This week I interviewed Tomasz Kwiatkowski, former professional European league basketball player and NCAA division one athlete from SMU. On this episode, he shares how he leveraged his experience in high level sports to succeed in business and the corporate world.
Today, he is a sales executive, a strategist and a seven-foot tall leader who is passionate about the intersection of people, sales and client satisfaction.
He is a Polish native and possess a BBA and an MA from Southern Methodist University.
Christopher is a writer, podcaster, speaker and juggler extraordinaire!
He shares a short story a month at nolumberjacks.com and is 1/2 of the Men in Gorilla Suits podcast -- a weekly pop culture podcast that sometimes borders on philosophical. A technical writer by trade, he also blogs at TheJugglingWriter.com and ChristopherGronlund.com
On this episode we discuss:
In grade school Tara was known as the “Questioning Queen." Being dyslexic, she had to find alternative ways to gain a deeper understanding of the subject at hand. Which meant asking “Why,” “How” and “What if” until the point of exhaustion. She owes these experiences to the reason why she values the importance of intellectual curiosity and encourages others to engage in this way of thinking.
In 2015, Tara graced the TEDx stage with her talk, Curiosity Saves the Cat.
Tara graduated from Oklahoma State University where she got her degree in Advertising and Strategic Communication. At her time at OSU she held a variety of leadership positions including Social Chair for her sorority, President of the Advertising Club and was the Account lead for the National Student Advertising Competition. Upon graduation she spent the first four years of her career at Tracylocke working on amazing brands like Pizza Hut, Samsung and Cattle Barons Ball. Tara has recently joined Bottle Rocket Studios, a mobile app development first that has created some of the highest quality apps in the world, as their newest Client Executive.
On this episode we discuss:
Thomas Doweidt is an American Ninja Warrior Season 8 competitor. Out of 75,000 applicants, he was one of the few who were selected for their incredible athleticism, multitude of fitness accomplishments and compelling life story.
Tom was successful in completing the qualifiers which landed him at the OKC finals which will be aired on August 1st on NBC.
In addition to his physical gifts and many fitness accomplishments, Tom has a great outlook on life and is a very inspirational young man.
On this episode we discuss:
- Tom's background and origin story
- The American Ninja Warrior application process and keys to getting noticed
- Insights into Tom's training regimen, nutrition, recovery and mindset
- Play by play of his run at the qualifiers
- What’s in store for Tom’s future and much much more!
Connect with Tom:
Jason Osburn is the accomplished founder of Design Unto Others (DUO), an experience design consultancy that works with clients to uncover their core value and craft a great digital experience around it. Prior to DUO he's designed brand identities, digital platforms, award-winning apps, founded a successful TV Everywhere platform and leads an innovative consumer mobile app startup. Whether designing brand identities, apps, digital businesses or multidisciplinary teams he keeps a constant eye toward positive experiences that generate results. He’s been recognized for both his graphic and digital design work which has appeared in Print, Communication Arts, Wired, as an Apple launch partner and featured multiple times in the app store, its hall of fame as well as on Google Play.
On this episode, we discuss Jason’s top 3 considerations to building world class digital user experiences.
Bob McDaniel is a Certified Spartan SGX Coach and Spartan Obstacle Specialist. He’s achieved more than 12 first place finishes in his age group.
On this episode, we discuss preparation techniques to successfully conquer the Spartan Beast which I will be doing this October.
The Spartan Beast is the most difficult of the three races in the Spartan trifecta. The Beast is 12-14 miles with an average completion time of 4-5 hours.
We get much deeper into the technical aspects of preparation and training than Bob’s last appearance on episode 9 - http://bit.ly/BobMcDaniel
Jarrad Abshire is a small business expert and Executive Consultant with Ambit Energy, a billion dollar energy retailer and one of the largest direct selling companies in the world.
He wasn’t always a savvy and financially successful entrepreneur. He started off his working career has a high school band director. As a high school band director, he realized that he was facing a future of working 30-40 years and then retiring on 40% of the income he had been accustomed to making so he started looking for another way to create supplemental income.
