Hi everyone, thanks so much for tuning into High Five Success Stories! My very first podcast interview was exactly two years ago in July 2017. I interviewed MaryFrances McCourt who is the Vice President of Finance & Treasure of the University of Pennsylvania (similar roles as a CFO).  She oversees approximately 265 people over ten major offices and several departments.

MaryFrances’ first podcast conversation with me back in 2017 resonated with a ton of the listeners so I thought it would be super fun to have her back on the show two years later for Round 2. She was podcast episode #1 and now she is podcast episode #44!

MaryFrances and her husband have three children (ages 17, 33, and 35). Mary Frances has been in the corporate world for 35 years so she provides us with valuable lessons that you can apply to your business and everyday life. She talks about the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone, always taking the high road in personal and business life even when it’s difficult to do so, avoiding naysayers, the importance of failure and staying humble, and so much more.

I especially love her little bits of advice such as at the end of emails, she will frequently add “is there anything else I can do to help?” and then if the person does have more for you to do, to respond positively such as saying “absolutely” or “happy to do so!” MaryFrances tells her story in such a  humble and kind manner—she is the best! I hope you all enjoy my conversation with MaryFrances as much as I did!

Super excited to share my conversation with Eustace Mita, one of the most incredible entrepreneurs I have interviewed thus far! Shout out to his daughter Molly Mita who was kind enough to help coordinate this interview.

Euse was born and raised in Philadelphia and was the middle child of five kids. Today, he is married to his amazing wife Suzie for 43 years and together they have 5 children and 14 grandchildren. We start out our conversation by talking about Euse’s career in the car industry. At 16, he started buying and selling 1965 Mustangs. He would buy them out of the Inquirer for $200, fix it up and sell it for $400. Those were just the beginning days.

Euse went on to start his own company, Mita Leasing, which became one of the ten leasing companies on the east coast. Then in 1989, he joined forces with his uncle Euse Wolfington. For those of you not familiar, Euse Wolfington (past podcast guest) founded his company called Half a Car, which revolutionized the car industry. So when Euse Mita joined Half a Car, he became President and played a major role in expanding the company to over 18 countries with more than four thousand dealerships in the system.

He talks about how the company became a powerhouse and eventually was sold in 2000 for $200M. Shortly after the sale of Half A Car,  Euse found a passion for real estate and founded Achristavest, where he develops state-of-the-art residential homes around the country including Utah, Maryland, New Jersey, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, Nantucket, and most recently, Costa Rica.

In 2013, Euse’s passion for real estate evolved into hotel development. He founded Icona Resorts, a luxury hotel brand which currently has locations in southern New Jersey including the Icona Diamond Beach, Avalon, and Cape May—and they all have been ranked #1 rated beachfront hotel! 

Throughout our conversation, Euse not only tells us about his entrepreneurial journey, but also sprinkles in valuable life lessons. We touch on the importance of setbacks and failures, his unwavering faith, always maintaining a positive attitude,  how to be leader, humility, and so much more. Hope you enjoy!


“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

“The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino

“As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen

“Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill

“The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for tuning into the podcast—always grateful for a listen. I’m super excited to share my conversation with my friend Coach Ashley Howard who is the men’s head basketball coach at LaSalle University. This was a really fun one for me because his story connects to past podcast guests Coach Jay Wright and Father Rob Hagan. If you haven’t listened to my podcast with Coach Wright or Father Rob, definitely take the time to tune in. They both were incredible guests. And this was also fun for me because Coach Ash is a family friend! His dad, Mo Howard, coached my brother, Tony Hayden, at St. Joseph’s Prep so we go way back.

Coach Ashley Howard is married to his wife, Arianna, and they have two beautiful children! He was born and raised in Philadelphia where he bounced around from different grade schools and high schools and then landed at Drexel University. He was a standout player at Drexel but unfortunately, his basketball career came to a sudden halt at the end of his sophomore year due to a health condition.

Coach Ash found the silver lining and became a student assistant coach, which was the start of his coaching career. After Drexel, Coach Ash was an assistant at LaSalle then Drexel, Xavier, and then at Villanova under Coach Wright—Coach Ash was a major part of the 2016 and 2018 basketball championship success. After his profound experience under Coach Wright, Coach Ash was offered the head coaching job at LaSalle University just one year ago in April 2018, which was always a dream for him!

