“I was not able to fully appreciate the beauty of my detours until I was able to share them. As a performer, all I’ve wanted to do was give back to the world. But now I have an even greater gift to give: a story to tell.”
Amy grew up believing that her entire life would be dedicated to the performing arts. Now, she identifies as a survivor and “thriver” of sexual abuse, 27 surgeries, coma, organ failure, and the PTSD that comes from ten years of trauma – or what she now calls her “beautiful detour.”
At 18, years old, a blood clot caused Amy’s body to go into septic shock. She was in a coma for six months, and after a total gastrectomy, was unable to eat or drink a drop of water for six of the past ten years. After 27 surgeries, she was miraculously reconnected with the intestines she had left. To persevere through those tumultuous years took great inner and outer strength.
She has learned that the human spirit feeds off of hope, and hope is fuel we can cultivate ourselves. Ultimately, she learned that with resourcefulness, creativity, and unwavering curiosity, we can transform any adversity into personal growth and a resilience that is uniquely ours.
Connect with Amy
If you liked this interview, check out episode 184 with the Drinking Partners Ed Bailer and Day Bracey, where we discuss comedy and the business of comedy.
Grant Oliphant is president of The Heinz Endowments. For nearly two decades, Grant held several senior management posts with Heinz family foundations, including vice president for programs and planning at the Endowments, his position before taking over the helm at The Pittsburgh Foundation in 2008. He also served as press secretary to the late U.S. Sen. John Heinz from 1988 until the senator’s death in 1991.
If there’s a major project happening in Pittsburgh, chances are that Oliphant is pulling the strings. His six-year tenure atop The Pittsburgh Foundation saw that organization increase its assets by a third in the middle of a recession; even more impressively, that foundation oversaw the recruiting and hiring of Mayor Bill Peduto’s senior staff through its Talent City initiative. Oliphant quickly has made his presence known at Heinz, which shortly after his arrival in May 2014 jettisoned a controversial connection to the Center for Sustainable Shale Development.
Since then, he’s overseen the P4 Conference on urbanism in April, became the primary force in development of the 178-acre Almono site in Hazelwood, brokered the sale of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture to Heinz and other foundations and forged close ties to the Peduto administration.
Grant’s Challenge; Work to move your worldview from “me” to “we”.
Connect with Grant
If you liked this interview, check out episode 107 with Bill Peduto where we discuss the evolution of Pittsburgh or episode 130 with Ray Gastil where we discuss the challenges of city planning and reorganizing Pittsburgh’s communities.
Head over to goingdeepwithaaron.com/callahan for more information.
Vote for Carl Morgenstern in 2017.
Kyle Crawford is the CEO & Founder of Fundraising Genius, where he combines his love of design, technology, and social good into one of the most innovative organizations for people raising money. He has advised leaders from universities, foundations, tech companies, and nonprofits. He’s also presented on design, data, and social innovation at conferences of all sizes.
In 2015, Kyle built the gamified social innovation community, Dwilly, where he personally curated more than 3,000 innovative solutions to pressing social issues from a global audience of fundraisers, entrepreneurs, engineers, social workers, and designers. Prior to that, he worked in healthcare philanthropy managing the design and data for an innovative and hugely successful 25-site statewide HIV care model that has since been replicated and funded as a national model for linking and retaining people living with HIV/AIDS in medical care.
Kyle’s Challenge; Set up a scheduled, anonymous donation. Don’t tell anyone that you’ve done it.
Connect with Kyle
If you liked this interview, check out episode 114 with Dan Bull where we discuss getting the previously incarcerated back to work.
Raised in the home of a Pittsburgh entrepreneur, Michelle Flynn developed an interest for new creative development leading her to burghTV – Pittsburgh’s Snapchat Story and 2017 Winner of Pittsburgh's PR Disruptor of the Year. She uses her training as a professional theatre and film actress to host the channel showing off Pittsburgh's hidden gems. When not snapping for burghTV, Michelle can be found chatting with her fellow sales and marketing co-workers at Truefit – a Pittsburgh-based software product innovation firm.
Prior to her involvement with Truefit, Michelle served as a student liaison for Kent State University (her alma mater) surpassing record quotas for reconnecting alumni to the University and leading to increased alumni involvement and donorship. A proud member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Michelle continues to work in the hopes of sharing her story with this professional organization
Michelle’s Challenge; Do something different, outside your comfort zone, like an acting class.
