & CEO at American Advertising Federation

“Careful, your strategy’s showing.” While other kids were outside playing, an 8 year old Steve Pacheco spent Sunday mornings marking up ads in the paper to make them better. To this day, his passion for the craft of advertising is unmatched. Steve spent over 20 years of his career at FedEx, where he produced 12 consecutive Super Bowl commercials. He is currently the President & CEO at American Advertising Federation, being the first CEO to have held leadership roles at every level of the organization. In this conversation host Ryan Berman and Steve Pacheco discuss if advertising — and the ad business — is getting stronger or weaker. They each share their overarching "state of the union” on Super Bowl commercials, the business as a whole and the talent coming into the game.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #91

Richie Norton – Award-Winning Author, Co-Founder & CEO of PROUDUCT

Richie Norton is on a mission to expose the biggest lie ever told: time management was designed to control people, not give them their time back. Richie is a serial entrepreneur and an award-winning author of several books including Anti-Time Management and The Power of Starting Something Stupid. He is one of the world’s leading thinkers and Top 100 coaches as honored by MG100. Richie joins Ryan from his home in Hawaii for a master course in utilizing one’s time on earth to the fullest. They discuss why sacrificing what you love for success is never the right choice, and how having a full calendar can lead to an empty life. Richie gives advice on how to move from distraction to action, and reminds us to ask the question “What is the goal of the goal?” when making important decisions. Richie also opens up about some of his personal struggles and why he views grief as a tunnel and not a cave.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #90

Ernest Lupinacci – Founder and CCO at Ernest Industries

8 curious questions. 5 minutes per answer. 1 legendary storyteller. We are switching things up on this week’s episode of the Courageous Podcast as Host Ryan Berman, armed with a referee's whistle, puts his guest Ernest Lupinacci on the hot seat. In this advice packed episode, Ernest — a co-producer of “The Offer” — touches on how Francis Ford Coppola, Kurt Vonnegut, and Steve King have all played important roles at different points throughout his career. The two also discuss the make-up of every great story ever told (and sold), how fear is imaginary, and why Ernest considers himself more of a detective than a philosopher.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #89

Robert Duran – Navigating Life with Pancreatic Cancer

Our guest today defines what it means to be courageous. Robert Duran is a father, husband and passionate cyclist. For the last decade, Robert has been riding through life navigating the rocky terrain that comes with being diagnosed with what many call a death sentence in Pancreatic Cancer. In this very open and raw conversation with host Ryan Berman, Robert opens up about how he has been able to survive and thrive despite the odds against him. Robert shares how cycling has been a lifesaver during his battle with cancer, but was almost the thing that killed him. The two also discuss how “cutting the cord” from most electronics has allowed Robert to take his life back and live every moment in the present. It’s a moving and inspiring episode with a tremendous human being in honor of World Pancreatic Cancer Day on 11/17/2022.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #88

Landon Donovan – USMNT All-Time Leading Scorer

57 USMNT goals. 57 USMNT assists. 3 World Cups. 1 dramatic extra-time World Cup goal against Algeria that sent America through to the final 16 in 2010. Landon Donovan is a name that needs no introduction to American soccer fans. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, Landon literally joins Ryan on his way to Qatar. He shares what his next two weeks will be like, which American player he perceives will have the most courageous performance for Team USA and his predictions for which team he believes will end up hoisting the coveted World Cup Gold Trophy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #87

Khartoon Weiss – TikTok, Global Head of Agency & Accounts

With a billion monthly users, an average session length of 90 minutes, and 27 billion views on the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt — there is a lot of commerce to unlock for any business or brand on TikTok. At the center of it all is Khartoon Weiss. Khartoon has been named “40 Over 40” by Campaign, “40 Under 40” by Advertising Age and “Top 50 Professionals." In her conversation with Ryan, the two discuss what it takes for any brand (at any size) to be successful on the platform. She also gives practical steps to help brands “think like marketers, but act like creators.”


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #86

Jason Harris – Co-Founder & CEO of Mekanism

If you say it, you will build it. If you build it, they will come. Jason Harris, Co-Founder & CEO of Mekanism, has worked with some of the most iconic, soulful brands on the planet including Peloton, Ben & Jerry’s, Method and Jose Cuervo. So much so that Mekanism was recently the desirable acquisition of Plus Company. In this episode, Ryan and Jason touch on what it’s like for Jason to now have a boss and the power of manifesting your own destiny (Code for: declaring out loud where you want to go then figuring out how to get there). They also unpack what it means to use a blend of Soul & Science in creating successful, courageous marketing campaigns.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #85

Geoff Cottrill – Chief Marketing Officer at Topgolf

For 300 years golf had remained the same. Then Topgolf came around. If you ask their Chief Marketing Officer Geoff Cottrill if Topgolf IS golf you’d be surprised to learn his answer. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we discuss how Topgolf is democratizing and diversifying the game. Geoff, on Forbes list of the 50 Most Entrepreneurial CMOs, and Ryan discuss what happens when sneaker culture meets golf culture and how to successfully introduce a new concept to the masses.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #84

DJ DiDonna – Founder of the Sabbatical Project

What would you do with 100 days away from your job? It’s a scenario most of us could only dream of. Today's guest believes it could be the key to living a more fulfilling and authentic life. DJ DiDonna is the founder of The Sabbatical Project. In this episode of the Courageous Podcast, host Ryan Berman and DJ DiDonna discover that sabbaticals and courageous decisions can both serve as regret insurance for your future self. DJ also speaks on what it will take to make sabbaticals more equitable for workers of all pay grades, and the importance of taking time for yourself before you feel like you need it. It’s a thoughtful conversation that reminds us the importance of stepping away from our daily grind every once in a while to reset on our career and life journeys.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #83

Chip Conley – Founder of Modern Elder Academy

10 years ago, when the founders of Airbnb asked Chip Conley to be their mentor, he had his doubts. He could not see his place at a young-blooded tech start-up where the average employee was half his age. But Chip is not one to back down from a challenge, and with the help of Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky, he began embracing his new role as a “Modern Elder”. Chip is a self-proclaimed Zeitgeist Surfer, a rebel hospitality entrepreneur, a bestselling author, and the Founder of Modern Elder Academy, the world’s first midlife wisdom school that helps people cultivate and harvest their wisdom. In this episode of the Courageous Podcast, host Ryan Berman and Chip Conley explore what Chip is currently afraid of. They also discuss Chip’s time at Airbnb, the power of mentorship, and how the “great midlife edit” inspired Chip to launch The Modern Elder Academy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #82

Patti Sanchez – Chief Strategy Officer at Duarte

Communication is powerful. Our guest today has proven that great communication changes individuals, companies, and societies for the better. Patti Sanchez is the Chief Strategy Officer for Duarte, and has helped clients such as Nike, Cisco, Ericsson, and HP take their storytelling to the next level. Through communication frameworks, storytelling techniques, and empathy exercises, Patti helps leaders and learners of all kinds understand the inner workings of the human mind and heart. She does so by crafting engaging narratives that resonate on a deep level. In this episode of The Courageous Podcast, host Ryan Berman and Patti Sanchez shed light on how to use storytelling to not only mobilize people to change, but to empower them to influence large-scale transformations. Patti also shares some actionable advice on becoming a more effective communicator and speaks on why she believes a conversation is a more effective communication tool than a monologue.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #81

Greg Carvel – Head Coach of the UMass Minutemen

He helped bring two NHL teams to the Stanley Cup Finals. Aided a USA Hockey World Championship Team to a bronze medal. Rebuilt two college hockey programs from the ground up. It’s why Greg Carvel refers to himself more as a “program builder” than a “head coach”. In this episode of the Courageous Podcast, join host Ryan Berman and Coach Greg Carvel as they discuss why having more character than your opponent is an essential feature of a winning team. We’ll hear how Coach Carvel, over the course of four years, took the University of Massachusetts men’s Hockey Team from 58th (out of 60 Division 1 programs) to 2021 National Champions — all while maintaining the highest GPA of any athletic team on campus. It’s an inspirational episode that presents lessons that can be applied to life, business, and beyond!


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #80

Ben Rubin – Co-Founder & CEO at Ten Percent Happier

What would it take to make you 10% happier? Ben Rubin believes that making small incremental changes, like spending a few minutes a day meditating, can make big impactful improvements in your life. Ben has spent the better part of his career at the intersection of technology and human behavior change. He is the Co-Founder & CEO at Ten Percent Happier, where he and his team are on a mission to convince fidgety skeptics that meditation isn’t as intimidating as it seems.

Episode Notes

In this episode of the podcast, host Ryan Berman and Ben Rubin unpack the question “How serious is the happiness business?”, which leads to some surprising and thought-provoking revelations. They also discuss how to find sweetness when experiencing sadness, and why if you don’t love what you are doing as an entrepreneur you may be fighting an uphill battle.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #79

Beth Malafa – Senior Director Experiential Marketing, Global Events & Brand Partnerships at Under Armour

Growing up in a large Ohio blue collar family, inspired by her love of sport as a young girl, Beth Malafa told her mother she wanted to work for the NFL or the Olympics. Today, she has checked the box on both. In fact, Beth has found herself putting on events for the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and the USOC. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast with host Ryan Berman, we learn that Beth doesn’t simply embrace teamwork — but the importance of hard work in everything she creates for Under Armour.

Episode Notes

Beth shares what it’s like working with megastar athletes, her thoughts on the parallels between the sports and business worlds, and how memorable it was (to her) when she brought tears of joy to her brother's eyes at a Cleveland Browns game.  Learn to play the long game while enjoying this thoughtful and fun conversation.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #78

Lana McGilvray – Founder and CEO at Purpose Worldwide

In this upbeat and insightful episode of the Courageous Podcast, host Ryan Berman reads a trio of business haikus to Lana and gets her reaction to each. Lana also opens up about the role fear has played in her life, especially in her formative years after losing her father at age 14, and how she has worked to courageously overcome this challenge to have a successful career and lead a fulfilling life.

Episode Notes

What is your purpose? Lana McGilvray, Founder and CEO at Purpose Worldwide, helps her clients answer that question on the daily. Purpose Worldwide is a global public relations firm that specializes in helping clients drive their purpose and growth as they pioneer a better world for all. Lana has an extensive background in PR and is also a contributor to Ad Age, an Adobe Influencer, and an advisor to several purpose-driven startups. In this upbeat and insightful episode of the Courageous Podcast, host Ryan Berman reads a trio of business haikus to Lana and gets her reaction to each. Lana also opens up about the role fear has played in her life, especially in her formative years after losing her father at age 14, and how she has worked to courageously overcome this challenge to have a successful career and lead a fulfilling life. There are plenty of gems in this episode that you will not want to miss!


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #77

Michael Preysman – Founder and Climate Lead at Everlane

Founder of Everlane, Michael Preysman, shares his philosophy on approaching life as a practice, the importance of taking time away from work to do things that “fill your bucket”, and how to overcome fear when it gets in the way of growth.  Be sure to tune in to this energizing episode of the Courageous Podcast!

Episode Notes

Repetition is reputation.  Michael Preysman, Founder and Climate Lead at Everlane, has earned his reputation by repeatedly delivering on his company's promise to “Help people live their best lives with the least impact on the planet."  The company pioneered the term ‘Radical Transparency’, and has lifted the veil on many aspects of the fashion industry from pricing mark-ups to factory processes.  Embodying the brand's transparent values, Michael has put environmental impact front and center through commitments in its supply chain to eliminate all virgin plastic by 2021 and to transition to organic cotton by 2023.  In this conversation with host Ryan Berman, Michael shares his philosophy on approaching life as a practice, the importance of taking time away from work to do things that “fill your bucket”, and how to overcome fear when it gets in the way of growth.  Be sure to tune in to this energizing episode of the Courageous Podcast!


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #76

Josh Golden – Chief Marketing Officer at Quad

In this wide-ranging conversation, host Ryan Berman and Josh Golden discuss the importance of staying curious, which of the 300+ pieces of content Josh has made is his favorite, and his recent decision to share publicly his bout with epilepsy.  It’s another inspiring episode of the Courageous Podcast that you will not want to miss.

Episode Notes

AT&T, Ad Age, Xerox, NBC Universal. These are just a few of the companies that Josh Golden, Chief Marketing Officer at Quad, has had a hand in making courageous changes at. With a diverse career spanning over two decades, Josh’s wife accurately describes him as the Marco Polo of industry professions. Josh has earned a reputation as a catalyst to drive change within organizations.  In 2017, he led the repositioning of ‘Advertising Age’ to the more current ‘Ad Age’ — solidifying its place in a new digital era.  In this wide-ranging conversation, host Ryan Berman and Josh Golden discuss the importance of staying curious, which of the 300+ pieces of content Josh has made is his favorite, and his recent decision to share publicly his bout with epilepsy.  It’s another inspiring episode of the Courageous Podcast that you will not want to miss.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #75

Miranda Prins – General Manager Continental Europe at Kellogg Company

In this episode of the Courageous Podcast, Miranda Prins joins host Ryan Berman from her home in Switzerland for an insightful conversation about the importance of lifting others up, being adaptive during challenges, and the role courageous ideas play today.  It’s an advice filled episode that every manager, marketer, and aspiring leader will not want to miss.

