Hi everyone! Super excited to share my conversation with Villanova Head Basketball Coach Jay Wright, who is most well-known for winning the 2016 and 2018 National Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament. This podcast is also a special tribute to my dad, Tony Hayden, who passed away peacefully on October 9th at the age of 74 and was a lifelong Philadelphia basketball sports fan. I interviewed Coach Wright on Wednesday, September 26th and that night I gave my dad a sneak preview to the interview. My dad was one of the toughest critics of all time and I am happy to report that he loved every second of my conversation with Coach Wright! I hope you guys do too!

Quick background on Coach Wright: he and his wonderful wife named Patty have three children. Coach was born and raised right outside of Philadelphia in Bucks County where he went to Council Rock High School and then Bucknell University. He had a marketing job right out of college in Philadelphia before he took his first coaching job in 1984 at the University of Rochester. He went on to be the Assistant Coach at Drexel University, then Villanova University, and then the University of Nevada. He moved on to Head Coach at Hofstra University in 1994 and finally, Villanova in 2001.

Although Coach Wright has had an incredible amount of success, it’s important to remember that he started from the very bottom. Just like anyone else, he experienced a tremendous amount of failure and setbacks throughout his career and has had to use grit, perseverance, and a positive attitude to get to where he is today. What I absolutely loved the most about my conversation with Coach Wright is that even with all of his success, he is still the most humble and kindest person ever.

Hi everyone! So excited to share my conversation with my friends Pat Croce and Kelly Croce Sorg, my very first father-daughter duo and two of the most humble, kind, and welcoming human beings.

For a quick background, Pat is 64 and—in my opinion—has one of the most remarkable Philadelphia success stories. Pat’s story is inspirational because it is a classic rags-to-riches tale. He started out as a physical therapist and then at the age of 30, he took out a $40,000 loan and launched his own company called Sports Physical Therapists. There, he treated professional athletes and also people from all walks of life. He started a phenomenon, as his business grew into a chain of 40 centers spanning 11 states. In 1993, he sold it for approximately $40M. In 1996, he became President of the Philadelphia 76ers. Note that he used persistence and grit to convince the preceding owner to sell the team to him. Pat said he called him 50 times and even showed up at his house a couple of times. Under Pat’s ownership, the Sixers went from last place in 1996 to the NBA finals in 2001. Pat’s stories from his time as president of the 76ers are incredible. He tells us about how he worked tremendously hard to create a fan-friendly environment and of course we touch on his relationship with the famous Allen Iverson.

Kelly also has her father’s entrepreneurial spirit. She was a huge asset to the team that built Pat’s $10M St. Augusta Pirate and Treasure Museum in 2005, which is now located in St. Augustine, Florida. Today she works at a company called Chairloom, that creatively helps customers with furniture purchases, reupholstery projects, and custom furniture. They are based out of Ardmore, PA but have clients all over the country.

In the 2nd part of our conversation, we take a deep dive into meditation which has become a huge part of both Pat and Kelly’s life. They emphasize how important it is to stay in the present moment—in the NOW. What I really loved the most about my conversation with Pat and Kelly was that they incorporated so many valuable life lessons in their stories. We talked about the importance of curiosity, listening, remaining positive through rejection, stepping outside comfort zones, and so much more.  I hope you enjoy my conversation with Pat and Kelly as much as I did!

 

Books:

“I Feel Great and You Will Too” by Pat Croce

“Lead or Get off Pot: 7 Secrets of a Self Made Leader” by Pat Croce

“110%: 110 Strategies for Feeling Great Every Day” by Pat Croce

“A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life” by Brian Grazer

“The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself” by Michael A. Singer

“The Art of Happiness” by Dalai Lama XIV and Howard C. Cutler

Websites:

http://www.chairloom.com/

http://thepiratemuseum.com/

Hi everyone! Super excited to share my conversation with Laura Lea: a 32-year-old certified holistic chef and food expert based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Laura went to UVA for college and then moved to NYC where she lived for 4 years. In NYC, she had good-paying jobs in the law and financial industry, but they left her feeling unfulfilled. Not only was Laura unhappy with her job but she also was struggling with her personal life as well.

She was not leading a healthy lifestyle, which caused her struggles with anxiety and depression. Laura became quickly tired of this lifestyle and began to focus on ways to improve her health. One major change she made was learning to eat healthily.

Laura became so passionate about food and nutrition that in 2013, she took a leap of faith, quit her corporate job, and applied to the National Gourmet Institute of NYC—a yearlong cooking school where she became a certified chef. After graduating from the school in 2013, Laura moved back to Nashville and launched LL Balanced, a website where she is able to share all of her amazing recipes. It wasn’t all easy though—she started from the bottom and had to slowly build a following.