Connect with Michelle
If you liked this interview, check out episode 88 with Sunny Lennarduzzi where we discuss Snapchat, YouTube and being your own boss.
Born and raised in Cleveland, OH, Ed Bailey’s family noticed his quick wit early on in life. While that wit sometimes landed him in trouble, it often was the source of great entertainment for those who bore witness. After high school, the University of Pittsburgh brought him to Pittsburgh, PA where he would make a name for himself as a comedian. During his brief career as a comedian, Ed has been able to capture the attention of some of the most recognizable figures in comedy such as Eddie Griffin and Hannibal Burress which is a testament to his ability to relate to anyone while on stage. His talents have also landed him a successful podcast that he co-hosts with comedian Day Bracey called Drinking Partners on the Epicast Network.
A polygamist, simultaneously married to bacon and booze, Day Bracey once led a mostly private life, in fear of persecution from a conservative right winged christian society who wouldn’t understand his inability to choose between two loves. Armed with his sword of common sense and shield of free thought, Day Bracey now roams the Earth, striking down ignorance and BS wherever they may rear their ugly heads. A guerrilla against a well established army of stupidity, his methods of attack have been described as surprising and borderline radical, but precise and well planned. Also, he tells poop jokes.
Ed’s Challenge; Go support a local artist.
Day’s Challenge; Read a history book day.
Connect with Day
Connect with Ed
Listen to the Drinking Partners Podcast
If you liked this interview, check out episode 123 with Tucker Max where we discuss writing NYT bestsellers and writing your own book.
Oliver Luckett is a bona fide tech mogul. Having starting multiple companies and worked for clients like Russell Brand, Steve Aoki, Charlize Theron, Mark Wahlberg, the Chainsmokers, and Pitbull, he knows branding online.
Oliver most recently sold his company theAudience, co-founded with Ari Emanuel of William Morris and tech entrepreneur Sean Parker. Prior, Oliver was CEO and co-founder of DigiSynd, a Walt Disney Company, and previously Oliver co-founded Revver, which helped kick off new media with their novel concept of the video rev-share.
Prior to Revver, Oliver took the Norman Lear "Declare Yourself" campaign to the Internet and gathered more than one million new online voter registrations.
Oliver still cherishes his bachelor's degree in French Literature from Vanderbilt University and recently moved to a home in Iceland.
Oliver’s Challenge; Reverse engineer the success that you hope to achieve.
Connect with Oliver
If you liked this interview, check out episode 123 with Tucker Max where we discuss the future of branding and how to write a book.
Teresa Chahine, the Program Leader for Social Entrepreneurship at Harvard, literally wrote the book on Social Entrepreneurship. Social Entrepreneurship is a revolution occurring around the world today, where people from all walks of life are developing and implementing innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions in response to social and environmental challenges.
These solutions include products, services, frameworks and interventions brought to market by both new startups and existing organizations, whether for-profit or non-profit. Her Book Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship summarizes the basic steps and tools needed to understand the challenge you are tackling, imagine and prototype potential solutions, build a business model, measure and grow your impact.
Teresa’s Challenge; Make a list of 3 things that really piss you off. Pick one to work on and join forces with others who share your mission.
Connect with Teresa
If you liked this interview, check out episode 134 with Gisele Fetterman where we discuss helping the less fortunate and transforming a town.
Reed Verdesoto’s business is ReedVerde. For the past 5 years he has worked in ministry creating music, film, and photographs for the Church. He has met many artists and students through collaboration who have imparted their wisdom and technical skills upon him and his work.
Reed enjoys the creative process, and being able to provide for his family. He hopes to create something that can be enjoyed and shared.
Reed’s Challenge; You have friends that do something amazing. Ask them to show you how they do it.
Connect with Reed
If you liked this interview, check out episode 68 with Wes Shonk where we discuss whiskey, bartending, and how to drink well.
Tom Corson-Knowles is an entrepreneur, blogger, and international bestselling author. Today, he teaches new and established authors and writers how to achieve incredible success by writing and selling ebooks on Amazon Kindle.
Tom is the founder of TCK Publishing, an international trade book publisher that is leading the industry in providing advanced marketing support for authors. TCK Publishing specializes in marketing for both fiction and nonfiction authors to help get their messages and stories out to millions of readers all over the world.
Tom’s Challenge; Spend 15 minutes without any distractions (no phone or people) to think about the primary problems in your life and work on solutions.