Episode Notes

Do the scary thing. These are the words that our guest Miranda Prins lives by, and she has the track record to prove it.  Miranda currently sits as General Manager of Continental Europe at Kellogg company, a role that spans 10 markets, 30 nationalities, and is made up of a team of roughly 600 people who speak 6 different languages. Managing this incredibly diverse team is part of the reason why Miranda is so passionate about equity, diversity & inclusion at Kellogg’s and beyond. In this episode of the Courageous Podcast, Miranda joins host Ryan Berman from her home in Switzerland for an insightful conversation about the importance of lifting others up, being adaptive during challenges, and the role courageous ideas play today.  It’s an advice filled episode that every manager, marketer, and aspiring leader will not want to miss.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #74

Susan Pitt

Cheerios. Lucky Charms. Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Susan Pitt is a serial cerealist and seasoned Brand Experience Director who has spent just under a decade at General Mills believing none of the decisions we make as consumers are all that rational. As she puts it, “we’re all wired for story”. Susan dedicates her days to helping craft some of the world’s most iconic brands known in our culture. On this episode of the podcast, we learn of Susan’s career path starting out on the agency side. As an observationalist, she articulates the distinct differences between the MBA mentality found in most people on the brand side vs the scrappy nature of “agency life”. Her work at General Mills has earned Effies, Cannes Lions, One Show and others – all while living out her personal motto: doing serious work without taking herself too seriously.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #73

Mihnea Gheorghiu

There are creative gypsies among us. One of them is Romanian creative talent Mihnea Gheorghiu (Pronounced: Mee-na Gee-orge-ee-yew) who recently returned to Milan from Cannes as a fairly happy man thanks to his teams coveted work on Diesel. On this episode of the podcast, Mihnea, the Chief Creative Officer of Publicis Italia, shares his nomadic journey from Romania to the USA to Italy. We talked about the creative role in advertising: as he puts it, to, “Feel something in the shortest time possible.” We also covered the need for creators to stay curious, the importance of “asking seemingly stupid questions”, and the need to remain an entertainer. If you believe, like Mihnea, that “creativity is the enemy of comfort”, join us for a fast listen.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #72

Dr. Wallace J Nichols

Ever wonder why your best ideas show up in mid shower? Or how you refreshingly feel different after spending the day next to an ocean on the beach? Today, we dive head first into the healing powers of water. We’re joined by the masterful J Nichols who was nicknamed “Keeper Of The Sea” by GQ Magazine. J has spent a career researching the benefits and impact water have on all of us. He is a marine biologist, PhD and author of the book “Blue Mind”. On this episode, J shares why we need to find moments to step away from terra firma to spend more time on, near or around lakes, pools, seas, hot tubs and more.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #71


"Don't just look at the world differently. Do the world differently.” This week’s guest is a profound talent who does both. IN-Q is an award-winning poet, multi-platinum songwriter, and the best-selling author of Inquire Within. His ability to deconstruct society and bend those observations into words landed him on Oprah's SuperSoul 100 list of the world's most influential thought leaders. He was the first spoken word artist to perform with Cirque du Soleil, and to be featured on A&E, ESPN, and HBO's Def Poetry Jam. His stand-up poetry special, IN-Q - Live at the Ace Theatre, is now streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. On this episode, IN-Q shares some of his new work. In the spirit of courage, IN-Q nudged the host to write and share one of his own poems as well.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #70

Charlie Cole

A birth. A death. An anniversary. A circled date on the calendar. A special occasion where sending flowers or chocolates can bring loved ones together; even when they're physically thousands of miles apart. Now, imagine if this memory-making moment doesn’t show up on time. This is the anxiety that comes with being Charlie Cole, the Chief Executive Officer of FTD, the modern florist collective. In this episode, Charlie and I discuss what it was like joining the company days before the lockdown in March 2020. Charlie shares what surprised him the most — that he didn’t know about — until after he accepted the job. Finally, we banter back and forth on where fear and courage show up for him as he tries to reinvent a legacy brand that deserves its own flowers for turning 112 years old. Enjoy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #69

Will Cady

Will Cady is many things. A conscious creator. An Emmy award-winning composer. A member of the 2020 AdWeek Top 50 for Tech, Media and Marketing. Like many, Will thoughtfully resides at Reddit's intersection of content, news, social media and trusted, vouched forum. On this episode, Will reveals what he believes is at the core of Reddit’s success. He expounds the importance of turning curiosity into understanding. And, above all, he shares what it means at Reddit to “remember the human”.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #68

Marc Sidelsky

South African Marc Sidelsky believes in the power of storytelling, finding your voice and following it. Marc, an award-winning commercials director, tends to create scripts that disrupt and flourish in the market including his recent brave accomplishment of going straight to a CEO with an idea (Stussy X Nike) that one year later won honors at all major advertising festivals including the Clios, One Show and D&AD.  On this episode of the podcast, Marc shares where his passion for story-making started and gives smashing advice for anyone looking to push themselves in the content generation game.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #67

YouTube’s Lauren Verrusio + Warner Bros. Discovery’s Jennifer Zudonyi

Lauren Verrusio is the Head of Creators, Culture & Content Partnership Communications at YouTube. Jennifer Zudonyi is a Senior Director of Brand & Consumer Marketing at Warner Bros Discovery, leading efforts around its NHL partnership. On this episode of the podcast, we hear the story of how two power women turn themselves into a power couple. Each shares their version of what it was like meeting each other in a male dominated world of sports. When did they feel safe coming out? How does their personal life now show up at work? What advice might they have for anyone looking to right a wrong they’re experiencing firsthand in society? We get into it all on this episode of the podcast.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #66

Dr. David Levine

Think Postpartum depression only happens with women? Think again. For our Father’s Day edition of The Courageous Podcast, we sit down for a brave conversation with pediatrician Dr. David Levine. David graduated with highest honors from NYU Medical School while completing his residency at Yale Children’s Hospital. Even with all his wisdom and accolades, life changed fast—and not all for the best—when David became a father. On this episode, David bares all and shares his fatiguing story of being a pediatrician who suffered from paternal postpartum in a time where there wasn’t a wink of literature on this topic. Fast forward to today. That lonely bout with depression steered David to take on the role as incoming Vice President of Postpartum Support International, the worlds leading organization supporting the mental health of new parents.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #65

Aron Ezra

Aron Ezra is a thinker, innovator and serial entrepreneur with two major exits under his belt. While his wife might wish he’d take a break, Aron is currently in the thick of his third mega business as Chairman of Plan A Technologies; an award-winning software development firm serving startups to the Fortune 500 with offices in the US, Europe, Africa and Latin America. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, Aron and I discuss all facets of the entrepreneurial journey. Where to start? How to ramp from small to big? When it’s time to go from scale to sale? If you have the stomach to go out on your own and you need some expert advice from someone who has “done it” twice, has won dozens of awards, and was named one of the Most Intriguing people in Las Vegas by Seven Magazine, then this is the episode for you. Enjoy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #64

Seattle Kraken’s Todd Humphrey

Todd is the SVP, Digital Innovation & Fan Experience for the Seattle Kraken. A former hockey player turned entrepreneur, Todd is charged with redefining how Seattle fans experience the game in a city with deep hockey history, but one that hasn’t had an NHL team in almost one hundred years. On this episode, we discuss life just before the launching of the Kraken brand. We learn how it all started at a conversational breakfast where Todd joined two Leiweke brothers and famed movie maker Jerry Bruckheimer. If you want an inside look at the then best kept secret in hockey, how the Kraken earned it’s late-in-the-game “red eye” in their logo, or were just curious how they put in the work to craft the first net zero carbon-arena, then this is the episode for you.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #63

Greg Fass

Ever show up to a party with a 6-pack of water? If you have, you most likely haven’t been invited back. Unless that sixer was comprised of stone-cold tallboys from Liquid Death Mountain Water. In just three short years, LDMW is “murdering thirst” by disrupting a boring-than-still-water commodity category. At the center of it all is Greg Fass; recently named by Forbes as one of 50 most Entrepreneurial CMO’s of 2022. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we are joined by Greg who has made a name for himself as a builder of consumer brands. He was the 2nd full-time employee at MeUndies, where he was at the forefront of non-traditional social-first brand marketing. Today, as Liquid Death Mountain Water’s VP of Marketing, he takes great pride in subverting all water category conventions. Greg grew up in the snow, skate, and surf world and unapologetically shares that he hates corporate marketing, in his words, “as much as everyone else”.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #62

Ryan Weeden

Some would say it’s hard to lose yourself if you had yet to truly find yourself. This is the story of how one man went from city-to-city searching for his purpose while stumbling through a divorce and a soul-crushing bankruptcy only to come out the other side building a multi 7-figure empire. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we meet Ryan Weeden who had lost everything — not just money; but himself. Today, this “Hairpreneur”, Founder and CEO of Masters of Balayage, happily helps thousands across his global audience not just navigate with what’s happening on their minds (their hair) but what’s happening in their minds! We’ll hear Ryan's personal trials and tribulations that he felt he had to go through in order to come out the other side as the man he is today. Enjoy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #61

Bjorn Trowery

On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we sit down with Bjorn Trowery who joined Meta’s Communications/PR team near the beginning of the pandemic and the tail end of the brand formerly known as Facebook. We discuss what it’s like for Bjorn to establish credibility with a new team handcuffed away from his “personal superpower”; his ability to be live, collaborating and in-person.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #60

Alden Mills

What does an asthmatic, a Rower, the co-founder of The Perfect Pushup and a Navy SEAL-turned-Platoon Commander have in common? All of them were my guest on this weeks episode of The Courageous Podcast. Alden Mills is one of a kind. He’s on a mission to help 100 million people be unstoppable. He strives to achieve this feat by being a keynote speaker, an executive coach and the epitome of courage. What else did I learn about Alden from our 45 minute conversation? For being a Platoon Commander, he is also a humble human. If you want to learn what it’s like to survive asthma and still become a Navy SEAL, if you aspire to be unstoppable, or if you care to hear why Alden has a bone to pick with Harvard, throw this episode between your ears.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #59

Rhett Power

Rhett Power is a Best-Selling Author, Executive Coach, Columnist at Forbes, and a Season 1 Cast Member of The Social Movement (TV Series). Rhett is also the Co-founder of Accountability Inc. and is host of Power Lunch Live; one of the first and most popular interview shows on LinkedIn. On this episode, we flip the script on Rhett as he’s usually the one asking thought leaders, authors, and business executives their secrets to success. We talk about Rhett’s transformation from product entrepreneur to becoming a member of the Marshall Goldsmith's 100. We also go behind the curtain on why Rhett and I came together every Friday during the pandemic to provide an hour long online forum where people could congregate, be inspired, learn and keep it real with one another. Enjoy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #58

Katie Nauman (Chief Marketing Officer at Petco)

Approximately 13 million adopted pets have found their way into homes over the course of the pandemic. While we’ve taken in our lovable new fur babies over the last two years, many of us are heading back into the working world leaving our pets behind (and alone) for the very first time. In dog years, that’s over a decade and a half of their life! Mental health isn’t simply something humans are dealing with; our four legged children will be coping with their own new levels of anxiety. Enter the team at Petco and Chief Marketing Officer Katie Nauman. On this episode of the podcast, Katie and I discuss Petco’s shifting business to provide more holistic solutions for our pets and their owners. We chinwag on all the pet people working for the company and discuss how the idea of “bring a pet to work” is a year round ordeal in their culture. And, if you ever wanted to know how to go from an $8 an hour job to the Chief Marketing Officer at Petco, then this is the episode for you.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #57

Bob Philion (CEO & President at PUMA North America)

Rihanna. Neymar. Dua Lipa. Usain Bolt. Lewis Hamilton. These are a few of our iconic favorites who set the tone across the globe in style and culture. Collaborating with these originals is one of the world’s leading brands in sports today. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, CEO and President of PUMA North America Bob Philion shares what it’s like to steer the “Big Cat” under the “forever faster” mantra. We dive into what it has been like for Bob getting to know these larger-than-life superstars. We chat about PUMA’s “Run Towards Change” reform platform and discuss how “the casualization of life” has really worked in PUMA’s favor. While we don’t delve too deep on “The Great Reshuffle”…we do get into “The Great Shuffle”; which entails Bob and his daughter showcasing their dance moves on social to pass the time during the pandemic. Enjoy!


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #56

Bennie Fowler (Former NFL Player, Entrepreneur, Author, Creator)

Peyton Manning. Drew Brees. Eli Manning. Each of these Super Bowl winning quarterbacks relied on Bennie Fowler to run routes, block or catch passes over the course of his 8-year NFL career. But as Bennie will tell you, each of the above drew him to his current passion of helping executives and organizations maximize their performance. Today, Bennie is an entrepreneur, the creator of MVP leadership (cliff hanger opportunity: the MVP doesn’t stand for what you think) and the author of the book Silver Spoon. As you’ll soon learn from our episode, Bennie first learned to love leadership from his father Bennie Fowler Senior who was a high ranking executive at the Ford Motor Company. We discuss their relationship, Bennie's road to the NFL and his current role guiding leaders in business today.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #55

Sam, The Cooking Guy

“I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.” Twenty years ago, these were the words murmured by an unfilled-at-the-time Sam Zien to his wife after he quit his job as a biotech operator. It was then that he realized that something in his life didn’t feel right. One morning, now unemployed, Sam recalls watching “one of the worst cooking segments” on a local San Diego channel when the idea came to him: launch a cooking show. Only problem? Sam didn’t know how to cook. Today, Sam Zien is known as “Sam The Cooking Guy.” He is quickly approaching 3,500,000 YouTube channel subscribers while his 5th cookbook, “Sam The Cooking Guy: Between The Buns” comes out this May. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, Sam shares how he went from averaging $8,000 a year over his first two years to becoming the Emmy-Award winning playful personality many of us have come to love today. Enjoy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #54

Molly Tschang (Consultant, ‘Say it Skillfully’ Host)

There are presently 171,476 words making up our English Dictionary. And with all those choices, you can see how many leaders fumble their way through picking the very right words to help motivate their people, navigate hard conversations, or galvanize a consumer base. Enter Molly Tschang, who is a problem-solver extraordinaire, lexicon rock star, and the Host of the radio show Say It Skillfully®. Molly envisions a world where people speak without fear and feel heard. She's passionate about each of us being who we are and helping others say what needs to be said, skillfully. Most believe actions speak louder than words—until, of course, words fail them. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, Molly gives us a little taste of her skill, including what it takes to let go of what doesn’t serve us. Enjoy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #53

Chris Klein (President of the LA Galaxy)

In the 90th minute on a beautiful California day, in front of 25,000 raving fans, the day got instantaneously more sunny for today’s guest when Javier Hernandez (“Chicharito”) went on to score the lone goal in a 1-0 opening day LA Galaxy win against MLS champions NYCFC. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we are joined by the President of the LA Galaxy Chris Klein. As the leader of a club with the most MLS Championships in history, the expectation to compete and win remains at an all-time high. Chris and I discuss the state of both the LA Galaxy and US soccer, the pressure that comes with his title and his rocketship-ride from player-to-President; including a handful of mentors who helped him along the way. Enjoy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #52

Emily Musil Church, Ph.D. (Senior Director at Milken Institute for Strategic Philanthropy)