So throughout our conversation,  we not only talk about Coach Ash’s successful basketball coaching career but we also talk about the setbacks, the importance of trusting God’s plan, overcoming failure, balancing family life, always remaining humble, the meaning of grit, and so much more. Hope you guys enjoy!

Uncommon Life by Tony Dunge

Hi guys, thank you so much for taking the time to tune into the podcast!

Quick update: I just passed my year and a half mark with High Five Success Stories. I launched this in September 2017 and I have really been enjoying it as a side project. I have done 41 episodes so far, so after you listen to this one, definitely check out the other 40—I have featured guests from all different industries! I have some really exciting guests that I am going to feature this summer as well. I am thinking about doing a few live episodes so please stay tuned for that!

This episode (#41) is with my friend Kerry Faherty. Before we started recording, we were chatting for a bit and I was telling her the process I use for selecting guests.  It’s important to me that my intention behind each interview is strong because I know that if my intention is strong, then the result will be powerful.

I told Kerry that my intention behind interviewing Faherty Brand was not just to highlight their success but also to bring awareness to a brand that is doing incredibly amazing things for the community and environment. Before launching their business in 2013, they spent a year researching sustainable practices and how they could implement them into their design. They found a way to repurpose plastic (ex: plastic water bottles) and refine it into yarn. They discovered a process that allows them to offer stylish, comfortable, and casual clothing with a minimal impact on the environment. Kerry says Faherty Brand is “like if Ralph Lauren and Patagonia had a baby!” I truly believe that their sustainable practices really set them apart from their competition.

Kerry is from Buffalo, NY and went to Yale University where she met Alex Faherty and then continued onto Pepperdine University for law school. Before and during law school, she did a ton of traveling to places like Thailand, Armenia, Uganda, and Nigeria where she was exposed to the weight and heaviness of people’s realities. For instance, she worked in a home for sexually abused girls in Thailand. These experiences shaped how she looks at the world today, such as how she and the Faherty Brand focus on giving back in a way that creates positivity.

After law school, Kerry clerked for a judge for two years and then shortly after, she opened Mindful Mentors in 2009 where she would provide meditation workshops for law firms, schools, and families.  While Kerry was busy with Mindful Mentors, her husband Alex and his twin brother Mike were in the midst of getting ready to launch Faherty Brand. Alex and Mike had recently quit their corporate jobs in NYC. Alex had worked in finance and Mike had worked at Ralph Lauren. At the age of 30, they were ready to chase their dream of opening their very own clothing brand.

During one of the crazy beginning nights of building the brand, Alex looked at Kerry and said: “we need you.” So in 2012, Kerry became employee number three at Faherty Brand. They officially launched the brand in 2013- they did a 31-day tour around the country introducing the brand and then ended in Montauk. Yes, Kerry traveled all around the country in a pickup truck with two twin brothers. Kerry was humble enough to share some of the early setbacks, such as when they struggled to meet payroll or when they had to Airbnb their apartment to pay rent. Kerry also talks about becoming a full time working mom. She and Alex have two adorable little ones—a three and one-year-old!

So fast forward to 2019, the brand just crossed their 5-year milestone. Their team—which started with Kerry, Alex, and Mike—now has grown to 50 people in their headquarters in NYC. You can find their clothes on their website, wholesale, and their nine awesome locations around the country: three in New York (West Village, Soho, Sag Harbor in the Hamptons) Nantucket, Boston, and four in California (Pacific Palisades, Del Mar, Malibu, and Newport). Hope you guys enjoy!


  1. Radical Candor by Kim Scott
  2. The Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield

To learn more about the podcast, check out my Instagram page! And make sure to follow Faherty Brand as well.

Hi everyone! Super excited to share my conversation with Nick Bayer, the CEO and Founder of Saxbys, which is a hospitality and coffee company headquartered right in Philadelphia.

Nick is 40 years old and lives in Philadelphia with his wife Haley and son Luke. He was born and raised in Chicago alongside his little brother and then made his way to Cornell University where he was the captain of the baseball team. After Cornell, he moved to Atlanta and worked in the corporate world doing consulting for a couple of years. When he was 25, he created Saxbys. Nick tells us that what sets Saxbys apart from other coffee companies is their extreme hospitality—they treat every single employee and customer with the utmost respect. They build cafes that have an uplifting environment with friendly faces, delicious drinks, and exceptional food.

