Mike Signer on Leading in Chaos

June 20, 2018

Mike Signer is a former mayor who successfully promoted innovation and pluralism in one of America's most well-known cities; a corporate attorney and executive at a major Virginia technology firm; and a public scholar who writes and teaches about constitutionalism, statesmanship, and the rule of law. His leadership against extremism, intolerance, and demagoguery has been recognized around the nation.

Mike served as Mayor of Charlottesville from 2016 to 2018, a AAA-bond-rated city of nearly 50,000 that is frequently ranked among America's best places to live and that has Virginia's lowest unemployment rate. He continues to serve on the City Council.

He is Vice President and General Counsel of WillowTree, Inc., a digital design agency with over 200 employees whose clients include Fortune 500 companies such as GE, HBO, Nestle, and National Geographic. He serves on the firm's executive team and directs many corporate and strategic matters, including contract negotiations, regulatory compliance, real estate matters, and the firm's Social Impact practice.

Mike is a lecturer at the University of Virginia, where he teaches classes on leadership. His books Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy from Its Worst Enemies (St. Martin's Press 2009) and Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father (PublicAffairs 2015) both received widely positive reviews. They have been assigned in classes at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, James Madison University, and George Mason University.  He has written opinion pieces and essays for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Time, Vox, Democracy, and The New Republic, among others.

Mike and the people of Charlottesville received the Anti-Defamation League's Levenson Family Defender of Democracy Award in 2017. He is the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of California Alumni Club of Washington, D.C. He is a member of the 2018 class of Aspen Institute Rodel Fellows. He was recognized by Forward Magazine in its "Forward 50" 2017 list of the 50 most influential Jewish leaders in America. He was a 2009 candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia. He has received senior appointments from three Virginia governors.

He has been profiled by CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian and interviewed by Meet the Press, Face the Nation, the Rachel Maddow Show, and NPR's Morning Edition. He has been an invited speaker at Princeton University, Wake Forest University, Ryerson University, South by Southwest, Georgetown University, James Madison University, Marymount University, Israel's Foreign Ministry, the Friedrich Ebert Institute in Berlin, the Anti-Defamation League, the B'nai Brith Youth Organization, and the Richmond World Affairs Council.

He has held many leadership roles in nonprofits and civic organizations. He is the former Chair of the Emergency Food Network and former President of the Fifeville Neighborhood Association, both in Charlottesville. He served on the Board of Directors of OneVirginia2021, which advocates for nonpartisan redistricting. As a law student at the University of Virginia, he founded the Coalition for Progress on Race and co-founded the Center for the Study of Race and Law. He was also President of the UVA Law Democrats and Co-President of the UVA chapter of the American Constitution Society.

He holds a Ph.D. in political science from U.C., Berkeley, where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow; a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law; and a B.A. in politics, magna cum laude, from Princeton University, where he was a work-study student.

You can learn more about Mike at his website (https://www.michaelsigner.com/) and give him a follow on twitter: @MikeSigner.

Also, if you liked this episode and others, please support us at Patreon or follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @IntentionalPerformers.

Thanks,

Brian

 

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Flo Groberg on Courage

June 13, 2018

This week's podcast guest is retired U.S. Army Capt and Medal of Honor winner, Florent "Flo" Groberg. Flo was born in Poissy, France and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2001. Flo went to high school with my wife at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Md.

Groberg attended the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) and competed in varsity track and cross country. In May 2006, Groberg graduated from UMD with a bachelor's degree in criminology and criminal justice.

Groberg entered the Army and attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. He received his commission as an infantry officer, Dec. 4, 2008. After completing Infantry Officer Basic Course, Mechanized Leaders Course, U.S. Army Airborne and U.S. Army Ranger Schools, he was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo., as a platoon leader.

In November 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan as part of Task Force Lethal, with responsibility for the Pech River Valley in Afghanistan's Kunar Province. Upon returning home in June 2010, he continued serving as a platoon leader until he was reassigned as an infantry company executive officer from October 2010 to November 2011. He was then assigned as the brigade personal security detachment commander for 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. He deployed again to Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in February of 2012, with Task Force Mountain Warrior. He was promoted to captain in July 2012.