Emily Musil Church, Ph.D. specializes in tech for good, entrepreneurship, and prize competitions. She spent a half-dozen years at the XPRIZE Foundation and served as Executive Director of the human equity domain. Today, she continues her good work running world-changing, “crowdsourced" prize competitions at Milken Institute. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we discuss where her philanthropic gene came from, the potential outcomes of a prize that can change the world, and her recently announced finalists of the Milken-Motsepe Innovation Prize.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #51

Van Neistat (Artist, Content Creator)

Today, there’s a video camera in everyone's pocket. But long before we coined the term influencers, there were just people with influence. Back in 2010, HBO decided to take a chance on two of them: The Neistat Brothers. Van and Casey Neistat once described their series that was picked up by HBO as "a handmade home movie TV show.” While the democratization of content is here and now, eclectic Van Neistat remains a master storyteller, talented artist, and DIY movie maker. From my lens, he truly ranks as one of the most interesting minds in America. Our discussion spans far and wide, including his current YouTube endeavor, "The Spirited Man,” his relationship with his brother Casey, and a few of our life adventures that included his Baja motorcycle trek (where Van brought along two total strangers) to my wedding. Enjoy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #50

Adam Morgan (Adobe’s Executive Creative Director)

"Nice" gets a bad wrap. But, Adam Morgan is one of the true nice guys who has successfully navigated the creative business space. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we are joined by the affable Adam Morgan who is Adobe's Executive Creative Director. We discuss a panoply of topics including how C-Suites can better understand the impact creativity has on its bottom line, as well as Adam’s challenge to creatives to “reach across the silo” and better understand the nuances of marketing and business. Who better to provide a point of view on the paramount importance of creative leadership than someone who has spent over two decades running creative departments at brands and agencies. Enjoy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #49

Jaelin Kauf (Olympic Silver Medalist, Freestyle Skiing)

She’s not only back from Beijing, but she has returned to the States with the ultimate mantlepiece. Aerial Mogulist and freshly-minted Olympic Silver Medal winner Jaelin Kauf shares her whirlwind two weeks, from navigating a Covid Olympics from the other side of the world to her mother surprising her “live” on The Today Show during her media tour in New York City. Jaelin relives her run, discusses “if she feels different,” and confides where she hopes her picture will NOT go when they add it to the US Ski & Snowboard Center Of Excellence in Park City, Utah. We also discuss the history that was made with 4 US athletes finishing in the top 10 of her event, the work we did together on manifesting “Deliver The Love,” and what comes next for the Olympic medalist. Enjoy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #48

Walter Geer (Chief Experience Design Officer at VMLY&R)

Walter Geer isn’t simply a talented black creative—he’s a talented creative (period, full stop). Walt takes great pride sitting at the intersection of design, data, innovation and storytelling. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we zip around discussing his work as a leader in the digital advertising space as well as his monumental work as a DEI advocate. We dive deep to address race, fairness, talent and if he’s seen any real progress in diversification of the board room. Walt also shares what drives him as well as what he has learned from his unique (and public) conversation with Proctor & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard. Savoy Magazine listed him as one of the most Influential Black Execs in Corporate America. Adweek named him as one of their 50 most important people in media, marketing and tech. If you’re ready to keep it real, then hit play on this conversation between your ears.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #47

Erin Levzow (VP of Marketing Technology, Del Taco)

Whatever it takes. Say “yes and.” Keep it real. These are just a few of the concepts the affable Erin Levzow knows all too well. She shares her “just keep figuring out” journey with us on this new episode of The Courageous Podcast. If you ever wanted to learn how someone can go from studying theatre in school to making it in Las Vegas to masterfully building an art Mecca in a hotel to finally, “selling tacos on the internet” (her words, not mine), then buckle in for a genuine conversation with Top 25 Women by AWNewYork, CMO of the Year 2020 and ballroom dancing extraordinaire Erin Levzow. Enjoy!


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #46

Chris Kneeland (Cofounder, Cult Collective)

Chris Kneeland is the tell-it-like-it-is co-founder of The Gathering which is, as the name suggests, a gathering that takes place in Banff’s Canadian Rockies by a consortium of world-class brand makers who wish to study, honor and celebrate the world’s best brands. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, Chris and I discuss what goes into making this event as well as how his “day job” as the CEO of proactive creative agency “Cult" has evolved over the last decade. This includes a passionate back and forth about why brand leaders continue to make the very same mistake: putting stories into the world that don’t truly mirror what’s going on behind the curtain in their culture. And, if you’re a fan of Business Haiku’s, Ryan tests a few new ones out on Chris. Enjoy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #45

Jonathan Stark (Author, Ditching Hourly)

If you are like the majority, then you have an hourly rate. This severely bothered this weeks guest who couldn’t logically accept “hourly rate" payment terms for his talent. In fact, if Jonathan Stark was capable of cracking your problem in a shorter period of time, shouldn’t he be paid more? On this episode of The Courageous Podcast we are joined by a former software developer who is now on a mission to rid the world of hourly billing. Jonathan is the author of Hourly Billing Is Nuts, the host of Ditching Hourly, and writes a daily newsletter on pricing for independent professionals. If you’re like me (and Jonathan) and believe that the laziest, lowest measurement of our worth is a measurement of time, then this is the episode for you. Enjoy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #44

Phil Horvath (President, Floyd’s Barbershop 99)

Phil Horvath has been on quite the journey. Nothing like starting a prominent, new job during the thick of the pandemic. Now, almost a year in, Phil shares what it has been like to navigate his organization as the new President of Floyd’s 99 Barbershop. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we discuss how Phil has gone about getting to know his team who reside across 114 locations in 13 states from Florida to Texas. This includes the colossal challenge of not being about to travel for face-to-face meetings with his new team for a major part of his tenure. We also discuss the personalities of such a curiously creative workforce, what they call “The Floyd’s Vibe” (which you’ll experience in every Floyd’s shop) and the importance of helping Floyd's employees find their purpose and live their best lives. Enjoy!


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #43

Kevin Zidron (Kraft Heinz VP of Capabilities)

In the world of food, Kraft Heinz is on the hunt for what's next now. In this episode of The Courageous Podcast we are talking transformation and the future of food with VP of Capabilities, Kevin Zidron. Kevin shares how his entrepreneurial spirit took him on a journey which started with stocking shelves. We discuss the importance of understanding the inner workings of an organization at all levels and how to wisely tap into your customer's behavior. We also discuss Kevin’s leadership style; he believes in a people-first leadership approach, the "power of we", and shares how focusing on continuous learning is driving transformation at Kraft Heinz.


Season One


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #42

Dustin Bomar (Google’s Head of Industry)

We are joined by Google’s Head of Industry Dustin Bomar who learned an entirely new category shifting from the travel business to the telecom arena. If not more courageous is Dustin’s backstory. As a father of two adopted African American kids, now 7, we took some time to discuss the impact of these last two chaotic years; including its toll on his family. Dustin shares his concern for the type of country we are creating that his kids will one day grow into. Take a listen on this episode of The Courageous Podcast.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #41

Andrew Turner (Senior Manager – Amazon Alexa Artificial Intelligence)

It can share a news report with us in the morning. It can tell our kids a whimsical bed time story just before sleep. Amazon Alexa has become a useful member of many families found in kitchens and bedrooms all across the home. But what goes in to what Alexa says? And are there ways for us to teach Alexa what we best like to hear? Learn from Andrew Turner who is a Senior Manager on the Alexa Artificial Intelligence team. He works on what he calls the Natural Language Understanding team — and will share with us a few tricks, tips and Alexa skills that may help you in your home.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #40

Robbie Rogers (Soccer Star / Producer)

Male ego. Testosterone. One Ups. Away from the media, every locker room is a mental war zone that can often mirror the battles taking place on professional fields, diamonds and pitches itself. So imagine Robbie Rogers dilemma when he made the choice to become one of the first openly gay man in pro sports to brave the no holds barred chatter of the locker room. US Men’s National Team player Robbie Rogers, now retired, played for the LA Galaxy from 2013-2017. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, Robbie shares his story of “coming out” and playing on. We learn who inspired him and what the experience was like. Finally, Robbie enlightens us with a bit of courageous advice to take forward in our lives.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #39

Shelby Stanger (Badass Podcaster)

What happens when the tables are turned on an award-winning podcast host? You get badass podcaster, producer and storyteller Shelby Stanger as your guest on The Courageous Podcast. Shelby is a colossal believer that stories can impact substantial change. She has not only covered those stories as a journalist but has lived them herself. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, Shelby shares how she went about crafting her Wild Ideas Worth Living podcast that she knew she’d one day sell to REI. She also shares her current passion project called Vitamin Joy; a podcast that sets out to deliver more health, humor and joy into the world. From covering rock stars to sand boarding under the South African stars, Shelby talks us through her adventures over this entertaining, hour long episode.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #38

Eric Toda (Global Social Marketing at Facebook)

Eric Toda has had enough. Do you blame him? He is a father who unremittingly thinks about raising his children in a world where hate, fear and profiling is haunting Asian Americans. But why isn’t it haunting all of us? It should. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, Eric Toda keeps it real on how he feels. We do cover a lot of ground including Eric’s versatile career leading at AirBnB, Snap, Nike and now Facebook. Deeper into the episode we discuss Eric’s frustration over the last year as hate crimes targeting Asian Americans spiked 150% in major US cities over the course of the last year. Finally, we talk through how Corporate America can be a solution to stopping Asian (and all) hate.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #37

Lilian Tomovich (CMO Grove Collaborative)

Lilian Tomovich is a “kind competitor” who wants to win. While she has a serious passion for sports, she is a seasoned marketer who has spent a successful career growing on her experiences leaping from one vertical to another. With her ability to jump into teams across sectors — from banking to start-ups to gaming — Lili shares her perspective of the unique culture differences she has seen in companies focused on performance vs companies focused on brand. She believes technology matters; but people matter more. Finally, Lili shares her courageous story from corporate life which ends by giving excellent advice for any woman navigating predominantly stodgy, senior board rooms.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #36

Sarah Jordan (CEO of Mastermind Toys)

Imagine navigating the gauntlet of corporate life looking for that right opportunity to be a CEO. When you’re finally given your shot, you find yourself two months in on the job navigating your company through a pandemic. This is the “in progress’ story of Sarah Jordan who is the CEO of Mastermind Toys; Canada’s biggest specialty toy and children’s book retailer. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we discuss how Sarah quickly realized she wasn’t simply the CEO but needed to be the Chief Communications Officer, how she quickly scrapped her first 90 day plan and how she has been leading courageously with a team she has primarily never met in person. During a week where we’re proud to celebrate International Women’s Day we bring on a passionate and inspiring leader we can all learn a lot from.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #35

Julian Cole (Strategist / Founder Planning Dirty Academy)

Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Yet nailing an inspiring strategy can be the fuel a culture nourishes on to achieve its maximum potential. When it comes to unlocking true insight, there may be no one sounder on the planet than the founder of The Planning Dirty Academy Julian Cole. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, Julian joins us from Australia to explain the cost of change, the price of courage and his insightful RICK process (no spoiler alert here) to taking on reinvention. If your job includes the hard task of socializing ideas or you are personally interested in becoming a strategy sherpa then take this episode for a gander.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #34

Micol Rankin (Host of “You Are Dope”)

Micol Rankin is a lot of things! Most of all, he’s a passionate spirit looking to lift up “dope” people doing “dope” work in the world. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we discuss his deep love of freestyle rap battling, his 13 years growing his craft as a creative and his epic LinkedIN content series “You Are Dope”. We also try to drop a new nickname on Micol that may or may not stick by his standards. For being a positive light that picks up others, Micol has also encountered some unimaginable heavy that has us running the gamut of emotions across the episode. Enjoy.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #33

Derek Walker (Founder of advertising agency Brown & Browner)

“I move through a store differently just because of how the world perceives me.” What’s life like walking in the shoes of Derek Walker in America? If you’re a Black man, you already know. If you’re not, on this episode of The Courageous Podcast, come learn from the straight-shooting founder of South Carolina advertising agency Brown & Browner’s Derek Walker. Derek is an impassioned advertising executive who is not afraid to share his profound point of view on the need for better leadership when it comes to race relations in both the board room and across the country. In this episode, we navigate the divide that exists between White America and Black America. Is the USA really the land of the free? What is the role that CEOs must play in the diversity, equity and inclusion conversation? Are there any leaders left or have we all surrendered to working for bosses? Join us for an honest, genuine conversation with Derek where no topic was left unchecked.

Episode Notes

4:09 - "This is how we never solve anything"

6:26 - "The worst thing that could happen to advertising was..."

9:13 - What scares Derek about today

12:11 - The power of values

15:21 - Being a believer in the Constitution

15:32 - Derek's concern with the Jeep Super Bowl commercial.

18:54 - Should we be united here in America?

21:04 - The need to address bad behavior of bad apples.

23:41 - Standing together for one single principle

27:27 - Where have the leaders gone?

29:55 - Being more diverse starts with the CEO

30:15 - "They are bosses; they are not leaders."

31:59 - Why Derek left NYC...

34:04 - Placing your people over clients

35:36 - Firing bad clients

38:29 - In business, courage is a competitive advantage. In life, being courageous makes us happier.

39:50 - Derek shares what he loves the most

42:07 - Safe is now unsafe.

45:06 - If you don't grow you're dying.

45:17 - We need to overcome the fear of talking about our differences

46:09 - Do white men see black people?

46:34 - "I move through a store differently just because of how the world perceives me."

48:35 - "No one is talking about Black Lives Matter anymore"

49:06 - Derek shares he was quoted a different price to speak at an event than a white colleague

51:52 - Some problems need conversation to get to solutions

53:55 - "We need to understand that we see things differently"

56:12 - Derek profiles talented Black creatives during Black History Month


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #32

Minter Dial (Leadership Expert)

Get ready to be whisked away on a whirlwind adventure of how a Managing Director at L’Oreal went from the intensity of Madison Avenue to becoming an empathetic UK film maker, leadership consultant and Author. The versatile, deep-thinking Minter Dial joins us to share a handful of personal stories on how leading from any office, board room or stage starts with being prepared for those big, important life moments. We also discuss the importance of taking more control of our schedules and how we can learn to better manage our time vs the other way around. Finally, Minter gives us a snippet of his new book “You Lead” including a clear framework we can follow to become better leaders. Spoiler alert: It starts with getting clear on what’s important to you.