Connect with Tom
If you liked this interview, check out episode 127 with Jim Miller where we discuss writing a 700 page oral history.
Kaelon started working in the public school sector when he was 19. He pursued business management in IT in college, but, like some well-known entrepreneurs, always found himself too entrenched in my work to focus on school. Kaelon held almost every position there was to hold in IT, eventually broadening his reach by working with school districts around the world for a Student Information System technology company.
Having the opportunity to work with thousands of schools, Kaelon gained a deep appreciation for and understanding of the data collection needs school districts have. He used that experience to build partnerships with school districts who utilize his paperless platform - with a goal to fundamentally improve data collection processes through an integrated ecosystem and reduce paper, providing schools with more time to focus on student learning.
While not a native Pittsburgher, Kaelon has lived here most of his life and is proud to contribute to the city’s entrepreneurial spirit. Much like the shift Pittsburgh made from coal and steel to environmentally friendly and sustainable energy, school districts around the world are making that shift as well.
Going Deep with Aaron Watson is brought to you by Audible - get a FREE audiobook download and 30 day free trial at http://www.audibletrial.com/Aaron. With over 180,000 titles to choose from, you can enjoy from any mobile device.
Kaelon’s Challenge; Take one day and spend it thinking of time as an investment, paying attention to what gives you the greatest return. Things that last longer than the time invested will typically be a good example.
Connect with Kaelon
If you liked this interview, check out episode 8 with our friend Jason Miller where we discuss starting a website as a side hustle.
Happy Martin Luther King Day.
I am a 25-year-old journalist based in Harlem, NY. I was born in Trenton, NJ and got my start in journalism as the sports editor for The Pitt News. I have lived, studied, traveled or written all over United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Iceland, Israel, Egypt, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Alaska, and West Texas, which I've come to consider a country of its own.
Over the course of eight years, I've reported on racism that drives sports fandom, how Harlem is combating gang violence, what harsh rhetoric and 9/11 security has done to our borders and the most unique home in America. My re-telling of the infamous murder of William Vassar won me a first place award in Pittsburgh's Neighborhoods in Transition writing competition. My endorsement of Hillary Clinton received over four million views and altered the conversation around millennial support of the Democratic nominee. Yahoo subsequently named me one of the 16 people who shaped the 2016 election alongside Khizr Khan, Bo Copley and others.
In 2015, my investigative piece on predatory payday loans changed public policy when it was cited by Maxine Waters in a letter to congress urging Universities and retirement plans to divest from certain lending services. After losing several classmates to heroin overdoses, I took a deep dive into what caused our country's epidemic of opioid addiction. I have covered everything from gay rodeos to why G-d doesn't care about football.
When I left The Huffington Post, where I started my professional writing career, I worked alongside Ashton Kutcher and a talented team to build A Plus, one of the world's largest positive news outlets. We are home to the silver lining. My work has appeared on CNN, The Huffington Post, Medium, The Daily Mail, A Plus and more. A Plus was recently acquired by Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can check out my weekly column "A Grain of Saul" on A Plus every Tuesday morning. You can follow me on Twitter here, where I spend an inordinate amount of time tweeting angrily about America.
Connect with Isaac
If you liked this interview, check out episode 17 for the first interview with Isaac.
Josh Moore founded the American Ultimate Disc League in April 2012.
The American Ultimate Disc League is the first and largest professional ultimate league in the world. It strives to maintain the sport’s rich history, and its 24 franchises embody the robust spirit of ultimate's players, fans, and community alike.
Connect with Josh
If you liked this interview, check out episode 164 with Don Grage where we discuss running the Washington DC Breeze and recruiting talent.
Robert Scoble is an American blogger, technical evangelist, and author. Scoble is best known for his blog, Scobleizer, which came to prominence during his tenure as a technology evangelist at Microsoft. He later worked for Fast Company as a video blogger, and then Rackspace and the Rackspace sponsored community site Building 43 promoting breakthrough technology and startups.
He currently works for Upload VR — a new media site covering virtual and augmented reality — as its entrepreneur in residence, where he develops new shows, events, and works with other entrepreneurs in the Upload Collective, a coworking space for virtual reality-focused startups.
Fragments Game on Microsoft Hololens
Robert’s Challenge; Get VR. Use it to connect with others. If you don’t, you’ll be out of business.
Connect with Robert
If you liked this interview, check out episode 118 with Kevin Kelly where we discuss the inevitable forces that will shape our future or episode 111 with Kash Dhanda where we discuss virtual reality and building a digital marketing agency.