As a result of his actions, Groberg sustained the loss of 45 to 50 percent of his left calf muscle with significant nerve damage, a blown eardrum, and a mild traumatic brain injury. Groberg spent his recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center from August 2012 through May 2015. He was medically retired from Company B Warriors, Warrior Transition Battalion, as a captain, July 23, 2015.

Groberg's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three Bronze Service Stars; the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the U.S. Army Parachutists Badge, the U.S. Army Ranger Tab, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

You can follow Flo on Twitter: @FlorentGroberg and read his book, 8 Seconds of Courage. 

Also, if you liked this episode and others, please support us at Patreon or follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @IntentionalPerformers.

Thanks,

Brian

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Alex Banayan on The Third Door

June 6, 2018

This week's podcast is with Alex Banyan. I was fortunate to be introduced to Alex from previous guest, Cal Fussman. I recently finished reading Alex's (in 5 days) and I highly recommend it. 

The day before his freshman year final exams, ALEX BANAYAN hacked The Price Is Right, won a sailboat, sold it, and used the prize money to fund his quest to learn from the world’s most successful people.

Since then, Banayan has been named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list and Business Insider’s “Most Powerful People Under 30.” He has contributed to Fast Company, the Washington PostEntrepreneur, and TechCrunch, and has been featured in major media including FortuneForbesBusinessweek, Bloomberg TV, Fox News, and CBS News.

An acclaimed keynote speaker, Banayan has presented the Third Door framework to business conferences and corporate leadership teams around the world, garnering standing ovations from Apple, Nike, IBM, Dell, MTV, Harvard, and countless others.

You can learn more about Alex at http://thirddoorbook.com/ and follow him on Twitter @AlexBanayan.

Also, if you liked this episode and others, please support us at Patreon or follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @IntentionalPerformers.

Thanks,

Brian Levenson

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The Basketball Journey with Tony Ronzone

May 30, 2018

Basketball has taken Tony Ronzone all over the world. He played professionally overseas in New Zealand and began his coaching career as the youngest head coach in New Zealand history (age 22). He also held head coaching positions with the Saudi Arabian National Team (1992) and United Arab Emirates Team (1992-1997). Since 1997 Tony has worked in the front office of the Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, and Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Before his professional basketball journey, he started by playing college basketball and baseball at the University of Nevada, participating in two NCAA tournaments, before finishing his collegiate career at Long Beach State.  

He was a member of the Pistons during their NBA Championship run in 2004. He also was a member of the Olympic committee of F.I.B.A., and Ronzone has been very active with USA Basketball, where he serves as Director of International Player Personnel. In this position, he assisted with the gold-medal winning men’s basketball team at the 2008 Olympics (China), the 2010 FIBA World Championships (Turkey) and the 2012 Olympics (London).

In 2001, Ronzone became the first American to coach the Chinese National Team, winning gold at the East Asian Games with a team featuring Yao Ming. Ronzone has coached or conducted clinics in over 55 countries around the world. He is very active with NBA Basketball without Borders and has coached at Euro camp in Treviso, Italy for the past 14 years.

Tony is a big personality who lives his life with gratitude and optimism. In this conversation, he shares everything he has learned and give insight into what it's like to scout for talent. 

Tony is active on Twitter so check him out @tonyronzone.

Also, if you liked this episode and others, please support us at Patreon or follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @IntentionalPerformers.

Thanks,

Brian

 

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Brian Grant on Beating the Odds

May 23, 2018

I grew up watching Brian Grant compete during his 12-year career in the NBA. And I intentionally used the word "compete" because Brian played his tail off. He went up against bigger players like Shaq, and seemed to never blink an eye. He had a ferocity about him that I loved. He played with a chip on his shoulder. 

In this episode, you will hear Brian discuss his unique and surprising journey to the NBA, his mindset when practicing and performing, and his battle with Parkinson's Disease which started at the young age of 36. 