She said yes to any opportunity that came her way, such as teaching a free cooking class, lecturing classes at school, being a food consultant for restaurants, and creating meal plans for clients. Slowly but surely she began to obtain tremendous credibility. Today, 5 years later, she has built an incredible following and business. She launched her very first cookbook called LL Balanced in 2017 which includes over 120 delicious and nutritious recipes! And she has a second cookbook on the way!

Can’t wait for you all to listen to Laura Lea’s inspirational journey—her positive energy is contagious!

Mike Mayock has one of the coolest Philadelphia stories, so I can’t wait to share my conversation with him! He was born and raised in Philadelphia as the oldest of seven kids and today, he has two awesome children: Leigh and Michael.  Mike went to the Haverford School followed by Boston College where he was the captain of the football and baseball team and was inducted into the BC Hall of Fame in 2001. After college, he had a short stint in NFL for two years playing for the Steelers and the Giants. Then from 1984 to 2003, he pursued a job in the commercial real estate industry in the greater Philadelphia area.

Although he was making a comfortable financial living in commercial real estate, Mike knew he had to find a way to pursue his true passion: football. So as a side hustle, he would announce high school games. He started at the very bottom and did any sort of game to get his foot in the door. As time went on, the industry started recognizing Mike and as a result, he started doing more football games at higher levels. Everyone thought it was cool he was doing these games, but no one really thought it would amount to anything significant. In fact, he stayed at his day job in commercial real estate for 18 years before he got his big break in the NFL Network in 2003.

The job offer from the NFL Network came with big risks, like having to take a pay cut while raising a family. Mike took the risk, accepted the job, and never looked back. He told me it was the best decision in his entire life. Today, he is one of the most highly-respected people at the NFL Network. And the next time you see him on national television, I hope he will be a reminder of someone that used grit, patience, and perseverance to turn their passion into a real-time job. I can’t wait to watch him continue to kill it!

Books:

War Room: The Legacy of Bill Belichick and the Art of Building the Perfect Team by Michael Holley

I’m very excited to share my conversation with my friend Rosemary Connors: an award-winning anchor and reporter for NBC10 News in Philadelphia. You can watch her live weekday reports and see her anchoring the weekend mornings!

Rosemary is 35 years old, married, and from right outside of Philadelphia. We both attended the Academy of Notre Dame in Villanova, where she just gave the commencement speech to the graduating seniors on June 1st! She is my fourth guest to attend the Academy of Notre Dame, following Martie Gillin (Founder of SpeakUp), Maureen Doran (founder of Skirt Boutique), and September Rinnier (Co-founder Tuckernuck). She then went on to the University of Pennsylvania—where I also went—so this was a really fun conversation for me, given that Rosemary and I have a similar background.

Throughout our conversation, Rosemary tells us all about her journey in the news industry. Her climb to an established position in Philadelphia did not happen overnight, but she has stayed the course over the past 13 years. She started from the bottom right out of college and dove headfirst into the industry. She began her career in Grand Junction, Colorado and then Fort Myers, Florida before making her way back to Philadelphia. We talk about the setbacks, the risks she took, her schedule and so much more. I hope you enjoy the conversation with Rosemary as much as I did!

 

Books:

“Gideon’s Trumpet” by Anthony Lewis

So excited to share my conversation with my friend Vaughan Cutillo, one of three co-founders of Montauk Brewing Company! If you’re not familiar, Montauk is a beautiful and super fun summer vacation town.

Vaughan was born and raised in Montauk, but he has a Philly connection via his alma mater: Villanova University. As listeners know, I love featuring Philly success stories since I grew up there! One of the main reasons I am excited to share Vaughan’s story is because Montauk Brewing Company has truly humble and authentic roots. They started from the bottom, brewing beers as a hobby in Vaughan’s parent’s basement. At age 25, Vaughan and the two other co-founders (Eric Moss and Joe Sullivan) decided to give their 2-week notice to their existing jobs, pull their funds together, and turn their passion of brewing beers into a real business.

The first step was to open an actual brewing taste room, but it didn’t happen overnight. Since the guys were the very first brewing house in Montauk, it took nearly three years to get full permitting from the township.  Although they hit some road bumps in the beginning, Vaughan, Eric, and Joe persevered and stayed on course. June 30, 2018 marks the company’s six-year anniversary! Today, not only do they have an awesome, super popular brewery in the heart of Montauk, but they also distribute their beer throughout Long Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island and West Chester. They have an incredible following and just over this past Memorial Day weekend, they sold 300,000 cans of Montauk Brewing Company beer.

Can’t wait to watch their company continue to grow—and of course, can’t wait to visit Montauk again this summer!