Episode Notes

4:50 - Minter's background from the non-traditional jobs to entrepreneurship and corporate life
7:17 - What was tugging at Minter to leave corporate and go back to entrepreneurship
8:42 - Leaning into tie dye...and wearing it to work
10:49 - The one moment that drove Minter to re-evaluate what he was doing with his career
15:07 - Do you know what you stand for?
19:12 - The challenge and the time needed to get to know yourself
19:21 - If you haven't done the work to know who you are, then you are being authentic about what?
20:26 - Standing up and standing out feels bad
20:58 - CHECK, the framework
24:06 - The link between empathy and time
26:53 - The cult of productivity is dangerous - it pulls on our resources and are not present with ourselves
27:44 - We replace being with doing more stuff
29:53 - Back to CHECK - Curiosity, Humility, Empathy, Courage, Karma
33:46 - Explaining Karma - intentions and actions
36:02 - You Lead, You
38:07 - Minter shares his story of vulnerability
42:24 - Minters view on being able to openly discuss death
43:40 - Minter shares his story of courage


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #31

Brent Gleeson (Navy SEAL and Author)

Let’s call a spade a spade: 2020, for the most part, sucked. After that brutal time of hardship, our guest on this episode might have you think differently about that year of sheer adversity. Author and Navy SEAL Brent Gleeson’s new book, “Embrace The Suck” showcases how pain is in fact a portal to transforming your mind. While we know the importance of corporate mental toughness, in this episode, we ask Brent if it’s ok to ask clients about physical fitness. We discuss the nuances of becoming a high performance team, the importance of consistent discipline and the power of knowing then leaning into purpose. We also touch on what it was like slogging through BUDS with his SEAL mate and the writer of his Foreword, David Goggins. Enjoy.

Episode Notes

3:10 - Brent's background and starting his first company

3:57 - Learning about pivots in entrepreneurship

5:38 - Should every American serve in the military?

7:44 - What do you go through mentally in SEAL training

8:23 - The mental, physical and mindset transformation

8:51- Key attributes - grit, resilience, mental fortitude, passion, and a deep emotional connection to the idea of serving

12:47 - Taking Point - The foundational principles for leadership and organizational development

13:44 - Wanted 'Embrace the Suck' to be something actionable in the personal transformation space

15:34 - Navigating obstacles in a better fashion is a path to fulfillment and ultimately a more meaningful life

16:52 - Pain versus pleasure

18:35 - "Do something that sucks everyday"

19:24 - Get comfortable, being uncomfortable

19:03 - A growth mindset is wrapped in courage, courageous action, courageous thought, courageous faith and purpose

21:13 - Make a list on the items you do want to regret in life and execute that list

22:07 - Values and leadership at work versus at home

23:34 - "We defined a set of guiding principles for our family that helps us get through obstacles, challenges, and celebrate wins"

26:17 - Level of awareness to be successful

27:36 - "New Year's resolutions are for losers"

29:01 - Discipline is about balance - mind, body, and decisions

31:43 - Consistency and schedule of "successful" people - Sunday through Sunday

32:08 - Do your to-do list the day before, not the morning of...

33:58 - What does a regimented schedule look like with kids in the mix

36:10 - Communicate, set expectations and be willing to adapt

40:22 - How you can prepare yourself physically to help yourself mentally

42:30 - Brent shares his story of courage in the workplace


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #30

Lisen Stromberg (Founder of PrismWork)

If we were going to launch a business today, Lisen Stromberg would be a first round lottery pick for a partner! She is a thought leader, author, cultural strategist and the founder of PrismWork; a company that drives workforce innovation and 21st century leadership. In this episode of the Courageous Podcast we discuss the necessary, tectonic shifts happening in workplace culture today. This includes the need for team diversity, equity and belonging. We pontificate on if the United States of America were our client, how would we go about fixing its reputation. We discuss the importance of leaders shifting their focus from external shareholders to internal stakeholders. And we delved into the importance of gender mix found across high-performing cultures. This episode is for any leader who aspires to build a best-in-class 21st century company looking to align its purpose with its people, programs, products and processes. Enjoy.

Episode Notes

5:46 - We believe we have to be the ideal worker

6:25 - Heartwarming to hear the next generation of men stepping up and saying they want to be actively engaged fathers

6:32 - How to be great at your career and your family life

6:52 - The abundance mindset and trends we are seeing

7:10 - Value is not just about shareholders; it's about stakeholders

8:53 - Fears of taking a break from work

9:32 - The profile of productivity will surprise you - it's not about being all in, all the time

10:01 - Huge rise of parents versus non-parents

12:25 - This is a collective problem to solve, not an individual one

13:04 - Integrating work and family

13:29 - The United States ranks dead last in paid parental leave

14:17 - Please support

18:15 - We have a duality structure and we need to change that

18:20 - Go back to our original values as a country

20:15 - People need to be given a chance to learn and grow and change

20:53 - Forces from the bottom up and top down are creating change

21:24 - Background on PrismWork and HEARTI - Humility, Empathy, Accountability, Resilience, Transparency, Inclusivity

23:45 - The core traits of leadership in the 21st century

25:51 - Why buy-in from the full leadership team is important

28:51 - Often times what has happened is that someone is in pain and leaders need help to build it the right way.

32:01 - Humility and curiosity drive awareness

35:23 - Carol Dweck's research around scarcity mindset, abundance mindset and understanding a growth mindset.

37:23 - Why courage matters

39:06 - Courage happens every day

39:42 - Sharing your truth and finding courage in doing so can help someone else

41:52 - The cult of productivity

44:01 - The construct of corporate America

44:36 - The need to change what success looks like

44:46 - Taking time off from work has massive benefits

46:14 - Shame is not a driver for change

49:57 - How to live your best life

50:10 - Get clarity on your values and how you choose to spend your time


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #29

Marisa Thalberg (EVP/Chief Brand and Marketing Officer of Lowe’s)

Marisa Thalberg, EVP/Chief Brand and Marketing Officer of Lowe’s, is now one year in on her new mission to surprise and delight DIY customer’s. Never have we asked more of our homes nor have our homes been more part of the cultural conversation. Who better than Marisa, named one of Forbes 50 most Influential CMOs in the World, to share how her team has navigated these trying times by striving to do the right thing for Americans. In this episode, Marisa, who worked previously at Taco Bell in California, shares what it’s like to move across the country during a global Pandemic; a move she doesn’t recommend! Marisa also walks us through her current reality of making decisions in 1) a new job, 2) from a Zoom box, 3) in the business of home. We also discussed what role Lowe’s should/shouldn’t play during the pandemic, where courage should/shouldn’t show up in a business and, finally, how her work on the infamous “The Bell Hotel” was not a year one move. In a time when retailers are struggling to find their way, Lowe’s is just the opposite. We discuss it all on this episode.

Episode Notes

3:59 - Does Marisa feel like she's a courageous leader?

6:03 - We force Marisa to choose 3 words to describe herself.

6:33 - Her thrill in the workplace: finding ways to win creatively

8:12 - "Psychology is the gameplay for what we do"

9:47 - Marisa shares the power of brands and their role in culture.

10:26 - The role of home today.

12:12 - Marisa explains what delights her about jumping into new verticals.

13:18 - Marisa is adamant about not doing things differently for the sake of doing things differently.

15:34 - Marisa doesn't recommend moving across the country during a global pandemic.

17:40 - One surprise she learned from an economist: residential sales have been stong during this time.

19:51 - "It takes time to build trust and relationships."

21:37 - Work life and home life have come together

22:35 - The importance of keeping the team aligned: Marisa and department are meeting once a week right now.

25:07 - Marisa shares that when she's passionate about the work shes doing she's not afraid to speak up.

26:35 - We remember the inspirational leaders we report into (and the not so good as well).

30:11 - Marisa confides why marketing and the consumer needs it proper seat at the business table.

31:32 - Ad Age hails Lowes as Marketer of the Year

33:31 - Marisa walks us through her reality of making instinctual decisions in 1) a new job, 2) during a pandemic, 3) in the business of home

34:43 - Where courage should and shouldn't play in their business

38:23 - Lowe's win-win-win program: "Plant's Of Purpose"

41:32 - We tak about her work creating Taco Bell's "The Bell" Oasis out in Palm Springs

42:33 - Creating a culture where people are not afraid to bring bold ideas to the table.

45:15 - Once the fundamentals are locked then you can begin to take some creative risks.

46:32 - Marketing isn't all fluff & fun. Marketing brings clarity. Clarity drives focus. Focus is part of strategy.

48:54 - Marisa shares some of her tenets of leadership.

52:05 - What are the things worth fighting for?

53:51 - Why did the "Bell Hotel" make business sense at the time?

58:47 - Marisa gives a quick shout out and explanation to "Executive Mom's" which she founded 18 years ago.

1:01:26 - The importance of staying compassionate through all of this challenge and change.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #28

Kristen Elliott (VP of Marketing, Eddie Bauer)

Kristen Elliott is the Vice President of Marketing at Eddie Bauer. What’s most fascinating about Kristen isn’t simply her decade long quest of inspiring Eddie Bauer customer’s to “Live Their Adventure” but rather her personal passion of shining a light on our fears, unfinished business and regrets that may come towards the end of our lives. She is the host of the “Dying to Live” podcast, an end-of-life Doula and on a quest to help people find peace in the meaning of their lives. We address it all on this weeks The Courageous Podcast.

Episode Notes

4:29 - Life changes that caused me to think about what I wanted out of life

6:20 - I have loved this brand since the day I walked into it - empowering people to have the outdoor experiences they want to have - guiding people toward wellness

6:45 - Coming back into a leadership position enabled me to do some of the things I wanted to accomplish that I was unable to previously

7:06 - The biggest lesson - to really lean into the "hell yeses of life" and stay clear of the "F-no's"

7:59 - There really is no time to have a mediocre life and make mediocre decisions.  To sit in mediocrity at all.  If you aren't happy with something, change it.

9:29 - When I started my freelance business I was determined not to take work I didn't believe in - just for the sake of taking work...I wanted to believe in the things I was doing.

11:52 - There is a massive difference between an influencer and someone who has influence

12:15 - Came back as a more ME version of me.

12:20 - Really started to take off some of those layers we put on...especially in corporate America

12:41 - Not adhering to those costumes that were previously required and instead showing up as myself.  Part of that is truth speaking, even when it is not popular.

14:05 - 2020 gave us the opportunity to strip back the things that we were doing and look very acutely at how we wanted to pave the way forward.

15:31 - The history of Eddie Bauer

16:11 - The shop in downtown Seattle served as a community gathering place...sharing stories about outdoor experiences.

16:41 - Benefits of getting outside...a remembrance of connection that gets built

19:06 - Live your's self prescribed.

20:07 - We view the outdoors as a playground, not an arena.

21:08 - Spend less time scrolling social media, and more time scrolling ourselves.

23:21 - Slowing down...connect with yourself more.

25:00 - Integrating experiences through adventure.

27:21 - What Kristen connected to the brand and the outdoors.

28:25 - The freedom you can feel as an individual in the outdoors.

30:30 - Taking the brand back to its roots and the purpose of Guides.

32:57 - Dying to Live podcast

33:51 - There must be a better way to do death.

34:17 - No idea how to handle emotional to handle grief.

34:24 - New role coming to life called an end of life doula...a sister role to hospice.

34:56 - We need people that are comfortable being close to death, who can talk about it, who can help sheppard people through this amazing process we are all going to go through.

35:42 - How to manage the many transitions we go through in life and personal grief.

38:32 - Grief is associated with every kind of loss...not just death.

39:10 - Fears Kristen faced leaving and coming back to Eddie Bauer.

41:23 - Everything we need to know is inside us already.

41:53 - Kill off comparing ourselves. When you compare, beware. Come home to yourself.

43:31 - Soul alignment immersion.

46:01 - A refocus into our communities.

48:10 - We all die, but not all of us are living.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #27

Sam Saliba (Instagram)

How does a guy who studied economics and analytics end up on a whirlwind marketing tour at Lucas Films, Intel, Ubisoft, Facebook, Adobe, Facebook and now Instagram? Sam Saliba, a global leader of Marketing at Instagram, shares there was no method to his madness as he designed his successful sojourn of a career. Looking back at it all, Sam admits each job experience has felt like a building block that nudged him towards his current work adventure. In this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we discuss the colossal difference between risk mitigation and risk navigation as Sam shares where his knack for risk-taking came from. He also provides three critical pieces of advice for anyone looking to get ahead in their careers, some tips for those creators looking to get ahead on Instagram and what he looks for when assessing his side gig: being an early stage investor.

Episode Notes

3:22 - Sam shares his work path from gaming to big tech.

3:52 - Sharing Instagram's latest campaign, "We Make Today"

5:26 - Sam shares his time in Product Marketing at Facebook.

6:31 - Sam's intention through it all: stay in the Bay area.

08:04 - Sam talks about working for creative-led Lucas Films.

9:34 - Thompson shares some Warren Buffett advice

10:58 - The power of working for a great leader

12:13 - If Sam could only pick one boss from previous bosses who would he pick...

14:44 - Sam shares 3 big learnings we can all take forward into our jobs

17:57 - "No one really knows what they're doing".

19:33 - Sam shares  how gut instinct helped fuel decisions in some past arenas.

20:00 - The balancing act of knowing how and when to look at data to inform decisions vs going on instinct, experience and intuition.

21:27 - When it comes to decision making, is there such a thing as too much data?

28:44 - Sam ponders how his last work life shows up in his new work life.

30:31 - Sam shares his side gig: being an investor.

31:43 - Sam has invested in 10+ companies now and shares what he's looking for in an idea.

34:51 - Sam lives vicariously through some of his investments -- and invests in people he believes in

37:08 - Sam shares his love of Mountain biking

38:53 - Mountain Biking is a form of meditation for Sam.

39:46 - Can you teach others to take risks?