Today, Brian continues to inspire as a speaker, philanthropist, and a patient who insists on thriving with Parkinson’s disease. His mission is to help people become their best, even when it seems impossible.

Brian started his career at Xavier University where he was Player of the Year twice for the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. He was drafted in the first round, eighth overall, in the 1994 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings. His career continued with the Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, and Phoenix Suns. During this time, Brian also served underprivileged youth and sick families in his community. His contributions earned him the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.

Brian has a great sense of humor and is an amazing story-teller. Check out his work at

Also, if you liked this episode and others, please support us at Patreon or follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @IntentionalPerformers.

Thanks,

Brian

 
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Mindset is Everything with Mitch Aguiar

May 16, 2018

Mitch Aguiar is a former Navy SEAL, an MMA fighter, and entrepreneur.

This episode starts with Mitch and I simply having a conversation, which turned into a fascinating talk that ranged from his upbringing, going through BUDS, serving 10 years as a SEAL, some of the physical and mental challenges he's faced in his journey, fighting MMA, and starting his own clothing company.

Mitch lives by the mantra "Mindset is Everything" and he certainly lives that mantra daily. He also doesn't sugar-coat his opinion so it's worth noting that this conversation does contain explicit language. 

You are going to love the stories, honesty, and overall vulnerability that Mitch shows throughout this episode.

Mitch is very active on Instagram and he talks about how fulfilling it has been for him to make an impact on people through social media. Go give him a follow @SmashinFrog. You can also check out his apparel line at https://smashinfrog.com/.

Also, if you liked this episode and others, please support us at Patreon or follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @IntentionalPerformers.

Thanks to Mitch for coming on and thank you for listening.

--Brian

 

 

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Unlocking Potential with Julie Elion

May 9, 2018

Julie Elion has been my mentor for the past 10 years. Along the way she has provided me insight, advice, and she always seems to know when to ask the right question. I owe much of my career to Julie.

Julie has developed one of the premier sport psychology practices in the professional golf world. She is currently working with multiple players on the PGA Tour, including winners of multiple major tournaments and regular tour events totaling over 60 wins and five majors. She worked with the 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup team in their victory at Valhalla Golf Club, as well as with four members of the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup and four members of the 2011 U.S. Presidents Cup teams. She has a broad focus on competitive golf and counsels golfers at multiple levels of competition including the Nationwide and Champions tour for men, the LPGA and LET for women, and Division I Collegiate Golf.

As well as working extensively with golfers, Julie also provides mental coaching for athletes and teams of other sports on both the professional and collegiate level, including the Washington Wizards (NBA), the Washington Redskins (NFL), the Washington Mystics (WNBA), and the University of Maryland Men’s Basketball team.

Julie founded the Center for Athletic Performance Enhancement in 1998. Her philosophy is based upon helping an individual gain insight into their sport, character, family, and relationships and then use these insights to become a resilient athlete and a more fulfilled person. Julie integrates classical sport psychology tools (e.g., pre-shot routines, course management, and visualization) that are focused on behavioral and cognitive cues, with a deeper appreciation and understanding of oneself. Julie helps to prepare her players for success by focusing on believing in themselves first as a person, and second as an athlete.

In this episode we discuss her surprising path to the field of Sport Psychology, her work with world-class golfers, setting process expectations, the difference between working with individual sports versus team sports, and much more.

Thanks to Julie for coming on the podcast.

You can learn more about her work at www.capeperformance.com. You can also check out her rockstar daughter and her band at http://www.overcoatsmusic.com/.

Also, if you liked this episode and others, please support us at Patreon or follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @IntentionalPerformers.