Despite the chain’s popularity today, it wasn’t an overnight success. Just a few years into the business, he found himself $150,000 in credit card debt and then had to file for bankruptcy in 2009. Although there were some dark times, Nick never gave up and persevered through adversity.  In 2009, he moved Saxbys to Philadelphia (go Philly!!) and rebuilt the company. Fast forward 10 years, they are now very profitable and have 27 locations across 9 states.

In 2015, Nick also introduced Saxbys groundbreaking Experiential Learning Program in partnership with Drexel University: the nation’s first entirely student-run café where students can earn full academic credit and wages to manage all aspects of a Saxbys café. Yes, these college students are actually in charge of the 30+ member team, the financials, and community partnerships. It had so much proven success at Drexel that they now have student-run cafes at eight other universities and are quickly growing. I hope you enjoy Nick’s story as much as I did!



Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

So excited to share my conversation with my friend Billy Cunningham, an incredibly humble Philadelphia legend! Billy was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY alongside his three siblings.

Early in life, Billy realized he had a love and passion for the game of basketball. He was fortunate enough to go to the University of North Carolina and to this day, he is recognized as one of the best players in the school’s history. After graduating from college in 1965, he played professionally for nine years, playing for both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Carolina Cougars. He was on the team that won the 76ers NBA Championship in 1967 with the famous Wilt Chamberlin, who is considered one of the greatest players of all time.

His career came to an end in 1976 and after a short stint in broadcasting for CBS, he was hired as the head coach of the 76ers from 1977 to 1985. In 1983, he led the team to win the NBA Championship, which was the last team ever in Philadelphia history to win an NBA title.  Billy talks a lot about this team and the humble and incredible team members such as Bobby Jones, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney, Moses Malone, and Julius Erving—all considered some of the best players in NBA history.

In 1986, Billy was inducted into NBA Hall of Fame and in 1996 he was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.  His jersey number 32 is retired, however, he allowed it to be worn by the legendary Charles Barkley, who he also coached.

After retiring from coaching in 1985, he went on to be one of the co-founders of the Miami Heat NBA team, which was a remarkable entrepreneurial journey. After building that team into a true success, he sold his share in 1994 for a very profitable number. Over the past 20+ years, Billy has continued on with tremendous success in business, becoming a very keen investor in different businesses.

I personally think that one of his greatest successes has been his 53 yearlong marriage to his awesome wife and my good friend Sondra Cunningham. Together they have two beautiful daughters Stephanie and Heather and four grandchildren!

Hope you enjoy the interview!

New podcast is up with my friend Luke Holden: the CEO and founder of Luke’s Lobster! Tune in to learn all about how Luke launched Luke’s Lobster in 2009 in NYC and now—almost 10 years later—is generating $60M in sales!

Luke was born in Cape Elizabeth,  Maine and is a third generation lobsterman. After graduating from Georgetown University in 2007, Luke went into a career in investment banking, making a good salary. In the summer of 2009, he found himself missing home and went in search of a lobster roll. To his dismay, every lobster roll available was overpriced, drowning in mayo, or diluted with celery. Realizing there was a hole in the market, Luke decided to take a risk and open his very own 200SF lobster shack in October 2009, right in the midst of the recession.

He found his partner, Ben Coniff, on Craigslist and he convinced his dad to be a 50-50 investor. Luke’s dad borrowed against his 401K and Luke had $15,000 in savings—a combined $45,000 investment. Fast forward almost 10 years, Luke now has 29 locations across the country. They have shacks in NYC, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, San Fran, and Maine. They also have 13 shacks in Japan and 2 in Taiwan! They are the primary lobster holder for Whole Foods. So if you shop there, you can find their lobster rolls!

If you haven’t heard or tried of Luke’s Lobster, I highly recommend you do! They serve classic, authentic, and delicious lobster rolls. Most importantly, the fish they are serving come straight from their seafood company in Maine, ensuring traceable and sustainable seafood.

For instance, I live in Philadelphia. If I go to a Luke’s Lobster location and order a lobster roll, I know for a fact that the lobster I am eating was harvested and sourced directly from the Atlantic Ocean only 48 hours prior!


10% Entrepreneur by Patrick McGinnis

Super excited to share my conversation with my friend, Keith Jones, who is a news anchor at NBC10 in Philadelphia! Big shout out to our mutual friend, Rosemary Connors, who is also an anchor at NBC10 and was kind enough to make the connection!

Keith grew up in a small town called New Egypt in New Jersey with his parents and two brothers. He then went on to Villanova University, which played a tremendous role in his life. During his time at Villanova, he was the manager and practice player for the men’s basketball team. It was through this that sparked his interest in broadcasting!