40:18 - Sam shares his upbringing growing up in an immigrant family

42:41 - His 1st investment went well which sparked a fire to continue down that path

43:48 - Sam gives a little advice for Instagram creators

44:40 - The power of Reels


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #26

Brandon Farbstein (Gen Z Activist)

On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we’ll be joined by 21 year old world changer, inspirational speaker and Gen Z Activist Brandon Farbstein who is one of just 89 people in the world diagnosed with a rare form of dwarfism. We discuss what life is like standing in the shoes of 3 foot 9 Brandon, how he uses his platform for good and his fight to help others on their battles of self acceptance. Brandon also shares some of his darkest days being bullied and how he turned that part of his life into his life’s mission. Join us as we see first hand the differences between a disability and debilitation. Brandon is living proof.

Episode Notes

3:09 - How Brandon and Berman first met

3:48 - Brandon's background - GenZ activist, speaker, political activist, and influencer

3:57 - One of 84 people in medical history diagnosed with a rare form of dwarfism called metatropic dysplasia

4:36 - Turning point at age 11 when I was close to ending my life...tired of the suffering

5:52 - Opportunity to share my story for the first time through TedX

6:06 - First time I was vulnerable and authentic...through this experience I found my purpose and mission in life at age 15

8:16 - We all experience the same emotions, that's what it means to be a human being

10:22 - Finding someone to open up to, be comfortable, and feel seen and heard

11:33 - Standing in my own way with my thoughts

13:01 - Looking back, I wish I could have given myself more empathy

15:02 - The process of writing Ten Feet Tall

16:45 - Strategies to push through and keep going

18:09 - Imposter syndrome

20:01 - How did I unpack that anger and release it?...through personal development and control of my own thoughts

20:58 - Hurt people.  Hurt people.

24:05 - Passing laws to support education on empathy and EQ

27:11 - Proactively address bullying and focus on mental health

31:52 - Understanding that it is totally ok to be different

32:03 - Authenticity is a super power

33:27 - Dealing with depression

34:41 - The pandemic of loneliness

35:05 - Depression causes you to disconnect and make you feel like you are all alone, trapped...if you see someone in crisis or a dark place the most important thing you can do is offer support

36:11 - Remind those that we love the most that they are not alone - even when they appear to be thriving

37:18 - Self care is not a privilege anymore, it's a priority

37:51 - Taking care of and elevating your emotional, mental and spiritual well being has never been more vital

38:13 - Give the gift to yourself and you will give it to those around you - you will show up as a better leader

38:54 - Disability doesn't mean debilitated

41:23 - What's next - D.C.

42:14 - In the moments of adversity and struggle, we grow the most


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #26

Brandon Farbstein (Gen Z Activist)

On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we’ll be joined by 21 year old world changer, inspirational speaker and Gen Z Activist Brandon Farbstein who is one of just 89 people in the world diagnosed with a rare form of dwarfism. We discuss what life is like standing in the shoes of 3 foot 9 Brandon, how he uses his platform for good and his fight to help others on their battles of self acceptance. Brandon also shares some of his darkest days being bullied and how he turned that part of his life into his life’s mission. Join us as we see first hand the differences between a disability and debilitation. Brandon is living proof.

Episode Notes

3:09 - How Brandon and Berman first met

3:48 - Brandon's background - GenZ activist, speaker, political activist, and influencer

3:57 - One of 84 people in medical history diagnosed with a rare form of dwarfism called metatropic dysplasia

4:36 - Turning point at age 11 when I was close to ending my life...tired of the suffering

5:52 - Opportunity to share my story for the first time through TedX

6:06 - First time I was vulnerable and authentic...through this experience I found my purpose and mission in life at age 15

8:16 - We all experience the same emotions, that's what it means to be a human being

10:22 - Finding someone to open up to, be comfortable, and feel seen and heard

11:33 - Standing in my own way with my thoughts

13:01 - Looking back, I wish I could have given myself more empathy

15:02 - The process of writing Ten Feet Tall

16:45 - Strategies to push through and keep going

18:09 - Imposter syndrome

20:01 - How did I unpack that anger and release it?...through personal development and control of my own thoughts

20:58 - Hurt people.  Hurt people.

24:05 - Passing laws to support education on empathy and EQ

27:11 - Proactively address bullying and focus on mental health

31:52 - Understanding that it is totally ok to be different

32:03 - Authenticity is a super power

33:27 - Dealing with depression

34:41 - The pandemic of loneliness

35:05 - Depression causes you to disconnect and make you feel like you are all alone, trapped...if you see someone in crisis or a dark place the most important thing you can do is offer support

36:11 - Remind those that we love the most that they are not alone - even when they appear to be thriving

37:18 - Self care is not a privilege anymore, it's a priority

37:51 - Taking care of and elevating your emotional, mental and spiritual well being has never been more vital

38:13 - Give the gift to yourself and you will give it to those around you - you will show up as a better leader

38:54 - Disability doesn't mean debilitated

41:23 - What's next - D.C.

42:14 - In the moments of adversity and struggle, we grow the most


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #25

Tony McAleer (Founder, The Cure For Hate)

“That’s what you did. Not who you are.” Hurt people hurt people. This is the story of Tony McAleer, a former neofascist and White Supremacist, who mustered the courage to leave behind a tribe of violent extremists with a new quest of fighting hate. First, Tony had to encounter his own personal demons, fear of loneliness and, as he calls it, make up of toxic shame. Today, Tony is an international speaker, a father of two and the founder of The Cure For Hate. While his life’s mission is to help people leave hate groups, we spent the majority of our time discussing his own journey to eject himself from his last life. One moment of irony? His path to face himself went through a guiding therapist who happened to be Jewish. Tony shares his upbringing as “little Tony”, his eye opening trip to an Auschwitz concentration camp, and his committed quest to bring radical compassion to people who need it most.

Episode Notes

3:21 - Tony shares his last company: Life After Hate

4:07 - Tony spent 15 years in the movement

4:37 - Tony didn't grow up in a broken family

5:41 - "The world happens to us and we learn it's not so safe to be open."

8:19 - Tony talks about the coldness of his private school experience

9:35 - Tony talks about the choices he made that harmed other people and himself.

11:32 - Tony shares how the birth of his child changed him.

13:33 - The journey to self acceptance

15:29 - Tony shares his necessary break away from an extreme group

16:09 - Tony as a single parent in the 90s

16:19 - Tony discusses why people really join a hate group

17:38 - Voids filled: Brotherhood.  Love. Toughness.

19:52 - Tony shares where he turned after 15 years in the movement

21:44 - Tony walks us through his first ever counseling session

25:28 - "Compassion is the antidote to shame."

26:09 - The explanation of "toxic shame"

27:45 - "Suicide is the ultimate internal toxic shame. Murder is the ultimate external toxic shame."

28:48 - Tony shares the importance of dealing with our pasts

28:58 - "Healthy shame is, 'I did bad'. Toxic shame is, 'I am bad.'

31:21 - Shame is at the root of bullying. Shame is at the root of addiction.

33:32 - turn arounds happen with compassion

34:37 - The importance of living in alignment with "Little Tony".

38:55 - Radical compassion and the need to address what's beyond our comfort zone

41:23 - Breaking that cycle of playing a role

47:13 - "When I was in Holocaust denial, I was incapable of feeling."

47:28 - Tony shares what it was like to feel the energy of  Concentration Camps.

50:11 - Tony coming to terms with the deepest level of his shadow

50:37 - Tony confesses IF he would changed sooner if he visited the Concentration Camps in his 20s.

52:41 - Tony's book:  "A Cure For Hate"


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #24

Nev Schulman (Catfish, Dancing With the Stars)

A decade ago the world was introduced to Nev Schulman when we learned his online romantic relationship with a young woman on Facebook turned out to be with someone who had created a deceptive, fake social media profile. Thus the concept of Catfishing was born. A Sundance Film Festival documentary and 8 MTV seasons later, Nev Schulman continues to travel America helping guests encounter the truth and lies of online dating. On this episode of The Courageous Podcast, we discuss what information Nev receives prior to interacting with guests, what new doors might present themselves after Nev’s recent success on Dancing With the Stars and whether or not Nev sees his journey as courageous — or something else.

Episode Notes

4:55 - The Baja 1000 and how Berman meet Nev

6:36 - Van Neistat and the party starters

7:45 - Photojournalism and dancing

8:43 - The 10 year anniversary of Catfish the documentary

9:33 - How the documentary came to life

10:27 - The start of point and shoot content

11:40 - The process of finding out the truth...and filming it

13:31 - "Empathy didn't come naturally for me...most of my actions are motivated by selfishness"

14:37 - New York city upbringing has conditioned me to be head-strong, impulsive, and say yes to things...very little room for time and hesitation as a New Yorker

15:12 - That's my operating system...absolute efficiency

15:56 - "I'd never come face to face with a person who's experience was so different from mine...almost incomprehensibly difficult."

17:29 - "I got reinvented as a 27 year old by that experience and the film of that experience...I had to back into that and learn to be a more compassionate and empathetic person"

18:56 - The most meaningful takeaway for the people who come on the they feel as though they have been seen and heard..and think about themselves for the first time...

21:05 - How Catfish gets guests to come on the show

23:46 - "everyone says, they need closure..."

24:32 - Dancing with the Stars experience

28:32 - "Felt great to close the chapter and open a new one on my love and passion for dance..."

28:52 - Pivoting in Hollywood is difficult...reinvention

33:13 - "I don't think people come on the show seeking the truth...they know deep down what is happening...they need this experience to finally free themselves from this relationship they know isn't good for them.."

34:11 - Forced to confront a scary truth...the person they are in love with is lying to them.

34:39 - Technology and this generation

34:52 - "Everyone has become so public...everything has become so easy to access and share...very little privacy in the world today..."

35:31 - "People are looking for a tiny little pocket of life they can escape into that doesn't show up in anyone's news feed"

37:29 - Selfish gets a bad rap.  What if selfishness is nothing more than you have total clarity of what you like?

38:09 - 3 words to describe Nev

40:35 - "I want to do things that make me happy and feel good"

41:42 - Part of what makes me, me and what makes me successful is this weird tunnel vision focus I have for things

42:56 - "You have a good thing and you kinda want to let it keep going..."

44:38 - Learning how to make decisions that now involve and affect my family is scary and tough

45:14 - "It doesn't have to be perfect."

45:41 - "Better to have done that, than not"


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #23

Ryan Hogan (CEO, Hunt A Killer)

Escape rooms are all the rage. But how to make them scalable? Enter serial entrepreneur Ryan Hogan who is the Co-founder and CEO of Hunt A Killer, an innovative gaming company that delivers clues, items and correspondence to your doorstep that creates an interactive and immersive story for its Members. Hunt A Killer received the honor of ranking No. 6 on Inc. Magazine’s 5000 list of fastest growing privately-held companies in the U.S. in 2020. To date, Ryan and his team have shipped over two-million episodes, surpassed 100,000 subscribers, and has doubled revenue year over year without outside investors, with continued growth expected. In this episode of the Courageous Podcast, we go to town walking through the many pivots Hogan had to embark on in his business lifetime. Ryan also shares the common thread he sees from each of his previous ventures to his current success. Finally, Ryan gives amazing advice to any entrepreneur trying to find their way navigating this uncertain business in the world.

Episode Notes

3:55 - Serial entrepreneurism, the Navy and new cities

5:42 - Perseverance and getting through adversity.

7:39 - Don't get lost in the plan

7:47 - "Business plans are crap..especially in a start-up.  Day 1 your plan changes..."

7:58 - "My philosophy is LAUNCH...something to get started and get feedback"

9:58 - Only had one partner through my successful ventures...a lifelong friend

10:16 - I look for two things in a founder...TRUST...and...BALANCE.

12:24 - We all face fear and risks when starting something new...use the wins to build confidence no matter how small

15:41 - If this doesn't work, that's ok...part of beating back that fear

15:56 - Have the confidence that if everything'll be ok.  There is something else you can do!

17:12 - First lesson of if you build it...they DON'T come

19:05 - The evolution of an idea based on a failed one...

19:49 - Creating immersive experiences

20:09 - It's all about the pivots

20:23 - Went from exploding to imploding...learning entrepreneurism while scaling a company

23:33 - Firm believer in the LEAN startup

25:03 - Passionate about bringing people together

26:38 - We've been struck by lightning twice

27:09 - Must understand the key indicators of your business and the leading NOT lagging indicators

27:21 - Getting the right people in the right places is key

27:47 - Always hiring for what we need next, today.  Helps us get where we are going. If you hire the right people it comes back.

29:47 - Hunt a Killer...we have to make it feel real...we create a universe for you to experience

34:40 - What keeps me up at night is the unknowns

35:20 - Partnership with Lionsgate

35:27 - 3 pronged strategy - diversification of distribution, intellectual property, new genres

38:10 - The move to digital distribution

39:29 - Take some big swings every year

39:58 - Getting others to believe what you believe - genuinity, excitement, authenticity

40:44 - Team building kits for companies42:40:17 - Atrophy could keep us from achieving our goals - need to constantly challenge our own thoughts, biases, and ideas

44:04 - Two big things in entrepreneurism- just start and don't let your attachment to the initial idea get in your way


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #22

Bryant Brennan (Peloton) + Jason Harris (Mekanism)

"If you don't believe in what you're doing, the results aren't going to be good. They might be ok. But they’re not going to go beyond.” Bryant Brennan is the SVP of Global Creative at Peloton overseeing a team of 100 responsible for consumer and member experience. Jason Harris is the author of The Soulful Art of Persuasion and the CEO of creative advertising agency Mekanism. Together, the two organizations have been working over the last 4 years to bring forward the soul of the Peloton brand to an adoring community. In this episode, we discuss how Peloton today is made up of multiple businesses in one (fitness, self-improvement, tech), the investment Peloton has made in working with Emmy award-winning Producers and the overall hybrid working relationship between the Mekanism and Peloton team. If you wanted a behind-the-scenes look at what drives Peloton, their new partnership with Beyonce and the importance of both organizations leading through their ethos, take a listen.

Episode Notes

3:41 - Jason Harris shares some background on Mekanism

5:10 - Bryant Brennan discusses the role his team plays at Peloton

6:07 - What business is Peloton in? Fitness? Self Improvement? Tech?

7:44 - Peloton's investment in Emmy-winning producers to make the class experience top notch for members.

9:23 - We discuss the freedom the Instructors have designing their rides

11:09 - Jason discusses the beginning of the Mekanism + Peloton partnership

12:07- Jason discusses the importance of the growing Peloton community

12:28 - Peloton internal ethos: members first

13:47 - Jason shares how important culture was to the creation of Mekanism

15:44 - The future of brand-agency relationship is happening now with Peloton-Mekanism.