 

Books:

Good To Great by Jim Collins

Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere by Steven Leckart and Zach Klein

Website: https://montaukbrewingco.com/pages/home

Instagram: @montaukbrewco

Hi everyone! Given that I am from Philadelphia, I absolutely love when I have the opportunity to feature Philadelphia entrepreneurs. So today I am excited to share my conversation with my friends Neely and Chloe Burch who were both born and raised right outside Philadelphia.

Neely (27) and Chloe (26) are sisters and they come from a long line of family members in the fashion industry including their dad and uncle (who started Eagle’s Eye), their cousins Louisa and Pookie Burch (who started Trademark), and of course their aunt—the one and only Tory Burch. In the fall of 2016, Neely and Chloe decided to pave their own path in the fashion industry and launched “Neely and Chloe” in NYC which features a wide variety of affordable go-to accessories, such as handbags, wallets, footwear and so much more! I purchased my weekender bag a few weeks ago and I use it every single day!

Throughout our conversation, Neely and Chloe tell us all about their entrepreneurial journey as sisters. We talk about “a-ha!” moments (i.e., when their product was featured on Oprah’s Top 100 List), navigating the fundraising world, how they deal with setbacks, and so much more. Stand by: this sister duo is on to something so incredible. I can’t wait to watch them continue to grow and explode in the fashion industry!

Website: https://neelyandchloe.com/about/

Hi everyone! Today I am super excited to share my conversation with my friend, Amy Howard, who is from Memphis, Tennessee. Amy has an uplifting and humbling story!  She tells us all about how she took a risk and started her very own company in the early 1990s called Amy Howard Collection—a company where she and her husband, Gene, designed and manufactured beautiful, high-end furniture.

They started out small but worked tremendously hard and eventually gained a huge following. They found themselves selling high-end furniture to people all over the world, including celebrities! Amy was also kind enough to tell us about her setbacks, such as in 2008 when her target audience suddenly changed—people were no longer buying luxury furniture and manufacturers were copying her furniture line at a much cheaper rate, but Amy didn’t give up.

She got creative, pivoted and started the Amy Howard at Home paint line in 2011, which is a distinguished class of high-end artisan quality paint products and training. People can simply buy her paint line and rescue, restore and redecorate their furniture on their very own. Then in 2015, she partnered with ACE Hardware, where her paint line was sold in stores all over the world. Her “One Step Paint” was recently featured on the Today Show! She has also published two books and I LOVED them both!  I hope you enjoy my conversation with Amy as much as I did!

Amy Howard at Home:

Books:

“Rescue, Restore, Redecorate: Amy Howard’s Guide to Refinishing Furniture and Accessories” by Amy Howard

“A Maker’s Guide: A Letter and Roadmap to Creative Entrepreneurs” by Amy Howard

“Good to Great” by Jim Collins

Website:

http://www.amyhowardhome.com

 

Hi everyone! I have a really special guest today, Eustace Wolfington. Eustace is 85 years old and he and his late wife, Marcy, had 10 children, 33 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild. He is one of the most renowned innovators in the history of the car industry. Euse tells us his story of how he revolutionized the car industry with his company, “Half A Car.” His concept was to have the customer finance or lease half of the vehicle’s price, then after two years, the dealer would take the car back and resell the vehicle for the depreciated price. I know it’s a little complex so to put it in simpler terms, if you lease a car today, it is because of Euse Wolfington.

So it took nearly 20 years for the rest of the world to catch onto Euse’s idea, given that at that time, the majority of the world was more familiar with the concept of purchasing a car at full price. Although so many people told Euse to give up, he persevered and his “Half A Car” concept was adopted by Ford in 1982 and eventually by the car industry as a whole. From 1982 to 2000, Euse’s “Half A Car” concept expanded to over 18 countries, with more than four thousand dealerships in the system. In 2000, he sold the company for $200M.

Throughout our conversation, Euse not only tells us his entrepreneurial story but also feeds us with an extraordinary amount of wisdom that you will be able to apply to your everyday life. I hope you enjoy!

Hi everyone! Super excited to share my conversation with my friends Kimberly Caccavo (56) and Kate Nowlan (40). In 2013, these two amazing women co-founded GRACEDBYGRIT: an athletic apparel company based out of San Diego. Throughout our conversation, Kimberly and Kate tell us all about life before GRACEDBYGRIT and share their GRITTY stories, such as when Kimberly lost her first husband to cancer at age 30 and when Kate went through a divorce at age 29. But don’t worry, there are silver linings to these GRITTY moments!

We then dive into their incredible entrepreneurial journey of launching GRACEDBYGRIT. They tell us all about their unique brand,  how it’s different from competitors (i.e., lululemon), how they overcome the naysayers, how they juggle working full time with kids, what they have learned about investors, and so much more. I hope you guys enjoy our conversation as much as I did!

Books:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Website:

https://www.gracedbygrit.com/