After 4.5 years of working a very unique business opportunity only a part time basis, he was able to completely replace his income from teaching. He’s now created a lifelong passive income that has surpassed a 30-40 year retirement income from teaching. He and his wife are now stay at home parents and entrepreneurs with their 2 year old son.
Now he’s teaching others the benefits of entrepreneurship and how they too can set themselves finically free.
Connect with Jarrad Abshire at:
Amber Kidwai is a Recruitment and Job Search Expert with over 10 years experience in the staffing industry. After graduating with a degree in Psychology from UCL – a university ranked #3 in the UK, and #7 in the world, she went on to pursue a Masters in Organizational Psychology which inspired her to apply psychology best practices in the workplace. She began her career as a Career Coach, helping individuals identify career paths and navigate those careers. Seeing the profound effect career choices can have on an individual’s sense fulfillment and satisfaction in life, she realized she wanted to continue guiding people to hear their inner voice and follow their dreams, with real steps and tangible goals to help them get there.
After moving to the US, she applied her career coaching and consulting skills in the world of staffing. She has gained experience and expertise in Recruitment which she applies everyday as a Partner in Lee Professional Resources, a boutique staffing firm. Amber acts as a trusted advisor to individuals, guiding them through the myriad of opportunities and helping them find the next right step in their career, as well as advising Organizations on how to manage their hiring process and market themselves to attract and subsequently hire the best talent.
This is a great episode for anyone who is:
Zack Hooper is the Co-founder and Principal of NPC Commercial Roofing, one of the fastest-growing new roofing companies in Texas. Zack considers himself a perpetual student and master of sales, and credits a significant amount of his ability to sell to his experience as a stand-up comedian.
Starting stand-up as a college student in 2009, Zack learned a great deal about how to connect with people in the best way he knew how; by making them laugh! When he decided not to pursue his intended path into professional comedy, Zack bounced around different jobs, lost and unsure about what direction to take before ultimately deciding to start his own business with his brother. On top of running their company, Zack is taking his story and lessons learned to universities and churches, talking to students about understanding the sales process and applying it to their own search for employment.
On this episode, Zack shares his experiences in Stand-up comedy and how it has helped his professional career.
Jason Croft is the Producer and Host of Startup Dallas, a Youtube Channel and Podcast where he interviews successful entrepreneurs from the Dallas area.
He is also on the verge of launching his own show, The Jason Croft Show. Jason is a true media veteran with 22 years of experience specializing in video production.
On this episode, Jason gives us some amazing insights into his media experience, interview techniques and much more!
Startup Dallas: http://bit.ly/StartupDallasJasonCroft
Joshua Hall is a Usability Expert who has worked in a variety of industries including gaming, travel, e-commerce, healthcare, retail, food & restaurant.
Highlights of Joshua’s Career:
On this episode we discuss:
Brock Hardman is a Survivalist who has built a substantial firewall for himself and his family in case of any major financial, political or even natural disaster.
Some have even referred to him as a, “Doomsday Prepper.” His interest in overall preparedness and survival techniques began in 2011 after watching a financial documentary that completely changed his way of thinking. Since then, he’s learned Krav Maga, a form of self defense first developed by the Israeli army in the 1940’s, implemented numerous financial safeguards and has acquired a number very interesting survival assets including an above ground tornado shelter, 1.5 years worth of food supply and various firearms for self defense.
On this episode, Brock shares why and how he has prepared for various types of emergencies.
Ryan is a solo freelance developer consistently making over a quarter of a million dollars per year from consulting work, while having the freedom to pick and choose the clients that he works with. Using the lessons from his own consulting business, he teaches other freelancers and consultants how to build sustainable six-figure businesses of their own. In 2015, he launched LetsMakeApps, a lead generation service for freelance designers and developers.
