The WHY Of Contribute: Discover How To Live Your WHY With Miracle On The Hudson Survivor, Dave Sanderson

BYW S4 53 | Miracle On The Hudson


When you have the WHY of contribute, you always strive to contribute a greater cause, add value and have an impact on the lives of others. If this is your why, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something that is bigger than yourself. Our guest today best exemplifies this kind of WHY. Dave Sanderson was on US Airways Flight 1549, the one that’s called “The Miracle on the Hudson.” He was the last person to get off the plane. Dave emerged from the wreckage that day with a new mission to encourage others to do the right thing. Dave’s is a great story of how he helped others and how he finally had to help himself. You’re going to find it fascinating. Join in the conversation and learn how his WHY of contribute came into play during the incident and how it continues to drive his passion and purpose today.

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The WHY Of Contribute: Discover How To Live Your WHY With Miracle On The Hudson Survivor, Dave Sanderson

In this episode, you’re going to meet Dave Sanderson. He was on US Airways Flight 1549, the one that’s called The Miracle On The Hudson. He was the last person to get off the plane. His story is fascinating on how the water came in and what he did to jump over the seats to get to the back to help everybody else out, and how he had to survive and save himself at the end when there was no more room for him on the plane or in the little boats. It’s a great story of how he helped others and how he finally had to help himself. You’re going to find it fascinating. I can’t wait to share it with you.

We’re going to be talking about the Why of Contribute, to contribute to a greater cause, add value, and have an impact on the lives of others. If this is your why, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something that is bigger than yourself. You don’t necessarily want to be the face of the cause, but you want to contribute to it in a meaningful way.

You love to support others and relish successes that continue for the greater good of the team. You see group victories as personal victories. You are often behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better. You make a reliable and committed teammate, and you often act as the glue that holds everyone else together. You use your time, money, energy, resources, and connections to add value to other people and organizations.

I have a fascinating guest for you. When US Airways Flight 1549, or the Miracle On Hudson ditched into the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, Dave Sanderson knew he was exactly where he was supposed to be. As the last passenger off the plane on that fateful day, he was able to use the skills and resources he learned throughout his life to not only survive but help others.

He emerged from the wreckage that day with a new mission to encourage others to do the right thing when faced with a life-changing decision. This profound experience changed his life. Now he travels the globe sharing his inspirational and motivational leadership message to help people make a difference in how they do business and live their lives. Named one of‘s Top 100 Leadership Speakers, Dave travels the world to share his inspirational leadership lessons raising over $14.8 million for the American Red Cross. Dave, welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me. I’m honored to be with you.

This is going to be interesting. Your intro told a lot about your story and I want to dive into that. Before we do that, can we go back a little bit in your life and let’s learn a little bit more about you?

I’d love to share a little bit more about how I got to that point. All these moments in your life matter are all make up for that one defining moment. Let’s talk about it.

All these moments in your life matter, they all make up to that one defining moment. Click To Tweet

Let’s go back. Where did you grow up and what were you like in high school?

In high school, I grew up in a place called Winchester, Virginia. Winchester’s at the point, the northernmost point of the South. I was there. I was an athlete. I played all sports. I was one of those athletes that was good at everything, but not great at pretty much anything. I could compete, but I wasn’t standing out between that. I was also the first president of our key club. The only reason I bring that up is if something very significant happened during that time that set me on this pathway of where I’m at nowadays.

Tell us what happened at the key club.

I was asked to be the president of the key club. The only reason I was asked initially was because I tore my knee ligaments up and third football game of the year, I was pretty much out the rest of the year. I’m the gentleman who was starting up came to me because he needed a leader and asked me if I’d do it. I did it. We started with nothing.

One of the things that he did for me is introduced me to people around the city of significance. One of those people happened to be the US Senator who was out of Winchester. His name is Harry Byrd Jr. I got the opportunity to meet a senator when I was a junior in high school, which was very significant because not to see what leadership was like at that level.

With that opened up for me is a couple of different things. Number one, since I was the president of the key club and I got that opportunity, Senator Byrd was holding a fundraiser in Northern Virginia. One of the people he invited was one of my heroes, Senator John Glenn, the first astronaut to orbit the Earth. That was like nirvana for me or an icing on the cake. I got to meet not only a senator, somebody who was not only historic but did something that nobody had ever done before, which gave me an eye-opening experience to, “Anything’s possible.”

As you know his story, he started at NASA when NASA was starting nothing. He was the third one up. That gave me the perspective, “You can touch people and get a hold of people if you do the right thing and work with people to do that.” I’ve never been afraid to talk to people and I’ve had opportunities to meet all these great people because I opened my eyes and was never afraid to approach people.

You can touch people and get a hold of them if you do the right thing. Click To Tweet

You graduate from high school and then what happens to you? Where’d you end up?

I went to college at James Madison University. I wanted to play football, but the second practice in, I was a walk-on. I was pretty much nobody. I hurt my knee again and my dad had come to Jesus talk with me, say, “You’re not going to play football. You’re not going to be a pro as you dreamt. You better get an education.” I was in the first International Business major class that Madison offered. As a freshman, they started the International Business discipline. I was one of the first people who graduate outback at James Madison.

What do you go into?

That’s exciting because my goal was to get an international business, and this was during the recession in the early ‘80s. There were no jobs in that era. I went home and my dad gave me 30 days to get a job to be out of the house. One of the great things I learned from my dad is he was a man of his word. When he said something, his promise meant something. In 30 days, Gary, I didn’t have a job. He helped me get my first job, and that was being a second assistant restaurant manager at a place called Howard Johnson. I knew nothing about hotel restaurants, but I was out of the house. He lived up and I lived up to that commitment.

What was it like being a second assistant at Johnson’s?

All of a sudden, you come out of college and you’re feeling pretty good about life. You got this great education and now, you’re working on second and third-shift learning skills that you never think about learning. That turned out the third stop is where I ended up here in Charlotte, North Carolina. That’s how I got here.

If I didn’t have that opportunity, if my dad didn’t make me do that, my whole destiny would’ve been changed because what happened for me is I was here. I wasn’t working the 2nd or 3rd shift. I was a low man on the totem pole. We didn’t lock up as you remember Howard Johnson was a 24-hour gig. I was there pretty much into the middle of the night, but there was a gentleman and a lady would come in every night. His name was Bill and her name was Bonnie.

They would come in. He’d go pickup truck and always wore a flannel shirt. What I found out about Bill, we’d come and talk, he’d come in and have his coffee. We’d have his ice cream and we talk. He owned over 80 movie theaters and restaurants in North and South Carolina. He was a multimillionaire back in the early ‘80s. His nickname around Charlotte was the Sam Walton of Charlotte. He was one of those guys, as you never know. He took me under his wing.

It happened to be on December 24th, 1984 when everything changed. He came to the restaurant early that day. He said, “I want to show you what I got my wife for Christmas. It was a brand-new blue Corvette.” I’d never seen a Corvette couldn’t spell and never smelled a Corvette, but it was cool. He threw me the key and said, “Let’s take a ride.” I’m like, “Let’s take a ride up and down Woodlawn Road.” We got in the car and we went up and back.

I said, “Bonnie’s going to dig this. She’s going to love it.” “You need one of these.” I said, “I’m making $13,000 a year. I’m working the second shift.” He goes, “That’s your problem. It’s your mindset. Do you mind if I coach you on how to have a mindset of success?” I had nothing to lose. For the next thirteen years, he took me under his wing. He was teaching me the mindset of success and how he became what he became. He was taking me to places. I was meeting the CEO of Bank of America which then was NCMB Bank, and First Union, and all the people he was running with.

I was on the edge of this, watching how he did it. Fast forward to May 1997, he called me to his office. He said, “I want to share a couple of things with you. 1) I’ve got lung cancer.” Bill smoked a couple of packs of unfiltered cannabis a day. This started back in the ‘20s. It wasn’t shocking, but it was like, “Okay.” He walked over to his desk, pulled out some papers, and sat down next to me. They put them on my lap. I’m like, “What’s going on?” He goes, “This is what I wrote down in 1920. These are the lessons. This is what I wrote.

When I got these lessons back in 1929. I want to give this to you, but you got to promise me something.” I said, “What?” He goes, “Do not let it die with you.” Bill passed away in September 1997, but he gave me these notes that he wrote in 1929, the mindset of what you have to have, what he learned during the roaring ‘20s. If my dad hadn’t lived to that promise, I never would’ve gotten to that opportunity. Now, I made a promise. I had to fulfill that promise.

What were in those notes? Give us some insight into what was written there.

He wrote all these lessons down. One of the lessons I always remember was that I have an alternative vision for the future. What does that mean? He shared with me about that and he took notes when he met Franklin Roosevelt in 1938. He idolized Roosevelt. One of the things he told me and wrote down is Roosevelt was always positive. He always had a vision for a bigger America and how it should be. That’s why leaders come at the right time in comfort countries.

He wrote about the time that he met Ronald Reagan in the early ‘80s. He had the same situation with Ronald Reagan. Reagan was always talking about that shining stick on the hill. He was always positive. One of the things he taught me and one of the lessons was you got to have an alternative vision. You got to look at the bigger picture of how your life could be and what you could do with your life instead of going down a pathway that other people want you to take.

BYW S4 53 | Miracle On The Hudson
Miracle On The Hudson: You have to have an alternative vision. You have to look at the bigger picture of how your life could be and what you could do with your life instead of going down a pathway that other people want you to take.


It was a tremendous lesson about faith. One of the things that he shared with me was because we lost a child, a seven-month-old back in 1990. I was messed up a little bit. I wasn’t producing as much as I probably could have. He shared what happened to him. He had a son back in the ‘30s that he got drafted to go to Korea. He said, “I could have stopped it. I had the money to do it. Everybody’s got their responsibility.” His son died in the Army in Korea.

He felt guilt for a long time, but then he realized that, and this is a lesson to think of going from the spiritual side. He said, “The same God that started the world was the same God with my son, the same God with your son. There’s a reason behind it.” That helped me a lot to get my mind around a lot of things. If you have faith, there are reasons behind it. You don’t know why, but you got to have faith that’s going to work out.

These are the kinds of lessons that he was teaching me all these years. That’s why I wrote my book From Turmoil To Triumph. These were the lessons that I got to implement that day on the Hudson River that came right from faith to looking at being able to do the mission and looking at how to be more responsive. That’s a long-winded answer, but that’s an amazing time now it’s my commitment to be able to share what he shared with me with the next generation.

BYW S4 53 | Miracle On The Hudson
From Turmoil to Triumph

How did Bill learn all of that?

He had a mentor and his mentor came to him in 1917. Bill lived around here in the Charlotte area. His dad was a farmer. As the story goes, as he shared with me, they’d come in to sell their crops because Charlotte was the hub and this guy would come in. He is always in a suit. He would come in and he’d talk. Bill was anxious. Bill loved movies in the early ‘20s but he didn’t have any money. The guy showed him how to get a few pennies together and get his first movie in his first movie house.

All of a sudden, he was learning from this very successful businessman. It got passed down from somebody 1910s to Bill then Bill ultimately was looking for somebody to pass it on to. I happened to be the guy there that he got and I agreed. I told my mom and dad. They were like, “Who is this guy?” I shared with them what happened. They’re like, “If he can offer you one bit of advice, take it on,” but he taught me much more than that.

Did you ever ask Bill why he picked you?

I never asked him why, but he told me a story around why. This came down when he was opening up his first movie theater in South Carolina in the 1930s. He never told me directly but hinted at why. He said that he was going down and it was a long drive to South Carolina. It wasn’t interstate highways. He needed somebody. He needed to hire a manager, somebody to manage that.

One of the bits of advice he got when he was starting his own business was, “Go on your instincts. You can do all the analysis you want but if you go on your instincts more often or not, it’s going to play out.” That gentleman stayed with him through the entire 1960s. He was with him the whole time in the 1960s. If I look back when he said that, told that story, he told me that he had something instinctively connected I don’t know why, but I thought, “I don’t question why, but I happened to be there at the right time. I was a recipient of a gift and that gift’s going to be passed on.”

Go with your instincts. You can do all the analysis you want. But if you go in your instincts, more often or not, it's going to play out. Click To Tweet

He passes away in 1997. What happened to the movie theaters?

He’d already passed the movie theaters on. He was pretty much retired. The only reason I found out the backstory, I found out he was at movie theaters is when I started dating my future wife, I had no money. He gave me a couple of movie passes to go to take my girl out to the movies and be a hotshot. I went out. It’s in Queens Park. It is no longer there, but it’s down. It was about 2 miles from the restaurant. I took her there. We got in there to check in.

The guy says, “Tell Mr. Bill, ’Hey.’” I’m like, “What?” I went back and he said, “How was your experience?” “It was great. The guy took care of us.” He goes, “That’s one of my theaters.” That’s when I found out. He sent me to check in on doing what he wants to do. He had passed those on several years before or during that time. He was semi-retired at that point. He was coming to Howard Johnson every night to have coffee and ice cream.

He passes away, gives you his lessons, and then what did you do with them at that point? Take us on your career path.

I was in sales at that point. I was pretty successful and doing well. After this happened, what did I do with him? I put him in a journal and I didn’t look at him. What happened 4 or 5 months later is when I was asked by a gentleman named Tony Robbins to be his assistant head of security. I was on the security team. I had proximity to another master.

I was an assistant, which meant I managed the floor while other people managed other things. About two years later, in 2000 or so, he asked me to be head of security. I’m traveling and supporting Tony directly and the team. I was having these conversations with Tony, getting distinctions on these things that I learned, and getting new distinctions from Tony on some of these things.

For about many years, I was around Tony and then the head of security. I had the opportunity to be around masters. I learned from Bill but Tony taught me proximity’s power. If you’re around people who have influence and know things, that’s power. My dad told me that years ago in different ways. He said, “You don’t have to know everything, but you have to know somebody who does know everything.” He told me that when I was in high school and when I was a kid. It turned out to be true. For the next years, Tony gave me the opportunity to have a doctoral lesson in how to manage your mind especially that played out on January 15, 2009.

BYW S4 53 | Miracle On The Hudson
Miracle On The Hudson: You don’t have to know everything, but you have to know somebody who does know everything.


Were you working with Tony at the time that you were on that plane?

I was that and working for another company at the same time. I was working hard on both things. Tony was the only person who called me that night after the plane crash. The only thing about Tony, he’s got resources and if he wants to find somebody, he will find somebody. He’s the only one that found me sitting in a hospital recovering. He did a YouTube on that conversation. You go out to YouTube and see it and told a little bit about our conversation. It was very emotional for me. I wasn’t one of his people. I was his guy. That meant a lot to me.

Take us into that flight now that into flight 1549. Where was it going and where did you get on?

I got on in LaGuardia at the end of a three-day business trip. I got done early and changed the flight. I was on the first-class seat on the 5:00 flight, changed to flight 1549 at 2:40. I got seat 15A, 1549 on January 15th. A lot of fifteens going in there. I’ve got numerologist telling me what that means and that’s a whole other discussion, but nothing unusual. The plane was delayed. You have been out of LaGuardia. It was 11 degrees and was snowing. That’s not a big deal. It happens all the time. Nothing unusual about the takeoff. If you’ve ever taken off LaGuardia for folks who haven’t, the runways out into the bay, and then the normal flight pattern is they turn north and they start making their turns. Nothing unusual until about 60 seconds after when you hear a big explosion. That’s what got my attention.

I wasn’t paying attention. I was reading the magazine because I know everything. I’m Mr. Flier. I know everything. All of a sudden, you see fire coming out from needs the left wing like okay but the planes have multiple engines. We’ll go back. We get off the plane. I’m not going to get home early tonight, but no one knew at that moment, including the crew at that exact second it would happen on the left side of the plane where I was at. Also happened on the right side of the plane simultaneously. It knocked both engines out. The birds knocked them out simultaneously. The geese did. Now you have no power.

What did that feel like when you had no power?

It was like you’re gliding. That’s what was startling at first. You hear nothing. It’s quiet. I tell people, “Talk to any passenger. They’ll tell you the same thing.” It was quiet. You hear a pin drop.

People are looking at each other.

That’s where God’s grace entered because no one freaked out. No one was looking around or going crazy. Everybody’s looking around. I was like, “What’s going on?” They started banking. I’m like, “We’re going back to the airport. No big deal.” As he banked, I looked out the window and the skyline of Manhattan was right there. We were a little lower than the highest buildings. I looked out a little further. You see this bridge coming up which turned into the George Washington Bridge. I’ve never seen that bridge before in my life. I said, “Something is going on.”

Every second, things are going on until he says his famous words, “This is your captain. Brace for impact,” then at that point, it’s serious. Something’s going down and it doesn’t look good at this point because now, you’re clearing the George Washington by roughly 400 feet. The bridge is 600 feet up. The plane was 1,000 feet and at that point in descending. He clears about 400 feet and the only thing you see is water.

I’ve never seen a successful plane land in the water. They’re always toppling. That’s the moment there. You got to get your ducks in real pretty quick. You got to get things lined up in every which way pretty quickly and get your game plan together. If you do survive, what are you going to do now? That’s pretty much what happened. After I said my last prayers, I got my head down. I played sports. We always had a game plan. In business, I always had a game plan. My game plan was aisle up out. I kept it saying in my head. If I survived, I at least had to have a play game plan.

What do you mean, “Aisle up out?”

I was in seat 15A get to the aisle, go up in the middle row, and get out. That was my game plan because I wasn’t on the wing, I was four rows behind the wing. I had to go up to get out. One way or another, I had to go up. Aisle up out was my game plan.

The first time he came on the intercom was to tell you to brace. He didn’t tell you what was going on or what was happening. Nothing?

The only time he came on, that’s it. He was very succinct in his communication which was one of the great attributes that happened that day. Not only he, but the crew was very succinct. They kept saying, “Brace,” because they knew that was what was coming up.

What was it like when you hit the water?

It is an extremely hard hit. He estimates he hit between 100 to 120 miles an hour. If you see the hit and I’ve got to do my talk and I show a little video of it and 15A towards the back. The back hit first, which meant the brunt of the hit. It came down then it started right. It started skidding to slow down. It was a very hard hit. Water started coming in immediately because the back of the plane got torn off on the hit. Water starts coming in. Where I was, the water was about ankle to knee deep immediately it was 36-degree water. Back of the plane, it was more like chest-level deep water.

The people in the back of the plane were seat belted in and the water was chest high right off the bat. How long did it take to go from the hit to where you were stopped?

It took approximately 20 to 30 seconds from hit down sliding and totally stopping.

Why do other planes topple and yours didn’t?

He hit it perfectly. I’ve heard other pilots say the same thing, “One little degree, either toppling into New York City or Newark,” and that’s a bigger disaster than what happens. One degree nose down, you’re going straight to the bottom of the Hudson. One degree back, you’re going backward. He had to hit it perfectly.

How did he know to do that?

He had all those years of his moments, practice, and preparation.

Did you hear the back of the plane rip-off?

No. When we hit, I looked out the window. I saw lights. It was such a hard hit. I went back forward. It was that hard of a hit. It was a very jarring hit. The engine in the back of the plane was gone.

Water starts pouring in right away. Twenty seconds later, you’re stopped. What’s it like inside the plane? What’s going on?

The term I used that night with Katie Couric on CBS was controlled chaos. People were now in their heads. No one was pushing each other and get out of the way. It was moving quickly. People had to move because water is anywhere from the waist to chest level, deep in the back, by knee level deep where were you at, you got to go. You got to start moving. There’s no time to wait. You can’t mess around and think, “Let me get my stuff.” You got to go.

You did go. You did not get out. You were in seat A you said.

15A on the left side.

You were at a window.

I was at a window, four rows behind the left wing.

Was there somebody next to you?

The plane was full.

You had to wait for them to get out for you to then go out. Take us through it. The plane comes to a standstill.

It started going down for about 24 minutes when it was like this. It took about 24 minutes from going from relatively flat to backside in and up. What happened to me is when you know things were moving, it was my time to go. I got to the aisle and I’m like, “Aisle up out,” but then something happened that changed everything. I started hearing my mom talking in my head very quickly. There’s something my mom would tell me when I was a child and all of a sudden, I heard my mom. She passed away in 1997.

“If you do the right thing, God will take care of you.” I heard that and I had to make a decision. The decision I made was I climbed over the seats to go towards the back and see if anybody needed help because I was fine. I know anybody in the back was fine, but I was fine. Instead of going out, I climbed over the seats to get behind it. If things were moving pretty well, I asked if people were moving. There’s nobody standing still.

If you do the right thing, God will take care of you. Click To Tweet

I got behind the last person and I started making my way out. At that point, you’re about chest-level deep water. The back hit first. the bins had broken open and all the luggage is floating around. It’s dark. This is late afternoon winter in New York. The first light that I saw was on the right side of 10F and I’m like, “I’m out of here.” I got to the door. I started looking out and there was no room on the wing for me and no room on the boat for me.

That’s why it was amazing though. People were already being rescued. That’s why I was inside the plane waist-deep in 36-degree water for about seven minutes, holding onto that lifeboat because the lifeboat was floating out into the river. They were yelling at me to hold on so they could have access to the wing to get out.

When you think about going into a cold plunge, they’re about that. Sitting in there for a minute is excruciating, much less seven minutes. How long can you survive in 36-degree water?

EMTs told me I shouldn’t be around. It usually is no more than 90 seconds. What I’ve heard from other people is, “You get that adrenaline going.” That speeds your metabolism up, which I think is exactly what happened to me. I was like, “Let’s go.” I’m going into that athletic mode. Now I’m into play mode. I think that’s what happened because about seven minutes later is when I felt the plane shift.

I found out later that as one of the tugboats that was a part of the rescue backed out, he hit the front of the plane. When he hit the front of the plane, he shook the plane. I felt water going up my back. I’m like, “I got to get out of here. It’s going down.” That’s where I jumped in to start swimming to the closest boat that I could find at the end of the wing.

It was the longest 15-yard swim of my life because not only was I fully clothed. I’ve already been in 36-degree water for 7 minutes and there’s jet fuel in the water. When we were talking about your eye situation, that’s what happened. That’s why I wear glasses. I found out when I got back. I had jet fuel in my eyes. I got stuck in my eyes. That’s why I had a little hazy perspective that night, but I got there. My mom and dad had given me swimming lessons at the Red Cross when I was a young kid. I made everybody get out of that plane to swim. I had to swim for my life.

They pulled you into one of the boats.

You would think that. I got there and they started yelling at me to, “Climb.” The ferries are about 10 to 12 feet up and then a ladder there. I yelled up, “I can’t,” then I heard my mom talk to me because the word my mom hated most of my life was can’t. If you grew up in my house. You said, “I can’t,” to my mom and she would say, “If you can’t do it, you’re going to do it.” What I realized after she passed away, I talk about worldview a lot. People’s perspective of what’s going on is their worldview. Her worldview is, “If you can’t, you must.” She won’t accept it. I got 1 arm up and 2 men grabbed me and pulled me on one of the ferries. To this day, I don’t know who they are. That’s how I got out.

They pull you up into the boat and then what happens?

You think everything’s cool. I made it, but that’s not what happened. That’s a moment of adrenaline. You go. When you think you’ve made it, you said let it all go out. I equate it to you living out West and then when I spoke in Oregon, I saw these wildfires. I see these firefighters. They’re going in. They come out, they’re sitting on the curb, and they got nothing left. That’s what happened to me.

I was cold. I’ve been in the water now for a tent amount of time and the air temperature is 11 degrees. I could barely breathe. That’s the moment I thought I’m not going to make it. Fortunately, someone was there with a phone. They’re loud. Please let me get my message out. I said, “This is your father. I’ve been in a plane crash.” That’s all I could get out. At least I got the message out that I was alive. That’s how my family found out that I survived.

Did everybody survive or did some not survive?

It’s the only one in aviation history that everybody survived.

You’re sitting on the boat, freezing at an 11-degree temperature. Did they put you in blankets? Did they put you in hot water? What happened to you?

That would’ve been great if all that would’ve happened. None of that happened. They didn’t have any blankets on the boats because the boats were deployed immediately when after the plane crashed into the water. Arthur Imperatore of the New York Waterways set the boats out. Go. They weren’t supplied with all that. I went to the New Jersey side because I went out on the right side of the plane. Those ferries were going to New Jersey. The left side went to New York City. I got there. They put me down on the floor in his triage center and stripped all my clothes off. I’m sitting there in my underwear. I didn’t even know what was going on. My EMT tells me, “I’ll be right back.”

I’m on the floor pretty much naked. A guy walks up to me with a card hand and says, “I need your name and date of birth.” I give it to him and he puts that card around my right ankle and he walked away. I grew up in the ‘70s and there was a show called M*A*S*H. When they tagged your toe, you didn’t make it that’s exactly what I thought. I’m like, “I’m dead.” The movie Ghost is true. I’m watching this whole thing play out. Fortunately, EMT came and took my blood pressure and it was totally out of control. That’s when things started happening for me.

They didn’t give you blankets or anything to keep you warm.

They didn’t have anything.

That doesn’t sound like a lot of fun.