17:32 - Bryant shares, "There's a lot of confidence in what Mekanism brings to the table in how we collaborate together."

18:45 - Bryant shares the importance of having a creative partner integrated in all facets of the business right down to the KPIs.

20:35 - Jason discusses the impact of Covid and the urgent importance of performance marketing today

21:10 - As the soul guy, does Jason worry if we're going to lose soul in the work because of performance analytics.

23:23 - Bryant talks about the need to embed creative leadership across the teams

24:07 - Bryant: "A community built around community, performance has to have soul to it."

27:44 - Jason shares the pivot to feature real stories of the Peloton community

29:58 - How Peloton uses other platforms like Facebook to grow the community

31:52 - Bryant discusses the Beyonce partnership

33:24 - What's the most courageous move each has seen at their organizations

35:59 - Bryant shares a personal moment of courage

38:07 - Jason shares a moment of courage for Mekanism with Obama/Biden campaign

40:00 - Jason shares how writing his book was a time he needed courage

41:03 - "Anytime you do something and you put yourself out there, you have to step off the ledge. And it's scary" - Jason Harris

42:14 - Bryant and Jason's respond to 3 Business Haikus.

46:25 - "Culture trumps currency. If you invest in culture, profit will come." - Jason Harris

47:56 - "If you don't believe in what you're doing, the results aren't going to be good." - Bryant Brennan


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #21

Eric Ryan (co-founder of Method Soap)

"I sex up boring things that are part of everyday life. And I try to do it in a way that gives it scale fast.” How is it that a guy that wasn’t passionate about cleaning his own dishes found his way into becoming the co-founder of Method soap; a brand that today does 150 million annually at Target? Eric Ryan is a serial entrepreneur and a masterful business builder who has co-founded Method Soap, Olly and, most recently, Welly. Eric has made a career in finding opportunities to unlock in commodity arenas and he shares his secret for doing so. Eric also discusses his artist/operator model, his passionate take on the power of design and how his start in advertising as a strategist set him up on a path to best understand the nuance and needs of the consumer. If you are a creative business leader who would be bored if you weren’t learning and growing, and if you wanted to hear a few life-after-Covid “we’ll never go back” moments for Eric's companies, enjoy this new episode of The Courageous Podcast.

Episode Notes

1:32 - Quarantine Back In March Felt Like a Holiday; Not so much now

2:35 - Does he take pride in his advertising roots? Or does he run from that identity?

4:15 - Eric explains being in his 20's when he started Method

5:15 - Eric shares his two hiring rules back at Method

7:18 - Eric discusses the 3 separate cultures he's currently part of

8:40 - Finding those little ways to keep the team feeling unified

9:40 - Eric explains the "All Welly Wednesday" Zoom call

11:26 - We get Eric's response to a few Business Haiku's

12:21 - Covid was an accelerator to a new world and a new way of working

14:52 - The reality of imposter syndrome

17:38 - How Eric goes about testing his business ideas

19:09 - Creating little steps of confidence at a time

20:07 - Eric shares how he starts by looking at categories that are ripe for disruption

22:25 - "I sex up boring things that are part of everyday life. And I do it in a way that gives it scale fast. And that’s the Target partnership which really helps with that.”

23:57 - Their first meeting with Target: "It's a Snowball's Chance In Hell."

25:15 - "Any success story has an element of luck to it..."

26:12 - Eric raves about the creative leadership he sees at Target

28:48 - "Products are just the souvenir of the culture."

30:15 - Eric shares his artist and operator model

31:31 - Creating the space for the artist and the operator to work really well together.

32:48 - Does Eric see himself as the Artist? The Operator? Or something else?

35:18 - We get into the creation of Welly

36:23 - The differences between Eric's time on Method, Olly and Welly.

38:53 - The importance of learning and growing

40:38 - Trying to create space during the pandemic to think

42:18 - Eric shares a few life-after-Covid "we'll never go back" moments for his companies.

43:15 - "I believe in the slow hunch."

43:46 - "I need all the legos in the room again"

45:14 - Eric explains how he is a product guy: Culture first, Product second. Sales and marketing will follow.

47:39 - Discussing "Play Culture"

48:40 - Building brands is like putting on a play

50:11 - Method value: What would MacGyver do?

50:50 - Does Eric run his ideas by his kids?

52:32 - Eric has his next two company names ready to go...

53:16 - "If you're not growing you're dying"


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #20

James Brennan (Serial Entrepreneur)

James Brennan is a fighter. Whether it was fighting an early stage business, sobriety or a new vertical, James has transformed into a risk-taking, serial entrepreneur and the CEO of Enlightened Brand Ventures. His company hosts a portfolio of businesses that includes Suja, Original Grain, Dizzle, Kopari and a handful of successful hospitality/nightlife ventures. When it comes to addressing the ups, downs and everything in between, Brennan courageously opens up and tells all. Learn how James put himself in uncomfortable moments so others around him could live comfortably. How he believes you can play to win without having a loser on the other side. And, finally, how some times in life you have to go through hard times to get to the good stuff on the other side. For anyone looking to take on Entrepreneurship, James shares the pitfalls, pivots and prosperity that come with the space on this episode of The Courageous Podcast.

Episode Notes

3:31- James Brennan's Yankee Teeshirt

3:48 - Growing up in NYC

4:54 - College in San Diego. "I fell in love with the city and the the people."

7:15 - Growing up in NY "grows you up quick"

8:39 - James shares a "Street Smart" NY moment

12:41 - Make my kids aware of the job creation that comes with the job

15:06 - "First of all, I'm a risk taker."

16:52 - James talks about his 2009; a potential BK moment.

18:59 - "I'll make my bet and if I'm wrong I'm wrong."

24:32 - "Every job has its risk factors"

30:37 - James shares the pivots from night life to others verticals

31:40 - James involvement in Suja started with his wife's Suja habit

35:05 - "Courage is the bedrock root of sobriety"

35:37 - "I definitely believe there are entrepreneurs that are born."

36:38 - James talks about the courage needed to take the leap.

38:17 - Providing advice for up and coming entrepreneurs...

38:52 - Turn the news off

40:45 - Evaluate and re-evaluate everything

44:58 - Authenticity Over Everything

46:44 - No greater high for James than helping other people


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #19

Jay Baer (Hall of Fame keynote speaker)

Jay Baer is a 7th generation entrepreneur, the author of 6 profound best-selling business books, a world renown Hall of Fame keynote speaker and the CEO of social media strategic firm Convince & Convert. We cover a lot of ground in this episode including Jay’s thoughts on “hustle culture”, his reasoning for scribing his latest book about WOM “Talk Triggers” and a delightful deconstruction for making CX (Customer Experience) digestible and successful for his clients. Jay also shares what he does and doesn't miss about the keynote stage and the importance of word of mouth — even though less than 1% of companies have a sound word of mouth strategy.

Episode Notes

2:31 - A weird time for a world renowned keynote speaker

4:11 - Do business travelers really do their best work on a plane?

5:35 - Who is Convince & Convert

6:53 - The shift to virtual keynotes and the investment in equipment.

8:01 - Jay is a 7th Generation Entrepreneur

8:47 - Jay shares his haunting 8 year gap between wanting to be an Entrepreneur and when he finally leaped

10:34 - Jay shares his process for overcoming what he was afraid of.

13:28 - Jay shares "you do you" during Covid

15:08 - Jay shares his latest book, "Talk Triggers"

15:26 - THIS COULD BE THE OPEN. Less than 1% have a Word of Mouth strategy

18:38 - 23 case studies in "Talk Triggers".

20:35 - Discussing aided and unaided ways to track WOM

21:25 - Search Engines for Bentley: High, Search Engines for Bentley dealer: Extremely Low

22:36 - Jay has written 6 books. He shares how he pressure tests book topics.

24:57 - Does Jay have a favorite of his 6 books?

26:46 - Jay shares his process to dissecting a client's hardest questions.

29:48 - Jay predicts what life will be like 90 Days from now

30:20 - What Jay does and doesn't miss about the keynote stage

31:54 - Jay shares the stress of being on the road all the time

36:16 - Jay shares one of the best pieces of feedback that helped him prepare for the keynote stage

38:18 - Every Jeep has an easter egg on the vehicle

41:14 - Staying curious of "what's out there"

41:24 - "When I notice a pattern, I'll start picking at it."

41:50 - 71% of Customer Experience Fail to Deliver ROI

42:58 - CX: be quick, be clear, be kind

46:24 - What does Jay see himself as first: a speaker? A strategist?  Something else?

49:38 - Jay shares he's "only" good at two things: 1) seeing patterns and translating them, 2) judging talent

51:05 - What is Jay afraid of?


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #18

Johanna Maska (President Obama’s former Press Advance)

What happens when you grow up in Kansas in a family of Republicans only to end up as the lone Democrat in your family? This is the story of Johanna Maska who went on to become President Obama’s former Press Advance; traveling to 42 countries with the President. Fast forward to today, as election week arrives, Johanna, now CEO of public affairs firm Global Situation Room, discusses the polarizing state of America, the overwhelming finger pointing in Washington DC and the tribal party mentality we’re experiencing between “red” states vs “blue” states. We discuss the differences between policy and politics, if (sadly) a Civil War is coming and the importance of leadership in the White House. Finally, we imagine what a conversation might be like for Johanna back in Kansas a few days before the election at a family reunion.

Episode Notes

3:58 - The Polarized State of America

4:17 - Johanna shared her conservative roots

5:28 - How far apart are the "red" and the "blue"?

7:14 - Is a Civil War coming?

8:33 - Her Dad's distaste with Johanna registering as a Democrat

9:31 - Johanna's path to politics

10:56 - the importance of global thought leadership without degrading economic leadership

13:49 - the power of good leadership in politics

15:16 - Social media has further divided us

16:38 - Where's our third party?

19:38 - Calling out the bs on both sides of the aisle

19:53 - Trump calling out blue states from the podium

21:50 - Why she worked for Obama

22:02 - Entrepreneurism is America's superpower.

23:09 - Mom's advice: "Get a job with health insurance"

24:36 - The difference between policy and politics

27:09 - judging leadership not be leadership but by party affiliation

28:50 - Seeing the country from the shoes of the other party

31:29 - The need for Brands to have more conviction

35:01 - Voting for the lesser of the evils

35:30 - RIP RBG

37:32 - Making a difference starts locally

43:21 - Johanna recalls the power of Hope during the Obama years

46:56 - China is playing the long game

49:27 - Our system isn't keeping up with the times

52:21 - How does politics stay up with the advancements in the rest of the world?

53:59 - Getting back to the basics

55:53 - Blockchain voting

57:06 - Johanna's conversation at the family reunion in Kansas


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #17

Geoff Cottrill (Marketer)

"You're going to fire me one day. I want this to be the thing you’re going to fire me for."  From Coke to Converse, master story teller Geoff Cottrill has the resume of marketing royalty but the humility and humbleness to stay himself. He is a self proclaimed “serial marketer who hates the way we’re supposed to do marketing”.  As Geoff attests, no consumer wakes up in the morning just excited about an ad launch.  So how do we rethink the way we go about listening, connecting and treating consumers vs assuming they’re ok with us interrupting their stream, mobile phone or day. Geoff shares why he is incredible passionate about the consumer -- and making sure there’s both mutual respect and their voice (front and center) in the board room.  Geoff also ranks his courageousness in each job along the journey, shares the decision for Coke to bring back “New Coke” via Stranger Things and, finally, the importance of speaking up, keeping it personal and not being afraid to “go all the way”.

Episode Notes

4:34 - Life long serial marketer who hates the way we're supposed to do marketing

5:07 - His two daughters: a Producer and a Musician

6:46 - "I hate lazy marketing"

8:15 - Marketers often wake up in the morning assuming people care what you have to say

9:44 - Geoff shares "the twofold" job of the marketer

11:44 - The pain of Covid advertising

13:47 - Incredible passionate about the consumer -- and making sure their voice is considered

14:12 - People confuse growth for a goal: growth is a result.

15:21 - Geoff's internal empty chair exercise

17:11 - The importance of being good to people.

18:20 - The fallacy of heritage (when the consumer doesn't care)

20:31 - Hard to keep continuity on big brands today because players come and go

20:51 - New P in marketing = Personal

23:31 - Talking at consumers vs Communicating with consumers

27:10 - Stranger Things amplifies "New Coke" -- the decision for Coke to say "yes"

28:40 - "This is a new coca cola company"

29:06 - 3B PR Impressions from Stranger Things partnership

31:08 - Know Going In You Are Going To Get Fired: What gives you the courage to take shots

32:30 - Geoff's interview with Mike Wilsky.

33:27 - "Have you ever gone all the way" - Interview question, Mike Wilskey (Nike)

34:51 - "You're going to fire me one day. I actually want this to be the thing you fire me for."

35:43 - The importance of going for it

38:23 - Geoff explains the "what's the catch" no catch...catch.

41:05 - "I try to surround myself with ridiculously creative people and see what happens."

42:18 - The power of music in their family: his wife and his two daughters

44:31 - Geoff's new role sitting on a few Boards

48:06 - Geoff explains a meeting at Coke when he was new and didn't say anything (but should have)


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #16

Ricky Mena (Superhero)

Amongst us are living, breathing heroes who have not only found their true calling, but are putting their purpose into action. This week on the Courageous Podcast, we are joined by “a real-live” superhero in Ricky Mena who is the founder of Ricky is committed to bringing positivity and smiles to children facing life-threatening illnesses, disabilities and more. The way he does so is by dressing up as Spiderman for his visits. We’ll learn how Spiderman came to be, how Ricky had his own courageous fight with PTSD and how he overcame it all for a higher mission.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #15

Katie Decker (Global President of Johnson & Johnson)

Protests. Pandemics. Paralysis. If you’re like many, perhaps you feel your company isn’t doing enough to the right the wrong’s you’re currently witnessing in the news. This week on the Courageous Podcast we're joined by the approachable Global President of Johnson & Johnson’s Essential Health and Sustainability Katie Decker. Katie has been a champion at J&J in overseeing baby, oral, hair care and wound while powering new initiatives such as sustainability, purpose and Diversity & Inclusion. If she can make change (with her teammates) in a behemoth like J&J, so can all of us. Katie will share a few of the hard conversations their team took on over the course of the last year as well as their commitment to listening to their staff for the purposes of  creating real change.