Listeners to this podcast episode can receive a discount code for LetsMakeApps and other bonuses by going to https://letsmakeapps.io/pathways/
Unlike other consultants or developers, he’s both an experienced product manager as well as an active developer so he can ensure a strategy that furthers a company's goals while being technically feasible at the same time.
Ryan has worked with amazing companies such as Nike, Fannie Mae, Bayer, VMWare and dozens of startups on their mobile strategy and execution across dozens of apps and millions of active users.
He is also the author of the guide titled, “My First Million Dollars from Freelance” with many more posts in the works.
On this episode, he shares his secrets to running a successful freelance business.
Laura Lamons is a lifelong athlete and sponsored runner by RunOn! Although she's competed in soccer, tennis, cycling, basketball, volleyball and softball she began to hone in on running during college at the University of North Texas.
She became a sponsored runner in 2014 so you can find her running competitively in DFW almost every other weekend. In just a few years she has completed over 50 races! She’s run every distance from 5k to marathon and is always looking for the next challenge. Always pushing herself to the next level she’s even completed her first duathlon!
In addition to her impressive credentials as an athlete she’s also built a successful career in e-commerce and mobile project management.
Laura is an incredible athlete, an accomplished project management professional and an inspiring human being.
On this episode she shares her amazing journey of becoming a sponsored runner and provides personal insights into her training, nutrition, recovery and mindset.
Mark Sinatra is CEO of Staff One HR. Before joining Staff One HR, Mark co-founded Gordian Capital, a private investment company that focuses on making long-term investments in lower middle market companies. He has worked in the private equity, investment banking, consulting, and business process outsourcing industries. He came to Staff One HR with some impressive roles under his belt at companies that include Credit Suisse, Merrill Lynch, Andersen, RR Donnelley and also The Parthenon Group.
Mark is actively involved in the PEO industry as a Board Director of both ESAC and NAPEO. When he’s not working, Mark is helping in the community. He is a Board Advisor to The Kikulu Foundation, a Board Director for First3years, a partner with Social Venture Partners – Dallas, and a volunteer with the Prison Entrepreneurship Program. Mark also is a member of Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) - Lone Star Chapter.
He is an MBA graduate of the Wharton School of Business, and holds a BA in Economics from Fordham University. Mark earned the SHRM-CP Certification in August 2015.
On this episode he shares his unique journey into entrepreneurship through acquisition.
Bob McDaniel is certified Spartan SGX Coach & Spartan Obstacle Specialist. He started Spartan racing in May of 2012. Since then, he’s completed 4 Spartan Trifectas which are 3 separate Spartan races, of varying distances completed over the course of 1 year.
Bob has accomplished 12 first place finishes in his age group from 2013 - 2015. In this episode, Bob shares his best advice on training, nutrition and mindset.
At 67 years of age, Bob is one of the most inspirational people I have met!
Brandon Jenkins is a talented musician who was first inspired by rap music at the age of 12 years old. Since then, his life long dream was to become a professional musician.
While most kids his age were busy playing video games or hanging out with their friends, he was honing his craft by writing song verses and turning them into raps.
Determined to make his dream a reality, using pure grit, determination and hustle, he released his first album at the age of 16 which sold 2,000 copies statewide and launched him into local stardom.
At 17 years old, his successes in multiple hip hop contest gave him the chance to perform with artists such as the Yin Yang Twins, Mims, Big Sean, Three Six Mafia, MC Breed and Paul Wall.
After his high school graduation, he focused full time on his music career. 2011 became his biggest year when he released the single With you Tonight featuring Drew32 & Astray produced by Donny Boy. This song would head to regional radio markets and sat on the playlists for more than 13 weeks. In the midst of much success and becoming increasingly closer to achieve his dream in the music industry,the death of a close friend forced him to re-think life and wonder about his own existence.
He went on a 2 year spiritual hiatus and uprooted himself from Michigan to Dallas where he began working at the Boys & Girls Club and volunteering at a local church with the youth. After a few months in Texas, he began getting opportunities to speak at prisons, churches and youth groups about how God turned his life around.