It’s one of those days that you were challenged at every point. That’s why I tell people, “One of the things I learned from Bill, Tony, and being around these people is it’s all about your mindset. If you can’t control your mind when all this stuff’s hitting around you, you’re not going to have a chance.” That’s why I try to teach these younger people, these young kids who are smarter as a whip but they’re having problems not controlling their mindset with all the COVID and all that other stuff that’s going on. They don’t have the wisdom yet to know that if you have that positive mental attitude and have that mindset, you can survive, and get another shot to play. That’s happening a lot to these kids.

I’ve talked to a lot of these kids and they’re scared because they’ve never had to face adversity. That’s one of the things my parents at least made me do when I was young, face adversity. They made me have consequences for my decisions. I’m a failure at that with my kids. I want my kids to make sure they had a good opportunity. One of the things I would do over if I had this whole thing to do over is I’ll put them in situations where they had to make a decision and they had a consequence. They can know how to make a decision when because everybody’s going to have that life-defining moment.

They ended up getting you to the hospital, hypothermia, and all the rest. How long were you in the hospital?

I was only in the hospital overnight because I want to go home. I shouldn’t have gone home. I was very fortunate that the circumstances played out where I could get home. When I got home, I had made some promises. I go to the doctor and all this and I finally did that. If I look back on this, if you talked to my friend at Palisades Hackensack Medical Center, he would say, “We shouldn’t have released him.” I was in no condition to do anything at that point, but I’m trying to man up and do it and I did.

What are the lessons that you learned from that experience that you now teach about? I know you speak all over the world. What are some of the things that you talk about?

One of the big learnings from that day came from that situation, but probably a couple of weeks after when it clicked in my head. I was in doing a lot of media with a lot of the crew and a lot of the passengers. I was on Good Morning America with other passengers, and the crew, and we got done. We were sitting in the green room talking and stuff. One of the passengers started getting very emotional. It was an emotional outburst. I’m sitting there thinking, “What’s wrong with this guy? We survived the plane crash. We are on national TV and how bad can he get?”

All of a sudden, I found out later that he was going through a divorce and he lost his job. His meaning of the plane crash was devastation. I start thinking, “How many times in my life have I judged somebody quickly before I understood their backstory or a little bit about them? What does that cost me financially, emotionally, and relationship-wise? How many times have we judged somebody quickly and we don’t even want to talk to them?”

That’s what’s going on in this country. We’re judging people immediately. We can’t even have a conversation without getting into an argument. I said, “If I could change that one thing, be less judgmental, how could that help me?” I started doing that and that’s opened up everything in my life where I’m at. I believe what Martin Luther King said, “Judge people by the content of their character.”

That’s the biggest lesson out of this, but one of the things that played out that day is awareness. You got to be aware. You got to understand what’s going on around you. You can’t just let somebody else direct you all the time in your life. You got to stay aware. I wrote about one of the key skills that day played out for me in my blog.

This is the key skillset everybody needs right now. Whether you’re going to look for a new job or looking to be an entrepreneur, it is the skillset set of anticipation. It’s the ability to anticipate what’s going on next and see the bigger picture. I talk about the alternative vision for the future that Bill taught me. You have to anticipate. I realize that there are two skillsets that I coach people on now. If you want something, you better be able to anticipate. If you can help somebody anticipate their next move and help them, it’s your asset.

The second, which played out exactly during the plane crashes, is resourcefulness because you don’t have a lot of resources when you’re in a plane crash but if you can use the resources that you do have then become resourceful. People are looking for people who are resourceful. There’s not a lot of empty money going around and resources are available all over the place. You got to be able to use your skillsets in a way to be an asset to somebody else. It is anticipation and resourcefulness.

Once all of this was over, you were on the TV programs. You didn’t go back to work with Tony or did you?

I did for a couple of years. In fact, late in February, which is about a month and a half after this all happened, he had an event in Secaucus, New Jersey. His assistant called me and said, “You are going to be there.” I’m going through all this stuff. I said, “I’ll be there.” I show up and I wasn’t of much use to him that weekend. We were doing our pre-event get-together. I said, “I want to give you a heads up on something. I’m probably going to have more media here than you will.” He starts laughing.

I knew what was happening. CBS and everybody else were showing up outside because I was there. I was pretty useless to him at that event, but at least I was there for him and he saw me show up. I wanted to show up for him because he showed up for me that night. I talk about loyalty. I’m big on loyalty. You got to have your team’s backs or you’re never going to have any trust whatsoever with him.

I’m surprised Tony didn’t have you come to speak.

I’ve had a couple of things. He’s been very kind to me. You got to remember those are Tony’s events. He pays a lot of money to have those events.

From there, you went on to start speaking, holding events, and teaching. What was that like for you?

Initially, I was doing churches and local events. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was being asked every fifteen minutes to do something. I was trying to work and serve Tony. I wasn’t not serving my family, which was something I looked back on, I would’ve changed. I took the Zig Ziglar approach. I said, “For the first 50 or 75 things I’m going to do, I’m going to do it.” What Tony told me was this, “Speak from your heart. Don’t ever take notes.” I’ve focused on that. A couple of things opened up. One thing that opened up was when I was invited to speak at a fundraiser for the American Red Cross in Charlotte.

They asked me if I would speak. It was a Red Cross month in March a couple of months later. Of course, I was going to do it. They were there for me three times that day. I’m going to do anything I can. I came and all of a sudden, they raised over $100,000 at that event, which got my name out. I was asked to speak to one of their major events in Washington DC which happened to be Supreme Court. I had the opportunity and they raised $6 million that night. All I did was speak. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Supreme Court, but you have to have a justice sponsor you.

You can’t just walk in and say, “I want to do an event.” The justice who was sponsoring that now is Justice Anthony Kennedy. When I got there, I got introduced to him, “Come to my quarters. Give me three minutes about what happened that day.” He took me into his quarters for about 2 or 3 minutes. I share with him a little bit of what I shared with you. He came back out and I got my picture taken on.

I’m like, “I’m with the Supreme Court Justice.” It’s not because I’m the greatest, but because I gave up being judgmental. I said, “I’m here to serve. It’s not about me.” That is what opened up everything for me. That gave me a strong reference for if you come from a serving leadership heart, things will open up for you in your life.

What’s next for you? What’s your plan for what’s coming up?

We’ll go back to Bill’s notes. Back in 2016, when I was writing my book Moments Matter, I found the notes in this credenza. I made a commitment back then. One of my major missions is to teach what he taught me to 1 million people in 10 years. This is my mission Tony always taught me, “Make the big goal and you’ll figure out how to do it. You don’t have to figure out how to do it right now.” It’s taken me a few years to figure out how we’re going to do it.

I got my new book out. I’m running another book for the 15th anniversary. I’ve got my magazine called Moments Matter magazine. I’m sharing information with other people in my magazine. I’ve got a course out teaching certain lessons of this in the course. I’d love to speak because that opens up talking to people one-on-one in Orange group sessions. That’s how we’re doing all because I found them and I made this big goal and all of a sudden, I’ve started to figure it out.

My last question is, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given or gotten?

One of the best pieces of advice that I learned, but not in this terminology, I’m rephrasing it, is faith removes hesitation. What does that mean? A bigger belief system is, “Things happen for a reason.” If you have faith, it removes any hesitation in taking action. It’s those people who don’t have faith who get stalled and stifled. They don’t make progress. One of the last things I talk about when you hear me speak is gratitude.

Let’s start with gratitude and grace is fueled by gratitude. My thought process is the more gratitude you give, the more grace you get. The more grace you give, the more faith you have. The more faith you have, the more action you’re going to take to improve somebody else’s life. I talk about this at the end of my talk because I want people to understand, “You can’t have fear with gratitude.” You have gratitude. You’re giving thanks to something bigger. That faith has come inside you and you will have determination, persistence, and perseverance to be able to push through when those times get tough.” What happened to me on January 15th is a reference for that.

You’re about helping and about unleashing other people.

It’s all about becoming a servant leader and helping other people first. Don’t expect anything. My kids are Millennials and Gen Z-ers. Sometimes they expect things first. In fact, I had somebody come to me and all he did is wants. He didn’t offer anything. If I ever speak to a younger me, the piece of advice is, “Give first. Give something of value to somebody first instead of asking.” That’s what Bill did for me. He gave me those tickets. He didn’t have to do all this. It taught me a great lesson. “Buy this gift first. It comes back tenfold in life.”

If people want to follow you, learn from you, hire you, or have you come to speak, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you?

The easiest one is to go to my website, You can see all my materials. You can get in touch with me. I’m coming out with new content. I’m committed to coming out with new content every week. If you want to see my new content, I post that on LinkedIn. I get to mention the lessons around anticipation and why it matters. Go to LinkedIn and view good content and some new information from me. If you want to check in, go to I’d be honored to connect with you.

Thank you so much for taking the time to be here. I enjoyed knowing your story and am excited that you survived that crazy day, but it’s great to see that you’re giving back much and making an impact in other people’s lives. Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you for having me. I hope you have a blessed day.

It’s time for our segment, which is Guess Their Why. I’m going to pick Amelia Earhart for this episode. I’m picking her because she and I both spoke at an event. I got to hear her story she’s not related to the original Amelia Earhart. It’s a fascinating story of how that came about. That doesn’t take away from what she completed and what she did on her own. As a college student, she learned to fly a plane and then took on the task of flying around the globe and she did it. You got to see her story and hear her speak sometime because it was well done. Great lessons. I believe that her why is to find a better way and share it.

She was always looking for better ways. When something got stuck, blocked, or wasn’t going to turn out like she thought it would, she would work and find another way. She would find a better way, and everything kept getting better. I believe that Amelia Earhart’s why is to find a better way and share it. If you’ve not yet discovered your why, you can do so at with the code PODCAST50. If you’ll love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review and rating on whatever platform so that we can bring the why to one billion people in the next many years. Thank you much for reading and I’ll see you in the next episode.


Important Links


About Dave Sanderson

BYW 52 | Miracle On The HudsonDave Sanderson is an Inspirational TEDx Speaker, survivor, author, philanthropist, and nationally sought-out leadership speaker.

When US Airways Flight 1549, or ‘The Miracle on the Hudson,’ ditched into the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, Dave Sanderson knew he was exactly where he was supposed to be. As the last passenger off the plane on that fateful day, he was able to use the skills and resources he learned throughout his life to not only survive but help others. He emerged from the wreckage that day with a new mission: to encourage others to do the right thing when faced with a life-changing decision.

This profound experience changed his life. Today, he travels the globe sharing his inspirational and motivational leadership messages to help people make a difference in how they do business and live their lives.

Named one of’s Top 100 Leadership speakers, Dave travels the world to share his inspirational leadership lessons, raising over $14.8M for the American Red Cross.



From Sinatra to Stallone: Jaki Baskow’s Impact on the Entertainment World & Her Journey to Success

BYW S4 51 | WHY Of Contribute


If you have the WHY of Contribute, you are all about being a part of a greater cause, even from behind the scenes. This episode’s guest is one who completely embodies this. In fact, she has worked behind many big talents and names in the entertainment industry—Mr. Frank Sinatra, included. Joining us is Jaki Baskow of Baskow Talent, whose 45-year career in Las Vegas placed her as one of the top and preferred vendors at Caesars and The Wynn. She sits down opposite Dr. Gary Sanchez to tell us about her amazing career journey opening her own talent agency. From having lunch with Frank Sinatra to selling her destination management company to helping speakers get booked, Jaki fills us with great stories and advice for inspiration. Through it all, Jaki reminds us of her definition of peak: to wake up loving what you do. Tune in as she shows her WHY, creating an impact in the lives of others.

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


From Sinatra to Stallone: Jaki Baskow’s Impact on the Entertainment World & Her Journey to Success

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the Why of Contribute. To contribute to a greater cause, add value and have an impact on the lives of others. If this is your WHY, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something that is bigger than yourself. You don’t necessarily have to be the face of the cause, but you want to contribute to it in a meaningful way. You love to support others and you relish successes that contribute to the greater good of the team. You see group victories as personal victories. You are often behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better.

You make a reliable and committed teammate and you often act as the glue that holds everyone else together. You use your time, money, energy, resources and connections to add value to other people and organizations. In this episode, I’ve got a fascinating guest for you. Her name is Jaki Baskow. She moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1976 to work at a movie studio under the creator of Batman, Bob Crane.

After they lost financing, she was talked into opening her own talent agency and her new company broke a 25-year-long monopoly in the Talent Game. The first commercial Jaki was in charge of casting and made $36,000 in royalties. This caught the eye of Mr. Frank Sinatra. Mr. Sinatra requested a meeting with Jaki because he was helping Marlene Ritchie, who was his opener at the time, acquire an agent.

That was the start of her 45-year career working in Las Vegas, where she is one of the top and preferred vendors at Caesars and The Wynn. Jaki has since produced TV segments, booked stars to take to Italy for the Telegatto and filled seats for the Oscars for many years. She has worked with Stallone, Gene Hackman, Tom Selleck, Kevin Costner, Sharon Stone and so many more. Discovery Channel also featured Jaki in a TV segment on Casino Diaries, where they named her one of the Top Celebrity Star Brokers in the world and named her the Queen of Las Vegas. Jaki, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to finally be here.

I know it’s only taking us a year, but we’re here now.

So much to share, though. A lot to share.

This is exciting. You’re in Vegas now. Where did you grow up? What were you like in high school?

Horrible. I don’t even know how I ended up in business. I grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. When I was sixteen, my dad owned a bar. He was robbed and killed, so I had a very tragic teenage years. I barely finished high school. My friend Ann’s mother went in and begged them to graduate me. Her dad got me a scholarship for Miami Dade Junior College. I couldn’t type. I couldn’t do anything. I was a mess. I just wanted to invite people over and party.

I went to Miami Dade for two years. I was all about the music because we’d sneak on the campuses at the University of Miami and they had people like James Taylor and people like that. It was amazing. I worked three jobs to keep myself going. I eventually came back to New Jersey. I worked with my mom part-time and I would take buses to New York to try to be an actress.

I wasn’t a very good actress, but I was a good talker. I was seeing somebody cheating on me and we decided to go to the Catskill Mountains and met Bob Kane. My neighbor and I decided to move out to Las Vegas to work for a movie studio. When we got here, there was no movie studio. It was an old electric company building. Bob and a man named Russ Gerstein lost their financing. I had no idea Bob was the creator of Batman. He ended up moving to LA.

I ended up hiring Peter Guber, who bought the project twenty years later as a speaker. We live in a fishbowl. We keep going around. I started my company with $300. I took a job with Telly Savalas and they talked me into opening my talent agency. Somebody gave me an office, a man named Bobby Mars and I couldn’t afford to run my talent agency.

At night, I’d put glasses on and put my hair in a ponytail and go call bingo. On the weekend, I worked at Big Ben’s car lot. When you’re passionate and persistent, you have to do what you have to do to get to that next step. My beautiful career that I’ve had here for many years has enabled me to help others and that’s what life’s about. I hired Shaquille O’Neal and he said something like, “It’s not about how successful you are, how much money you make. It’s about what you do. You want to be known for kindness and giving back to others.” He’s very philanthropic and I was very impressed with him.

When you’re passionate and persistent, you have to do what you have to do to get to that next step. Click To Tweet

Let’s go back for a minute to high school. When you said you barely made it through, was it because of grades or getting in trouble or was it you didn’t have any interest in learning the way they were teaching?

Probably ADD and don’t know it. I could not concentrate unless it was something I wanted to concentrate on. We used to go and dance on a TV show called the Jerry Blavat Show. We went on that show 3 to 4 days a week, then we’d go to dances every night. My whole life was going to dances, and that’s what subconsciously kept me going mentally with all the tragedy I had.

In school, I never was a serious student. I got Ds, Es and Fs. It was not good, but you have to be focused. I have some relatives that went to college and they weren’t focused. If you’re not focused, you can’t concentrate. You have to put your mind on things, but I made it through high school. I went to junior college in a blink of an eye and I ended up in business.

I believe in working when you’re young and learning things. My mom was a bookkeeper for a wholesale meat house. I used to go there and I used to pick up the phone, “Do you need meat this week? Do you need that?” We sold to all the restaurants in New Jersey. She was a bookkeeper also and she did their sales.

I learned how to do bookkeeping and how to sell. I consider myself a great salesperson. You have to be able to sell your company and sell yourself and believe in yourself for other people to believe in you. Education is wonderful and I truly believe in education, but people can’t afford education and in those days, I couldn’t afford education. My mom was working two jobs to support my brother and me. You learn how to work and to do things. I’ve been a waitress, a cashier and a telephone operator. I think I’ve been everything. That enabled me to be successful in my own business and to look after things in my own company. I still love people.

BYW S4 51 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: You have to be able to sell your company and sell and believe in yourself for other people to believe in you.


What was Vegas like when you moved? What year was that? What was it like when you moved there?

It was 1976. There were under 200,000 people here. I think the city was not run by who it’s run by now, but everybody knew your name. I’d pull up to the Desert Inn Hotel and I knew Gary, the valet guy. I knew all the valet people at Caesars at that time and it was more personal. To me, it was more personal and I loved it.

People knew you when you walked into the hotel and it’s all about relationships. I’m old school. I’m about relationships, meeting people face to face, and interacting with people because when I have a job, whether a little job or a big one, I try to show up and meet my client and thank them for their business and how important they are to me. Not many people do that these days, as you know.

You opened your talent agency. What was it called?

Baskow Agency. Original, right?

Who was your first client?

My first client was Suzanne Summers. I did a TV show called Jack and the Princess. I didn’t represent her, but it’s a very funny story about the fishbowl. I hired some people to work on that show. I also worked on a David Brenner commercial where I put a guy named Spider in the commercial and he touched the Schmitz beer in the commercial and became interactive with the product.

He made royalties, $36,000, and he went home and told his boss. His boss’s best friend, Julie Rizzo, happened to discover Marlene Rickey at the Aladdin Hotel. She was now opening for Frank Sinatra and she didn’t have an agent. I got a phone call, “The old man wants to meet you.” I called my mother and started crying. I said, “I don’t know who the old man is, but somebody, I think, is trying to steal my company. I’m coming back to New Jersey.” I ended up going to the lunch and he was lovely. I met him and Julie. I became friends with them until the end. I went to his show every single time he was here. He was such a legend and icon in the industry.

Let’s dive into that a little bit. What was it like sitting down to have lunch with Frank Sinatra? Where was it? Do you remember where you had lunch?

Yes, it was a coffee shop at Caesars Palace. He walked in with this Black NBC Peacock jacket. When he turned around, I didn’t know it was him. I didn’t even know who I was having lunch with and Julie came in. He had his glasses and his little one eye. He said, “I hear you’re the new Sue Mengers in town.” I said, “Mr. Sinatra, you can have my company. Who is Sue Mengers?”

Believe it or not, he followed my career. One time we were doing a commercial over at Bally’s, which was the MGM before the fire. We’re in the elevator and Paul Anka gets in the elevator. Frank is talking to me in the elevator and he introduces me. He said, “Who is she?” He said, “She’s an ex-Sue Mengers in town.” Paul Anka was like, “Who was she?” You don’t get in the elevator with Frank Sinatra. It’s usually security guards in the elevator with Frank Sinatra.

It was very interesting. It was a wonderful time to be in business. I started my business with $300 and I built it to a very big company. I had 24 employees a few years ago. We built it to a $20 million company, had some employees that took fifteen employees and about $15 million in business. You then dust yourself off and you build yourself up again. I became another destination management company again then I decided I didn’t want my company, but I don’t want to jump to that. You can ask me more questions and I’ll tell you the climb.

Frank sounds like he was very helpful in the early stages of your business.

I never asked them for anything because I don’t like to ask people. I would rather give, but he walked me into the catering in the office with a man named Jerry Gordon, who was the manager of the hotel at the front desk. He said, “Can you use this kid’s modeling agency? Use this kid’s company. See if you can help her.” I’m like, “Thank you, Mr. Sinatra,” like a little girl. Jerry Gordon and I became friends.

One day, he introduced me and I started doing parties at events. He said, “Can you do parties at events?” I’m like, “Sure.” The first thing I did for them, they asked me if I had a band and I hired a band called Bobby and the Imperials. They asked me if I could bring somebody into a morning meeting. How would I creatively do something fun to open a morning meeting?

I said, “What about Caesar and Cleopatra and one of those leaders with feeding grapes in the mouth?” They didn’t tell me who it was and the next thing I know, the next day, we were on the front page of the news. It was a man named Jackie Presser, the head of the Teamsters. I’m a kid. I was so naive when I moved here. I didn’t know anything. I thought a working girl was a girl that went to work for a living. That was my first job with them.

Jerry introduced me to a man that was a radio host. He was from Italy and his friend was the Johnny Carson of Italy named Mike Bongiorno. He came here and they were going to produce twelve TV shows of somebody winning some contest and coming to Vegas, in the desert, showing them at a hotel. They said, “Can you produce TV shows?” I said, “Sure.” I ended up hiring a guy named Don Jacobs, Mr. Camera, who was second unit camera for Entertainment Tonight. We traveled around and I ended up doing 26 TV shows for them and Engelbert, Lynda Carter and Frank Sinatra, Jr., Ben Vereen and all these people. I went in like I was a magazine show and did these interviews and became friends with everybody.

They said, “Mr. Berlusconi wants to know if you can bring celebrities to Italy.” I said, “Who’s Mr. Berlusconi?” They said, “He’s a man that owns a TV station.” They didn’t tell me he was the Prime Minister of the country. I started bringing celebrities. The first one I brought was Gary Coleman then I brought Michael Douglas over. I brought over Sylvester Stallone then we went to Mr. Berlusconi’s house for dinner and he gave Sylvester Stallone a lot of money for his movies.

I took Kevin Costner and his wife over and ended up helping them with their honeymoon, Tom Selleck, a doll to work with, and Andy Garcia. I ended up doing all these different crazy TV shows, Miss Italia, the Italian Oscars, the Telegattos. It was a blessed time for me. I sent Jennifer Lopez over to the San Remo Music Festival, but I ended up not going to that one.

It’s like, all of a sudden, you’re a kid from New Jersey, not knowing anything, sleeping in the same room as your mom because you barely have money to eat, then you’re living this lavish life. It’s been crazy. I decided to take the lavish life and pay it forward to other people. I’ve been mentoring kids at the university that want to be in the hospitality and entertainment business.

I try to put as many people as I can to work, whether it be a movie, a TV show or an extra. I tell people, “It doesn’t matter about being a celebrity. It’s what you do. If you do one day of your passion. You’ve lived your passion in your life.” I’ve been blessed. I brought some celebrities to Boys and Girls Club for the High Singers in Florida with my friend Cheryl Kagan. I got involved with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

A friend of mine, John Daly, introduced me to John Walsh and to a man named John Arnos. Years later, every year, when we raise money and do these golf tournaments and these events, we find missing kids. It’s every single year around the time we do the event. It’s unbelievable. I work with Make-A-Wish. It’s funny that this is happening now. A friend of mine just came in from New Hampshire. We are purging. We purged 38 bags that we gave to SafeNest and Safe House to people that don’t have anything.

When you think about it, whether you have $5 or $500,000, we save things. We become pack rats and we start with 5 sets of dishes instead of 1 set of dishes. It’s so important to start getting rid of that stuff and getting it to people that don’t have anything like the Ukrainian families that came here. I’m trying to minimalize and give to others because it feels good. It made me feel like I lost weight.

You’ve built your company up over the years and what was it like at its peak? Give us a sense of when you were at the peak of what you were doing, when was that? What was going on? What did that feel like?

I’ll tell you about the peak, but I have to say that every day I wake up and love doing what I do is my peak. I love every day, whether I’m doing something little or small. I would say that my peak, when I was bringing all the celebrities to Italy before COVID, was my most fun. You get to go there. You’re in a different country, it’s wonderful. It’s a lot of fun. My peak, I had a girl that was the president of my company that worked for me. We took my company out of nowhere to a $20 million company.

I was able to buy some of my employees cars and send them to Europe on vacations and give people deposits for houses that had nothing. It was like a dream come true. This stuff doesn’t happen in a lifetime and it was amazing. Unfortunately, she was not amazing. She turned out to be not a good person, but that’s why I was left with the fifteen employees, but you learn in life. When you do so many things for people and people don’t appreciate it, you learn something and I learned a lot because everything is a journey. In my journey, I learned that you can’t buy loyalty, love, loyalty and friendship. It just is. It was a pretty big blow.

You can’t buy loyalty, love, and friendship. Click To Tweet

It sounds like you were using your success to help others.

If I made money, everybody was making money. I had great parents. My mother taught me never to be selfish. It was funny because my mom lived in a little studio apartment when she got older and assisted living in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. As I started making a couple of bucks, I’d come back from Italy and I’d buy her a pretty ring. She would turn around and give it to the Russian immigrants that lived in her building.

I buy her beautiful clothes and she’d give them away. She’d rather have a sweat outfit and go to bingo. I love that about her because she was a good person and things didn’t matter. I think all of us get caught up in things and possessions. Sometimes you look around you or your friends with people who don’t have those possessions and realize the only possession we have is family, friends and our health.