Jacob Zax’s company, Edify, develops technologies that make learning more fun, creative, and accessible for people around the world.
Their current focus is music, with a new app, MusiQuest, that inspires beginners to love and understand music by teaching them to compose their own songs in styles from pop to classical. MusiQuest is an educational expansion of their first app, Sketch-a-Song, which has been used by over 300,000 people to create over 2,000,000 pieces to date.
Jacob’s Challenge; Diversify the media sources that you are consuming.
Connect with Jacob
If you liked this interview, check out episode 151 with Matt Keener where we discuss telemedicine and delivering brain health.
Calvin Wayman is an author, speaker, sales expert and social media entrepreneur. In his early twenties, being awkward and shy, he held a company record for the WORST performance a sales agent ever had. After almost being fired, he found a mentor and went on from having the worst performance to the best. He attributes his tenacity of “never giving up” to lessons he learned going out and knocking on random households, selling door-to-door.
In 2016 alone, Calvin Wayman started a social media management business, wrote his first book, and was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Social Media Examiner, The Huffington Post. He was also named one of “The Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under The Age of 30” by Influencive.com.
Calvin’s 4 C’s of Social Media
Content - Show you Exist
Context - Know the Platform
Consistency - Build Trust & Brand
Connection - Create Real Relationships
Calvin’s Challenge; Take a legit cold shower. It toughens your psyche and helps you focus on success.
Connect with Calvin
If you liked this interview, check out episode 144 with Clinton Senkow where we discuss global entrepreneurship, influence, and developing your writing skills.
Never miss one of our best episodes by subscribing to the newsletter.
Going Deep with Aaron Watson is brought to you by Audible - get a FREE audiobook download and 30 day free trial at http://www.audibletrial.com/Aaron. With over 180,000 titles to choose from, you can enjoy from any mobile device.
Check out my most recent Instagram post for the book giveaway.
Three of my favorite challenges featured in this episode.
Also a reading from this great book;
Connect with Aaron
Go check out that post on Instagram.
Mike’s Best Books
Aaron’s Best Books
Mike’s Favorite Subscriptions
Aaron’s Favorite Subscriptions
Mike’s Preferred Podcasts
Aaron’s Preferred Podcasts
Aaron’s Recommend YouTube Channels
The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian
Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg
What were your favorites of 2016? Please let us know!
NEW SPONSOR ALERT!
Going Deep with Aaron Watson is brought to you by Audible - get a FREE audiobook download and 30-day free trial at http://www.audibletrial.com/Aaron. With over 180,000 titles to choose from, you can enjoy from any mobile device.
Connect with Mike
It was an honor to feature this mix. JRod is an emerging DJ out of Pittsburgh fresh off his festival debut at Thrival 2016. Stay tuned for big things from him in 2017.
Team - Krewella
Get Low - Dillon Francis and DJ Snake
Bangarang - Skrillex
Shut It Down - Party Favor and Dillon Francis
Alone (Slushii Remix) - Marshmello
Core - RL Grime
Core (Sharps Remix) - RL Grime
Dead (NGHTMRE Remix) - Slander
Both - Gucci Mane ft. Drake
Bad Things - Nom De Strip
Need You (DJ Hanzel and Drezo Remix) - Dillon Francis and NGHTMRE
Jawbreaker - Callie Reiff and Kandy
Lean On (Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike Festival Remix) - Major Lazer ft. Mo
Let Me Love You (Don Diablo Remix) - DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber
Feel The Volume (JOYRYDE stick it in reverse remix) - Jauz
The Bomb (Live Mashup) - Bucketheads vs Kaaze vs Norman Doray
All We Know (Oliver Heldens Remix) - The Chainsmokers
Connect with JRod
If you liked this interview, check out episode 167 with Louie La Vella where we discuss music promotion and marketing music festivals.
Bonin Bough is one of the foremost-awarded marketing executives in his field, the host of the CNBC reality show Cleveland Hustles, and the author of Txt Me (646) 759-1837. Throughout his illustrious career as one of the youngest C-suite executives in a Fortune 50 company, Bough has spearheaded some of the industry’s largest global marketing campaigns across digital, mobile, television, print, and experiential, including the premier of the first ever 3D printed food product, the customizable, real-time 3D printed Oreo at South by Southwest.