Now in 2016, he’s on the verge of relaunching his career with a new mission and purpose behind his music.
Anthony Victorio is a software engineer lead currently working at Facebook. In this episode he shares his insights on how he got the job at Facebook as well as what it's like to work for the social media giant. As a bonus, he gives us some insights into his approaches to problem solving.
Anthony is one of my oldest, closest and most loyal friends. He has influenced me a great deal throughout my life and I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren't for my connection to him.
Mike Leduc is a very accomplished software engineering leader with over 20 years of experience. He was former the Vice President of Software Engineering for Bottle Rocket Studios, a mobile app development company that has produced some of the highest quality mobile apps in the world. At Bottle Rocket, he managed the software engineering group which consisted of iOS, android, sever, web and quality assurance professionals. In addition to providing strategic and tactical leadership, he has hired, trained and mentored some of best software engineering talent in the market.
He has an uncanny ability to recognize engineering talent then groom them to becoming world class software engineers. Several of his proteges have gone off to work for companies like Apple, Twitter, Amazon and many other amazing companies. Although a significant portion of his career has been spent in leadership roles, he is certainly not afraid to get his hands dirty in code. Quoting from his linked in page, “I am, and will, always be, an engineer at heart. Scratch me and I bleed code.”
Mike is a brilliant software engineering leader and an incredible coach and mentor. In this episode, he gives great career advice for computer science students and entry level programmers looking to build a career in software development.
Ian Parkinson is a technology professional and former Marine Sergeant. Today, he is the Quality Assurance Manager for the AWE Division of Bottle Rocket Studios, one of the premier mobile development firms in the world. As a recruiter, I've encountered many of our veterans who are struggling to find work and translating their military experience to a private sector job. On episode 05 of the Pathways to Success, former Marine Sergeant, Ian Parkinson shares how he conducted his job search after his active duty and ultimately built successful career in technology. Please share this episode with any of our veterans who are struggling to find employment.
Billie Placino, my amazing sister, is a personal trainer and single mother of two.
She wasn’t always in great shape. As a matter of fact, she was severely overweight as a result of her two pregnancies. This is her inspiring story of how she was able to lose 56 pounds, 30% body fat and went from a size 16 to a size 2.
To connect with Billie Placino, follow her on Instagram at @BilliePlacino
J.R. Atkins is a Professional Speaker, Author and Consultant.
In his first book, Success Simplified, with Dr. Stephan Covey, Dr. Tony Alessandra and Patricia Fripp J.R wrote about how organizations can use social media to communicate with perspective customers, current clients and employees. His most recent book, Roadmap to Success, with Deepak Chopra and Ken Blanchard J.R. writes about mobile app development for individuals, small companies and large enterprises.
As a speaker, he’s noted for “taking the mystery out of technology” and speaking in terms that “even a CEO can understand.” J.R. has been speaking publicly since 1994.You can learn more about J.R. at http://somethingdifferentcompanies.com/
Alex Craig is the founder of potatoparcel.com, a website where you can ship a potato through the mail with a personalized message on it.
As ridiculous as this business sounds, he consistently made up to $10,000 per month sending potatoes through the mail!
This crazy venture landed him a feature on the Steve Harvey show!
Alex also landed several media mentions on WFAA, CNBC and Mashable.com
Make Your Life Sweeter® founder Yasmeen Tadia has transformed standard-issue, carnival cotton candy and popcorn into gourmet indulgences with her signature line of sweet sensations, including Fluffpop® Gourmet Mini Cotton Candy, Hotpoppin® Gourmet Popcorn, The Mini Mason™, and her recent creation: Sugaire™ Organic Cotton Candy
Her story of risking it all by leaving her corporate job to start her own business is truly inspiring!
You can learn more about Yasmeen Tadia at
This episode introduces Julian Placino and states the mission behind the Pathways to Success Podcast.