When you had the scenario, how long ago was it that she took the fifteen people and left?

Also, $15 million in business. Many years ago. It was not good, but I have an angel over my shoulder. I had what was called a destination management company. We did the parties, the events, the entertainment, the speakers, everything. What happened was I ended up selling my company two years later to a Wall Street guy. His name was Steve Black. He helped take LPL Financial public. He owned my company for a couple of months, then he went back to work for his ex-boss that retired.

He paid me for full on my company and gave me my office building back. It’s a God story. My brother went through a divorce and lost everything. I went and took some of the money and bought him a house in New Jersey. I was so blessed to be able to do this because this stuff doesn’t happen in real life most of the time.

You’re at the top. When she left, took most of your business, then another guy comes along and pays you off in full when he doesn’t even need it and then now you’re back on top.

A wonderful man. What happened was when my president and her son finagled to take my employees, I was doing AT&T events all over the country and Texas Instruments. We were big time. We became a big company and a small pot here. I realized it’s funny because I sold my company to Steve Black and then, like I said, he went back into the financial world, overlooking about 123 companies for his boss and putting teams together.

I’m still in touch with him and his family. I can’t even say enough about him. About two years later, one night, I was on the internet and I decided that I did not want this event planning company anymore. I didn’t want to be the boss. Does that sound crazy? I wanted to service my clients and make sure people were taken care of. When you’re the boss, you’re sitting behind your desk, trapped and taking care of employees and it’s tough.

BYW S4 51 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: When you’re the boss, you’re sitting behind your desk, trapped and taking care of employees. It’s tough.


I ended up selling my company to another destination management company. I’m not going to talk about them. I stayed with them for a few years as president of business development. I kept my speaker’s bureau and talent agency because that’s always been my love and passion, my movies and TV. That’s what I’m doing.

It’s funny because you were asking about some of the first people I worked with. It was Suzanne Somers on Jack and the Princess with her and Bruce Boxleitner. Years later, she’s doing a convention for me and I’m doing little doodling. I came up with the idea for the Suzanne Somers Pajama Line that’s on Home Shopping Network.

Is your favorite thing working with the talent versus doing the destination and doing the events? What has been your favorite thing to do over the years?

Entertainment, the movies, the TV, the talent and the speakers because I think with everybody that you hire, especially with my speakers. You learn something in life. You get a message, inspiring, motivating and you learn more about life. I have a young man named Nick Santonastasso that I hired. Do you know Nick?

He has no arms and no legs and he lives life bigger than anybody that I know. He opens for Tony Robbins. I used him. People were like grabbing onto the wheelchair when they saw him, like, “You changed my life.” At the end of his speech, he did this meditation about taking a deep breath in and letting the little child out that all the things you’re harboring like, “I’m mad at my Mom and Dad. I’m mad at this. I’m mad at that. I’m angry about my ex-wife and my ex-husband.” He was very moving. I can’t even believe some of these people that I’ve found. It’s like your why. How many people don’t know what their why is? Why did I do this? Why am I in business? Why did I stay in that relationship too long? Many answers and so many questions, so I love what you’re doing.

Thank you. Now, it’s Baskow Talent?

It’s Baskow Talent and Las Vegas Speakers Bureau. Two different companies but under the same banner.

When you look back, what do you attribute? How did you have such success in that industry? What was the secret to going from small to $20 million?

First of all, I was scared. I came out here with $300. My roommate moved to LA. She ended up being the assistant to the director, Sydney Pollack for 30 years. I was here by myself. My mother did not have a dime to give me. My mother, I think she had maybe $3,000 to her name in her bank account. It’s like it’s survival of the fittest. You do what you have to do to survive. That’s why people are like, “You’re calling bingo at night? I’m doing whatever I can to pay my rent.”

I think the Caesars Palace becoming their party and event planner and doing their entertainment things over there in the day and age when it was blossoming was a big deal for me. I start at no. If I made $1,000 in a day or whatever, it was a lot of money for me in those days. Also, the Italians, I produced thirteen TV shows in a week and made 92,000 profit. It’s unheard of. I bought my first house. I went from an apartment to buying a house. I’m like, “I’m a homeowner.” It’s exciting. Any job is exciting, whether it’s little or big or whatever if you love doing it.

What helped me be successful is I never stopped. I was tenacious. I’m a networker. If I would meet you, I’d say, “Would you like to be in my Speaker’s Bureau?” I would stay in touch with people. On my destination management company up to a couple of years ago, I couldn’t do all of that. I couldn’t concentrate on that because I had to concentrate on ten employees after I lost the 24 employees. I had ten employees left and a lot of them were women.

BYW S4 51 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: What helped me be successful is I never stopped. I was tenacious.


I’d get these boxes in the mail, they’d be in their office shopping and I’m bringing in the clients and said, “If I didn’t bring in the clients, I wasn’t paying that $92,000 overhead a month.” It’s a lot of money to be a business. As you know, COVID hit and things change. Everything changed in the world after COVID. To me, I see quality in restaurants have changed. I see people don’t want to work. I see people don’t come up and talk to you and they’re not happy. I don’t know. It’s crazy. I always try to make people feel good, whether if I see somebody on the street that’s homeless or whatever. I try to do something for somebody and change their day. Conversation and a smile changes your day.

When I first met you, we were introduced by a mutual friend. When I saw your bio and went to your website, I saw a picture. I don’t want this to come out wrong but I wasn’t expecting somebody as friendly and positive and willing to help as you were because in many situations in your industry, you don’t seem to find that.

Thank you. I got a little crazed after I saw you and we still need to do catch up. I had a girl that worked for me that was my assistant who lost her husband. I lost my assistant of ten years. I’m not technologically savvy on doing this proposal, but you learn very quickly. My general manager, unfortunately, lost her little nine-year-old daughter. You learn that you have to do what you have to do.

I have to tell you that this has been a good experience for me because when you start getting a lot of employees and you have people working for you, it’s like, “Get me this. Get me that.” I learned not to get out of my chair. Does that make sense? I expect everybody to bring me everything. Not in a pompous way because I’m on the phone all the time and doing my thing. Now I find myself more touching and feeling everything that I needed to do. I’m opening every file. I’m closing out I’m more paying attention more to a lot of things which is important.

How many people do you have now working for you?

Four part-timers.

Is it part-timers from what’d you say, 24?

I have three out-of-office remote salespeople, then I have three people that do coordinating like if I have a job, like tomorrow night, somebody is going to go check in a band for me. Usually, I’ll show up. Tomorrow night I can’t show up, so they’re going to show up and then I have two part-timers in the office. I have more than that the people that come in and out.

That’s a big difference from 24 down to six part-timers or five part-timers.

At my height, I had $172,000 overhead a month. That’s enough to put on 50 pounds and aid you.

How do you determine who you want to work with?

It’s so hard because I like everybody, I do. I try to help everybody and sometimes I get overwhelmed. I have a girl, Kelly, that works with me in my talent department. We know we’re casting a movie or TV show. She does a lot of the electronic submissions that I don’t do. The speakers and the entertainment, I try to interview in person.

My web guy, Steve, I found him and we built a new website. I’m so glad. My old website was dated. I’m marketing now. I have a girl that lives in Israel named Natalie. I forgot about her. What I do is I’ll have flyers made and I’m going to talk to you about it. You’d make a flyer, what is your why? You speak about this at the convention. We started sending out these flyers. I have about 120,000 to 132,000 emails of people who have attended trade shows, companies, meeting planners, event planners and Senate houses.

With constant contact, you can only send like 400 and some a day. She’ll take that flyer and like you’d give me a flyer built-in contact and we send it out. That’s how we let people know about you because out of sight, out of mind. You know that. It’s all about volume and letting people know because I’m sitting here as one Speaker’s Bureau and one talent agency.

If I don’t get those calls, then maybe ten other speaker’s bureaus you work with get those phone calls and somebody’s going to call you for a job. It’s been very interesting and I like it. I have to tell you that I like it. I have an office on Eastern Avenue, a small office and I have an office in my home now. I spend 90% of my time at home working. It’s easy to come down the hall and get on the phone for four hours, and then do my stuff here. I’ll go out and I’ll meet people.

Contrast for us, big 24 employees to small what you’re doing now. How is that different as far as for your clients? How’s that different for your sanity and for the impact that you can make?

I have to say that I love it. With 24 employees, There is a lot of chaos. I had a registration company and a housing company. We booked all the hotel rooms. We were doing all that for Texas Instruments then all of a sudden, the technology goes down. The world is crazy. I found myself working 20 out of 24 hours a day. As much as I loved it and I loved having all the employees. My office building was a house I had renovated on Russell Road. I didn’t live there, but we had 5,000 square feet of little chandeliers and French doors.

It looked like somebody’s house and everybody had their own little space in there. I loved it, but I saw the neighborhood changing there. It’s on the street of the airport here. We were burglarized a couple of times and I was in the building one time. It was scary. You say that you wanted to do it, you did it, you’ve been there and you’ve done it. I like what I’m doing now. I don’t miss having a lot of employees and I don’t miss having all that stress of the overhead and the payroll and everything.

The people that work for me, they’re lovely. They appreciate it. I pay them well, take good care of them, we go out, have fun, go to shows, go to dinners and get to do things for other people. We love doing Make-A-Wish because we get to see a little child’s life changed for a day and we get to do fun things. I would tell people, “I don’t think that bigger is necessarily better.”

It’s always great to grow your company. I won’t ever take that away from it. It would enable me to buy a house, an office building, and do things I always wanted to do. After that’s over, it’s like, what is it? You want to appreciate your life every day. You want to be able to wake up and do things that you want to do and just breathe.

You want to appreciate your life every day. You want to be able to wake up and do things that you want to do and just breathe. Click To Tweet

Seems like a lot of people go through that. Start small, build this amazing thing, don’t like it, but they’re in the middle of the rat race, end up with something smaller and more personable and like that a lot more. How has that affected the people that you connect with? Do you still have as many speakers as you had before?

I do. I have more.

How are you able to keep up with all that?

I put them on my Speaker’s Bureau. I’m not in the technology world, even though they’re my biggest clients. I started getting Google AdWords and I had never had them before. I hired this great company in New Jersey that has been marketing me. What’s happening now is if somebody is looking for a certain speaker or a certain type of entertainment, they’re finding me on the internet.

I’m like, “How did you find me?” They’re like, “Google.” I’m like, “I have to ask you what words you were looking for because I’ve never in 45 years used Google AdWords.” I can’t say enough about them. It’s been interesting. Everything is a learning lesson. It’s a journey. Every day is a different journey. I love doing it and I don’t care if it’s in a big way or smaller way.

As I said, we had Shaquille O’Neal and Molly Bloom here. I had a small $2,500 speaker and I love them all because I get to put them all to work. It doesn’t matter how big it is. You put somebody to work and you were able to maybe change one person’s life in that room like you know when you’re speaking. Your whole goal is like, if you touch somebody in that room or touch all those people in your room, it’s like giving you $1 million.

For sure. If I’m a speaker reading this now, because we have a lot of speakers that listen, what do you see as the key to getting booked?

I think it’s all about your subject and your delivery. A lot of people use a moderator because they are not a keynote speaker, but they can speak, but they don’t have a whole platform and their presentation. If somebody was going to do speaking, I would say do something that’s going to interest people. Attract their attention. They want to be engaged now and they’ve seen it all. Your why is brilliant. In fact, I saw something on TV that said, “Why?” Did you see that? It was a commercial on TV.

I was thinking about you. I’m like, “Is that his commercial?” It’s embracing people here in your heart and emotionally. I was talking about Nick Santonastasso. He’s speaking and I had men that were coming up to us crying, like, “I just released. I purged. I did this.” He left them with something memorable, and as Maya Angelou said, “It’s how you leave them feeling.” If you’re going to speak, it doesn’t matter what you’re speaking on, as long as you’re speaking from your heart and you know that you can engage and your audience can relate to you.

Not everybody’s a college graduate. Some of those people are there and have a set fee and a set job, but they’re barely paying their bills and feeding their family and need inspiration. I was one of those people. People work for everything that they have. You can work that hard. I see people that are very wealthy that have lost it. I think that it’s so important to be a real person.

When I’m hiring a speaker, I want to feel what they’re saying. Somebody called me recently to speak on happiness. What makes you happy? I love that. You go in a room and know you’re going to see something positive or educational. Every speaker has something to give and it’s very important that your delivery and you’re touching your audience.

If I’m a speaker and nobody knows me and I’m trying to get booked, how do I go about getting booked? What advice would you give to them?

I would say that you want to go to every speaker’s bureau that you can and get on their bureau. I’m not pompous to say, “Come with me, even though I love you,” because I only get a certain amount of jobs. I say, “If you’re going to be with me not exclusive and you want to work on getting a lot of bookings, make a flyer.” There is a company out of India. They charge like $100 to make these flyers. I’ll have to send you a couple. They’re amazing. It’s a flyer made out of constant contact. It would have your face and maybe you’d have the big Why and the question mark or whatever you put on it and whatever message you’re trying to get to your audience.

I do have a girl, Natalie, in Israel. She sends it out. She’ll start sending it out. We’ve sent out to everybody on our list and we’ll send out now and then I’ll send it down again. Maybe we’ll change it up or we’ll send it. Sometimes we embed an agent-friendly we’ll have you do it. Put an agent-friendly video in there so people can see you and see how you engage with your audience because people want to know that you’ve spoken somewhere and it’s going to be a success when you speak for them.

Having a sizzle reel is important.

Sizzle reel is very important. Professional high res pictures and you can get them without spending a lot of money. If photographers are charging you thousands of dollars for your pictures, call me. I’ll give you names. You don’t need to spend that money. I want people to spend the least amount of money and make as much as you can.

That’s why you’ve been so successful all these years because I can tell you that not every bureau thinks, acts and helps like you do. It’s not the same for everybody. I’m sure you probably already know that.

I do. There are speaker’s bureaus and I will call them. I’ll say, “I’m interested in so-and-so.” Usually, some of them are big speakers. They’re like, “Have your client call me. I want to deal with your client direct.” I’m like, “I’m your client and you will meet my client after you give me. How much are they? Are they available? No, I’m not giving you that information.” It’s very cocky. It’s not a good way to network business because we all should be working together.

I look at my one of my competitors, Jennifer Lear. She and I work together all the time and she used to work for me. Each agency has something to offer. Diane Goodman, who owned Goodman Speakers. Now she’s a speaker’s manager. I called her one day and I said, “I don’t know how to put this, but I’m in love with your website and my website sucks.” She said, “I’d be glad to give you my web guy.”

In fact, she came here and we had lunch. She’s a lovely person. Some of her speakers are on my website. I have her web guy. It’s so important that we mentor each other in this life. A couple of girls called me that opened their little speaker’s bureau and I’m like, “Call me. Do you want to put some of my speakers on your bureau? We can work together.”

I will tell you another important thing is like everybody has a set. Let’s say your rate’s $25,000 or $35,000. A lot of times, people call me and they’ll say, “We only have $10,000 for a speaker.” I will turn around and call a $20,000 speaker and say, “I’ve had three inquiries this month in Vegas for a $20,000 speaker. Would you like me to submit you or no?”

Not that I ever want to insult anybody, but somebody may not have a job for four months. If I’ve made you $30,000 for three jobs. I like to think out of the box. I never want to presume anything. I do not take 25% or 30%. I take 20%. Sometimes if the clients don’t have the budget, I’ll take 10%. To me, it’s not always about the money. It’s about the relationship.

What’s the difference between a speaker bureau and a speaker manager?

The speaker management companies charge you to manage them and to promote them. At least, that’s what I’ve heard from some of my speakers. They’ve said that they pay thousands of a month to have them submit them or represent them. Speakers Bureau should only take a commission from you if we get you a job and after you’ve done the job, we get commissioned.

I’m starting like a regular Speakers Bureau because I’ve been in the entertainment business for so long. It’s like, “I need to know where they’re staying. Is it a five-star hotel? I need to know they’re being picked up at the airport. Is there a coordinator? I need to know they’re going to have a sound check.” I want to set my speakers and entertainers up for success, not failure. A lot of people just cook it and book it. I’m not a cook and book it person. Everybody wants to make money and be in business, but you have to care. That’s why I’m a little bit different.

BYW S4 51 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: Everybody wants to make money and be in business but you have to care.


I want to know that you’re coming here. I’m taking care of you. I had Molly Bloom here. We had 70-mile-an-hour winds. She was like in the air. As I’m texting her, “I hope you’re not upside down. I hope you’re okay.” She’s a wonderful person and a trooper. She came in on those wins. You want to make sure that people are there.

I try to show up at these events. I want to see my speakers if it’s within my power and if I don’t have ten things going on that day. When I go there, I want to make sure that do they have a ride back to their hotel. Have they been fed? Is there food in their green room for them? I know it sounds silly. These are little tiny important things that mean a difference.

The last question for you is, what’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given or the best piece of advice that you’ve ever given?

A couple. One of my speakers, Dr. Edith Eger, she’s a Holocaust survivor. She told me, “We have to always be survivors, not victims. No matter how bad things get in life, you’re a survivor.” Another friend of mine, Dr. Anne Manning, told me, “The end is in the beginning. What you see in the beginning is always there in the end.” There is my mother who always said, “Be a good person. Don’t base your life on things. Be a good person and give back to others.” That’s how I’ve lived my life. I have a friend of mine, John Arnos. He raises money for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He jumped out of an airplane to raise money and he turned 90.

You hang around with some fun people. That’s for sure.

We are all about having a good time.

Always have been.

Yes, I am. I’m looking forward to seeing you when you come back to Vegas.

I’m going to be there.

You’ll call me.

I will call you. I would love to get together if you are around because I’ll be there. I’m speaking with Ashley’s group then I’ll be there for a few more days.

Are you at the M Hotel?


I’m around the corner. I’ll make time, I promise you. You call me.

If there are people that are reading and want to follow you, learn more about you or see more that’s going on in your life, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?

My email is Check out our websites, Baskow Talent and Las Vegas Speakers Bureau. We’re always looking for new people and I’m looking for people to mentor. If somebody isn’t a real professional speaker, I will take time and guide them and tell them where they can go to try to look into it. I think it’s important to go to NSA and Toastmasters and all those places where you can learn and people give you positive feedback to help you.

Jaki, thank you so much for taking the time to be here. I’m so glad we finally got to do this. I look forward to seeing you soon.

I’ll talk to you soon. Thank you so much for having me on your show.


Important Links


About Jaki Baskow

BYW S4 51 | WHY Of Contribute

Jaki moved to Las Vegas, NV in 1976 to work at a movie studio, under the creator of BatMan, Bob Crane. After they lost financing, she was talked into opening her own Talent Agency and her new company broke a 25 year long monopoly in the Talent game.

The first commercial Jaki was in charge of casting made $36,000 in royalties – this caught the eye of Mr. Frank Sinatra! Mr. Sinatra requested a meeting with Jaki because he was helping, Marlene Ricci – whom was his opener at the time, acquire an agent. That was the start of her 45 year career working in Las Vegas, where she is one of the top (and preferred) vendors at Ceasar’s and The Wynn. Jaki has since produced TV segments, booked stars to take to Italy for the Telegatto, and filled sears for the Oscar’s for the last 18 years! She has worked with Stallone, Gene Hackman, Tom Selleck, Kevin Costner, Sharon Stone and so many more!

Discovery Channel also featured Jaki in a tv segment on Casino Diaries where they named her one of the Top Celebrity Star Brokers in the world and named her “Queen of Las Vegas!”



The WHY Of Contribute: Making An Impact On The Lives Of Others Through Health And Nutrition With Cynthia Thurlow

BYW 49 | WHY Of Contribute


When it comes to health and nutrition, there are a lot of conflicting theories, practices, and paradigms out there that leave people confused about what the truth really is. With her WHY of Contribute and her HOW of Mastery, Cynthia Thurlow is on a mission to point people to the right direction in their journey to optimal health. Cynthia is a nurse practitioner who has gained popularity for her expertise on the subject of intermittent fasting. She did a TEDx Talk about it which had over 14 million views, and wrote the book Intermittent Fasting Transformation. Join this conversation and learn how Cynthia uses her gifts to make an impact on other people’s lives.

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


The WHY Of Contribute: Making An Impact On The Lives Of Others Through Health And Nutrition With Cynthia Thurlow

In this episode, I have a great guest, Cynthia Thurlow. She did a TEDx Talk on Intermittent Fasting. Her book is called Intermittent Fasting Transformation. It had over fourteen million views. She is a nurse practitioner but she dives in deep as a nurse practitioner and knows a ton about health, heart and this subject. You’re going to love this interview. Her why is to contribute and her how is mastery so she dives in deep and ultimately, what she brings are better ways. I can’t wait for you to learn from this fascinating interview.

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the why of contribute, to contribute to a greater cause, adding value and having an impact on the lives of others. If this is your why, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something that is bigger than yourself. You don’t necessarily have to be the face of the cause but you want to contribute in a meaningful way.

You love to support others and you relish success that contributes to the greater good of the team. You see group victories as personal victories. You are often behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better. You make a reliable and committed teammate and you often act as the glue that holds everyone else together. You use your time, money, energy, resources and connections to add value to other people and organizations.

I have a great guest for you. Her name is Cynthia Thurlow. She is a nurse practitioner, author of the bestselling book Intermittent Fasting Transformation, a two times TEDx speaker with her second talk, having more than fourteen million views and the host of the Everyday Wellness Podcast averaging over 150,000 downloads per month.

With many years of experience in health and wellness, Cynthia is a globally recognized expert in intermittent fasting and women’s health. She has been featured on ABC, FOX5, KTLA, CW, Medium, Entrepreneur and The Megyn Kelly Show. Her mission is to educate women on the benefits of intermittent fasting and overall holistic health and wellness so they feel empowered to live their most optimal lives. Cynthia, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much for having me. I know it’s taken us a bit of time to coordinate our calendars but I’m glad to be here. For the readers, this is what happens with entrepreneurs trying to coordinate calendars. It can be challenging.

Tell everybody where are you. Where are you located? Where did you grow up? Did you grow up where you are now?

I’m a Southern girl. I was born in South Carolina while my father was finishing his doctoral program. I grew up in New Jersey. I then came down to the DC area for undergrad. I went on for more schooling in Baltimore. I’ve been in the mid-Atlantic for most of my adult life. I live in the great state of Virginia. I live in an area that is a little less populated. People are a little friendlier and there’s a lot less traffic. It’s been a nice quality of life-change for us.

Take us back, Cynthia. What were you like in high school?

I was the consummate good girl. I learned very early on that if I got good grades and had nice friends, my parents didn’t pester me too much. I have divorced parents like a lot of the readers. My parents got divorced when I was seven. My parents both got remarried when I was twelve. We moved to a new area. My father prioritized and valued education. Good grades were very important.

My mom did too but my father, I suspect, is on the Asperger’s spectrum. He’s very intellectual and cerebral. When my mom and stepfather got married, we went from a family of 2 kids to 5. The way that I survived all the turmoil of what I was growing up in was to be a good kid. In high school, I was vice president of my class. I was on varsity field hockey. I ran track. I was president of SAD. I was this chronic overachiever. I got good grades. I was probably pretty quiet but I had a very large group of friends and had a lot of fun in high school.

Some of those friends are still my closest girlfriends. High school was more about navigating the kind of trauma that I grew up in and there was a lot that went on there. Knowing that I was not going to go to college in New Jersey, I was going to get as far away as possible just to get out of what I had grown up in. I settled in the DC area and remained there over the last 30-plus years. From my perspective, a lot of us go off to college and come home and that’s fine.

However, for me, it was getting out of what I grew up in and experiencing new people and things. In the college that I ended up going to, I had 1 or 2 people that had gone from my high school for a sports scholarship. From my perspective, I enjoyed going to some places where a lot of other people weren’t there. I was doing something different and unique. That characteristic throughout my life is that I was not always taking the stereotypical path that a lot of my peers were and leaning into what felt intrinsically right for me.

BYW 49 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: I was not always taking the stereotypical path that a lot of my peers were. I was leaning into what felt intrinsically right for me.


Off to college, what college did you go to?

Originally, I started at George Mason. My parents didn’t have a lot of money back then and I wanted to go to law school. If I couldn’t go to the very expensive private universities in the city, I wanted to go to the school that was closest to DC as possible so that I could apply to law school, which is what I did. After being there for four years, I decided not to go to law school, which was probably the best decision I could have ever made because I don’t like to argue. It wouldn’t make me an ideal attorney.

From my perspective, it was a great place to be outside of DC and experience a different way of thinking. I was a Poli Sci major the first time around. This is back when you had to read the newspaper and there wasn’t the internet. I remember I had The Washington Post delivered to my dorm room every day that I had to read before I went to class because that was the expectation of our professors. Being in the Washington DC area was a great place to be if I was in the Poli Sci realm because there was so much going on.

Poli Sci, law to health and fitness. How does that happen?

