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27. Going Against the Grain. What Do You Learn When You Remove Yourself From Society?

My guest this week is Warren Doyle. Warren holds the informal record for hiking the Appalachian Trail the most times. That number is 18 times. Yes, he has hiked 18 total times from George to Maine, which is 2,190 miles and typically takes 5-7 months to complete. In 1973, Warren set the unofficial endurance record of hiking the trail in a record time of 66 days. Since then, Warren has gone on to start the Appalachian Trail Institute, which teaches and equips hikers with the training they need to have a better chance at completing the trail. The trail has a 75% failure rate. This conversation is much more than just about hiking the Appalachian Trail. It also covers, What drew him in early on, going against the grain, how the trail changes you, the power of nature, how society can conform you, dancing, joy, and more. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode, and I hope this episode gives you more clarity on the power of nature, being tested, and much more.

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Listen to the most recent episodes from Conversations That Create Change.

November 25, 2020

My guest this week is Warren Doyle. Warren holds the informal record for hiking the Appalachian Trail the most times. That number is 18 times. Yes, he has hiked 18 total times from George to Maine, which is 2,190 miles and typically takes 5-7 months to complete. In 1973, Warren set the unofficial endurance record of hiking the trail in a record time of 66 days. Since then, Warren has gone on to start the Appalachian Trail Institute, which teaches and equips hikers with the training they need to have a better chance at completing the trail. The trail has a 75% failure rate. This conversation is much more than just about hiking the Appalachian Trail. It also covers, What drew him in early on, going against the grain, how the trail changes you, the power of nature, how society can conform you, dancing, joy, and more. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode, and I hope this episode gives you more clarity on the power of nature, being tested, and much more.

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November 12, 2020

My guest this week is Clark Butcher. Clark is back on for a part two episode. Last week we left off at what happens when you go all-in on your business, and it burns down one month after starting. This week, we will dive into what it is like to build a high-touch retail store. This episode is an in-depth conversation on what it looks like to make a brand and build a successful small business that reaches far more than just a local market. Additionally, it is fascinating to hear how Covid 19 is affecting the cycling industry. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode.

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November 5, 2020

My guest this week is Clark Butcher. Clark is a cyclist and owner of Victory Bicycle Studio. I wanted to have Clark on the show for a few reasons. First, I read earlier this year when he was asked how he thinks about Covid-19 and how it affects his business, he answered they would continue to serve and deliver a customized service to his clients and focus on that. In other words, it struck me that he was playing offense when it was common to think defensively. Secondly: Why cycling? What has he learned about the sport? What are some of the drivers that make you love the sport? What can anyone learn about endurance sports? Why are these things pertinent to what he does today? And more. This week's episode is the first of two episodes where next week, we take a deeper dive into building a business and all the ups and downs along the way.

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October 29, 2020

This week's guest is Matt Cook, Matt is currently the VP of Engineering at Tilled; before that, he launched his own startup, and before that, he was head of platform for Shipt. As you may know, Shipt was started in 2014 and was acquired by Target in 2017 for $550 Million Dollars. As you know, we live in a growing gig economy where people get to work in flexible ways that were not possible before. This is powered by technology, consumer needs, and how platforms bring together service fulfillment quickly, trackable, and cost-effectively. Even if you are not interested in how businesses like this scale and what it takes for them to operate well, you can still learn many things that can be automated with your own day-to-day experiences and where the world is continuing to move from a technological perspective. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode with Matt Cook.

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October 22, 2020

Did you know that there are currently over 81,900 missing American Service Members around the world? Why does this matter? Why is this important? What does it take to identify and bring home Service Members? Why is closure essential, and how do these experiences affect us today? We cover all of this and much more. These service members served our country, sacrificed their lives, and they haven’t yet come home. Today’s episode is about a group of men and women from all over the world that dedicate their work to finding these service members and bringing them back home to their families and much more. My guest today is Justin LeHew, who is Chief Operations Officer of History Flight. If you missed last week’s episode, go back to last week’s episode, and hear my first conversation with Justin LeHew, Retired Sergeant Major with the United States Marine Corps. I hope this episode impacts you as much as it did to me. If you want to learn more about History Flight and to support them go to historyflight.com.

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October 15, 2020

My guest this week is United States Marine Sergeant Major (Retired) Justin LeHew. This episode is the first of two conversations with Sergeant Major (Ret) LeHew. The second one will be next week and also including the organization that he leads today. Sergeant Major (Ret) LeHew has been awarded the Navy Cross, The Bronze Star. He is also known as the Hero of Nasiriyah for his work taking part in the 507 Maintenance company's rescue operation, including Jessica Lynch in 2003. I quote: “Under constant enemy fire, he led the rescue team to the soldiers. With total disregard for his own welfare, he assisted the evacuation effort of four soldiers, two of whom were critically wounded,” LeHew’s Navy Cross citation reads. In 2010, Sergeant Major (Ret) LeHew was honored by the Marine Corps with an obstacle named in his honor at Parris Island, South Carolina, called LeHew’s Challenge. Every recruit, both male and female, hears from their drill instructors about the heroism displayed by then Gunnery Sergeant LeHew. It was a privilege to have this conversation with Sergeant Major (Ret) LeHew. We discuss topics such as: why he from a young age knew he wanted to serve in the Military, why the Marine Corps prepares you for any situation, what drives him, how our world and war is evolving today, why nothing new is under the sun, lessons learned about building a family with a demanding calling, why we’re all equal as human beings, and more. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. And, thank you to every person serving our country, protecting us, keeping us safe, and sacrificing your own life for our good. 