Having served as the Chief Media & eCommerce Officer at Mondelēz International (formerly Kraft Foods) for the last four years, Bough has created some of the first marketing programs across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Paramount Films, ABC, NBC, Fox, to name a few, and takes precedence in fostering partnerships with startups including Instagram, Foursquare, and Buzzfeed. Before working at Mondelēz International, Bough led digital marketing globally for PepsiCo. Bough is seen as one of the top mobile marketers in the world, having been named “Mobile Marketer of the Year” by the MMA.
Over ten years of experience in the space, ranging from digital marketing, strategic planning and project execution to leading and building global digital marketing practices within agencies and on the client side. With a focus on creating industry-leading practices like Gatorade Mission Control, the industry's first model for real-time marketing, and PepsiCo10, a global digital innovation platform.
Bonin’s Challenge; Dedicate time to making a person or group better than they thought they could be. The mark of a great number one, is where their number two goes to lead.
Connect with Bonin
Ras Asan is the cofounder and CMO of Breaux Capital, a fintech startup dedicated to serving black male millennials.
Ras Asan is an early-stage business strategist and entrepreneur with a social conscience. Black Enterprise, CentricTV, Chicago Tribune, and New York Times have all covered Ras' work to increase higher education access and raise financial literacy awareness in traditionally underserved communities. Ras is also editor and head writer at The Crazy Rational, as well as a contributor to several other online publications.
Ras’s Challenge; Embrace doing nothing and being still.
Connect with Ras
If you liked this interview, check out episode 126 with Derrius Quarles where we discuss scholarship, growing up on the southside of Chicago, and the current social climate.
Louie has been called a Media-preneur: Combining a successful TV executive producer and host role with being a sought after marketing/branding consultant in the nightlife and music industry. In his television days he had the opportunity to interview the likes of Lady Gaga, Richard Branson, Backstreet Boys, and more.
Louie La Vella’s clients include entertainment personalities, nightclubs, concerts and festivals, and he creates brand and marketing strategies to engage and connect with their audience. Working within the ‘shark infested waters’ of the nightlife and music industry as a marketing and branding consultant, La Vella has been delivering high profit solutions to both live entertainment events, musicians and venues for years.
With 20+ years experience in the nightlife consultant area and extensive development and production experience with national television and feature film projects. La Vella has produced and marketed over 30 live music concerts in the past few years.
Louie’s Challenge; Decide to post something on social media every day for 10 consecutive days.
Connect with Louie
If you liked this interview, check out episode 162 with Kwame Christian where we discuss mastering negotiation and practicing law.
Boon Technical Clothing started out as a two-man operation with founder Aldwin Ibanez and just one seamstress. In 2007, Boon began supplying limited-edition t-shirts and athletic apparel, primarily to sport climbers. The company experienced rapid growth as it caught on with the burgeoning running scene, providing jerseys and singlets for the many running events in the Philippines. From time to time, it also produced custom-made jerseys for local ultimate frisbee teams.
In 2014, Boon set the goal of bolstering Boon’s presence in the international ultimate scene. Focusing on providing customized, full-sublimated jerseys at highly competitive prices, Boon has since supplied jerseys to teams in such countries as Singapore, Japan, Australia, and Sweden. In 2015, the company became the official outfitter of the American Ultimate Disc League, the fastest growing professional ultimate disc league in North America.
Jolas Larracas is currently the Operations Manager for the US market of Boon Technical Clothing. He got involved with the company when I migrated to the US from the Philippines.
Connect with John
If you liked this interview, check out episode 39 with Tim DeByl where we discuss running the Madison Radicals and sitting on the AUDL board.
Ryan Purcell was an Assistant GM, Assistant Coach, and player on the 2016 Austin Sol.
After playing at the University of Michigan and leading the program to three National Championship appearances in the mid-2000s, Ryan has since coached and played on every continent except Antarctica. Ryan currently serves as President of the World Flying Disc Federation’s (WFDF) Global Athletes Commission which represents players from around the globe with the sport’s international governing body. Ryan also serves as a member of WFDF’s Board of Directors, and was an active participant in the multi-year process that resulted in official member status with the IOC for the organization.
Ryan is excited to share the sport that has given him so many opportunities and incredible experiences with the people of Austin and engage local youth with the game of ultimate.
Connect with Ryan
If you liked this interview, check out episode 139 with Jim Gerenscer where we discuss the Dallas Roughnecks first season and winning an AUDL championship.