For my parents, there’s no terminal degree. You don’t just finish undergrad and it’s done. My parents’ expectations were professional school and graduate school. If I wasn’t going to law school, I worked for two years at a Fortune 500 company, which I hated. While I was doing that, I started taking pre-med classes. I wanted a dog my whole life. I got a rescue dog and that changed everything for me. I thought initially I wanted to become a vet but I found out I’m allergic to cats terribly to the point where I could barely work at a vet office, let alone become a vet.

As I was taking pre-med classes, my cousin who’s like a sister to me was in med school and she said, “Don’t become a physician.” She was like, “You would be better served becoming a nurse practitioner.” I was like, “I don’t want to be a nurse.” That was the first thing I said. She said, “No. This is different.” That shifted my trajectory. At that time, I was volunteering at an HIV and AIDS center in Washington, DC.

The two top places in the United States for HIV and AIDS at that time and probably still are Johns Hopkins and UCSF. I’m an East Coast girl so I applied to Johns Hopkins. It was a dual-degree program. If you’re going to do an advanced practice degree in nursing, you have to have a Bachelor’s in Nursing. I did both an undergrad and a grad school program at Hopkins but when I went there, I got lit up. No doubt that’s what I was meant to be doing.

I kept saying to my parents, “I don’t know if I’m going to be any good at this but something’s telling me this is what I need to be doing.” I picked up and moved to Baltimore. Baltimore back in the 1990s was not nearly as nice as it is now. My parents kept asking, “Are you sure you want to go to school here?” I loved everything about it. I had amazing friends. This is where I was finally surrounded by students that were as serious as I was and were as conscientious. All we did was study and when we weren’t studying, we were doing clinical. When we weren’t doing clinical and studying, we were taking exams. It was very rigorous.

I’m grateful for that experience but from my perspective, that’s what validated, “This is where I’m supposed to be.” The population of patients in Baltimore was very different than in Washington, DC in terms of who was impacted by HIV and AIDS. This was at the height of the crisis. Baltimore had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the country and the highest rates of heroin use and IV drug abuse. They had some of the worst HIV and AIDS. It was every socioeconomic and social problem you can imagine. Abject poverty that I’d never seen before and multi-generational traumas and abuse.

For me, being a suburban girl my entire life, it was a baptism by fire. However, I will say that intellectually being at Hopkins, everything came together for me. I’m surrounded by people that are like me that want to learn as much as I do, are hungry for information and want to be intellectually challenged. That was the beginning of that next pivot in my life. I was an ER nurse. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie.

I pivoted into cardiology as an MP and continued that for a long time. I love everything about the heart. At the point that I entered medicine in the late 1990s, this was still when physicians and nurses practiced very differently than they do now. In a lot of ways, as managed care stepped in and started taking power away from providers and putting it in the hands of non-clinicians, I started to see a lot of shifts that have continued over the past many years.

Back then, people practiced a bit more objectively. Whereas now, people practice very defensively. They’re concerned about, “If I don’t do X, Y and Z, I’m going to get sued.” A lot of technology and labs get overused out of that concern. I feel appreciative that I’m able to objectively look back and forth and say, “This is what I saw when I first started practicing. This is all the fun I had.” I stayed in Baltimore until 2003 and then I moved back to Northern Virginia where I met my husband and got engaged. We were in Northern Virginia for the next eighteen years and then relocated to Central Virginia but it’s been a good wild ride.

It sounds like a lot of fun. In 2003, you moved out of Baltimore back to Northern Virginia. Were you back into cardiology practice? What did you do?

I started in Baltimore as a new grad. They had me running a heart failure program that was interesting. I talk about how I beat out people who had experience. Here I was this new grad and stepped into that and loved it because I was mentored by one of the head surgeons and the head of cardiology at that hospital. I learned so much.

It was baptism by fire but when I relocated to Northern Virginia, essentially, I went to work for a hospital again. I oversaw a chest pain ops unit but there was an NP service that we essentially rounded for cardiology patients throughout the hospital. You’re working overnight, which I hadn’t done in a long time. I did that for a few years and once I had my oldest, I then went to work for a cardiology group. I would argue they’re the best cardiology practice in the Washington, DC area. It was an honor to work with them.

This practice is big. They have seven different hospitals that they cover and more than ten offices. I learned both inpatient and outpatient cardiology. Having the ability to work in the outpatient environment, although to an adrenaline junkie, you think you’re not going to get as much excitement. There’s a whole lot more to be said when you make the decision about whether or not someone goes home or someone gets admitted. There was a lot more autonomy. One of the things that I valued about this practice was the NPs functioned very autonomously with supervision because back then, NPs were not autonomous in the state of Virginia. They are now.

We had a lot of support. When we needed it, we had the support. It was never an issue of not having it. You learn a lot because you are functioning at an optimal level. The way NPs are designed to be used in a hospital or an office setting, we were allowed to function at that level. I learned a lot. I’ll be the first person to say that I loved everything about being an NP in that environment.

They were as accommodating as I asked them to be, which I recognized as unusual. I didn’t have to work full-time but when I had kids, they were super accommodating of a lot of different things. I recognize not everyone is that fortunate. That is a point of privilege that I have to say that I didn’t have the average full-time pulling 40, 50 or 60 hours a week that a lot of my colleagues do.

For those that don’t know, NP means what?

It’s Nurse Practitioner. It’s an advanced practice nurse. Advanced practice nurses depending on what state you live in can write prescriptions, admit patients and set patients up for procedures. In many instances, we were a safety net. If my doc was in the cath lab, I had to deal with emergencies. There’s one hospital I used to work at before they had a cath lab.

If you had to call a chopper in because someone was having an RV infarct or right ventricular infarct, which they can be very sick and ship them to a hospital where they have the ability to have a surgical team and an interventional team available, that’s stressful as you’re panicked making sure you’re not making any mistakes as you’re packaging someone up. Nurse practitioners are a very vital part of the healthcare team.

For the right person, it’s a great way to allow yourself to have a lot of autonomy and intellectual rigor. Also, you don’t have as many calls and you don’t work as many holidays as your physician counterparts, which to me was huge. With young kids, I didn’t want them to grow up knowing just the nanny. I wanted them to know their mom and have their mom be very hands-on.

For the right person, being a nurse practitioner is a great way to allow yourself to have a lot of autonomy and intellectual rigor. Click To Tweet

What’s so valuable about hearing your story is that there are different levels of everything in every field. There are different levels of doctors, dentists and nurse practitioners. Just because I was a nurse practitioner doesn’t do it justice to what you went through and the levels that you took it. Also, the way you went after it and your adrenaline junkie aspect of that. I’m hearing something different than even what I was expecting to hear. You have a book Intermittent Fasting Transformation but in your bio, you talk about being a nurse practitioner.

It’s something I’m very proud of. Nurses are capable of doing amazing things. I sometimes get criticized by other nurses on social media. They’ll tell me, “You don’t talk enough about your nursing background.” I say, “I talk about it all the time.” In many instances, it’s not how I lead anymore. It’s not the only thing that I utilize. It’s those skills I use every day like the ability to connect with others.

We all know what our strengths are and one of my strengths or probably one of my gifts is my ability to connect with people. That’s what allowed me to be a good nurse practitioner and have good interpersonal communication skills but I never downplay the NP part. It’s not the first thing I think about when I’m talking to people and that’s sometimes where people will perhaps misunderstand. I wear many hats. I’m always a wife and a mom but it depends on what I’m doing and what context.

You’re working with the cardiology group. How do you get from there to being involved so heavily with health and women’s health, in particular?

My husband’s very fit. He played lacrosse in college and I’ve always been very physically active. From my perspective, I started seeing patterns in patients. I was an NP in my twenties, you have to remember that. You start to watch patterns with men and women. Where are people getting stuck? Why are patients getting put on more and more medication? What are we doing differently? What are we doing wrong? What do we not have enough time to do?

From my perspective, I was getting less interested in writing prescriptions. Although, when I was at work, I was 100% towing that evidence-based medicine line and stayed very current on research and all of those things. After having a child with life-threatening food allergies, I read a book called The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien, whom I had the honor of interviewing on my podcast. I stayed in contact because I feel so grateful.

I read that book and it changed my life. I started thinking very differently about food and the food industry. In each chapter of that book I read, I was so angry I could barely read the next. That started this pivot of where I started becoming a little less enchanted. I became disenchanted with the medical model because it doesn’t focus on lifestyle choices and we don’t have time to talk to patients about lifestyle choices.

Initially, I was like, “Maybe I’ll get my PhD.” Hopkins was like, “We will work with you. We will help you get your PhD. You should have your PhD. You should be teaching.” As enticing as that was, I was 70 miles away from Baltimore. This is back before the massive push to online classes. I kept thinking, “I’m going to get in my car, drive 70 miles and be in Baltimore.” You can’t be on autopilot as you’re driving through Baltimore and Hopkins is not in the greatest area, although it’s much better than when I was a student there. I’ve got these two little people that are in school. Also, my husband has a lot of international travel. I was like, “I don’t think that’s the right decision.”

I then looked at PhD programs closer to where I was. I’ll never forget this. My oldest son at the time was on his 1st day of 1st grade. Every parent reading this knows how those first days of school are for their kids at that stage. They’re so excited to go to school and you’re so excited for them. You take photos and all these other things. I missed my son’s 1st day of 1st grade because it was the 1st day of this PhD program.

I’ll never forget this. I drove into the city and if anyone knows Washington, DC the traffic’s horrific. I get to my class. I sat in my class and there were a bunch of bean counters. I don’t speak to this disparagingly but people who were in academia already or worked for the Federal government were getting that degree to get a little more money. There were no clinicians. There were no people that were actively practicing that were in that class.

I walked out, called the registrar and said, “I don’t want to do this.” I took 1 class for 1 semester. I went home and said, “Nope, that’s not right.” Someone said, “Maybe do a wellness coaching certification.” I did that and I was like, “Nope, that’s not it.” I read another book called Eat the Yolks. I reached out to that author and said, “Where did you get your training?” She had done a functional nutrition program.

The next day, I signed up for that functional nutrition program and that lit me up. I wanted to talk about food and how food influences health, disease, inflammation and oxidative stress. Down that rabbit hole, I went. I’d never intended to be solely focused on talking to women. Up until the time I left clinical cardiology in 2016, I wasn’t focused solely on women. It’s almost as if the universe gives you this gift.

Most women reading who are in their late 30s or early 40s hit a wall. At some point, in perimenopause, you’re going to hit a wall and nothing had prepared me for it. Not my mom, not my GYN or my girlfriends. Everyone suffers in silence because that’s the traditional allopathic way. I hit a wall and all of a sudden, I woke up exhausted. I had never been weight loss resistant. I was so tired. I felt like I was a shell of myself.

I was like, “I’m not depressed,” but everything I had been doing, my adrenaline-fueled lifestyle of having a demanding job, having young kids and my husband’s traveling. I’m doing a lot of solo parenting. I was doing intense exercise. Probably not enough recovery time and sleep. I hit that wall. That was in 2015 and by 2016, I was like, “I’m not loving what I’m doing occupationally.” I’m married to an engineer. He’s very fiscally responsible and conservative. He was like, “Wait a minute. You’re getting well paid. What do you mean you’re going to leave this job to do what?”

I said, “I know that I’m going to be successful.” He thought I was crazy and that I was having a midlife crisis. I took this massive leap of faith with no business plan or business training, whatsoever. I was right because I’m a very hardworking person but how did I get into the female health thing? I started attracting exactly the person that was struggling with the same things I had.

I had wedged it out. I had figured out that intermittent fasting for me, removing inflammatory foods, not over-exercising, doing more weight training, getting more sleep and managing my stress were all these things that other women needed to help manage. My business became profitable quickly by doing one-on-one work initially. That then expanded into group programs and then wanting to do a TED Talk. I wanted to challenge myself because I’m an introvert.

The rest is history because so many things came out of that but that was in 2016 when I took that massive leap of faith. I’m not exaggerating. If you were to ask my husband if he thinks I had lost my mind, he would say, “Positively, yes,” but I will say that 2019 validated that I had made all the right decisions. It was a few years to the day that this talk went viral. My husband was like, “I think there’s something here for you.”

For those of you who are reading that know the WHY.os, Cynthia’s why is to contribute as we talked about but her how, how she does that is by seeking mastery, diving in deep, looking for the little things and studying at a different level than most people will. Also, looking for the little things that make the big difference and then ultimately, what she brings are better ways to move forward. Her why is to contribute, her how is mastery and her what is a better way. We see that coming through loud and clear. Very few people dive in like what you’ve talked about here. It’s fascinating how you’ve been able to do that but the real turning point you said was 2019, which was your TEDx Talk.

It was before I did that second talk. In 2018, I started submitting applications. I want to share something funny because people ask me all the time, “How did you get your talk to go viral?” Here’s the irony. In 2018, I started the applications. We submitted more than 80 applications and I finally got 1 talk in Toronto, Canada. Someone had backed out at the last minute. They were like, “She has something that’s women’s health focus. We’ll let you do this talk.”

I flew up to Toronto. I did my talk. I came back and was like, “I can do this.” Right around that same time, I was offered a second. For anyone that doesn’t know this and I certainly didn’t before, you can’t do two TED Talks about the same topic. I looked at my husband and said, “What do I know a lot about?” He said, “Intermittent fasting.” I said, “We’re going to write an application for intermittent fasting.” It was that easy.

They wanted me to do a slanted discussion talking about women and it was that easy. However, in February 2019, which is a month before I was supposed to do the second talk, I ended up in the hospital for thirteen days. Part of my mental recovery was saying to myself, “I’m going to get out of this hospital to get home to my children and do this talk.” Being a medical professional, you can appreciate and understand that a ruptured appendix is not benign. I had every complication you can imagine, which is what landed me in the hospital for thirteen days and multiple procedures.

I did that second TED Talk with a ruptured appendix. I was too sick to take it out. They sent me home with a drain. If I think about it, it sounds a little bit strange and crazy but energetically, it was meant to happen. Twenty-seven days after I left the hospital, I did a talk that changed my life. The only intention that I set when I got on that stage was to show my kids I was okay. When people ask, “What did you do to make that talk go viral,” I said, “I fervently believe this. I’m a very spiritual person. I do believe that the universe gave me a choice.” No one would’ve questioned if I didn’t do that talk.

I did that talk purely to show my kids I was okay. Every day, I’m so grateful that I stood on that stage and demonstrated to them that I was okay, even though my brain had not caught up with my body. My body was debilitated. I lost 15 pounds. I was so thin and tired. I said, “I need to do this talk. It’s important.” I went home and said to my kids, “We’re going to have this great summer where I’m going to unplug and take the summer off.”

My business exploded and because it wasn’t expected, my website crashed. My team and I weren’t in a position where we could even manage all the attention that came from that. On a lot of different levels, when the universe wants you to move, it gives you choices. I chose to move. I was like, “I’m taking all this information and I’m going to take a leap of faith and hope it all works out.” The rest is history.

When the universe wants you to move, it gives you choices. Click To Tweet

For those who have not seen the TED Talk, what was it about? Give us, if you can, a synopsis of it if that’s possible.

The talk is speaking to women in intermittent fasting and what makes us unique. I start talking about statistics and then talk about the science behind intermittent fasting. As you stated, keeping a talk for twelve minutes is hard. As I was doing my talk, I realized they were very specific. If anyone went over them, then everyone else got their talks delayed. I realized about 3-quarters of the way through that I was 3 minutes behind. I had to jump ahead and this is why it’s so important to prep for your talks because then you can do that. You have the recall to be able to do it.

I talked about fasting, women, statistics, science and a little bit of implementation and left it dangling because I couldn’t get to these other pieces but it was very simple and straightforward. The irony is I get criticized all the time about the fact that I was moving. I don’t normally move that much but I had been sick. You’re trying to dispense all this energy that you’re feeling and just feeling stressed. I always look at it as an opportunity to challenge myself.

You’re on a stage. This is stadium seating so I could see everyone. It wasn’t this benign thing where it’s dark and you can’t see anyone. I could see everyone, the yawners, the people who close their eyes and the people who smile. It’s always a surreal experience, an out-of-body experience if you will. I remind people all the time that when you get things recorded and they’re seen by millions and millions of people, it gives you an opportunity to improve upon your craft or what you do. It was a very concise, succinct explanation of what intermittent vesting is and why women need to do it differently. I didn’t delve into a lot of the intricacies because I don’t have the time.

BYW 49 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: When you get things recorded and they’re seen by millions and millions of people, it gives you an opportunity to improve upon your craft or what you do.


That was in 2019. What have you learned about intermittent fasting from 2019 to 2023?

I feel like I knew so little compared to 2023 because I’ve written a book and I talk about intermittent fasting almost every single day. They’re on podcasts, summits or all across social media. Especially after writing a book, I understand it at a level. Let’s say I was flying at 30,000 feet back then and now, I can see everything. I’m very vested in the research and what’s coming up. How rigid dogmatism evolves itself. Even into intermittent fasting, how people can get fixated and stuck but I understand it at a much more substantive level.

I thought I understood it and I did but now I understand a whole heck of a lot more. It’s why I look at intermittent fasting as only one component of metabolic health and that’s a continuum of that cardiology perspective. What are the things that we should be doing with the patient population? This is one of many strategies.

For those who are not as familiar with intermittent fasting, what is it?

It’s as simple as saying eating less often. It’s a time in your schedule when you are either abstaining from eating or you are eating. It’s that simple. This is not starvation. This is not new or novel. This dates back to biblical times. It’s in all the major religions. Sometimes, I have to remind people, “Yes, it might be popular in the vernacular but intermittent fasting is our birthright.” Feasting and famine are what allowed us to be here as a species. We’ve gotten so derailed in the United States in terms of meal frequency, what we’re eating and our macros.

This is much more aligned with an ancestral health perspective, which I’m a huge proponent of but also, understanding that what we’re not advocating for is starvation. We are advocating for eating. I like to eat a lot. It’s helping people understand that our bodies run much more optimally if we’re not eating every 2 to 3 hours and eating lots of carbohydrates and not enough protein and too many of the wrong types of fats.

Is it more important what you eat or when you eat? Is that a fair question?

It is a fair question. The most important thing is what we eat. If you eat a standard American diet, which is highly processed, low in fiber, full of rancid seed oils and probably a lot of high fructose corn syrup, we know that it’s not going to be helpful even if you eat it in a little tight window. I would make the argument that when you eat is important. When daylight savings is happening, all of us are probably struggling a little bit. It’s only a difference of an hour but eating when it’s light outside and not eating when it’s dark outside is aligned with the biological rhythms in our body.

The whole chronobiology is an area of research that I find innately interesting. The caveat is understanding when to eat and what to eat are both very important but if I had to pick one if it was only one and not the other, I would say what you eat is the most important thing. Nutrition is the foundation of everything.

Unfortunately, we’ve been conditioned by our society that we shouldn’t know how to eat and how to cook food for ourselves. We should be dependent on the processed food industry. That would be to our detriment that it is important to get back to basics and not get misaligned by all of the advertising that the processed food industry does to our detriment.

Nutrition is the foundation of everything. Unfortunately, we've been conditioned by our society that we shouldn't know how to eat and how to cook food for ourselves. Click To Tweet

I watched this video. This guy was going through all the things that we can and cannot eat. It was hilarious because, by the time he was done, there was nothing left that you could eat. Coffee’s good and now, it’s bad. The cheese was good but now, it’s bad. Everything’s good and bad. Even water. By the time you got to the water, you can’t drink water anymore. You got to have bottled water but you can’t have bottled water. It was hilarious. Where do we go to get real information? A few years ago, coffee was bad and then it’s good. I don’t know if it’s good or bad anymore but it’s hard to tell.

There’s a lot of misinformation. It’s always in the context of whom is it coming from. I don’t ever let my ego make this decision for me but if someone’s a reasonable individual, I don’t care what initials are after their name. There have been some vicious fights on social media as of late. With the rigid dogmatism that I see, I always say, “I don’t care what initials are after your name. If you’re a jerk, you’re a jerk.” However, if you have sound reasoning, explain yourself and provide some information, what drives me crazy is there’s anecdotal evidence and then there are randomized controlled trials.

Certainly, I will tell people as I was writing this book, there’s not a lot of research as one example on women in intermittent fasting unless it’s in lab animals, which the last time I checked, we don’t have the same gestational cycle as humans or as on menopausal obese women. Everything in between was like, “Women’s menstrual cycles are too problematic.” We don’t want to account for it so we’ll do all the research on men, lab animals and obese menopausal women.

BYW 49 | WHY Of Contribute
Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging

Sometimes we have to say, “This is anecdotal evidence. This is my end of 500. This has been my clinical experience working with X, Y and Z. Your question is a good one. There are plenty of people out there who are smart, well-researched and reasonable. Anytime people become rigidly dogmatic, that’s a problem and there’s a lot of that across social media that people say, “Unless you do carnivore, you’re bad. Unless you’re plant-based, you’re bad. Unless you do low-carb keto, you’re bad.”

However, you can say, “Let’s agree to agree that sometimes a little bit of each one of these things may be beneficial.” I was a full carnivore for nine months after being hospitalized. My gut was destroyed because of six weeks of antibiotics, antifungals, long hospitalization and surgery. My body was wrecked but it took nine months. Carnivore for nine months worked well for me. Would I want to do that forever? No, because I like vegetables. For each one of us, entertain the possibility that maybe what we need are a little more variety and a little less rigidity.

You and I met at a fitness health event. There were 500 health practitioners there. I found it fascinating because you had every different type of thinking. You had the carnivore, plant-based, vegan and everything you could think of like the keto group. There were all these different groups of people there. Of the group, one stood out to me from my untrained eye as the healthiest-looking, most fit and most human-looking group. Do you know which group that was?

Tell me. I’m curious as to what your response is.

It was the carnivores. They looked the most healthy and fit. They didn’t look emaciated. They didn’t look like the wind will blow them away. They look like the sprinter versus the marathoner. I don’t know if that’s true or not but that’s what I saw visually. I don’t know what that means but it did seem like they were very healthy looking.

I spoke at an event with Shawn Baker who’s one of the leaders in the carnivore front. He’s very pragmatic, which I love about him. He’s like, “If this works for you.” I always say I’m carnivore-ish. I do have more vegetables and I like vegetables. I can tell you that when I was a full carnivore because I needed to be, I missed Brussels sprouts. I dreamt about Brussels sprouts. I thought about them all the time.

It’s whatever is sustainable. If you feel like you can eat meat for the rest of your life and your blood work looks fine and you’re otherwise healthy, that’s great. However, if you force yourself to be a carnivore, you’re miserable because you want to eat some vegetables or a piece of fruit. Paul Saladino is eating honey and some fruit, which I’m glad to see that he’s expanding beyond, being very rigid about carnivores.

However, it always comes down to, “Can you sustain this?” The same thing that I love about intermittent fasting is most people are like, “This is something I can do for the rest of my life. I feel good doing it. It works for me.” If someone wants to do keto and they love it, that’s great. If you want to do low carb, that’s fantastic. I’m not such a huge fan of doing plant-based because most women that I work with want to lose weight and the carb-to-protein ratios can be of issue.

My team and I hold our breath sometimes when we get questions because we want to be supportive but we’re like, “It’s hard if you don’t eat eggs or any dairy and you’re eating beans and legumes. Although beans and legumes are delicious, yes. If you’re trying to lower your carbohydrate threshold, that can be challenging to get enough protein in.” That’s a whole rabbit hole I want to avoid having a conversation about but I do agree with you. What it comes down to is eating a less processed diet is the key to being healthy and having plenty of energy, having the body composition you want and all those things that people think about.

Do people lose weight on intermittent fasting because they’re only eating less? The reason I say that is I have a family member who is into keto and intermittent fasting. He and his wife look fantastic but they went from eating 3 meals plus snacks a day to not eating at all on Thursdays and eating only 2 meals a day. I said, “That’s a lot less eating you’re doing.” I don’t know how much of it is the keto or not eating very often or eating very much. I wonder what you think.

There are probably several things going on. It could be they were overeating when they were having meals and snacks and eating throughout the day. It could be the upregulation of autophagy. It could be a reduction in inflammation and oxidative stress. It could be that maybe in addition to these other lifestyles, they’re sleeping better and their stress is better managed.

There are so many things but when people look at pure calorie restriction versus intermittent fasting, there are different benefits that come about doing intermittent fasting. Autophagy is this waste and recycling process. I interviewed a sleep researcher on the podcast and we were talking about the lymphatic system in the brain and what happens with this. It’s like flushing the toilet in the brain. He was giving this great analogy.

I remind people that when we’re eating less frequently, it allows our bodies to get rid of disease, disordered organelles and mitochondria. It’s a multifactorial reason why they probably are healthier and their body composition has changed. If you do nothing else, stopping snacking can make a huge difference. We go through life as mindless eating. We don’t even realize we’re doing it.

I’ve had a lot of people in group programs doing food diaries. We’re looking at them and all of a sudden, when they have to start writing it down or they’re documenting it, they’re like, “I do eat off my kids’ plates and I’m snacking right before bed. I’m eating before I open up my feeding.” It’s all these little things that ultimately can add up and contribute to weight loss resistance.

What is the best thinking about healthy eating?

