Chris is the Founder and CEO of truBrain, an online food tech brand leveraging neurotechnology to disrupt the energy drink market with functional beverages that support direct focus instead of caffeine-induced alertness.
He was the Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Centoria in 2012, leading the development of a celebrity-driven content-commerce platform. Prior to this, Chris was in brand management at Unilever for the Hellmann's/BestFoods and Suave brands. Before Unilever, Chris managed consulting engagements for F500 consumer products clients including Wrigley’s, Nokia, and Pfizer. Chris has an MBA from Duke and a BA in Economics from Georgetown.
Chris’s Challenge; Start your day with some meditation then go slay the dragon. You can slay the dragon every day by attacking your toughest task first thing before you get bogged down in more menial tasks.
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Dick Zhang is President and CEO of Pittsburgh, PA based Identified Technologies. Dick leads his rapidly growing team’s efforts to deliver real-time job site updates to industrial companies around the world using robotic aerial drones.
Prior to founding Identified Technologies, his previous work included corporate finance at Goldman Sachs and project management at Bristol-Myers Squibb. A technologist as well as an entrepreneur, he is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania with training in Mechanical Engineering and holds several U.S. patents.
Dick has been featured as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, Pittsburgh Business Times Fast Tracker, and Point Park University guest lecturer.
Dick’s Challenge; Push yourself outside of your comfort zone so that you’ll continue to grow.
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Matt Zieger moved to Pittsburgh to join The Forbes Funds in August of 2014 as the Executive-in-Residence for Social Innovation. As a former foundation CEO, small business owner, and long-time economic policy leader Matt has fifteen years of experience bringing together Governors, CEOs, civic leaders, philanthropies, and global innovators to build and advance transformative investments in public education, international business development, government innovation, and knowledge-driven economic development.
In this role, Matt leads the Forbes Funds efforts to accelerate regional understanding and adoption of emerging tools to affect positive societal outcomes at substantial scale. His current focus areas include the development of new platforms to increase access to capital and advanced technologies for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs such as impact investing funds, social impact bonds, and prototyping technology solutions that positively impact the communities and organizations we serve.
Matt’s Challenge; Say yes more often.
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Sean McComb's rise to thought leadership in the realm of education started decades ago. Growing up outside of Philadelphia, what began as a comfortable childhood was later torn apart by strife. Facing chaos and despair at home, he turned to school as his sanctuary and found inspiration in extraordinary teachers. His experiences compelled him to go into education, and pay forward the gifts that he received.
During his 10 years at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts in Baltimore County, Maryland, Sean became an integral member of an outstanding school and community. Sean's English courses are deep dives into the exploration of humanity through literature and building communication skills. He regularly led his students in community service projects and led the construction of the AVID college-preparatory program in his school.
AVID targets students in the academic middle who have college dreams and provides them a pathway and a partner to achieve them. It's through this program that AVID students have what every child needs, a champion: an adult in their life who values them, believes in them and expects great things from them until the child can come to expect those things of themselves.
Sean’s Challenge; Practice gratitude and take ten to fifteen minutes every day to write notes affirming others.
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Bobby is the CEO and cofounder of Thrill Mill, Pittsburgh's premier early-stage incubator/accelerator for entrepreneurs looking to turn that great idea into the next big thing. Thrill Mill, a non-profit organization, accepts applications annually, awarding a minimum of $5,000 per startup in exchange for 1% equity. Startups, which come from all industries and all growth models (including non-profits), are selected through the competitive application process gain access to first-class programming, mentorship, advisors, and broad networks to refine business models, reach target customer audiences and fund startups through their growth stages.
He is also a "reformed lawyer" and unapologetically Pittsburgh-proud. He is focused on the present and future of his city. He also created Thrival Festival, a music and innovation festival, to shine a national and international spotlight on the beautiful, creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial city that Pittsburgh has become.
Bobby’s Challenge; For a week, smile as much as possible and always say “please” and “thank you”. Focus on your people skills and let Bobby and Aaron know your results!
Urban Innovation Exchange
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Tim DeByl started the Madison Radicals franchise in the AUDL in 2012 and has coached the team to the championship game of the AUDL playoffs twice. He has leveraged his experience running a marketing and design company for over a decade to make the Radicals one of the marquee teams in professional ultimate.
In episode thirty-nine, Tim and Aaron discuss the expansion of the league, wearing multiple hats for the Radicals, and Tim’s hope for the future of the sport.
Tim’s Challenge; The next time you are in a heated conversation with someone, take the time to really listen to what they are saying and not just waiting for your turn to speak.
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Dan McCoy was born with Spina Bifida, a birth defect caused by the incomplete formation of vertebrae, and hydrocephalus, a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the brain. He’s never let those conditions stop him from becoming an athlete, though, as he started playing sled hockey at age five and even served as goalie for his high school’s junior varsity lacrosse team for a season.
He helped Team USA earn a Gold Medal at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. As a member of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, he has played in three International Paralympic Committee Ice Sled Hockey World Championships (gold – 2012, 2015; silver – 2013) and six World Sled Hockey Challenge tournaments.
Dan McCoy’s sled hockey career began with the Pittsburgh Penguins Sled Hockey Team in 1999 and continues to play with that same team today. He made his first U.S. National Developmental Sled Hockey Team in 2008. Following an outstanding 2010-11 debut with the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team in which he was tied for the lead among Team USA rookies with eight points (5-3) in 13 games, McCoy was named 2011 Rookie of the Year.
McCoy is currently a student at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is pursuing a degree in Communications and Sports Medicine.
Dan’s Challenge; Do something to jumpstart your heart rate every day.
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