Thanks,

Brian

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Editing Story with George Solomon

May 2, 2018

Former Washington Post assistant managing editor George Solomon joins Brian Levenson to discuss the challenges of editing. During his tenure, he got to work with sports journalism legends including Michael Wilbon  Tony Korhnheiser, and Sally Jenkins. George also served as the 1st ombudsman for ESPN. He now works at the University of Maryland as a sports journalism professor and was inducted into the Washington Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

In this episode they discuss how he developed an interest in journalism as a kid (5:15), how important feedback from others and reading can be to improving writing skills and hiring the right people (14:00), how technology has made the newspaper industry more about surviving than content (24:45), what the role of a good editor is (26:20), the difference between a reporter and a columnist and what it was like editing for some of the best columnists in the business (30:30), what makes Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon special and how it helped them transition to radio and TV (37:30), the importance of having elite female voices like Sally Jenkins and Christine Brennan in the newsroom (41:20), what he enjoys about teaching and lessons for students (43:35), and finally they talk about how he is able to keep his memory so sharp and how curiosity helps make a great story (53:05).

Thanks to George Solomon for coming on and make sure to learn more about Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism

Also, if you liked this episode and others, please support us at Patreon or follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @IntentionalPerformers.

Thanks for listening.

--Brian

 

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Preparing, Probing, and Proposing with Ron Shapiro

April 25, 2018

Sports Agent and expert negotiator Ron Shapiro joined Brian Levenson to talk about how he got into the industry. He has had quite a journey as an author, attorney (after attending Harvard Law school) and he became Maryland State Securities Commissioner in his late 20's. He has worked as a consultant with NBA teams including the Spurs, Nets, and Thunder and an agent for stars such as Cal Ripken and Kirby Puckett and is also an advisor to the owner of the Baltimore Ravens.

In this episode they discuss how his family inspired him in his youth and the power of optimism (7:15), his path to Harvard Law and how learning to write there was key to unlocking his future (12:45), the value of being able to connect with people and how he overcomes fear in public speaking (17:40), why he decided to work in Baltimore after finishing law school to help desegregation and how he positioned himself into what he calls an "accidental career" (22:50), why empathy, compassion, preparation, and humility are essential to negotiation and how people are mainly a product of circumstance (33:15), the development of having confidence in negotiations and athletics when it’s time to perform (39:10), what made Cal Ripken Jr. special (42:50), the importance of experience and understanding precedents in his field (47:30), the transition from securities to sports (51:35), how one can be self-serving in a way that still helps others (57:15), and the values it takes for someone to run a sports organization (1:00:10). Finally, he discusses his regimented and intentional daily routine (1:03:25).

Thanks to Ron Shapiro for coming on and make sure to follow him on Twitter. You can also purchase his book The Power of Nice, How to Negotiate so Everyone Wins-Especially You!.

Also, if you liked this episode and others, please support us at Patreon or follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @IntentionalPerformers.

Thanks for listening.

--Brian

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Coaching Camps with Mano Watsa

April 18, 2018

Mano Watsa, presently serves as the President of PGC Basketball. He joins Brian Levenson to discuss coaching and PGC basketball. If you don’t know about PGC, they provide intense, no-nonsense basketball training for players and coaches. Their basketball camps are designed to teach players of all positions to think the game and to be leaders on and off the court. They have served thousands of basketball players and coaches all over the country. He was selected as a two-time All-Canadian and earned Academic All-Canadian honors at the University of Waterloo.

In this episode they discuss the beginnings of his basketball journey at age 10 and how invaluable his grade school coach was to his growth (6:00), what the driving factors were to reach his goals in high school and maximize his potential by starting a basketball camp at 15 (14:30), his time at PGC and how what he learned there about leadership inspired him and changed his mindset on coaching and teaching (22:00), the evolution of the point guard position and how to make teamwork an asset to the team (28:00), his journey at the University of Waterloo and his decision afterwards to start his own point guard program which turned into a merge with PGC (34:30), the difference in working with coaches versus working with players and how to become a transformational coach (39:00). Finally, he describes his morning routine and how important habits are (43:00).

You can follow Mano on twitter: @ManoWatsa and check out PGC Basketball at www.pgcbasketball.com

Also, if you liked this episode and others, please support us at Patreon or follow me on Twitter: @brianlevenson or Instagram: @Intentional_Performers.

Thanks for listening.

--Brian

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