I’m fortunate that I have the ability to connect with so many experts in the health and wellness space. It comes down to less processed food and avoiding things like seed oils and high fructose corn syrup. If you can avoid those two things, you’re in a pretty good position. Also, not drinking your calories. That’s important. There’s a lot of fatty coffee and soda.

As an example, my youngest is in a different high school than his brother and he was overseeing a chess competition. This was for volunteer hours and he was told if you bring a big bottle of soda, you’ll get a couple of extra hours of volunteer time. I felt so conflicted because I was like, “Liam, if you look at this bottle of soda, how many servings are in this?” It’s six. Each serving had almost 40 grams of sugar. I said, “It’s probably high fructose corn syrup”. The poor schmuck whom you give that to, if he and his friends drink it, I said, “Do you know what they are doing to their liver?”

He is like, “I don’t want to hear anything about it, Mom. I’m only handing it off. I’m not drinking it.” Not drinking your calories and having more animal-based protein. We know that it’s got a superior amino acid profile. Protein and fiber are very important. Whether or not you tolerate carbohydrates, in general, has a lot to do with your insulin sensitivity. If you’re insulin-resistant, obese and diabetic, fewer carbohydrates.

If you’re insulin sensitive and you’re at the body composition weight you want to be at, you can probably tolerate more unprocessed carbohydrates and healthy fats. If you avoid seed oils and lean into olives, olive oil, MCT oil butter or ghee, those are going to be good options. We make nutrition far too complicated. We get too dogmatic about it. I can tell you what works for me and what’s worked for a lot of my patients but the power of one is undeniable.

I encourage people and it scares people. They’re like, “I’m used to being told what to do.” I’m like, “That’s great. I’m going to suggest that you do a little bit of experimentation, come back to me and tell me how you feel.” For me, it is much more helpful when someone has tried 4 or 5 things and then they find the 1 thing that works well for them. As long as you’re doing those things that I mentioned, you’re navigating things in a pretty good position. Carbohydrates have even been demonized and I have started eating more fruit. I tend to cycle my carbohydrates.

I’m being transparent. I’ve been playing around with more berries. I even will eat a green banana. I’m like, “I feel good when I do it.” Also, I’m insulin sensitive. It’s important to not be rigid with your diet. The no seed oils and no high fructose corn syrup are absolutes. A lot of other things is very individual. Do you tolerate gluten, grains, dairy or sugar? A lot of people are sugar addicts. Do you tolerate alcohol? This is a very triggering topic so I have to navigate it carefully. That’s a very personal decision but I see a lot of people that derail good diets by drinking too much alcohol.

Here’s the last question. Cynthia, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given or the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The best piece of advice I’ve been given and that I talk about a lot is through adversity comes opportunity. Irrespective of who you are and where you are in life, understand that our challenges are our greatest gifts. I fervently believe that I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t gone through those challenging times. The universe ripped the rug out underneath me in 2019 and 2020. I am so much stronger emotionally and intellectually from that experience.

It’s what I try to share with my clients, my patients and the people I talk to. Through adversity comes a great opportunity to step into the person that you are meant to be or the person you are destined to be. Instead of looking at it as a glass half-full or half-empty, understand that distinguishing characteristic. If you can do that, you can navigate just about anything.

Cynthia, thank you so much for being here. I know you’re super busy on all kinds of podcasts and shows. Thanks for taking the time to be here. If there are people that are reading that want to follow you, learn more about you and get your book, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?

Connect on my website. It’s a one-stop shop. It’s You can get access to everyday wellness. One of my favorite things I do in my business is connect with other like-minded healthcare providers. Intermittent Fasting Transformation is my book. You can get that anywhere like on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books A Million. You have the ability to get it from a brick and mortar place. Buy from them. They’ve suffered over the last couple of years of the pandemic.

I am on social media. I’m on Instagram. I’m on Twitter. Be forewarned, I can occasionally be snarky. I have a free Facebook group called Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle/Cynthia Thurlow. It’s men and women. It’s very supportive and anti-drama. I can’t and don’t tolerate drama. It’s a great place to come up with questions. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about fasting. We have people that ask all sorts of questions. It blows the mind of my team. They’re like, “I don’t even know how to respond to this. How do you want to respond?” We get lots of great questions but I’d love to connect with your community there as well.

Thank you so much for being here and I’ll be following you.

Thanks so much for having me.

It’s time for our new segment, which is Guess Their Why and I’m going to use the Former First Lady Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama has a deep passion for health and wellness, which fueled her to start a national conversation around the childhood obesity epidemic in the country. To drive the movement, Obama launched the Let’s Move campaign, which inspired children to eat healthier and incorporate more exercise into their lives. What do you think Michelle Obama’s why is?

I’ll tell you what I think based on what I’ve seen on television, which is not a lot. I don’t know her personally but I believe that Michelle Obama’s why is to contribute to a greater cause, add value and have an impact on the lives of others, just like Cynthia’s is. She wants to be part of others’ success and use that to uplift kids that are struggling with obesity.

Thank you so much for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why, you can do so at You can use the code PODCAST50 to take it at half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe. Leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you’re using to get to your shows. Thank you so much for reading and I will see you next time.


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About Cynthia Thurlow

BYW 49 | WHY Of ContributeCynthia Thurlow is a nurse practitioner, author of the best selling book Intermittent Fasting Transformation, a 2x TEDx speaker, with her second talk having more than 14 million views, and the host of Everyday Wellness podcast, averaging over 150,000 downloads per month.

With over 20 years experience in health and wellness, Cynthia is a globally recognized expert in intermittent fasting and women’s health, and has been featured on ABC, FOX5, KTLA, CW, Medium, Entrepreneur, and The Megyn Kelly Show. Her mission is to educate women on the benefits of intermittent fasting and overall holistic health and wellness, so they feel empowered to live their most optimal lives.



The WHY Of Contribute: Why Life Is Not About You With David Mansilla

BYW 48 | WHY Of Contribute


Whether we’re at our highest highs or lowest lows, we can always find lessons that will help not only our journeys but also others. This episode’s guest is especially passionate about extending his success to others, using his experiences to guide entrepreneurs to reach their full potential. Rightly so, because he moves through life with the WHY of Contribute. Joining Dr. Gary Sanchez is David Mansilla, the founder and CEO of ISU Corp, a custom software solutions company with clients ranging from start-ups to multi-million-dollar conglomerates. In this conversation, he shares with us his story from software consultant to starting his own company, bootstrapping, and growing it. David’s success was never without its own challenges, though. He almost went bankrupt multiple times. But this experience taught him the importance of his why. Tune in as David tells us more about the lessons he learned in his journey, not only to find success but also fulfillment.

Watch the episode here


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The WHY Of Contribute: Why Life Is Not About You With David Mansilla

I have a fascinating interview for you. His name is David Mansilla. He owns ISU Corp, which is a high-tech IT company. We don’t talk much about IT. We dive more into his life, which is fascinating, the very high highs and the very low lows, the cycle that he goes through throughout the years, what he learned on that journey of being at the top of the mountain and being at the bottom of the valley, and where he is now. You are going to find it fascinating. There will be a lot of great takeaways for you and things that you can use in your own life. I’m excited for you to hear about David Mansilla.

In this episode, we are going to be talking about the why of contribute, to contribute to a greater cause, add value, and have an impact on the lives of others. If this is your why, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something that is bigger than yourself. You don’t necessarily have to be the face of the cause, but you want to contribute in a meaningful way.

You love to support others and you relish the success that contributes to the greater good of the team. You see group victories as personal victories. You are often behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better. You make a reliable and committed teammate and you often act as the glue that holds everyone else together. You use your time, money, energy, resources, and connections to add value to other people and organizations.

I have got a great guest for you. His name is David Mansilla. He is the Founder and CEO of ISU Corp, a custom software solutions company with clients ranging from startups to multimillion-dollar conglomerates like General Electric and Hines. It is located in Canada’s Silicon Valley. ISU Corp increases entrepreneurs’ net profits with exceptional custom software solutions.

They have been granted many awards such as the Best Innovative High-Tech Enterprise Software Company of the Year from Global 100 and ACQ-5’s Game-changer of the Year. David is passionate about inspiring others. A priority in his life is sharing his experiences in hopes of encouraging a new generation of entrepreneurs to reach their full potential.

David is the host of the Break Free Podcast where he invites a diverse set of guests to bring audiences valuable knowledge on living on their own terms, whether it’s professionally or personally. David is also a number one international bestselling author for his book, Breaking Out of Corporate Jail. David, welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

This is going to be great. David, where are you and where are you from?

I live in Toronto, Canada. I have been there for many years. I was born in Guatemala, which is a country in Central America, but South to Mexico. If you position yourself in Central America North border to Mexico on the North.

What was it like for you growing up in Guatemala? How long were you there, and then when did you move out of Guatemala?

I was there for nineteen years. It was a very tough childhood. The country was in the middle of a 36-year-old war. In small countries is where the Cold War was fact. It was capitalism against communism, and thank God capitalism won in Guatemala, but it was a horrible war. The city wasn’t as bad as the countryside, but it wasn’t uncommon to see houses getting bombed with a tank and people getting shot on the streets by different groups, either by the guerrillas or by the army. That’s how I grew up.

I’m living in the US. I can’t even imagine that. How old were you when all of that was going on?

I was born in 1972. The war started in the mid-‘60s. You know the Missile Crisis. When was the Cuban Missile Crisis? That’s when everything got hot in Latin America after that crisis, but I was a baby. My dad used to take me to the school that I was in. It was a Catholic school that was attached to the cathedral, the main church in the whole country, and it’s beside this national palace because it’s a Spanish country.

There is a national square, and then you have the palace on the side, you have the cathedral on the side. You have one of the best Catholic schools in the country, and so I was there. My dad had to come and pick me up at least three times when war broke out in the palace. Under bullets, we have to escape. By then, I was 10 or 11 years old.

How did having a war going on affect your schooling, your childhood, and your ability to have sports? What was it like growing up at that time?

Tough, but you are a kid and your parents tend to shield you from what’s going on. Honestly, if you ask me, I didn’t think I had it that bad until I went back and realized that it was pretty bad. To give you an idea, my older brother died in the war. He was a volunteer firefighter. He saw something he shouldn’t see. He told us about it, and a week later, he disappeared. Since then, he never showed up again. My dad looked for him for years. My dad had good friends in the Army, so they were flying with helicopters all over the country, and we could never find him. It was real.

Did you have sporting events?

It was normal. Like I said, most of the heavy fighting was in the mountains. Sometimes the guerrillas will have little cells that will bring chaos to the city, but that was the exception. Usually, it was in the mountains. That’s what the heavy fighting was.

What were you like in high school? Were you into sports, acting, or computer? What were you like?

Since my brother disappeared, my dad encouraged me to join a military school to become an official in the Army. I went to military school for two years. I wanted to become a firefighter for the army. I didn’t care about the Army. I wanted to become an airplane pilot. That was my desire. My dad took advantage and said, “It’s better to be a trained official than getting killed as your brother got killed with no training.”

I joined the Army for two years, and that gave me amazing skills and incredible insight into discipline. My teenage years were marked by my military training. I thank God for that because I attribute most of my success in life thanks to that discipline. It’s funny. When you come to a country like this like Guatemala, even in this modern age where there is a rule of law and democracy, it has been here for many years.

Schools are more disciplined than North American schools. Kids cannot wear long hair and they have to wear a uniform, and it’s good. I see the difference. If you don’t teach kids discipline, you are getting them a tougher life. When they become adults, their life is ten times tough because they don’t know how to go through something that they don’t want to do, but they have to do. Isn’t life like that?

BYW 48 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: If you don’t teach kids discipline, they will have a tougher life. When they become adults, their life is ten times tough because they don’t know how to go through something that they don’t want to do, but they have to do.


I agree with you. That’s a good point. You have gotten to see both sides. You graduate from high school in Guatemala. Did you stay in Guatemala or did you leave after that?

While I was in military school, back then, to graduate, you had to pass this crazy typewriting exam, and I could never pass it. I wasn’t fast enough. Every time I did a mistake, I had to start the page all over again. I was so frustrated. By then, my dad had already bought a computer, an Apple IIe, believe it or not. It was an Apple that was text-based without a mouse. People don’t even know that they existed, but my dad had one of those. My uncle was a Senior VP of the computer department for a large bank in the country. At a family gathering, I was explaining how frustrated I was with this typewriter.

My uncle told me to come to his office during the week. I went to his office and he showed me how he was using a text editor in a mainframe computer and how he could make mistakes and push a button and print the letter. I’m like, “This is incredible. I want this.” That was the beginning of me falling in love with Computer Science.

Right after military school, my dad put me in the best computer science school in town, which turned out to be the best Math and Physics school in town, and that’s how I got my first Computer Science degree. As soon as I graduated from that, in that school I met my wife who became my sweetheart. We got married, got a kid, and moved to Canada when I was in my early twenties.

Why Canada?

I wanted to continue my schooling. My brother had come to Canada already for his degree in Commerce and Business. It’s funny because I’m in Canadian Technology Triangle, and this is where the best Computer Science universities in the country are. It happens also that our version of Harvard Business School is also in this town. My brother went to that university. I landed there and had three of the best universities in the whole country for Computer Science, so I did my second degree there.

Now, you are done with your Computer Science degree. Now, what happens to you?

I thought I was going to start my own business right after college. I’m like, “I’m going to become a software consultant.” I always fell in love with software automation since I started learning how to write software. In Guatemala, before I came, I was hired to build a payroll system. We are talking about 1988 to 1989. My best friend from university and I wrote a payroll system. They put it in production and they automated it. Running payroll by hand for 300 employees took a week. We made it in four hours. That was the first thing that I did professionally as a computer scientist.

Right after graduating in Canada, I thought I could do my own business. This is 1995 or 1994, the Canadian government saw the internet coming as something new. They had a problem for technologists that were graduating to give them a Canadian-backed loan from one of the banks to promote people to start their own businesses.

I took advantage, I applied, and they gave me a one-year fast-forward MBA paid by the government. After graduating from that program, I got a loan and almost went bankrupt two years after that. I spent the whole loan plus thousands of dollars on my credit card. My wife was sustaining the home. I had two kids back then. I was like, “I have to do something.”

Nobody will trust me with computer software. I turned to creating computers. I started assembling computers. We were doing pretty well until it started to go bad when I had to respect all the warranties. I was making a 5% profit, but then after a year, people will come back, and with one little change, the whole profit will go away, even though I was selling thousands of computers. Little did I know though that my company had a reputation because I had a lot of clients.

One time, a student that was working for me in the summer fell in love with the business and his dad was a very wealthy man. Out of the blue, I wasn’t even thinking of selling. I was thinking of closing. His dad came and said, “I want to buy your business. How much do you want for it?” I gave him the exact amount that I owed. I said, “I just want the government money and I want my credit cards paid off.” I gave him the whole number. He brought his checkbook and says, “Are you sure?” I’m like, “Yes, I’m sure,” and he wrote me the check.

Years later, after I became a businessman, I realized that I sold that business for a fifth of what it was worth just because of the reputation of the client base, but it saved me. It saved me because I was clean and I was able to get a job. It’s funny because I started looking for a job in 1996. It wasn’t easy for a computer scientist yet because the internet was starting up. I remember having to send about 200 to 300 resumes by snail mail. I got five job interviews in three months, and out of those five, I got one job as a computer analyst.

What did a computer analyst do in 1995 or 1996?

I was writing software as a coder. I was writing applications for the Board of Education. I had in charge of 2,000 teachers for the entire school board, and I was writing software automation for them to have classes better instructed. I was also supporting the staff of the school administrations. We had a bunch of schools. I think over 200 schools or something like that. I was writing software for them.

You did that for how long?

I was there for two years. Funny enough, my desire to become a software consultant came through three months after I got my first full-time job. Throughout this whole thing, my older brother became my client. He was the only one that trusted me. He had a chain of stores, and I wrote a point-of-sale system for him. He’s the only one that trusted me, but I left little signs on all his stores that I wrote this software that was running the invoicing.

Three months in, I get a call from a guy in the town nearby. He was building this massive warehouse with a storefront and needed a custom-made point-of-sale system. I had to go back to my director and talk to HR to see if they could change the contract, and they allowed me to work on my business part-time after work. From 5:00 PM forward, I could do whatever I wanted with my own business because it wasn’t competing with what I was doing during the day. I landed that contract, and it lasted for eight years. I was consulting part-time after work for eight years with this large store.

When did you start your own?

From that job, I started moving into larger corporations. The boss of my boss moved to the largest telecommunications company in the country, and I got a job as a leader already. I grew in the corporate lot quickly while maintaining my little tiny consulting gig part-time until finally, I was talking with my wife.

The idea was we were both very cautious about trying out our business again because it was super hard. Those two years were horrible. Horrible in the sense of not having enough money. Talk about being scared of not having enough money to pay the rent for the house the next month. We never wanted to go through that again.

Our plan was that my wife will come back to university. She will get a stable job with benefits, and that will allow me to risk it again. The plan happened, and she graduated in Computer Science. She was a developer too. She got a job as a database analyst for a large company. My kids were a little bit older too, so with that, I decided full-time business in 2005.

What was that business?

ISU Corp. The same one that I have now.

ISU Corp started in 2005, and who was your first client?

That was tough. I was blessed. I didn’t have any clients lined up, but I decided to quit like didn’t care because I knew I could do this. Now I had the business acumen. I knew how to work the corporate ladder and how to play corporate politics. In the beginning, I started looking for a gig, and somebody trusted me with my experience.

They hired me as a single consultant who embedded software for MFP. MFPs are called this large photocopiers that have a computer embedded and you can put on those computers to do multiple things. I wrote software for the Sharp machine. They had thousands of those machines in the corporate connected through the internet already. I was automating their enterprise software. The contract was for two months, and it lasted six months. I started by myself, and in three months, I had two people working for me already in my own business because we grew the contract because I proved to them that I could do it.

Then you kept adding businesses to ISU Corp.

It kept growing and growing. I’m scared to death about the money part. I never spent a penny from the income that I was making. I was building the bank account. I didn’t borrow a penny to open the second business because it went so badly with the loan. I said this is going to be bootstrapped. The $500 that I got to do my own registration in the government back then, that’s how much you pay. I didn’t even hire a lawyer at the beginning.

I went and fill up the funds myself as simple as I could. That $500 was for my consulting gig already. I never raised money anymore. The first year, I never spent a penny. The money was accumulated. It was beautiful because, in six months, I did a whole year’s salary as a Senior Vice President of a large company as consulting firm. I was so scared that we were living with my wife’s salary, but that helped me because I learned how to build a cashflow in the business so that during the downturns, you could leave off the cashflow without having to go and get funding or get a loan or anything like that.

What do you think was the secret to being able to make it this time bootstrapping it versus what you did the first time?

Experience and the support of my lovely wife because she did that first time. The second time, she told me, “You have five years. If in five years you don’t retire me, you have to go get a job.” Exactly in five years, I hired her back, so she came back as a Director of HR with a much less stressful job.

What’s ISU like now? Give us a picture of what it’s like now. How many people do you have working with you? You are outsourcing to different parts of the world and are all over the place now. What’s it like now?

We have 60 full-time senior engineers and expand our network up to 200 to 300 people depending on the client. We do tend to work for larger clients. We call it the SWAT team. We start with a small high-end team that is full-time employees, and then if the company requires us to expand and grow, we have partners where we can grow. That’s how we are in the business, but it hasn’t been easy. I have almost been bankrupt 3 or 4 times. It’s been most of the time when I get to the point of bankruptcy because I get greedy and I lose my why. I love your heart. Once your why is lost, once you just focus on the money or personal gain, that’s the beginning of the end. It took me a while for me to learn that lesson.

Once your why is lost, once you just focus on the money or personal gain, that's the beginning of the end. Click To Tweet

Give us an example of what you mean when you lose your why and focus. When was the time that you lost your focus and how that played out for you? That could happen to all of us and any of us could go through that exact same thing. What happened and how did you get out of it?

It’s greed. I had never been a greedy person until that time, but when you see your bank account getting larger and power through money, you want more, and then you start comparing yourself with other entrepreneurs that have more than you and you want to become like them. It becomes all about a money game, and you forget your employees and clients. All you want to do is increase your bank account and get as much money as you can so you could feel better than other people.

For me, it happened from 2009 to 2011. 2009, I was about 8 or 7 people, and from 2009 to 2011, we grew to 110 or 120. It was fast growth. We became an eight-figure company really fast, and my mind became my partner, but I was working sixteen hours a day and I forgot my family. I was traveling overseas every 2 to 3 weeks. It was all money-oriented. I remember going to the bank. Back then, you still had checks. We were depositing $500,000 checks every two weeks or every week and a half. The more money I gathered, the better I felt better than anybody else. Greed gives you ego and gives you false confidence.

I was overworking myself. I was using alcohol to cope with the stress. One day, my heart told my brain, “I don’t want to play this game anymore. You are crazy,” and I had a heart attack. That’s how I woke up out of that. I thank God for that because if that wouldn’t happen, God knows what person I would have been now. Probably my net worth would have been five times as it is now, but I will be a lonely, miserable, and rich person.

Do you know who was my best psychologist? My doctor. I was 39 or 40 years old back then. When she saw me, she was like, “Your hair is falling off.” I had patches of hair, falling hair all over my head. I had bruises on my tongue from distress. She said, “You are killing yourself. What is it worth the money if you are not going to have the health to enjoy it or your family to enjoy it? I can give you these pills, these opioids. They will allow you to cope with the stress so you can keep the same lifestyle, but my advice is to change your lifestyle. You could get addicted within three months if you have these pills.”

That was like a cold shower. I felt like God gave me a cold shower saying, “What are you doing with your life? You are killing yourself.” The next week, I apologized to my wife and kids. I haven’t seen them for two years. I took a plane to Atlanta where my partner was and told him I went out and left 95% of the business to him. I left everything. I told him, “I need to go out. You take everything.”

I was left with five employees again, and 95% of my income was gone like this. Felix is my VP of Operations and one of my best friends. He’s my best friend. I told him, “I need to take a break. I need to reconcile with my wife. I will leave you the business. I know that we don’t have enough income to sustain even the five people that we are. We cannot even pay the rent, but we are smart people. We can all get jobs if we go under.”

I told my wife, “Get me out of Canada to a place as far as you can find and make sure the kids come with us.” She took these kids out of school and we went to Thailand for a month. It was the first time I didn’t have any plans to come back until I got healed. The doctor also told me to follow a sport that allowed me to breathe because I was having panic attacks all the time. The one panic attack is the one that gave me a heart attack. I was talking on the highway for three hours. I saw helicopters bringing people from three accidents on the ice storm. That’s when I realized I was killing myself for nothing. The panic attack became a heart attack. I decided to learn how to scuba dive.

After you are working sixteen hours a day, it’s all intensive. You cannot stay watching the palm trees. I went there. I got the blessing from my wife and got into a scuba diving course. Thank God it was May, so it was a very low season in Thailand. My diving instructor only had me as a student. He gave me 3 courses in 1. I was diving five times a day. I was living at 7:00 AM coming back at 6:00 PM every day for two weeks. It was beautiful because I learned how to breathe. I learned how to control my panic attacks through breathwork. I took the pills for a week and I never took them again. It was beautiful.

I never checked my email during that month. When I felt a little bit better, when I felt like, “I was monitored by my kids and my wife,” then I said, “It’s time to go back home.” I turned on my computer. I had thousands of emails. All I did was sort emails by name and noticed that one of my old friends was emailing me 150 times.

I finally phoned him. I was in Bali, Indonesia, because we were moving. He said, “What’s up? I got this VP of IT from this company and they are going nowhere. We have lost millions of dollars on this software project. I know you can help me.” To make the lost story short, I talked to the CEO the next day and signed a $1 million contract with this lady two days later. When I landed in Canada, we had a business again. It is just like that.

How were you able then to not overwork or not get back into the sustained rat race, or did you get back into the same place?

I didn’t. My learning didn’t finish then. Me selling that $1 million contract, even though it was nothing to do with me, it was God giving me another opportunity. I evaluated my business partner, client, and employees. Everybody was at fault. I was the good guy. The contract lasted about a year and a half. I was able to gather other contracts, but I kept working the same hours. After six months, I started abusing alcohol again.

I never became an alcoholic. Thank God because I don’t have an addicted personality, but I was drinking a bottle of wine a day. One glass of wine after dinner became a bottle. I didn’t have problems with my heart anymore because it wasn’t as bad as before. By December 2012, I looked at myself in the mirror and I was 40 pounds overweight. I was losing my hair again.

Not normal hair loss from age. I had holes in my scalp. It was a self-wake-up. It’s like, “Again? What are you doing?” I remember December 27th, 2012, I decided to quit drinking and to quit what I was doing. I quit my own job. I called Felix again, “You are not going to see me for one year. I need to fix myself again. This time I know what to do, but I know I can discipline myself.”

I joined a gym membership on January 6th, 2013, the first day of the gym. I joined a three-month transformation program with Kris Gethin, a famous online trainer. I went from 200 pounds to 159. Again, the discipline. I discipline myself to do the exercise. It was supposed to be one hour a day. I was doing four hours a day at the gym all-in.