Episode Notes

00:02:22 - Meet Katie Decker: Global President of J&J's Essential Health

00:05:32 - How Katie Juggles The J&J Portfolio

00:06:27 - "The Most Uncomfortable Role I've Even Been In Is The One I'm In Right Now"

00:08:32 - Moving Off Old Ways of Doing Business

00:08:42 - "This Massive Leap of Faith Over The Last Year"

00:10:19 - J&J's Commitment to Consumer Health

00:11:01 - Serving a Billion Consumers Daily

00:12:32 - Katie Shares Her Time Allocation Between Essential Health, Sustainability & D&E&I

00:14:31 - The importance of belief

00:16:05 - Eating The Corporate Elephant

00:17:16 - The Impact of George Floyd at J&J

00:19:49 - J&J's Current Undertaking to Better Understand Systemic Racism

00:22:48 - Berman share's launching "" as a white man

00:23:26 - "You feel like you're going to say the wrong thing".

00:28:41 - Creating belief starts with data

00:31:08 - "We get up everyday to make people's lives healthier"

00:31:31 - Health of people + Health of the planet

00:32:43 - J&J's 800M commitment/investment in sustainability

00:37:21 - Was J&J the first purpose based company?

00:38:34 - J&J's Credo Recently Modernized

00:39:07 - Katie's response to Business Haiku's

00:41:01- Is status quo ever a good thing?

00:43:47 - Katie shares her exchange with imposter syndrome

00:48:16 - Next Week's Episode: A Real Live Superhero Ricky Mena


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #14

Jaelin Kauf (US Ski and Snowboarding)

Get ready for some serious airtime as we get up, close and personal with US Ski & Snowboarding Athlete and current #2 Freestyle Mogul Skier in the world Jaelin Kauf. Jaelin, with the goal of becoming the globe's best female Freestyle skier, shares her action packed story of growing up on the mountain in a family of competitive skiers. We cover a lot of snow in this episode including her recent experience competing for Team USA at the PyeongChang Olympics as well as he current commitment, passion and fire to make it to the top of the podium in the 2022 Winter Olympics being hosted in Beijing.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #13

Steve Wilhite (Former Apple Executive)

"I show up in a pair of old boat shoes, deck shoes, no socks. A dirty pair of jeans, a black T-shirt and a red ski jacket. I've flown down from Vancouver, from Whistler the night before. I haven't shaved. I didn't know I was interviewing obviously but when you get the call from Apple, you go. So that's how I interviewed for the job as the head of global marketing for Apple.”  Sage leader Steve Wilhite, who was interviewed and hired directly by Steve Jobs to run marketing at Apple, shares what it was like to work at an innovation-driven company. He also shares a few critical predictions about how leaders can inspire teams, lead themselves and navigate the realities of tomorrow.

Episode Notes

2:07 - Background on Steve

4:39 - Steve on his journey

5:25 - Brands with deep values that had the power to connect with people emotionally

7:26  - Absolute directionaless, needy, potential employee...up to my eyeballs in student debt

8:03  - Started at Lincoln Mercury division of Ford Motor Company

10:06 - The first time that I voluntarily left a job for unemployment

11:01 - The opportunities I was getting were not consistent with my expectations

14:57 - Didn't have a high level of enthusiasm or passion for the organizational structure - The way we were led, the way teams worked together.

16:47 - Golden handcuffs

17:05 - The good employees want to push things forward, they want to take risks, that are there working because they want to be working, because they are inspired...not because they have to be there

17:52 - Values alignment or violation of values

20:20 - A thirst for learning
20:24 - The greatest thing you can give your kids is curiosity

26:30 - You have to exposure yourself to broader ideas

28:47 - The CMO role. Have a whole bunch of people waiting for you to fail...

29:05 - So easy to get too myopic, too conservative...

29:15 - Give people the confidence and the courage to behave more adventurously

30:05 - "aircover"

32:33 - The world is full of managers...the world is not full of leaders

32:25 - The manager administers. The leader innovates.  The manager maintains.  The leader develops. The manager relies on systems. The leader relies on people.  The manger counts on controls.  The leader counts on trust.  The manager does things right. The leader does the right thing.

34:42 - We should be pushing for something extraordinary that connects people, that  inspires people.

42:08 - Probably never been a time more important for courageous leadership - develop a clear lead people forward in an intelligent, unfrightened, confident way

43:31 - Steve Jobs

45:02 - He was admired but also kinda terrifying

45:56 - Apple had very clear aspirational values...and [Steve} expected the people that worked with understand and embrace those values

46:28 - Was not bashful about telling anyone that they are full of sh*t

48:12 - He desperately needed people that would tell him he was wrong

49:31 - Every conversation has an impact

50:46 - I'm very proud of the advocates and relationships I've built.  I'm equally proud of the enemies I've created.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #12

Brandon Lloyd (Former Pro Bowl NFL Player)

Drafted in the 4th round of the 2003 NFL Draft, Brandon Lloyd didn’t think his Plan A would include becoming a Pro Bowl Wide Receiver, catching darts from Tom Brady or leading the league for a season in receiving yards. After 11 years playing in front of adoring fans (in SF, Washington, Chicago, Denver, St. Louis and New England), he now shares what life is like on the other side of the chalk. We cover a lot of ground in this podcast including what was important to Brandon’s family before football, what life was truly like behind the scenes in the NFL and how Brandon continues to work “in the now” to rebuild his identity after life in the NFL had concluded.

Episode Notes

06:36 - What Brandon is up to these days

08:00 - Transitioning teams

08:27 - Similarities between sports teams and corporate teams

09:39 - What Brandon misses about the NFL - the physicality, being the best, and preparation

09:45 - Vigorous exercise has been an outlet to prepare for my day and knock the edge off

10:46 - The last of 7 kids in the Lloyd family

12:16 - Grew up around a lot of loving people that were supportive

12:47  - Parents held me accountable

13:40  - A smart man learns from his mistakes, a stupid man never learns from his mistakes, and a wise man learns from other people's mistakes

16:01  - Just tell me what "don't" to do...

17:58  - The people we surround ourselves with is the greatest expressions of who we are

18:31 - Seeking continuous improvement

18:44 - How do I correct that?

19:19 - Humility was an underlying trait that was passed on to me

20:00 - Leaving school early and mom not being happy about the decision

24:11 - Owning up to promises and obligations

25:30 - Overcoming doubts

29:38 - Playing with Tom Brady - the perfect rotation

32:42 - Stepping up and becoming something

34:05 - Nothing was ever good enough...always wanted more

34:35 - An insatiable appetite always leaves you angry...never achieving enough or getting the desired result

34:53 - Tools: reading self help books and Eckhart Tolle, deconstructing the ego, hypnotherapy, applied kinesiology

36:25 - Improving myself personally and professionally, focusing on parenting, and staying present

38:00 - Learning from the experience in Washington

40:45 - Dialing in to mental health

41:21 - The right diet and the right mentality

42:18 - Not listening to the "mean" voice in your head

44:17 - Advice from Brandon 2.0

46:04 - The 2010 season

49:36 - The transition after football - "a major loss of identity"

51:34 - Understanding the tools gained and learned from football and applying them to new areas in life

54:22 - Raising two boys


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #11

Jeff Boss (Navy SEAL).

Jeff Boss always knew he was called to do more. In fact, he not only wanted to jump out of planes and blow stuff up (his words), he sheerly wanted to be the very best. So when he graduated from college, he chose to take the path less traveled fully committing to the mettle of becoming an elite Navy SEAL. The BUD/S experience and elite training was anything but a smooth ride.  Jeff,  who now homes four Bronze Stars with valor and two Purple Hearts from his 13 year experience as a Navy SEAL, shared what he learned from serving with his trusted teammates in the treacherous field.  He shares many guiding leadership principals that listeners can apply today including the importance of putting the team first, facing the thing that scares you most and addressing the hardest conversations head on. Enjoy.

Episode Notes

3:22 - A battle that everyone fights within

5:08 - Wanted to jump out of planes and blow stuff up

5:22 - If I'm going to do it I wanted to be the best at it, and the SEALS are the best

6:17 - Had a laser focus 5-6 days a week for three years

7:30 - On BUDS...incredibly difficult physically, mentally, emotional.. but also the best time...

10:03 - Soul crushing and devastated to get rolled back...didn't know what I was going to do

11:04 - How much I learned about myself in that state of anguish, state of despair

11:14 - When I came back my pain threshold was through the roof...I came back more confident

13:28 - The priority start to think about yourself last

19:54 - Addressing issues head on

20:25 - We all heard each other, vented frustrations and were candid

21:30 - Feedback regardless of rank

22:05 - Becoming one unit

23:31 - How to get to trust in a group

25:35 - Difference between a group and a team

27:15 - Trust and respect in a team

29:48 - First thing you are scared of...tackle it
32:17 - Strategies for building trust

35:25- Separate emotion from the mission or task at hand
35:39 - Purpose is everything

37:39 - Courage is the bi-product of the purpose I am pursuing


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #10

Scott Harrison (CEO of charity: water).

At the ripe age of 29, now CEO of charity: water Scott Harrison had been navigating the NYC nightlife (and all that came with it) as a prominent Nightclub promoter. Where many evenings included debauchery, notoriety and heavy drinking, Scott recalls himself feeling “spiritually and morally bankrupt”. A radical change was needed and a radical choice was made as Scott walked away from a life full of vice. Scott chose to enter an upside down world of what he knew — on the opposite side of the world — taking on a two year humanitarian medical operation in post war Liberia. While Scott was there, he saw many debilitating problems we take for granted in America. Scott shares how we grew more curious by a single daunting fact: 1.2 Billion people, at the time, who didn’t have access to clean drinking water. We cover a lot of ground in this episode including his trips to 69 countries, how Scott came face-to-face with a global water crisis and how he has now embarked on a relentless 14 year sojourn for the purposes of providing clean water to populations in need all around the globe. Enjoy.

Episode Notes

3:01 - A Pandemic Pivot: Moving to PA

6:24 - Radical Life Change On the Horizon

9:40 - Scott shares the upside down (life-changing) world of Liberia

12:20 - Walking Away From a Life Full of Vice

14:04 - Scott shares what he saw in Liberia

15:32 - A Challenge Was Posed to Scott

16:59 - "In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing..."

18:20 - Scott shares how he threw a party to jumpstart his first Uganda wells

18:40 - Showing people where their money had gone

20:12 - "There was no business plan. We just tried stuff"

23:18 - We are inviting people to bring the best part of themselves to a party and we’re celebrating the ons together.

23:44 - Scott shares their monthly givers: The Spring

24:38 - "It's just a different party. It's a party that matters."

27:56 - Fundraising in a pandemic

28:00 - "Clean water is literally the first line of defense against Covid."

30:09 - The importance of clean water

33:33 - Scott discusses the cost of drilling a well...

35:32 - Working with partners to preserve, protect and maintain the wells.

37:15 - Scott shares the future of their tech: proactively servicing a well -- well before it breaks.

37:52 - Thirst: Scott Harrison's Book

40:13 - "Your past doesn't need to define your future"

42:34 - Advice to making change: this is the time

44:12 - Scott shares staggering remote work statistics...

46:16 - Scott shares what he is NOT motivated by: money

47:26 - "I'm not a very good manager"

50:09 - Get involved:


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #9

Katie Babineau (Global Head of Marketing at Snap Inc).

Katie Babineau is the versatile Global Head of Marketing at Snap Inc where she currently helps Snap Labs think through innovation with a keen focus on the future of Augmented Reality. Katie shares her path from Sony to GoPro to Apple before giving us an inside peak on what life has been like — now celebrating her one year anniversary — at Snap. She shares the differences between here-and-now AR vs what AR may look like in the future, discusses the importance of staying curious, and gives us her take on Tik Tok. Finally, we discuss the not-so-augmented-reality of navigating work in a Covid world which grants her the opportunity of doing what she loves from a city that she loves: San Diego.

Episode Notes

2:35 - Getting The Band Back Together For One Podcast

5:00 - Describing her versatile roles to today

5:22 - Driven by curiosity and challenge

7:20 - Katie's Objective: Work on Global brands from San Diego

8:17 - Relationships matter

9:32 - Katie explains her time at GoPro

11:06 -Katie's "up and down" relationship with San Diego

13:57- Making the jump to Snap

15:20 - Snap: a leader in vertical content

17:06 - Gen Z  on Snap -- especially during Covid

18:29- Katie shares that Snap is driven by their values

19:10 - Snap values: Smart. Kind. Creative.

22:47 - Katie discusses Snap's current growth mode

24:15 - The perks of starting on the same day as your boss: Kenneth Mitchell

26:06 - What to do when you don't know...

27:09 - Having A Curious Mindset

28:15 - Good results are contagious

28:32 - It becomes a winning game

29:06 - What advice would Katie 3.0 give Katie 1.0?

30:51 - A mind shift: having a plan to staying present

31:43 - Working on a brand she believes is everything...

33:48 - Consumer's don't have time for marketing BS

34:50 - Katie discusses Tik Tok

37:26 - The business value of AR

39:03 - Leading with transparency


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #8

Brain Sherpa Dr. Nicholas Alp.

Dr. Nicholas Alp is the Brain Sherpa! With more than 65 peer-reviewed publications and books, and more than 25 years of clinical research experience, Nicholas has a keen understanding of what makes each of us tick. Nicholas — trained in medicine at London and Oxford Universities with a PhD in Immunology at Cambridge University — joined us from the UK and, in laymen terms, provided color on where our anxiety comes from. In these stressful Covid times, Nicholas thoughtfully shares why we often freeze (or flight) when we desperately wish we could muster up the means and courage to fight. If you ever wanted to know the inner workings of your wirings, this episode is for you.

Episode Notes

2:31 - Initial conversations about courage and evolution

4:30 - What's going on upstairs

5:06 - Nick's background

7:15 - Interest in mental health, human interaction, along with verbal and non-verbal communication

7:53 - Common human needs and desires that drive us

8:59 - To understand yourself you have to understand your mind

8:46 - apply a skill set to the goal set, but what about the mind set?