After graduating from Villanova in 2007, Keith took a leap of faith and dove headfirst into the broadcasting industry. He started from the very bottom: beginning in Harrisonburg, Virginia for two years, then made his way to Pittsburgh for three years. In 2012, Keith had the exciting and rare opportunity to return to Philadelphia to NBC10 at age 27 (making him the youngest anchor in the Philadelphia area).

Over the past seven years, Keith covered an extensive amount of intriguing stories that he tells us about. Not only does Keith detail his broadcasting career but he was also kind enough to talk about the passing of his late girlfriend Cara McCollum, who died tragically in a car accident in 2016. Keith can most definitely serve as a role model to anyone that been through a similar type of adversity. Keith also talks about the angels that arose in his life after this tragedy, such as his amazing new girlfriend Devon and past podcast guests Father Rob Hagan and Coach Wright and the entire Villanova basketball family. I hope you enjoy listening to Keith’s story as much as I did!

Super excited to share my conversation with Christine Doherty Kondra and her husband, Nick Kondra: the two co-founders of Cornerstone Restaurant located right in the heart of Wayne, Pennsylvania. If you live in the Philadelphia area, I encourage you to check out the fine dining experience that Christine and Nick have built — I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Throughout our conversation, Christine takes us on her life journey, as Nick chimes in to add color to stories. She tells us all about life before Cornerstone. Although she ideally wanted to pursue her passion for food immediately after college by attending the French Cullinary Institute,  she couldn’t give up an incredible job offer in the pharmaceutical industry. So for the next 10 years,  Christine climbed the ladder in the corporate world, working in New York, Boston, and London. And then at the age of 30 in 2009, she decided to quit her job and finally follow her passion — she reinvented herself and became a renowned chef on Nantucket and opened her very own business called the ACK experience.

Christine’s years in Nantucket were formative. Not only did she meet her husband Nick, but she also developed incredibly strong relationships with chefs and farmers – and those relationships are now valuable assets to continued success at Cornerstone today. In 2013, Christine and Nick decided to move back to Philadelphia. Although they had plans in the future to eventually open a restaurant, they didn’t think it would happen as quickly as it did. Then in 2014, a friend called them and told them that a prime space was available right in the heart of the mainline of Philadelphia. Christine and Nick jumped on the opportunity, took a risk, and opened Cornerstone Restaurant in 2015 where they curate distinctive menus, highlighting fresh, local, and globally sourced ingredients.

I promise you will not be disappointed with your meal. I went there with my family on a Friday night just about a month ago and it was the perfect atmosphere and meal after a long day of work! Over the past three years, Cornerstone has had tremendous success — so much that they just expanded this past March, opening a brand new bar and seating area. They are open 10 AM to midnight Tuesday through Saturday and 9 AM to 4 PM on Sundays. Hope you guys enjoy my conversation with Christine and Nick as much as I did!

New podcast is up with my friend Father Rob Hagan! Father Rob is most well known for being an incredible asset to the Villanova University Community, where he is both the basketball and football Chaplain and Senior Athletic Director.

Coach Jay Wright gave him the honor of being the last person to cut down the net after the 2018 Championship game. Coach Wright remarked the following about Father Rob: “I think every player and every member of our staff will tell you Father Rob is one of the greatest men any of us have in our lives. He has been an integral part of the program and my life, I count on him as a dear friend. Our whole team and staff attend a prayer service before every game. It starts with Father Rob doing a reading from the Bible and then a homily. He’s never talking about the game, he’s talking about life — and what kind of men we are and what kind of Christians we are. I always joke with Father, don’t make us cry before the game!!”

When I met Father Rob last month, I had just lost my dad and he also lost his dad suddenly at the age of 18, so we instantly made a connection and he was able to provide me with profound wisdom I will never forget.

So quick background on Father — he is from Philadelphia, went to Cardinal O’Hara for high school, graduated from Villanova in 1987 and then immediately went to law school. He was a successful attorney for seven years, living a very normal life for a young man in his 20s and early 30s. Then when he was 32, he decided he wanted to become an Augustinian. After six years of additional education, he was ordained a priest in 2003 and has never looked back.

Throughout our conversation, he not only takes on his life journey but also provides us with valuable universal life lessons on humbleness, small acts of kindness, patience, overcoming failure, how to handle losing a loved one, and so much more. Please enjoy!



Green Bananas: The Wisdom of Father Bill Atkinson