I’m eating super clean seven meals a day. I couldn’t transform my body, but most importantly, I was transforming my soul. My mind and my emotions were getting transformed. I started to listen to spiritual leaders online and also to business leaders. Instead of working sixteen hours a day, I was working ten hours a week. I was still working.

Also, I joined the leadership course. I realized that I wasn’t a good leader. The business was 110. It went back to 5 or 6 people, then I grew to 20 people with that big contract, and then back to 5 people again. I realized that I was attracting the people that I was, a greedy self-pity person. I changed myself. I got the leadership course and changed my life. It was incredible.

2013 was a year of change. It was the only year that I lost money in the business after eighteen years, and it was okay. I needed to lose that money to recover. 2014 came, and I changed the business to a lifestyle business. I divorced myself from greed. I wanted to focus on culture. That’s what changed everything. I focused on my people. “How do I add value to my employees so that they add value to my clients?” I read every book I could on culture and I dedicated myself to my family. I also read The 4-Hour Workweek book. I never went back to working sixteen hours a day. I was working maybe 20 to 25 hours a week. That happened from 2014 to 2017. I repeated that trip five years in a row.

BYW 48 | WHY Of Contribute
The 4-Hour Workweek

I will take my kids out of school in January and will come back in April and May after the winter was over. It was beautiful. I didn’t make a lot of money. All I wanted is to grow the business 5% per year because I knew that if you don’t grow, you shrink. I was growing 15% to 20% per year. I stopped selling and marketing. It was word of mouth.

The company kept growing, and I was having this beautiful lifestyle business, but there was a problem. After five years in 2017, I got bored. My kids grew out of the house. They went to university. We talked with my wife again. “Either we retire fully or we grow the business.” She told me that, and I said, “I don’t know how to grow the business. The last time I tried, I almost died literally.”

That’s when I joined Vistage. That was the first business group that I joined. I had a business coach, and now it was more systematic. I started growing and growing again just to fall into the same trap in 2021. Isn’t it crazy? In this case, 2021, it was the pandemic too. The business has been very stable growing systematically.

I never lost the part of the culture and adding value to my clients. That’s been great, but what I lost is focusing on everybody else. I started to focus on myself again. I started feeling myself better than everybody else, especially when my net worth grew after eight figures. I’m like, “I’m this millionaire. Very few people get to this number,” and I started getting egocentric again.

I kept my culture beautiful and my clients delighted, but I became my own God. The ones who suffered were my wife and my kids the most. 2022 wasn’t a financially ruined year. I made a lot of money, but I was spiritually ruined to the point that I almost lose what I love the most, which is my family, but I woke up again.

What a rollercoaster ride. We all go on it. All of us, the ups and downs, but you have had some real big highs and some real big lows. Your wife probably almost doesn’t want you to have success.

She realizes that the money was what made me proud again, but we are believers. We were believing in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. I move away from my faith for all those years from 2020 to 2022. To give an idea, I joined a new age cult, and we start with loving everybody with multiple gods down to doing witchcraft and using pendulums to detect your future and stupid superstitions like the horoscope, for example.

After being a computer scientist with two degrees and having done all this, I fell into that stupidity. My wife should have let me go like ten times over, but she’s so lovely. What she did is she started praying for me. Her mom and my kids started praying for me and her whole network. I had at least 100 people praying for me. I woke up one day and realized that what I was doing was wrong. I asked for forgiveness.

We split for two months last 2022 and thought it was over, but I came back to my faith. I came back to God. I repented again. 2023 has been beautiful. It’s been a year of healing and recovery. It’s funny because we decided to read the Bible again, which is one of the things that I stopped doing for many years, and God gave us Psalm 23. January 1st, we opened the Bible and we got Psalm 23. We read it and it’s like, “This is our song. I have it in my heart.”

It’s a very famous song because it talks about, “The Lord is my shepherd. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He takes me to calm waters. He straightens my ways. Even though I walk in through the shadows of the valley of death, I will fear no evil because you are with me.” It’s beautiful, and it’s been our theme the whole year. Now we are on this beautiful path where all we want to do is give back and give an example of what happened to us.

I’m so blessed that the business keeps running. Thanks to the networks that I belong to like strategic coach Dan Sullivan. In the last few years, I already made the business to the point that it’s a self-managing company now, which allows me to run other businesses. I have been blessed to have multiple businesses that I can run, but I don’t do it for the money anymore. My wife makes sure I keep humble. No more pride.

One thing happened. The miracle in all this is realizing that I had ADHD. I had ADHD since I was a kid, and in November, I got diagnosed by three different doctors. When that happened, then everything made sense. My extreme behavior, my compulsive behavior of excessive business traveling, and my success too. It’s a superpower if you use it the right way, but if you don’t know that you have it, you can also use that to become proud and arrogant and to destroy your family, which is what I was doing in the end.

BYW 48 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: Your ADHD diagnosis is a superpower if you use it the right way.


How did knowing you had ADHD help you?

That’s what got used to wake me up. I was so blessed. I had one of the best psychoanalysts in the country. Listen to this. This guy has been practicing psychoanalysis for 40 years. He is a doctor in psychology with clinical psychology with a specialization in analytical psychology, brain functions, and neurotransmitters. He took me in. I was his last patient. He’s the one that told me, “You are heavy on ADHD,” and he had ADHD. That’s why he became a psychologist. He gave me all the strategies to live life in a beautiful way. He’s the one that told me how to bring my wife back.

When I was away for two months, he was the one that told me, “Do you know about the three horsemen of the apocalypse of the marriage?” I’m like, “No. What’s that?” “You blame, you defend, and you hide. If you keep doing those three things, you will never get your wife back. Stop that.” The minute that I stopped that, my wife was able to talk to me and I was able to understand. He gave me strategies to deal with the condition that I have, and then he passed away. I started seeing him in September. My breakthrough was in November. He passed away in January. Isn’t that crazy?

What’s next for you? You got back with your wife and then you guys continued with ISU. Were you continuing to build it, or are you trying to keep it? What’s next on your agenda?

We have a five-year plan to sell it or give it to our employees. We created this plan where we gave shares to everybody. For everybody who has been in the company for over two years and deserves it, they got shares. The idea is either we tire our people or we give them the company and they keep growing it. It was a five-year plan. We want to grow in a way that we can hit $100 million. It is not about the money anymore at all. Most of those profits will go back to helping others in need, and I’m not that involved anymore. I spend my time doing the Break Free Podcast and writing. I’m on my third book now. I open a brand-new podcast called Leaders in Tech.

What I’m doing is I’m acknowledging the leaders that are helping companies grow by multiples. I’m making this world a better place, but nobody’s talking about them. Nobody’s talking about the CTO, CIO, and VP of technology and how they are impacting businesses. I’m going to be talking with senior VPs of Nokia and Disney. I have a senior VP of big hospitals like Bishop Hospital in Orlando. It’s fun. My whole life now is giving back and sharing my story. If I can save somebody a couple of years of deep pain, it makes my life worth it. That’s my why now. It’s giving back and raising the flag of ADHD and how to manage it for your own good.

For those that are reading that know more about the WHY.os. Your why is contribute to a greater cause. How you do that is by finding the right way to get results, and what you ultimately bring is a trusting relationship. I’m curious about how did that work for you when you weren’t being “trustworthy” to your people, family, and kids. How did that work and play out for you in your own head?

When you are on your game and you are helping people by finding the right way to get results and being that trusted source, being that one that they can count on, you are on your game. Things are great for you. When you went down the ADHD route, and you started doing things that didn’t allow them to trust you and didn’t allow them to look up to you, how did that play out for you?

Horrible because I changed my why in the wrong way. This is the common denominator. If you look at the pattern in my life, everything became about me. Everything started to fall off. It’s funny because it doesn’t matter how much success you gain in life. If you are doing it for yourself, you will never be completely fulfilled. You always stay empty.

It doesn't matter how much success you gain in life. If you are doing it for yourself, you will never be completely fulfilled. You always stay empty. Click To Tweet

I remember reaching the next million dollars and thinking, “Now I’m going to be happy,” and then it just became another number on a computer. You don’t even see the money. You have it invested. Maybe we have a real estate portfolio, and it’s beautiful. It gives you a beautiful passive income, but at the end of the day, if you are doing it for yourself and your own comfort and you don’t think of others, you never get fulfilled.

When I was doing it for my people, I wanted to get my people in a better position in the world. When I focused on them having the right feelings and producing the right emotions and the right attitudes, when I saw the benefits that I was giving my clients with the software I was building for them, and when I only thought about them and how I can benefit them and how I can grow their own profits, it’s beautiful, and then you get fulfilled.

The funny part is that when you do that, you get more. It’s inevitable. You know the Law of Gravity. There is another law that says what you give is what you receive, and it doesn’t matter what you give. You will always get it back like a boomerang, and you get it back increased. When you give greed, you receive greed and increase in greed. You receive horrible people and stress.

When you mean that you want your client to prosper in what you are doing for them, then you prosper with them. When you mean that your own employees are growing their careers and they have more time for their families and have a better lifestyle because of you, you get a better lifestyle. It’s incredible, but that’s how it works and then you get fulfillment.

There is no worst failure than being filthy rich and being empty in your heart because there is no money, success, or fame in the world that can fill that. That can only be filled by God, and he does it by you serving others unconditionally, by you thinking of others, and by you making this world a better place. If you read the Bible, what Jesus said is to take care of the poor. Take care of the homeless, widows, orphans, and drug addicts. Take care of them unconditionally. Start doing that and see how your life changes around. It’s beautiful.

BYW 48 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: There is no worse failure than being filthy rich and being empty in your heart because there is no money in the world nor success nor fame that can fill that.


You have hit both sides of it. You have been on the top and you have been on the bottom so you get to see both, and that’s a big part of your story. I had no idea when we were going to have you on the show that this is the direction we were going to go. I thought we were going to be talking about software. I’m glad we got to learn more and go deeper with you because it’s super valuable. It’s way more valuable than anything you could have taught us about software. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

My pleasure. I live for this now. Whenever I can add value, if there is one person that reads this show and avoids making their own choice in their life and they get joy and peace, that’s what we are looking for. We are looking for sustainable joy and peace, not necessarily avoiding suffering. Suffering and pain are unavoidable because you live in a world where anybody can crash in front of your car for a mistake that you didn’t expect and then you are going to be in the hospital probably.

What I have learned is that you can keep your joy and your peace regardless of what’s going on in your life, and that’s what I’m experiencing now finally. 2022 was horrible. I woke up from this terrible cult that I was in. I woke up in July. That’s when my eyes got up, and when I did research, I didn’t even know what New Age was. Unfortunately, I did a lot of psychedelics and stuff like that. That’s what they do and those rituals. I developed acute pancreatitis. I developed anemia because I never ingested drugs before in my life. It was all psychedelic, and they are so popular now, all that stuff. If you start doing that without a prescription or without a clinical doctor prescribing you that stuff, you start doing it for spiritual reasons. I got lost, but now I’m here, like the story of the prodigal son.

If there are people that are reading and they want to follow you, they want to hear more from you, they want to see what you are up to, and they want to learn more about ISU Corp, what’s the best way for somebody to get in touch with you?

You can go to All my podcasts are there. They can read my story and buy my book. My life story that is there until 2014. This new stuff is another book, but they can also go to if they want our services. We are growing exponentially. We are hiring people now, especially now that I have everything in place.

If you want to run a software project where you are going to be considered top your need first, not our need, come to us. Believe that our last project is our best project, and it’s the only project that matters. My last client finds new clients because they get delighted with us and they are going to get my employees, which are delighted with us because they have a beautiful lifestyle too. Everybody wins.

Last question. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given or the best piece of advice you have ever given?

Life is not about you. It seems the opposite, but it’s not. When you make life about you, you lose your life, but when you give your life away, you gain it. It’s contradictory, isn’t it? If you think about it, if you don’t make your life about you, life happens, and it happens beautifully. It’s not about us.

When you make life about you, you lose your life, but when you give your life away, you gain it. Click To Tweet

I had a gentleman on the show who was a gastroenterologist. He was a doctor, and his life was so much about his two daughters that he has. When they grew up and left, he felt lost and said something similar to what you were talking about. He said he meditated for three days. He was lost. He has your same why. It occurred to him during that time. He said, “The joy is in the giving. That’s where you get your joy. It’s not in all the stuff I have. It’s in the giving that you receive joy.”

What money gives you is comfort, and comfort is nice. Don’t get me wrong. Going on a private plane, sure it’s first-class and nice, but that doesn’t make you happier or fulfill you. It gives you little moments of comfort, but if you are willing to live without that comfort and you are willing to focus on helping somebody else, the level of hardship that you can sustain grows so much that nothing touches you.

I feel almost like I have a shield right now where the enemy can throw any darts that he wants and it’s going to melt away. The level of suffering that I was able to sustain and that got me out of is so deep. When you go to hell and you get rescued from hell, nothing scares you anymore. I’m not afraid anymore. I don’t have anxiety anymore.

I call them demons, all those psychological problems. A demon is a thought that torments you because it gives you bad emotions and you cannot do anything to stop it. That’s why people get addicted. White people get addicted. They are not getting addicted because they are bad people. They are in so much pain from their suffering, from these tormenting thoughts that they take something that numbs their brain and their body to get some relief.

Thank you so much for being here and sharing your story. It is totally fascinating. I’m fascinated with it. I appreciate you being here and spending time with us. I’m sure we are going to be in touch with each other.

Thank you so much. Anytime.

It’s time for our new segment, Guess Their Why. I want to talk about Oprah Winfrey. All of you know Oprah Winfrey. She is very famous. She’s had the network, the TV show, she’s written lots of books, and she’s given away lots of different things, but what do you think Oprah’s why is? I often use her in different presentations that I have.

If you go back in her life, she had somebody very close to her break her trust. We see this very often with people with the why of trust that it has happened. I believe that Oprah Winfrey’s why is to create relationships based upon trust, to be that trusted source, and to be the one that others can count on. If you can count on her and she can count on you, the sky is the limit. If you break her trust, you are not going to recover from that one.

I believe Oprah’s why is to be the trusted source, the why of trust. What do you think? You can write it on whatever platform you are reading to. Thank you so much for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why, you can do so at with the code, PODCAST50. You can discover your why or your WHY.os at half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you are using to read our show. Thank you so much. I will see you in the next episode.


Important Links


About David Mansilla

BYW 48 | WHY Of ContributeDavid is the founder and CEO of multiple businesses. Most prominent among them is his longest-running company, ISU Corp. ISU is a custom software solutions company with clients ranging from start-ups to multi-million-dollar conglomerates like General Electric and Heinz. Located in Canada’s Silicon Valley, ISU Corp increases entrepreneurs’ net profits with exceptional custom software solutions.

We have been granted awards like the “Best Innovative High-Tech Enterprise Software Company of the Year” from Global 100, and ACQ5’s “Game Changer of the Year” to attest to our excellence. Most recently, ISU Corp has been chosen as a recipient of the Canadian Business Excellence Award for the fifth year in a row as a recognition of our outstanding company culture and effective process (2018-2022).

David Mansilla is passionate about inspiring others. A priority in his life is sharing his experiences in hopes of encouraging a new generation of entrepreneurs to reach their full potential. David is the host of The Break Free Podcast, where he invites a diverse set of guests to bring audiences valuable knowledge on living life on their own terms, whether it’s professionally or personally.

David is also a #1 international bestselling author for his book, Breaking Out of Corporate Jail. David’s trials and tribulations will deliver valuable insight into how to leave your corporate job and how to navigate your own business once you take the leap.



Marketing, Media And The WHY Of Contribute With Travis Brown

BYW 35 | WHY Of Contribute


Someone who embodies the WHY of Contribute wants to be part of a more significant cause – something bigger than them. They don’t necessarily want to be the face of the cause, but they want to contribute to it in a meaningful way. Travis Brown, the CEO of Mojo Up Marketing + Media, uses his time, money, energy, resources, and connections to add value to other people and organizations. To Travis, to contribute is an equal success. Therefore, the idea of saying “No” falls on deaf ears, or worse yet, it makes you feel guilty. The key to overcoming this challenge is identifying where you can make the most significant contributions and then committing to focusing your efforts on those areas. Tune in to this inspiring episode to hear more from Travis!

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

Marketing, Media And The WHY Of Contribute With Travis Brown

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the Why of Contribute, to contribute to a greater cause, add value, and have an impact on the lives of others. If this is your why, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something bigger than yourself. You don’t necessarily need to be the face of the cause, but you want to contribute to it in a meaningful way.

You love to support others and relish successes that contribute to the greater good of the team. You see group victories as personal victories. You are often behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better. You make a reliable and committed teammate and you often act as the glue that holds everyone else together. You use your time, money, energy, resources, and connections to add value to other people and organizations.

In this episode, I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Travis Brown. He is the CEO of Mojo Up Marketing & Media. Mojo Up is an MBE-certified, Black-owned, and minority-operated full-service brand marketing agency that is made up of a diverse and talented team of marketing professionals and creatives. Their focus is to tell the story, shape the brand, and guide the marketing future for their clients as they make their greatest impact by using their greatest asset, their own authenticity. Travis, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me, Gary. I’m excited to talk about how we make this impact in this world.

Where are you now? What city are you in?

I live in Fishers, Indiana, which is right outside of Indianapolis in the gray area of Indiana.

I’ve been to Indianapolis twice and something stood out to me, which was the size of the potholes in the street. I don’t know if that was only when I happened to be there or what but I had never in my life seen potholes like that.

It’s amazing that with all the technology and everything that they figured out in this world, they have not figured out how to fix those potholes to last longer than one season. It’s a heck of a business. I wish I were in that paving business because you never run out of potholes to fill.

For the people that have never been to Indianapolis, explain the size of those potholes.

You can step your whole foot in it. It will ruin your morning on the way to work because if your car hits it, you’re on the side of the road calling your AAA trying to figure it out. They are significant for sure.

Where I was, they were the size of trash cans. They were huge. The whole side of the road was gone. That may have been just when I was there. Let’s go back to your life. Where did you grow up? What were you like in high school, Travis?

I’m from Lafayette, Indiana, the home of the Purdue Boilermakers. I grew up in that era but in high school, I was a three-sport athlete. I would say twelve varsity letters, baseball, basketball, and football, and my life was consumed with sports. It was the first place that I was able to get outside of our family’s poverty, the fact that I grew up with only me and my mom primarily.

To some of the dysfunctional things that were happening in our family, sports gave me a way out. It gave me a place to excel. It gave me a place for people to see me as something that I wasn’t off the court and I liked that. I spent a lot of time diving into sports. I was pretty good. It created a lot of opportunities and probably a more equal playing field for me as I navigated through high school.

BYW 35 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: Sports gave me a way out. It gave me a place to excel.


First of all, let’s stay in high school for a minute. What were you like as a friend or as a teammate? What would people have said about you back in high school?

What was cool is that when you see people in your adult life that say, “You stood up for me. You sat by me. You did something.” Because of my athletic status, I had a level of influence solely because I was an athlete. I wasn’t a very good student but I still had something on the inside of me that never sit right to watch people make fun of other people.

Now, I’m old. This was way before we talked about bullying the way that we do in this environment. I was a kid who was willing to help people and do things that were different because I felt like I was different. I’m a biracial child. I have a White mom and a Black dad. I went to a school of 1,500 kids and there were only five people of color in that entire school. We were different. You then tack poverty into that scenario.

It’s always felt like that outcast outside of sports. I was the kid that wanted to see everybody be good and do it. I was ultra-competitive and that probably drove some of my negative side of me. I was always competing in every way, shape, or form unless it was with my grades because I didn’t compete with those. Outside of that, as people see me now in my adult life, it’s been great to hear him echo, “You’ve always been like that. You have always been the motivational guy and the helper.”

It is right in line with contribute which is what we were talking about. You graduated from high school. Did you go off to college?

I did. I accepted a college scholarship to play at Illinois State where I was going to play baseball and football. I found myself in an environment that wasn’t conducive for me. One night, I packed up all of my stuff and quit in the middle of the night the full scholarship, going to school for free, and living out what my dream was. Before I realized it, there was trying to figure out what to do next in my life. I got a call from Purdue University. They said, “Come walk on. We think you can still play here.”

I did that and I did something that not many people have done in their life. I became a two-time college dropout. When you do that, now you have no education. It was the late ’90s and you were trying to find your way. I was working at the pawnshop and I remember asking myself this question, “How did I get here? I’m not supposed to be here.”

Maybe as a statistic, I was, but not in my mindset. I was supposed to do something bigger, go on, and represent my family in a way that we’ve never been represented, which was a college graduate and a success. I was at that crossroads that every single person gets to in some way, which is, “How do I get out of here?”

What did you do?

Interestingly enough, I connected with some people at the time that were in the Amway business. The one thing that it did for me is it helped me understand the value of continuing education, tapes, books, learning, self-development, and empowerment. I learned how to stand in front of people and speak. It fueled me to go, “I don’t have the traditional path as everybody else, which I never did, but I can still be something.”

BYW 35 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: Understand the value of continuing education, tapes, books, learning, self-development, and empowerment.


It started me down the path of going, “How do you help other people get what they want? How do you help motivate people to see this more in life? How do you take your situation and turn it around?” Unbeknownst to me, that became my life’s commitment to not only helping myself get into a situation that I wanted to be in but helping other people.

Through Amway, you got into personal development and personal growth.

Yeah, because back in the late ’90s, when I was involved in that, it was all about out listening to tapes and there’s just education. It was personal development. How could you get better? It was reading Think and Grow Rich, The Magic of Thinking Big, and all of these books that I’d never wanted to read ever. Now, here I was 19 or  20 years old consuming all of this information and content. It set me up for who I am now.

Isn’t that fascinating? It’s so common to hear that the turning point for people that are not on the right path to getting on the right path is personal growth, being a book.

It’s either a book, a connection, or a person that does it. Nowadays, it’s a podcast or a social media clip that you’re scrolling. You watch it and it touches you. Back then, we didn’t have some of that stuff. It was that book or that person who took a few minutes to invest in you and your thought process and give you that good old like, “You can make it. It’s your choice.”

Did you start with Amway? How were you with Amway and what happened to that career?

It’s funny because I knew I was going to retire a gazillionaire in that business and it didn’t happen that way but it led me to the connections that got into the mortgage business. At an early age, 21 years old, I was in the mortgage business. I had a ten-year stint in that business. It led me to even start my own mortgage company, which I sold, and then I became a VP at a large mortgage broker in Indiana and across the country.

It was at that point in time of my life that I was taking that whole personal development and the training acumen that I developed, but then I had to put my leadership style and stuff to the test. When I was 25 or 26 years old, leading 25 to 30 people in an organization in a sales climate fueled this desire to go empowering people and also create an opportunity for myself to make money as I’ve never made my life before, which is tough to handle. There’s some negativity with that as well but it started me on that path and down the right direction.

You went from Amway to mortgage. You were there for ten-plus years? What happened? Was this right when the mortgage business crashed?

Right before that, I got out in 2007. The reason why I got out was that I love sales training. That was my thing in the mortgage business and I took a bunch of my guys to this sales training. The guy tried to bring people up in front and embarrass them to teach them how they need to do sales training. My guys were looking at me like, “You got to go up there.” I go up in front of my guys. I shut the guy down. We all high-fived and laughed about it but it was that day that I realized, “That’s what I wanted to do.” I just didn’t know if that was possible or how to do that.

That’s what led me to launch my motivational speaking career, which I did spend many years collectively and even now, on the speaking circuit traveling the entire country. It led me to a fun space. I did a passion project on anti-bullying. I became the most booked anti-bullying speaker in the country. All of that was still part of who I am in helping impact people in their lives.

You are continually helping others do better and pushing their limits so that they can have a bigger impact.

That’s the warm, fuzzy version of that, which is all true but I was also battling that entire time, “Who am I? Can I do this?” It’s the imposter syndrome that people often talk about like, “I’m in these rooms. I’m doing this, but I’m struggling financially at different times.” I was working so much in the mortgage business at the time that it costs me my first marriage. It’s understanding that you can have all this money, you can work yourself to death and you can work in a bad culture but that has its lifecycle.

You can have all this money, work yourself to death, and work in a bad culture, but that has its life cycle. Click To Tweet

I remember going, “I’m not the pawnshop anymore,” but I’m at another place in my life where I’m going, “How did I get here?” This isn’t where I wanted to be either but I didn’t know because the money which I was chasing, alongside this burn to help people come along with me, was reaching a boiling point. That was a tough time in my life for me to recognize, “Who are you, and when you grow up, who do you want to be?”

Because you found success in business, did it make you immune to all the typical problems everybody faces?

No. It ran me faster right into them. What’s more dangerous than a 25-year-old making several hundred thousand dollars a year who’s never had money, who came from poverty, and who never saw his parents handle money? Now, you go through a new rich phase where you’re buying stuff and you have cars, houses, Rolexes, money, and stuff because that’s what you thought was a success.