9:50 - Brains only do two things - receive and process information and then they make judgement's

10:57 - Is it good for me, is it going to harm me, do I like it?

12:03- within our brains is a history of life on earth

15:03 - Deep within our brains, we are nothing more than lizards

15:18 - We are survivors because we are able to recognize and respond to things that are dangerous to us

15:37 - recognize the creatures we are, what fear is for, and how valuable it's been...

15:57 - a lot of those innate fear responses are not always appropriate ...acute fear...turns into chronic anxiety

16:46 - short circuit reactions to get to a better place in our brains

18:08- we are not compelled or destine to respond to every internal stimulus we experience have ... create space between the sensation/ emotion...and our physical and mental response

18:48 - practice expanding "that" space

20:42 - bring your attention to something immediate and infinite your breath

21:39 - Cognitive biases - proximity, intensity, negativity, and confirmation

27:02 - we always have a choice...we must give ourselves space to make a mindful choice

28:09 - daily active practice

29:00 - states of mind and ways you can take action

29:07 - push our fear - understand it, name it, and face it head on

29:41 - find a way to love what you are doing

30:03 - To be grateful and to serve and give

33:17 - Need to belong and connect with other human beings

34:50 - who's on your team and who isn't

37:21 - neurogene's evolving

38:57 - freeze or flight

41:47 - standard operating procedure is nervousness

44:21 - Effective action = focus on the right thing to do, practice, and then persist

45:32 - Be kind to yourself

46:49 - Move your body and get your mind out of that static place

48:20 - Central courage system hack

50:13 - Kind, compassionate and curious

52:26 - Building brain fitness


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #7

Michael Stahl (Servpro, CMO).

Michael Stahl is the freshly minted CMO of “disaster clean-up” company Servpro. On the job for a mere 3 weeks, a pandemic ensues. Unable to move to his soon-to-be-new Nashville home, Stahl had the courage on a Zoom leadership call to suggest Servpro devote focus and resources to develop a robust cleaning program for the purposes of mitigating the Covid crisis spreading across America. 18 days later, the “Certified Servpro Clean” program rolled out nationwide. We discuss what it was like for Michael to suggest this pivot, the reality that Michael had to win over a team he still hasn’t met in person and the necessary speed at which the company moved at to provide customers with a product they so desperately needed. If you ever wondered “why not you, why not now”, this is a must listen episode about jumping on a corporate opportunity and taking courageous action.

Episode Notes

Show Notes:

4:39 - ServPro's Time to shine (during Quarantine)

5:32 On the front line cleaning up the crisis

7:19Getting  Calls To Clean Up Covid

8:07 The Courage to Suggest a Pivot (6 weeks into his new job)

8:35 We Serve Up A Different Title For ServPro's CMO

9:27 Launching "Certified ServPro Clean"

10:29 With Covid, it isn't about what you can see; it's what you can't see

11:34 Attacking Covid with The 3Cs

12:30 The difference betwen 1) the emergency clean, 2) the proactive "reduce the spread of Covid" clean

14:05 Never Stop Listening

16:42 The Courageous Cleaning Teams In The Field

17:59 "This is a Villain You Can't See"

19:29 The importance of the C-Suite having opens lines of communication

19:47 This is Our Time

21:54  Did Michael Make Believers or Fake Believers?

24:07 The #1 Priority for  CEO's: Keeping physical premises safe

25:46 Building Internal Trust

33:19 Navigating United Healthcare

38:03 Why Not You. Why Not Now.

39:12 Putting what he calls "the trifecta" in play

40:07 Trifecta: Do Good Work. Get Compensated for doing so. Expand the brand (all at the same time).

42:57 Making the world a bit better -- especially when that means spending time away from your family.

44:54 Courage Breeds Courage


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #6

Tony Hsieh.

Courageous Podcast w/ Tony Hsieh
The intentional Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos, a serial entrepreneur and the author of NY Times Best-Selling book Delivering Happiness. He also continues to push the envelope on creating intentional environments that inspire his teams while maximizing the potential of the Zappos workforce. In this episode of the Courageous Podcast, we time machine back to a time before Covid for an “in person” podcast recorded live at one of Tony’s latest new projects: Ferguson’s Downtown. Think Burning Man but for entrepreneurs as airstreams, motivated tenants, a Black Alpaca named Marley and Tony Hsieh himself all live together in a revitalization project just off the Las Vegas strip. We sat down with Tony, Tyler Williams (A Zappos Fungineer) and Jen Taler to discuss the future of work, the importance of curiosity in business and the “what’s next” at Zappos.


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #5

Emily Wolfe (Rockstar)—Finding courage on the path to sobriety, a live performance, getting emotion out of your instrument, inspiration, and finding creativity.

If Emily Wolfe 2.0 could time machine back to provide Emily Wolfe 1.0 with advice, what would she tell herself? We spent 45 minutes with Emily to discuss what life is like now as an Austin rocker where you can’t give live performances thanks to COVID. She takes us back to her fearful fight with alcoholism, the battle to overcome it and her original worries on if she would have creative flow coming out of it. We were also tickled with a live performance of “Atta Blues” — a soulful, sentimental sound that also happened to be the first song Emily wrote coming out of rehab. If her life was a movie, what would it be called and who would play her? What was the most courageous thing Emily has ever taken on in her life? What age did Emily start jamming and who on earth is “Big H”? We cover all that as well as what she would be doing if she couldn’t do music here on The Courageous Podcast.

Episode Notes:

2:34 - Emily Wolfe: "a frickin" rock star signed by Gibson

3:46 - When Did Emily Start Playing?

4:07 - Emily Define's Her Sound As A Threesome Between...

5:39 - Her 1st time playing Live: "Drummer's For Jesus"

8:50 - The Pain of Not Playing Live During A Pandemic

11:07 - Teenage Angst" Inspired Her To Write Her Own Music

13:17 - Emily Talks About The Twists of Her "Journeys"

15:07 - "Every Day is a Stepping Stone"

16:00 - There's No Easy Path

17:00 - "It's pretty mind blowing that I'm still here"

17:28 - Emily Opens Up About Her Battle with Alcohol

17:42 - The most courageous thing Emily has done: getting sober

20:15 - Spinning Your Brain: From Fight to a Different Light

21:55 - Playing is Her Remedy

22:45 - Emily's Conflict: Writing Sober

24:24 - “Atta Blues”: Emily's 1st song written sober

25:52 - If Emily today could give advice to Emily 1.0...

29:58 - Connecting is a Conflict: Quarantine

31:56 - LIVE PEFORMANCE: “Atta Blues”

35:56 - If she couldn't be in music for a living, she would...

38:03 - Who plays Emily in her movie...

40:05 - The importance of having good people around you

42:34 - Parting words


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #4

Dhani Jones—Entertainer, NFL Player, philanthropist, businessman.

Dhani Jones is an American Entrepreneur and former NFL linebacker and Michigan Wolverine’s where he earned Big Ten honors in three straight seasons. He then spent eleven seasons in the NFL playing for the Giants, Bengals and Eagles after being drafted in the sixth round, the same year as Tom Brady. Dhani started a philanthropic endeavor, BowTie Cause (, where organizations come to raise awareness and support for specific causes. He also has jumped into the entertainment realm as the host of Travel Channel’s original series, Dhani Tackles the Globe and appears on CNBC’s Adventure Capitalists. Come hear about Dhani’s path to pro football and how his mom helped get him a chance at a scholarship at Michigan. The support he received from his community, and what it means to show up and do the work. We cover his “aha” moments from the NFL, advice he got from Michael Strahan, and what he learned when he got kicked out of practice. We also get into the current state of our community, America, and the fact that we’ve been forced to take a pause. Dhani speaks about our “moment to make a movement…”, how we face change, and the chance to recognize, regroup, and refocus. Finally, we close with Dhani’s definition of Opti-realism and living courageously through a life of intellect.

Episode Notes:

3:10 How many Dhani’s do you know?

6:48 Dhani & Berman meeting in the mean streets of Potomac, MD

8:26 Did Dhani’s dad really do that in high-school?

11:12 Dhani talks about the 3 influence football had on him

13:49 Dhani’s gifted genes - his mom + his dad

14:47 Dhani convinces Michigan to give him a scholarship

18:43 Dhani loves THE University of Michigan

19:52 Showing up + doing the work

21:27 Having people in your corner

23:34 Drafted in the sixth round with Tom Brady

23:57 Aha moments from the NFL

24:42 Michael Strahan’s advice

26:33 Getting kicked out of Bengals practice

27:25 None of us have been in a pressure situation

29:03 The forced “pause” in America

31:34 Is this is moment or a movement?

37:44 On facing change

40:00 Recognize. Regroup. Refocus.

41:41 What type of world does Dhani want for his son?

43:18 Dhani on Opti-realism

44:25 Live a courageous life of intellect


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #3

Landon Donovan: US Men’s National Team Soccer Legend, Manager of USL’s San Diego Loyal, Husband, Father of 3.

Donovan is a USA soccer legend, a Dad to three kids, and a coach to 26 athletes for the SD Loyal ( He has won six (6) MLS cups, is the all time leader in assists for the national team and MLS, and is tied with Clint Dempsey as the all-time leader in scoring for the U.S. national team. He is regarded as one of the greatest U.S. soccer players of all time.

We get a chance to relive the Algeria goal in 2010, the impact it had on soccer here in the states, the pressure of the moment, and the strategy to get to that goal.

He talks with us about creating an identity through soccer and how that filled his need for acceptance. What this did to him post professional soccer and how he came to grips with who he is as a human being. Landon shares how he found his next passion and the importance of trying new things to get to your “why” and define your personal purpose.

Learn how he got to the top level, the preparation needed to excel, and how training, travel and media affected his motivation. How he addresses fear and lives in the present. And what compassion can do for yourself and your relationships, especially when you coach, parent or lead a team.

Episode Notes:

1:27 - Landon’s tale of the tape

2:53 Landon’s life on Quarantine Standard Time

3:45 Landon’s “Selfless Phase”

6:26 Landon growing up

8:41 How Landon ranks in other sports

9:56 Landon’s rise from nowhere

12:24 U.S. scouting: bleak back in the day

12:59 Getting deep

13:59 Identity tied up in soccer

15:15 The hardships of Germany

16:15 Landon copes with the 2006 World Cup

18:25 How Landon stayed motivated

19:37 Landon’s key to coaching

21:12 What leaders can do better

22:46 Landon shares his purpose

25:02 Landon relives the “Algeria goal”

29:23 “In Search of Greatness” - documentary

30:42 Corner flag celebration

32:23 Landon’s take on fear

36:28 Landon’s new identity in life-after-soccer

37:32 Landon’s new challenge

40:32 Why are YOU here


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #2

Bracken Darrell (Logitech, CEO) – Staying hungry, Constant Experimentation, Business Haikus, Leading Courageously and The Inner rebel.

From wireless bluetooth earbuds to state-of-the-art webcams, powerhouse Logitech hosts 7000 employees and generates 2.8 billion in global revenue annually. Since 2013, at the helm of it all, has been the deep thinking Logitech Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bracken Darrell.

Bracken has ventured on quite the journey to Logitech’s top seat. Prior to his time in his current position, Bracken experienced an amalgamation of experiences steering many household brands at Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool and General Electric. His leadership style has inspired teams and rejuvenated iconic brands such as Old Spice, Gillette, Braun and KitchenAid.

Prior to starting his career with Arthur Anderson and PepsiCo, Bracken earned his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. degree in English from Hendrix College in Arkansas.

In this lively episode we run the gamut in our conversation. If you’re passionate about leadership, inspiration, maintaining a new comers mentality and the importance of communication, then you’re in for a treat.

Bracken also “let’s us in” while sharing a few stories of his childhood. We learn how that gave him a desire and drive to succeed in business along his path to the role of CEO.

Learn why “success" and “failure" need to get shown the door from your vocabulary. Gain insight on the importance of constant experimentation. Enjoy a definition on how time can be on your side especially when it comes to taking on life's novelties. Hear Bracken’s take on a few served up Business Haikus. And, finally, learn the importance of courageously embracing your inner rebel.

Episode Notes:

3:26 - Background of Bracken and growing up in Kentucky

5:00 - Where Bracken’s drive came from

6:30 - Transition from sports to leadership

7:14 - How consuming content can help with analogies in business

8:30 - Setting goals early to achieve success

10:00 - Why reporting doesn’t matter if you use influence

11:40 - Communicating is the key to developing trust

14:08 - How and why Bracken decided to fire himself

17:13 - Staying hungry

19:15 - Negative blessing

19:55 - Business Haiku’s

23:28 - Bracken’s definition of time

28:00 - How to get inspired

30:56 - OGSMT - Objectives, Goals, Strategy, Measures and Tactics

35:46 - On being yourself and embracing your inner rebel

38:16 - Bracken’s definition of courage


The Courageous Podcast—Episode #1

Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides – Space travel, facing fear, and how to manage your thoughts.

Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides is a founding Astronaut at Virgin Galactic, the author of The New Right Stuff: Using Space to Bring Out the Best in You (, Co-founder of global Space party Yuri’s Night (, and the creator of SpaceKind leadership training (

In this episode we cover how Loretta became interested in space and space travel that led to her journey to become an astronaut. Her definition of courage and how she has approached fear in her life. The tools she utilizes to manage stress, daily life, and the internal conversations we all have. How to set a vision for yourself and execute it. Mother earth and the perspective we should all have when evaluating our own life, and life as a community on this special planet.

Enjoy getting a bit more insight on Loretta's journey, her book, and the space party - Yuri's Night.

Episode Notes:

7:00 - How Loretta became interested in space and becoming an astronaut

9:47 - Loretta's definition of courage

15:48 - Managing your thoughts

17:16 - Setting a vision and mission for yourself

21:41 - Earth as a living system and how we can all work together as a superorganism

23:26 - Emotional sobriety - journaling, meditation and getting outside

25:44 - Using prompts for stream of consciousness journaling

30:57 - Lessons to be learned from the pandemic

33:55 - How the space community thinks about time scale and geographical boundaries

36:00 - Covering Loretta's book - The New Right Stuff

40:38 - Yuri's Night - World space holiday

47:48 - Loretta's closing message (enriching life by marinating in uplifting, inspiring and motivating content)


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