You’ve chased it and you want it, but you left so many bodies and baggage behind. You didn’t do it the wrong way like it was unethical, but it wasn’t family-centered. It wasn’t others-centered. I was helping people to get what I wanted and to get me to a point where I was successful. That’s where a lot of people chase success.

Zig Ziglar may have had the right mindset, which was, “If I can help as many other people get what they want, then I’ll get what I want,” but that gets misconstrued a lot to manipulation to get you to do what I need you to do for my own benefit. Before you realize it, you’re in a spot. You’re making money, but you’ve had to sacrifice. Everything that you said was valuable.

People do this all the time. They say, “My family is my number one priority,” but you don’t see any real resemblance to that. Growing up, my dad was a great guy. He was a better dad to me than his dad was to him, but it wasn’t very good. My mom was doing the best that she could, but I didn’t have a lot of those examples of understanding money in its place, also, people in its place, and how to save, value, and do things that I’ve never been taught. There I was, short of 30 years old going, “This is not what I thought it was going to be,” and having to make another major decision at that time.

What was the turning point for you? Take us to that moment when you said, “This is not it?”

It was right at the crossroads after I talked about that training incident where I had to decide what I want to do. I knew that the mortgage could provide money, but it wasn’t fulfilling for me. I left that behind to go chase my dream of being a motivational speaker. It was a long, hard road of going from making a lot of money to trying and figuring out how to build a business and how to learn the skill. I was traveling all over the place.

Now, I was speaking and training, but I was developing something. I was creating an opportunity for myself. Before I realized it, I’m like, “This is where I was supposed to be.” All of that failure and I’m a big believer that failure gets you places. All of those setbacks, hard knocks, and poor decisions have all brought me to this place where I get a chance that most people don’t get and that’s to rebuild it the right way.

What was the best part and the worst part of being a motivational speaker?

The worst is easy. It’s the travel. I joke with people and I say, “You don’t pay me to speak. You pay me to travel.” You come to my house on a Saturday afternoon. You bring in your whole team and you show up on my backstep, but I’ll talk to you for 30 minutes for little than nothing. If you want me to leave my family, get on an airplane, travel, stay overnight deal with TSA and all that stuff, and be gone, you’re paying me to travel.” That was the worst part.

Also, the loneliness of that too, because it’s not that glamorous. I can think of all these wonderful places where I got to go by myself without my wife or my kids. That was never glamorous, but the most beneficial thing is this. I almost think almost every motivational speaker would probably echo this if it’s about the one. What you quickly realize is when you walk into a room with an audience where there are thousands of people or hundreds of people and you’re giving everything to it.

You know you can’t change everybody. You can’t inspire everybody no matter how great your message is, but there’s always one. When they come up to you afterward or you’re down the road, several years. They were the ones that, in my world, were thinking about suicide. They were thinking about walking away from a marriage. They were thinking about, “How can I go on?” They were thinking about they were not good and valuable enough.

You can't change everybody. No matter how great your message is, you can't inspire everybody, but there's always one. Click To Tweet

Through my transparency of my own failure, encouraging people to do what they never thought they could do, became this badge of honor for me to say, “God didn’t do all that stuff to me. He was trying to do it through me so I could help other people on the other side.” Once you realize that, you feel so on fire for the purpose that it drives you to leave your family, get on those planes, and go do that for years.

You did that for ten years. What was the turning point to say, “I’m done being a motivational speaker? Off to my next thing.”

I have three beautiful kids and I have an incredibly beautiful wife who loves and have supported me through all of this in the last few years. My oldest was getting to be in late middle school or freshman high school. I have two littles. I had this epiphany one day and this is about my oldest, more so than my two littles but I’m like, “I don’t want my kids to look at me and be like, ‘My dad was amazing. He was out there trying to save the world, but he was never home for me,’” and that hit me.

She didn’t say it that way but because I had to leave so much to go help other people and to speak. I became enamored by the fact that I was on CNN, and headline news and speaking everywhere. I’m getting to do a lot of cool things making an impact but the one thing I said when I rebuild this is, “I’m going to do it right.” I felt like there was too much sacrifice for my family.

My wife was feeling like she was doing a lot on her own. She’s an executive herself. It was a crossroads and I was tired, I was worn out but my challenge was, “I know this is part of my purpose.” I’ve got too many people’s lives, thousands of people’s lives that’s been changed. How do I stay committed to that but not have to leave my family? The one thing you learn quickly about the motivational speaking business is that you better be a good marketer or you will starve.

It doesn’t matter how great your message is, if nobody hears it or knows you exist, they can’t book you. They can’t give you a check and all of a sudden, you’re broke and you can no longer do what you’re purposeful for. I had developed a lot of marketing skills. I had hired coaches. I decided I wanted to transition out of that.

A couple of my buddies had a mortgage company. I went back to the mortgage business. I used now my marketing skills to help them build a division that was super strong in the Indianapolis market. I didn’t have to travel very often. I got to do what I love, which was still helping people and helping stories and I got to be local. It was a perfect storm coming, “This is why you’re supposed to be here at this point in your life.”

Is that when you went on to start a Mojo Up?

Yeah. I did that for three years, working for them, and decided, “I wanted to tell stories.” In June 2019, I left and started Mojo Up Marketing & Media. A few months later, we were right in the middle of a pandemic, which I had to shift and try to figure out what does that mean. We had a video team. On March 1st, I hired a video production manager. I hired a CMO and a head of graphic design on March 1st and 18 days later, we were all shut down. I was trying to figure out how to make this all work.

How did you make it work?

Probably the word outside of COVID for 2020 and 2021 was pivot. You had to learn how to pivot. You had to say, “What can I do?” We did a bunch of virtual stuff and at that time, I still was speaking some, but not very often. I was speaking to sell our company or to pick up some checks while I was building the business a little bit but I have to go back to virtual. I learned how to build a strategy for people and people were trying to figure this out. “What do I do and how do I pivot?” We became a great arm for so many people to do that.

2020 was tough. 2021 got things rolling. Now, fast forward, I have ten full-time employees. I have three part-time employees. We have a 5,000-square-foot office here. We work with major brands to build and market them. It’s been a journey. When I look at it, Gary, all those things that I did all those years were just building blocks for what I do now, which is to help people tell their stories through authenticity so that they can make their greatest impact. Every person you meet is different, but whether it’s a non-profit, a corporate entity, or the city, they all have a purpose for existing, and we get to be a part of telling that story.

BYW 35 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: Help people tell their stories through authenticity to make their greatest impact.


When you say you help people tell their stories through authenticity, what do you mean by that? Give us an example of what you mean.

When you sit down with somebody, a lot of times it’ll take people 20 or 30 minutes to try to get out like, “What problem are you solving? What makes you unique? What’s your proven process?” It is super important to articulate that brand value. We have a thing called a Brand Blueprint, where I sit in a room and I figure out what that problem-solving statement is. That’s all the content that we create and that we use in marketing that we help people understand and develop so they can use it to grow their business.

Whether you’re a coach, an author, an entrepreneur, or whether you’re in the corporate realm trying to figure out the DEI space, all of them are still struggling with that same thing, which is, “Who are we?” When I sit in a room with people, it’s easy for me outside and this is part of my own gifting. I would say, “God gave me two gifts. One is standing on the stage and speaking to people and the other is sitting in a room and figuring out how to build a strategy that helps people.”

When you put it together and people hear it, they see the light bulb goes off and they’re like, “I can say it that way. I’ve been struggling to share that.” The other piece of that is, as a speaker, the more authentic you are and the more vulnerable you are, the more people love you. The more they engage with you. The more real that experience is. I learned that through speaking. Now, I’m working with brands and not only personal brands but companies to go, “Let’s unpack your authenticity so people can see how amazing you guys are.”

The more authentic you are, the more vulnerable you are, the more people love you, the more they engage with you, and the more real that experience is. Click To Tweet

For those of you that are reading that know the Why.os, Travis’ why is contribute, but how he does that is by making sense out of complex and challenging things. Ultimately, what he brings are simple solutions to help people move forward. It tells us that you want to help people have a bigger impact by helping them understand who they are and deliver it in a simple way where other people get it. Does that feel right to you?

100%. In our world, we put brands in front of everything. It makes it sound better, but brand identity is like, “Who are you at your core?” We have core values as do many people, but most people don’t operate within core values. The reason why they’re called core is that it’s supposed to be who you are at your core. You hire, fire, reward, and punish for that. Everything is about that and building a culture. Some people have done a good job at that. The world just doesn’t know it.

Therefore, because the world doesn’t know it, they can’t monetize it financially and they can’t build a culture that can do bigger and better things because people aren’t attracted to that. A real thing that companies are struggling with is how we do that. How do we find that space? Especially now, what we help companies a lot is in attracting talent. There’s a war on talent, as they say. Your story is paramount to being able to attract that good talent. We can touch it in a lot of different ways, honestly.

How important is it to have the words to be able to articulate what makes your authenticity?

The best way I can explain that is, first of all, it’s super important and almost essential. I know that because when I use the wrong words with my wife, it doesn’t go very well. I’m like, “That’s not what I meant.” She’s like, “That’s what you said or you didn’t say.” We all know that context. If I say it well, people resonate with it and they want to be a part of that. When we don’t say it or we say it wrong, you get the opposite. People begin to repel to who you are or how you represent.

One of the things I learned in my tenure of growth was this. I don’t believe you should compartmentalize your world. This is my own philosophy. That means the same Travis Brown you’re getting on this show is the same one that’s going to walk right out into his office with my team or go to have dinner with my wife, my mother, my kids, and my buddies. I’m that guy all the time.

The reason why it’s so important is that in 2022 and 2023, in this era that we’re living in, the difference is that people don’t want to buy companies without knowing who they are. We will not buy something because of what the company stands for or we’ll buy a lot more because of what the company stands for. That’s why in this environment, being able to articulate what that is, is so important to the success or failure of your business.

You walk people through a process to help them understand what they stand for at their core and then help them articulate it in a simple way where others get it quickly and can make a decision whether I like you or I don’t like you. I want to do business with you or I don’t want to do business with you. I resonate or I don’t resonate.

Let me give you a little clarity there. Most people already know who they are. They’re living it, but they don’t know how to articulate it in a way that other people go, “That’s what you do. That’s who you are. I had no idea.” There are people sitting next to you in rows in church, in baseball and softball games, or in transit and they don’t know who you are and what you do, and how you can help them or other people.

There are so many businesses that if they did a much better job articulating that through their design or videos that ultimately show up on their website, social media, or media buy. When they’re able to put that message in front of people and people can consume it, it’s like, “Yes, I want to work with you. I want what you have. I’ve been looking for it. I just didn’t know that’s what you did.”

The right message gets the right response.

Let me say this. One of the things that we can take and what President Trump and every president taught us is that you still only need 51% of the vote. This isn’t even a political statement. This means that you need to know who your audience is and you have to appeal to your audience. When you get your audience to know who you are, whoever that is, it doesn’t matter if the other 49% doesn’t like you or doesn’t engage with you.

Now, I’m not a proponent of making them matter or doing bad things to them. I’m simply trying to point out to people that when you understand your authenticity, it’s okay to say, “Here’s who we are. Here’s who we want. Here’s what we don’t want.” When brands start to do that, does it propel them into greater success by owning who they are and not worrying about who they’re not?

I bet that’s scary for companies to dive into because they want to focus on what we’re doing here. We don’t want to know why we’re doing it or what we are at our core. Let’s talk about our product over here.

They’re like, “Can we get to the end result?” I’m like, “Yes, but let me tell you how we get there. We got to do this strategy thing, then we’re going to do some design stuff and we’re going to have to shoot some video around it. We’re going to craft this message and then we’re going to put it on your social and on here and tell the story.”

It’s not an overnight fix. If you’re trying to get out of this or you’re trying to even, “We’re doing good. We want to go to great.” There’s not an easy button to push that just allows you to get there. One of the things that good companies do is understand their niche. When you understand your niche, it allows you to double down on a specific thing that allows you to be known for that and people can embrace that a lot more than if you don’t.

It sounds like you use the story quite a bit. Why so?

If you think about what Walt Disney said many years ago, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a video with a great story is worth 1 million. It’s a culture that we live in. We want to understand the narrative. We want to understand who somebody is. We want to understand what a company believes. We want to feel it. The movie industry has been a gazillion-dollar industry for all of our lives and what do they do? They tell stories.

A picture is worth a thousand words. And if a picture's worth a thousand words, a video with a great story is worth a million. It's just a culture that we live in. Click To Tweet

For years, on an individual and a company level, we felt that’s not our job. If we make a great product or service, they will come. I’m telling you, there’s been a lot of people that built it and they didn’t come because it’s the story around it. If you think about the movie business, here’s the power of the story. Most of the time, we go watch movies based on a trailer. It’s in 1 minute and 30 seconds, a version of this movie where they capture the who, the what, the where, the why, and the suspense.

It’s drama filled and action-packed but you’re compelled to say, I want more of that. You then go give them your $22 for you and one person to go get tickets to a movie and some popcorn to be able to see it all but that story. That’s the articulation of a story that’s compelling and that gets people engaged. One of the things that are an obstacle for people, and this is what I dealt with when I was motivational speaking, is they don’t believe they have a worthy story to tell.

Do you have to work with them on figuring their story out?

Yeah. Because most Americans in general, we’ve grown up in this ideology that we don’t want to be arrogant. We don’t want to brag about ourselves. Most of us have been raised on that and marketing feels like a lot of people bragging about themselves. It’s counterintuitive for them to now create a campaign. That’s why it’s very difficult for people to do their own marketing because I’m going to look at you and say, “This whole White thing, you got to do this and this with it.” You’re like, “I don’t want to feel arrogant. I don’t want to feel boastful.”

I’m saying, “I don’t want you to feel that either but if the world knows about it, they’re going to engage. They’re going to be on board with it.” We got to convince people many a time that it’s a big component of this thing. I’m using this phrase, “telling this story,” but it’s giving people some understanding of who you are and what you do, and why you do it.

I had on the show a gentleman who was voted the number one marketer in the world. He told me, “I can help anybody with how to brand and market their business, but I could not figure out my own. I had to hire somebody to come work with me. I felt like a loser.” He said, “I’m supposed to be the expert and I could not figure it out for myself for the life of me,” and that’s just the way it is, right?

100%. For any of your readers that have kids, people that get kids that get it, or even a spouse. You can tell your spouse something all the time and it’s like, “It doesn’t resonate as hard as when somebody else does. I think that’s where we all live. I take myself through the same process that I take everybody else through.

My coach taught me something a long time ago. He’s like, “You got to be Mojo Up that’s talking to Travis Brown on what you need to do. You can’t go in the mindset being, ‘I’m Travis Brown trying to talk about myself in the third person and come up with a narrative. It will feel too awkward for you to do that.’” Most people have to hire an outside company, even the best of the best. I’ve done it in spots where we’ve been stuck to help them think through it but here’s the thing.

We get that in almost every other realm. That’s why we hire a coach for our kids for sports and somebody that’s doing our weight training and somebody to do like X, Y, and Z. There are people that are called and have a high level of skill to do something very specific that can help you. I wish more people were willing to tap into that and say, “I’m not good at this. My philosophy is, ‘I call it, pay the man or woman to do something way better than I could.’” If I’m doing it, I’m going to jack it up. It’s not going to work right and then I’m going to have to pay them anyway after I’ve already messed up.

BYW 35 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: Some people are called and have a high skill to do something very specific that can help you.


Tell us about the name Mojo Up.

Mojo came from when I was speaking. I had established this whole idea around the things that “It” leaders did. I felt like there were leaders. Some leaders had “it” and some people leaders didn’t. I didn’t want to go around and build a whole business off of speaking around it factor so I called it the mojo factor. I had these factors of what great leaders did that others didn’t and great cultures had that others didn’t. That then became the basis for that.

It’s funny because I used to speak all the time and one old lady in the front row of one of my public seminars one day is like, “Hey, Mr. Mojo Guy.” Another lady did it and I thought, “Huh.” That was the formation of Mr. Mojo, which was part of my speaking persona. That then rolled into our company of Mojo Up as speaking, coaching, and consulting. When I went into marketing, I was thinking, “What am I going to call my marketing company?” I thought, “Why would I change exactly what I’ve already called myself and the brand for the last few years?” We stuck with Mojo Up.

Who would be an ideal client for Mojo Up? For the people that are reading, who would you like to have connected with you? What companies?

We do three main types of services that connect with people. One is more of the small business brand refresh. You’ve started down a path. You’ve been trying to do some stuff. You’re successful and you may be doing well, but now, you’re ready to go to the next level. You realize that the logo that you initially did on Fiverr is not enough or the design that your brothers, uncles, or sister did something for you is not enough.

By enough, I simply mean you’re going after accounts now where people are like, “You got to be on point and your stuff has to look great.” It’s the same thing with video, your social media, and your website.” We come in. We build that strategy and we turnkey all of it and say, “Here’s a refresh of who you are, what you do, and how well you do it.” That’s client number one.

Client number two is more of a mid-market with the corporate side of things. Now, you’re talking corporate and C-Suite executives that are probably going, “We have a story to tell, but we can’t figure out how to tell it.” You see a lot of this. For us, it’s in the DEI area. We spend a lot of time helping people understand how to track that talent, how to create that culture, and how to crystallize it so that people go, “I want to work there. I want to be a part of that.”

We have a whole group of diverse and talented team members and we’re very diverse in the way we look, the way we think, and the way we operate and age. We’re able to tell a client’s story not because Travis Brown is great but because Travis Brown has a team of people that are great that have so many different vantage points that we can come together and build that messaging. The second one is the enterprise-level type of client. The third one is individual services. We have people that go, “I need A.” It could be a logo. It could be a podcast show created. Whatever that thing is inside the marketing realm, we have the ability to turnkey that solution for you.

You have tapped into the power of diversity.

When people talk about diversity, it means a lot of things to people. For us, I wanted to build what I wanted the world to look like. We have a lot of racial diversity that’s visible to the eye where people can see that. We have some religious diversity that was very new to me to embrace, very male-female diverse. Our youngest is a recent college graduate who’s phenomenally talented. We got 50-plus people in there. We have experience differences. If I go down the line, I could check all the boxes at some level and say, “We have this diversity, but why?”

People talking about diversity means a lot of things to people. Click To Tweet

It matters to our end clients and they’re trying to figure out how to market to all of us. If it was only me times ten sitting in a room, I’m so limited in thought and perspective that I can’t be as good as anybody else. If I don’t have people that come from my background, the poverty, the driving of money, we have all of those things. What that means to our clients is that you have somebody that gets you, but equally as important, gets your clients and could help you connect and engage.

I don’t know if this is a fair question or not and I don’t even know if you want to answer this question or not, but it popped into my head because of the way you described diversity. Would you be able to tell which type of diversity has been the most beneficial or most helpful for your company? Has it been racial diversity, age diversity, or education diversity? Is that a fair question? You can say no if it’s not. That’s okay.

It’s a fair question because people have it. That’s what makes it a fair question. I don’t think we could pick any one of those to say it helps us create value outside of here. The easy answer is that our racial diversity is what brings the attention. Number one, we’re a Black-owned marketing agency. We’re the largest Black agency in Indiana. We have thirteen people. We have six Black males. Six Black males don’t probably exist in many companies in Indiana alone, let alone in size of 13, 2 black females, 2 people of Asian descent, and White. That is a visual makeup. We have a gal who’s Muslim, so just by her outer appearance.

Those things create buzz around people looking at us and can noticeably see that diversity. What I’m more excited about is yes to that because it doesn’t exist, but secondarily what that means. That means we bring such an array of different thoughts that ultimately is what makes our product that we put out so different than the people that we’re competing against in our market.

BYW 35 | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: We bring an array of different thoughts that ultimately make the product we put out so different from the people we’re competing against in our market.


It’s interesting because diversity has a different meaning for so many different people. For some, it’s a positive. For some, it’s a negative but the way you explain diversity was positive in the ability to think, see, and connect differently. Sometimes, you don’t get that definition when you’re talking about high schools or middle schools. It’s a forced diversity versus, “We wanted to have different perspectives, opinions, and insight. I don’t know everything. I got to see it from different angles.” I like the way you talked about it.

There’s so much scarcity around this conversation and transparently, if you’re in a majority, I understand some of that thought process of like, “What is this going to mean for me and what does this do?” Our campaign in 2020 and 2023 is called diverse and talented, not diverse or talented. So many people had this mindset that if I’m choosing diversity, then that means I must be choosing less talented and it’s not the case. It’s “and.” It’s about being able to have both.

However, for people that had to look around and do that, sometimes it creates a little bit of fear. Sometimes that creates some unknown. Where our world is going, we have to be more receptive to things that are different. We’re starting to do a better job with diversity. The real scary thing for people is equity. If you’re talking DEI, the equity portion is, “Are we willing to provide different sets of resources for different people to get them all to be at their best?”

The hardest shift that we’re still seeing is because we think equality is the answer, but it’s not. It’s about equity, which means, “I may have to do things.” As parents, we know this. If you’re a parent, you already know this. I’ve got three kids. There’s no equality to it. It’s equity because this one, I have to do this for. This one, I do something different for, and this one, I do something completely different to get them all to the same exact level. That’s what we’re saying in the workplace. That’s what’s going to take to create opportunities to make the biggest impact and change our world.

If there are people that are reading that want to get ahold of you and want to follow you to learn more about Mojo Up, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?

It’s easy. It’s It’s our website, but it’s also all of our social media handles. You can reach out to me at Feel free to email me. If people go and they start to watch what I do on LinkedIn, watch our Instagram and see some of the things that I’m putting out, there are two things I would tell people. One is to figure out if you can do that yourself. If you can do that yourself, then you do not need me or our team. Secondly, if you can’t do it yourself, then the question becomes, what would it look like if I hired Mojo Up or somebody like us?

Travis, thank you so much for being here. Talking with you reminds me of the quote from Steve Jobs, which is, “You cannot connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect the dots looking back,” and you’ve talked about that a lot. There are so many things that happened to you. You didn’t know why, but now that you are where you are, you can look back and say, “That’s why that happened.” You’ve come an amazing way and I love what you’re doing. I’m looking forward to staying in touch and following you.

Thanks for having me, Gary. I want to encourage everybody that you can make it. You can do it. You can be it. I’ve always loved helping people achieve things that they didn’t think were possible and although I may not be the one to lead you to it, there’s somebody in your sphere of influence that can help you get to where you’re going to go. You got to ask and then you can get there.

You can make it. Do it. You can be it. Click To Tweet

Thank you, man. Thanks for being here.

Thanks for having me.

It’s time for the segment, Guess Their Why and this is a person that some of you are going to know and maybe not all of you are going to know. His name is Joe Polish. I met him at an event that I was speaking at. He was speaking there as well. We got a chance to sit and talk, but I didn’t know a whole lot about him other than I knew he was a good marketer.

He wrote a book called Piranha Marketing, but I found out after the fact that he is known as being the most connected person in the world. He knows everybody. He is good friends with everybody and it turned out that a couple of days after I met him, a movie came out about him and it was called Connected. The book Who Not How was written about him in the power of knowing people and connecting with people.

I did send him the Why.os discovery so we will know his Why.os but I’m going to guess. If you know him, then you’ll appreciate it but I’m going to guess that his why is to contribute. To contribute to a greater cause, add value, and have an impact on the lives of others because he cannot help himself from contributing to others’ success. When we were having lunch, there were other people at the table with us and he almost went around the table and tried to figure out how he could help everybody. He wants to help and he’s very much about giving. Be the giver. Give First. I believe that his why is going to come back as contribute.

I’ll get back to you and see if you know him. I’d love to hear what you think, but soon in the next couple of days, I’m going to know and I’ll be back and let you all know what I came up with. If you enjoyed this episode, please make sure that you leave us a review on whatever platform you are using. If you’ve not yet discovered your why, you can do so at and use the code PODCAST50. Please go to whatever platform you are using and subscribe. Leave us a review because it’ll help bring this to more and more people. Thanks for reading. I’ll see you next week.


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About Travis Brown

BYW 35 | WHY Of ContributeTravis Brown is the CEO of Mojo Up Marketing + Media. Mojo Up is an MBE certified, black-owned and minority-operated, full service, brand marketing agency that is made up of a diverse and talented team of marketing professionals and creatives. Our focus is to tell the story, shape the brand, and guide the marketing future of our clients as the make their greatest impact by using their greatest asset – their own authenticity.



The Art Of Deejaying: How A DJ Can Touch Your Soul With Steve Olsher

BYW 29 | Deejaying


People don’t often realize that the art of deejaying is a great example of the WHY of Contribute. DJs are like the conductors of a party. They have the ability to impact and influence mindset and behavior based on your actions. They want to be part of something great without being in the middle of it. They are the life of the party, but they also need to be empathetic. They need to understand their crowd to really have something spectacular. Join Dr. Gary Sanchez as he talks to Steve Olsher about how a DJ can really get positive energy from their crowd. Besides being a nightclub DJ, Steve is also the founder and Editor-In-Chief of Podcast Magazine®. He is also the founding Chairman of and the author of What Is Your WHAT? Discover how Steve found interest in the nightclub scene and how his passion for music brought him to deejaying. Learn how you can affect people’s collective mood with the power of music. Find out what Steve’s ultimate goal is and why you need to plan your life accordingly.

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The Art Of Deejaying: How A DJ Can Touch Your Soul With Steve Olsher

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the why of contribute. To contribute to a greater cause, add value or have an impact on the lives of others. If this is your why, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something that is bigger than yourself. You don’t necessarily want to be the face of the cause but you want to contribute to it in a meaningful way. You love to support others and relish the success of the greater good. You see group victories as personal victories. You are behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better. You make a reliable and committed teammate and often act as the glue that holds everyone else together. You use your time, money, energy, resources and connections to add value to other people and organizations.

I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Steve Olsher. He is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Podcast Magazine, Creator of ClubPod on Clubhouse, the largest podcast group on all social media platforms. He’s the creator of Pod Expo. Original Chairman and Founder of He is also an online pioneer, who launched CompuServe’s electronic mall in 1993 and the New York Times bestselling author of What Is Your WHAT? Discover The One Amazing Thing You Were Born to Do.

He’s a real estate developer and creator of the New Media Summit. He’s the host of the number one rated podcast, Reinvention Radio. He’s an international keynote speaker and an independent media guest who has appeared on CNN, the Huffington Post, the cover of Founder Magazine and countless other media outlets. Steve, welcome to the show.

Thanks. I appreciate you having me.

That is quite a resume right there. Take us back through your life a little bit. Where were you born? What were you like as a kid growing up? Take us on your path on how you got to where you are now because that’s a lot of different things that you’ve done.

I was born in Chicago and raised in Evanston and Skokie, North of Chicago. Even from a young age, I’ve been pretty entrepreneurial. I always tried to figure out how to rev a couple of dimes together and make a quarter. For as long as I can remember, I was doing things like raking leaves, shoveling sidewalks and driveways and doing whatever I could to try to put some money in my pocket.

It started from a young age of doing the entrepreneurial stuff and that led to music and deejaying. I opened my nightclub when I was nineteen. I then got involved in the catalog world very early and the dot-com, real estate, writing, speaking, podcasting and doing live events. My wife and I own a funeral home here in San Diego.

You started doing a lot of different things from a very young age. Why was that important to you back then? When you think back to those days, what was your motivation to jump in so early and start making money?

There was altruistic thinking behind that or something that’s a little more palatable but at the end of the day, it boils down to scarcity. After my parents got divorced, we had to get out of the big house that we lived in and then watch mom struggle and do what she had to do. There was a lot of scarcity talk. My stepfather came on when I was ten and was like, “Don’t set the thermostat above 68 degrees. We can’t buy this or that.” There was a lot of scarcity that went hand in hand there. I want to make sure that if push comes to shove at least add a few dollars if need be.

At that time, were you contributing to the family or was it mostly from you?

While everybody at a party is spending money, the DJ is there making money. Click To Tweet

It wasn’t that formalized but it was more of a mindset, things that kicked in like, “This is what I need to start thinking about. How do I take care of myself? If need be, help out with mom and the family.” Generally speaking, we had enough to get by but I always felt like we needed a little bit more. I’m not sitting here saying I went without meals because I didn’t but I felt like it always would be good to have a little more on hand.

For those of you that are regular readers, Steve did his YOS, which is his why, how and what. Steve’s why is to contribute to a greater cause but how he goes about doing that is by challenging the status quo and doing things differently. Not following the typical or traditional but following his path. Ultimately, what he brings are solutions that make sense and doable and get results. You didn’t follow a typical path like, “I’m going to go to school, play on the sports teams, run off to college and do the fraternity deal and all the rest.”. You did your thing.

I did go to school. I wasn’t much of an athlete. I entered a few things here and there but I’d mess around and play basketball or those sorts of things with friends but I wasn’t starting on the varsity squad or playing any of those games at a higher level. I did know that I wanted to go to college. Mostly, to have the college experience and get out of the house was the thing.

I remember sitting down with my guidance counselor in high school and we were talking about going to college. She was giving me all the examples of the different schools and different types of schools. I remember her talking about how, if you pay in-state tuition, you can pay a lot less. We live in Illinois. If I went to a school in Illinois somewhere, it’ll be a lot cheaper than going to a school in Michigan, Ohio, California or wherever else. I was like, “What are my options?”

She started going through some stuff and then talked about Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, which was about 330 miles or so from Chicago. She said that SIU, Southern Illinois University, is farther away from home than any of the big ten schools and you can still pay in-state tuition. I was like, “That’s cool. I can go far away and farther than any of the big ten schools and still pay in-state tuition. Sign me up.” That’s why I chose SIU. It was far and I could pay in-state tuition.

Isn’t weird the reasons we pick the schools that we go to? I went to the University of Colorado-Boulder because some of my friends that I had fun with went there for no other reason. I went up and hung out with them. I was like, “This seems like a lot of fun so I’m going to go here.” It turned out okay. What did you study while you were in SIU?

I studied nightclubs because I DJ’ed in a lot of nightclubs. I studied Speech Communications and had a minor in Journalism.

BYW 29 | Deejaying
Deejaying: With Liquor by Wire, you could send a bottle of champagne to your friend across the state. You would just need to call them and they’ll take care of the whole process.


What you were doing is figuring out the nightclub world?

A little bit. I was enjoying deejaying and I liked being a part of the party without being in the middle of the party. It was my opportunity and way to be there without having to be in the middle of it while everybody else was spending money. I was there making money.

What got you in deejaying?

I played drums for nine years. I’ve always loved music and rhythm. It’s always been a big part of who I am. After I got wind of the whole DJ scene, I was like, “This is something that I want to be doing.” I traded in my drums for some turntables and started buying records. Back in the day, we had the vinyl and carried it around. It was a little different than it is now with the USB but there you have it.

You started deejaying at the different clubs. Take us through what happened after that. This is while you were in school?

It was. I DJ’ed in several clubs during college. By the time I hit my senior year, I built up a pretty decent following and it seemed like, “This is something I should do,” in terms of, contemplating having my spot because I would play and the folks would show up. I was like, “Maybe I’ll open up my spot.” At nineteen, I put together the business plan, went out and raised money and opened up a non-alcoholic nightclub, which seemed to make a lot of sense because all the bars had to close early because they served alcohol. For the folks who didn’t want to go home at 1:30 or 2:00, they had a place to go. We cover the charge for non-alcoholic drinks and some food. We did pretty well for a while.

What happened to you after that?

There's nothing quite like being in unison with the crowd. That positive energy can really change lives. Click To Tweet

From there, I ended up going back to Chicago. My mom invited me to come and join the family business. My grandfather had started Foremost Liquor stores back in the ’40s. I knew that the family business needed some help. It wasn’t my first choice in terms of, “This is what I want to do for a career.” I didn’t have any love for the liquor business. I’m not a big drinker. I haven’t been a big drinker ever.

I saw that was an opportunity there to help grow things. There was a small piece of the puzzle, which was called Foremost Liquor by wire. If you think about FTD and in terms of how they use the network of retail florists for the delivery of their flowers, that’s what liquor by wire was. We would have a network of retailers so anybody could call us and say, “This is Gary Sanchez. I’m in New York. I want to send a bottle of champagne to my friend, John Davis who closed his deal in LA.”

They’d call us and then we’d take care of that whole process. I felt like this is a pretty cool thing. It wasn’t doing a lot of business. There was maybe 1 call or 2 every couple of days. It didn’t do much business at all but I felt like it had a lot of potential. I focused on that. It helped us to launch a catalog in 1991. When I was in the grocery store, seeing the AOL, Prodigy and CompuServe disks and all that, I was like, “This looks pretty interesting. Let me see if I can go ahead and get a store for us up on one of these malls.” That’s what ended up happening. Eventually, that became and I bought that domain in ’98.

That would be worth a lot. Do you still have

We sold that to Barry Diller IAC in 2019.

You were in the liquor business for ten years?

I was active in it from ’91 to 2000. We had the S-1 filed. We were ready to go public and everything imploded at that point. I couldn’t get out. The public market has dried up. I had signed away management rights because Wall Street wanted to see more advanced leadership but when it became very clear, those folks had no idea what they were doing. I walked away from the entire company.

BYW 29 | Deejaying
Deejaying: A one-voice unity festival should happen because people really are one voice that moves together. When they move or play music, they’re raising their consciousness through expression.


Oddly enough, after they closed the shop, I remained languished for a while and in limbo. I was able to reclaim the domain in 2005. I put together a team out of San Francisco who ran it from 2007, 2008 and 2009, whatever it was that we’d launched officially until we sold it to Barry Diller. I didn’t actively have involvement other than a board level for that second iteration but in hindsight, I should have run the thing and we would have done even better but that’s a different story.

You sold it. Was that when you started getting into podcasts?

I caught that bug around 2009. I had been doing real estate development from around 2000-ish. It was technically ’98 when I first did my deals but around 2000, I started getting involved with it more full-time. From 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, I developed about $50 million in real estate. Unfortunately, in the crash, I lost a few good properties. I had to give them back to the banks and that hurt.

I woke up one day in 2009 and was like, “I’ve been doing a lot of stuff that’s good for me and those closest to me but no one else. I need to figure out how to do some things that can help more people.” That’s when I started writing and started my first podcast episode of Reinvention Radio. I got the bug for podcasting, left it alone for a little bit and got back into it starting in 2015. I did a lot of events around podcasting and launched Podcast Magazine. It’s been a good track as far as podcasts are concerned.

You were able to impact more people through podcasts, real estate, deejaying and all the other things. It seems like you’ve progressed larger and larger.

That’s a safe way to put it. I’m in the process of trying to come full circle and see if I can impact more people through music. It’s interesting how things will come full circle like that.

What do you mean by impacting more people through music?

Being a DJ is like being a conductor. You have the ability to impact and influence mindset and behavior based on your actions. Click To Tweet

I’m going to be doing my music festival here at some point and may even get it off the ground here in 2022 but I’ll start deejaying again and get back into music because it’s part of who I am. It’s in my bones.

When we first got on the call and looked at you visually, I wouldn’t have any idea that it’s about helping make a difference and impact more people. I would wonder and make up my narrative around what I’m seeing, especially with coffins in the background. If I had realized those were coffins, I’m not sure where my mind would have gone. Did you get out of that coffin? Do you sleep in the coffin?

I couldn’t tell if you were in a hotel room or even where you’re at. There’s a curtain in the background and an open coffin with Steve right in front of it. I wouldn’t know what I was looking at but now that we hear more about your journey, it’s obvious that as you progress, you’re impacting more people. First, it was your family and then your college family. It kept getting bigger. Tell us more about the music festival that you’re looking to do.

It’s very much a work in progress. There are very few things that moved me in terms of impacting my soul. It’s where I feel I’m most alive. Outside of the relationship that I have with my wife and the fun stuff that we can do there, there are very few out-of-body type experiences that I have on an ongoing basis. When that music goes through my soul and you hear the music and get a sense of the rhythm and then the tribal beats or the vocal range of someone who can touch your soul with their voice, there’s nothing else like it.

The original name that I was coming out with for this was One Voice. The idea is it would be the One Voice Unity Festival. It’s all about raising our consciousness through expression, whether that’s through movement or voice but collectively, we are one voice that moves together. Humanity is intertwined much more so than many would like to admit what you do impacts what my life is like. There’s no denying that. Collectively, there’s nothing quite like being in unison with the crowd. That positive energy can change lives.

Most of us will never be a DJ on the big stage playing into a big crowd. Take us through what it’s like to walk out on the stage and start. I watched Bohemian Rhapsody and that’s not a DJ but in that giant stadium, watching Queen play is an emotional experience, even though we’re not on the stage.

It is very difficult to describe but I’ll do my best. It’s almost as if you were a conductor and you have the ability to impact and influence mindset and behavior based on your actions but in a way like if you’re having a conversation with a person and you break through with them and see them light up. It’s a beautiful experience but if you magnify that by 500%, 1,000% or 10,000%, there truly is nothing more magical than when a collective group taps into that same emotion and way of being. As the conductor, to be able to influence and orchestrate that emotional rollercoaster so to speak, it’s pretty powerful in ways that almost nothing else in life can compare to.

BYW 29 | Deejaying
Deejaying: A DJ should know the mood of their crowd, their collective mood. You need to be able to stand in a position of compassion and empathy to really move them in a way that they need to be moved.


Are you taking your audience on a journey?

That’s exactly right. It’s an emotional cathartic full-body and soul journey and experience. There are thousands of great DJs out there who can do this but that’s why the best of the basket get paid what they get paid because it is a skill and an art. You talk about skill stacking and I’m sure you’ve heard the term where you take a lot of the things that you’ve done over the course of your career and you look back and go, “I can see how this is connected and how this helped me to do this.”

There’s also a stacking of innate abilities and understanding of who you inherently are and how you’re naturally wired to excel. You can’t teach someone how to be empathetic or have empathy. You have it or you don’t. You have it on various levels depending on the person. I’ve always been an empath and I can get a sense of how people are doing and what they might be struggling with. I can see through people’s bowls pretty quickly. My friends call me the truth-teller.

There’s a lot to be said for that on a level of deejaying and playing music because you almost have to have a sixth sense of where they are and what their mood is collectively. You’d be amazed at how a crowd can have a collective mood and be able to stand in a position of compassion and empathy and move them in a way that they need to be moved. As an empath and someone who has that unique ability to understand people, it lends itself well to the DJ booth.

Interestingly, we’re having this conversation because people have asked me that question, “When you’re speaking to a big audience, what is that like? How do you take them on the journey?” To me, speaking is the closest thing I know of to compete at a high level like sports. You got to prepare. You don’t know what’s going to happen. The show must go on. You got to feel your way along as you go. What I find very challenging is exactly what you’re talking about. How do you move them? What is it that makes the difference between the DJ that moves the audience and the DJ that’s playing a cool sound? What do you think is the difference?

The difference is number one, it’s like a comedian who tries to perfect their set. If you follow the comedic space at all, you know that oftentimes what the comedians will do is they’ll start working on stuff, have their material and bit by bit, they’ll show up at different places, see if they can get a little bit of stage time and start working it out. It’s like, “This worked well on paper,” but in reality, it didn’t land. They start working on it until they know their material from back in the center. By the time, these guys get to a Netflix special as an example. They are so dialed in with every piece of that. There’s nothing that’s left to chance. That’s a big part of it too in this world.

This is applicable to anyone. You can appreciate this. Big audiences start as small audiences. You don’t get an invitation to speak to 50,000 people or whatever in a stadium until you’ve spoken to 20 people 500 times. You can use your numbers on this but you get my point. It goes back to Gladwell and the 10,000-hour rule too. You have to put in the time but it’s also a matter of your speech or whatever you’re doing. You could be a salesman selling a particular product. It’s a matter of knowing your product and being able to overcome any objection and talk about that product like it’s a piece of who you are.

You can't teach someone how to be empathetic. You either have it or you don't. Click To Tweet

The other side of it too is knowing the music. A lot of the DJs do is pick pieces, components or elements of the music that may have a certain resonance to those pieces that aren’t the typical way that someone would play that song. They may take those pieces and splice them together and create their track using elements of that song that are the elements that move people. It’s a matter also of knowing the material is what I’m saying.

How much practice do you do to be who you are as a DJ? Is it an everyday thing? Is it a once every now and then thing? Is it a natural ability to know how things fit together and you don’t need as much practice? Are you saying, “I got to practice every day to be who I want to be?”

The answer is zero. This is why the act and the art of public declaration are so important because for me, I haven’t been in front of a crowd for many years since my wife and I last deejayed a wedding together. That was the last set of things that I did on the DJ side. My goal is to take the stage of my event. To do that, I got a lot of work to do. It’ll become an everyday thing for me here. The next time we talk, I’ll already have started that ritual.

How exciting. You’re getting to do what you want to do at a level that you never thought was possible. You are going to create it.

Part of the creation of doing the event is going to be getting back to honing the craft. It’s been a long time since I’ve put together selections and so on. I’ve got a pretty good ear for music and I always have but getting the selections dialed in and putting together my sets and starting to play smaller festivals. Before we’re going to do our thing, it’s like a room full of twenty people. I got to do 300, 400 or 500 of those before I can get to the point of feeling like, “It makes sense for me to have a stage of 3,000, 4,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 or 100,000 people.” There are a lot of smaller stages that I got to start planning.

Who are some of your favorite DJs? Who do you follow? Who has kept you interested in deejaying?

Back in the day, being from Chicago, I was interested in the whole world of Chicago house music, which has a very distinct soulful, melodic and vocal-based sound. When I first started deejaying, that’s all I would play but over time, I’ve become appreciative of a lot of the newer DJs who mix the best of what’s old and what’s new and then do their remixes of some of the material as well. The best guy that I follow who I have the utmost admiration for is a guy who goes by the name of Purple Disco Machine. He is a machine that tours everywhere. If I were to model someone from a selection perspective, he and I are aligned with what he plays.

BYW 29 | Deejaying
Deejaying: To really get something built to the point where it has any meaningful traction, you’re going to have to dedicate five years to it. So try to live within the timeframe of those five-year windows.


I am going to look him up. I was asked on a podcast, “If you could only go see one group, who would you like to go see?” I said, Daft Punk because I would love to see them but they broke up. I don’t know if you ever got to see them but that’s who I would like to see.

It’s interesting too because, from an electronic standpoint, a lot of people don’t chalk them up to being artists. They push a button and dance around or do whatever but a lot of the guys, Daft Punk included, I never had a chance to see them other than some video stuff. They would create on the fly right there on the live set so no two live sets were ever the same.

A lot of crossover and similar things would take place because they would play along with the music and create on the spot. That’s something that a lot of people don’t do. We had a concert, a DJ and producer, his name is Worakls, was doing a lot of that live stuff as well. It’s super cool for the people that not only can DJ but can play an instrument and go along with it. It makes a cool experience.

Are you already starting to get nervous?

Not so much. I don’t get nervous about things. I’m going to have the opportunity to interview some pretty cool people at the magazine like the Paris Hilton’s of the world and some pretty awesome well-known people. I don’t get the nerves around that. I don’t get nervous around music. It’s something I love sharing.

How far off do you think your event is, the One Voice?

It’s about the public declaration. There are a couple of options. We can do something on a smaller scale. Doing smaller-scale events is something that we’ll do here in 2022. I’ll get 2 or 3 of those under my belt that I’ll throw some smaller events, bring a couple of people to hang out and do some music or something together.

Take on activities that the 'you of tomorrow' can look back at the 'you of today' and give thanks. Click To Tweet

We’ve got a lot of space here in the funeral home. We may end up doing something here, believe it or not. It’s like an event center or an event space. I’ve got 15,000 square feet here. We may do something here but in terms of a larger scale, One Voice Festival event that may have a couple of thousand people or more, that’s a 2023 thing so maybe for the summer festival season in 2023.

We haven’t even asked you about the obvious. How did you get into the funeral business?

My wife has been the Funeral Director and Embalmer for many years. She’s the one who’s been in this industry. She’s a licensed Managing Funeral Director and Embalmer. She’s known from a very young age. This is what she wants to do. She went back to school when she was younger than 40 but roughly around that time to get a degree in Mortuary Science after having been a Chicago public school teacher and then raising our kids and staying home with our kids for a couple of years.

Towards the end of that, she was like, “I want to do this thing in the funeral industry.” She got her degree and started working for some of the bigger corporations. It was time for her to have her place. I’m here doing my best to help her. It’s an interesting business because it’s not like you open a shop and everybody starts running in here. It’s a different scenario of getting the phone to ring. There are a lot of opportunities here as well. Going back to the skill stacking, you take a look at what I’ve done in the online world, marketing, PR, podcasting, live events and so on. There are a lot of things we can do to help leverage those skills that have been acquired over quite a bit of time and apply that to this world.

Last question, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given or gotten?

The best piece of advice that I’ve ever given simply boils down to reminding people that you want to take on activities that the you of tomorrow can look back on the you of now and give thanks for those actions taken. That’s about understanding the concept of yeno, which is a fancy way of saying yes no and recognizing that almost every moment represents a moment of truth where you have to be consciously aware of what you say yes to and no to.

Your ultimate idea here is to stack those yeses in a way that leads you towards whatever those defined goals and objectives are. Ultimately, you want that version of yourself to be able to look back and say, “Thanks for doing the hard work, putting in the time with the missus, poaching the kid’s football team,” or whatever it is to be able to look back and give thanks. That’s the best piece of advice that I consistently give to people.

BYW 29 | Deejaying
What Is Your WHAT?

In terms of the best advice that I’ve received, it is a bit of advice that my grandfather gave me back in the early ’90s, around ’91 or ’92 before his passing. We were thinking about selling a piece of business and I asked him, “Is this what you want to do? You don’t want to hold on to this?” He said, “In business, we don’t build monuments.” His point was we’re not looking to create something that we have to hold on to forever. When the right opportunity comes along, you take that opportunity and move on to the next thing, whatever that next thing might be.

That wasn’t the last question. I got one more last question. What is it that keeps you going and wanting? It is not a little finger about to take on.

The fact is I’ve been doing Brazilian jujitsu for many years. One of the things that I always say is, “You can have all the technique in the world but at the end of the day, you can’t teach twenty-year-old strength.” It’s there or it isn’t. For me, it’s about movement and keeping in motion because with movement, energy is created. You have to stay moving to stay fresh, vital and able to have the energy to keep going.

There are a lot of reasons why it’s easy to say no to doing the hard work. It’s a lot easier to find a reason to say no most of the time than it is to find a reason to say yes, especially as you get older. What keeps me going or driving is not only movement through jujitsu, running, taking supplements and getting your hormones checked, especially if you’re an older guy or gal and making sure that’s stuff in line.

The other thing that I do believe in is understanding the whole concept of five-year windows. I try to live within the timeframe of those five-year windows, understanding that to get something built to the point where it has any meaningful traction, you’re probably going to be dedicating five years of your life to it, especially when you’re an entrepreneur.

Understand that if you go full out for those five years, good things can happen. The older you get, the fewer five-year windows you have. You have to be a lot more selective about what those five-year windows are but a big part of it as well is understanding, “This is a five-year window play. I need to go all in and do whatever I can do to make this thing work.” The combination of those things does help.

Steve, thank you so much for being here. I enjoyed getting to know you and hearing your stories. You got a lot of great stuff you’ve already done. I can imagine that your One Voice is going to be something amazing when it finally hits the biggest stage. Let me know and I’ll buy some tickets and be out there.

I still have the real estate bug so I got one more good real estate trick up my sleeve, something that’s going to change the game in terms of the market here because it’s been a pretty archaic system for a long time. The opportunity to disrupt the world of real estate and finally give people another option other than we’re owning or renting is well overdue. When we get up and running, we’ll come back and have another chat.

Steve, if there are people that are reading that want to follow you, learn more from you and be part of your podcast empire, how should they get ahold of you?

Subscribe to Podcast Magazine, is the best place to go to get a free lifetime subscription and pretty much all the channels. I’m @SteveOlsher.

Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it.

For our last segment, it’s time for Guess the Why. I’ve been watching the documentary about Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. If you’ve had a chance to watch it, it’s called The Dropout. I’m curious to know what you think her why is. I have a sense of what it is and the people that she’s followed and the people that she wanted to be like, which were people like Steve Jobs and Richard Branson.

I believe that Elizabeth’s why is to challenge the status quo and think differently. She’s not going to follow the rules or do it like anybody else. She’s going to think outside the box, see things the rest of us don’t and push the limits and people like what Steve Jobs did. Watch her movie and let us know what you think but that’s what I think about being able to watch the documentary.

Thank you so much for reading. If you’ve not yet discovered your why, you can do so at with the code PODCAST50. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe below, leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you’re using so we can bring this to more people. I will see you next time.


Important Links


About Steve Olsher

BYW 29 | DeejayingFounder/Editor-In-Chief of Podcast Magazine, Creator of ClubPod (the largest podcast group on social media), NY Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, Original Founder of, and the host of the top-rated podcast Reinvention Radio.



Uncategorized WHY

So You’re in a Relationship With a Contribute…

Well aren’t you one of the lucky ones! Being in a relationship with a Contribute is truly a blessing. They will give and give and still be ready to give more. They will pour their whole souls into the relationship and put the other person ahead of themselves at all times.

Contributes have a knack for nurturing a relationship. They want to help it grow and flourish and will do whatever it takes to ensure that you feel happy and are a priority.

If you are one of the lucky ones to be dating a Contribute, and if your WHY is not Contribute, make sure you are not just taking, but also giving back to them. While they may be uncomfortable in accepting gestures or accepting the contribution, they deserve it. Make sure that they are also taken care of and not being taken advantage of. They have the tendency to give until there’s nothing left in the tank – this can leave them exhausted and feeling under-appreciated.

It is important to note that even a small gesture can mean the world to them – something as small as leaving love note or their favorite snack on the table.

When in a relationship with a Contribute you will always have fun. As they are willing to do whatever and roll with the punches as long as everyone is having a good time. Cherish this relationship and don’t forget to give love to your Contribute today!