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October 8, 2020

Educational inequality is a significant problem today. Last week’s episode covered what it takes to make a positive impact on this problem. When you think about childhood education, you also understand the importance of the child’s development as a person. Teachers are crucial in how this happens, and this work is more than just teaching curriculum. This week I am releasing the 2nd part to the series with Larissa Gregory. Larissa is over social-emotional learning for Memphis Teacher Residency and is trained in Educational Psychology and much more. I enjoyed this conversation learning more about educational inequality, getting to the root of what a child needs to grow, why teacher burnout is so high, addressing this to create better long-term engagement and more. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode also consider how things we discuss here affect our society today.

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October 1, 2020

As of 2019, the gap is increasing between rich and poor children with the quality of education that they receive in America. This week’s episode features what it takes to make a positive impact on this problem. A couple of the top leading factors of crime are education levels and family structure. It’s been discussed on this podcast on previous episodes. Go back to episode three with City of Memphis police director Michael Rallings. This episode is with David Montague, who led the effort in 2009 starting the Memphis Teacher Residency Program out of Memphis, TN, where he is still executive director today. In this episode, we’re going to talk about the initial need for this work, how it came together, challenges faced along the way, what types of teachers succeed in this work, successes experienced, the job still to be done, and more. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode.

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September 24, 2020

This week's episode is going to have a different twist to it than the previous weeks. A few days ago, an article came out where JP Morgan(one of the world's largest banks) told a portion of their staff that they must come back to the office. This report said that through internal data collection, they saw decreased productivity on Mondays and Fridays and worries that remote work is not a substitute for organic interaction and creates missed learning opportunities for younger people. This article got me thinking about previous episodes that we have had on this podcast where Covid-19, relationships, work from home, development, engagement, and community have come up during each conversation. I thought it would be helpful to publish one episode with combined clips where this topic is addressed, and overall themes are exposed. It's fascinating to think about all the technological advances that we have today and what's ahead for our world, but how some things don't change. These are our need for community, relationships, encouragement, accountability, motivation, connection, and more. I hope you enjoy this week's episode.

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September 17, 2020

My guest this week is Ken Utech. What happens when you spend close to 40 years traveling the country and working with close to 1,000 businesses, organizations, individuals, non-profits, and more. You learn about how we as people operate and how to address things as they are, get to the root cause, and work through them. I have yet to hear where a conversation like this will not apply to any person’s situation or life. Ken and the Utech Group have served and impacted organizations as large as the United States Army and other Billion-Dollar Organizations to large private companies, family businesses, non-profits, religious organizations, and much more. I am glad to release this week’s episode with Ken Utech.

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I have received lots of feedback about this episode and how much you enjoyed it. I spoke with Mike last week and he mentioned that the things we talk about in this episode are the most common topics talked about when he speaks or when he meets with people when they are trying to learn from him and his experience.

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September 3, 2020

My guest this week is Peter Abell, the CEO of Memphis Symphony Orchestra. I’ve heard about how much transformation MSO had undergone over the last few years. Today we’re talking about deeper reasons that push you into your interests, how to transform a struggling non-profit, the X-factors that create a significant impact, how a symphony drives the classical music within a city, how to step back and look at challenges differently, how to adjust when COVID-19 affects your organization, how to address your need for control, the feeling when you know it’s going to be hard, and more. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode.

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August 27, 2020

My guest this week is Tom Kadien. Tom spent 40 years working for International Paper. For those that don’t know, IP is the largest pulp and paper company in the world, with $21 billion in revenue. While at IP, Tom was over many parts of the company including Head of IP Europe, IP Asia, IP India, Head of Global Citizenship and more. After retiring from IP, Tom took over the leadership of UMRF Ventures, which was created to give students economic opportunity and real world experience while getting their degree at University of Memphis. This is a great conversation, let’s get started.

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August 20, 2020

Can you imagine having to flee your country and walk over 200 miles? Can you imagine staying in a refugee camp for 5 years in horrible conditions, spending all your money to get to the United States and then starting a refugee empowerment program? In fact, you care so much about this work that you work the first 6 months without pay. That’s what this organization is about. Today we have the directors of Refugee Empowerment Program, Sara Babb and Cam Echols with me on my show.

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August 13, 2020

Listen to this week's episode with Entrepreneur Mike Bruns. Mike founded trucking company Comtrak with one driver after working for three bankrupt companies prior. Twenty-three years later, Mike sold Comtrak with $200,000,000 in revenue and 1,500 employees.

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August 6, 2020

This episode is a straightforward conversation in which Carolyn discusses the racial challenges that she encountered throughout her educational and professional career, the lack of follow-through or lip service that can occur with corporate diversity initiatives, what needs to change to make them effective, and more. This episode challenged me to think about my own mental frameworks and the difficulty that certain people have to endure to advance forward.

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July 30, 2020

This episode is a fun and straightforward conversation that goes into this history of 150 years of family business history – what it's like running a start-up company during COVID-19, what it’s like finding enjoyable work, unique and fun personal and family experiences during the pandemic, what it’s like going up against the big players in the Spirits business, and more.

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July 23, 2020

Drew Holcomb, singer/songwriter and entrepreneur, discusses his early days starting his music career, how growth occurs, relationships, partnerships, creativity, authenticity, growth mindset, adjustment to COVID-19, and more. This episode was originally released as Episode 5 on June 18, 2020.

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July 16, 2020

Kevin Kane, President of Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, discusses how tourism affects a city, why businesses come to Memphis, how Memphis CEOs choose to use their platforms to invest in Memphis, the reasons behind Renasant Bank Convention Center, how to adjust to change, and more.

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July 9, 2020

Dr. Scott Morris, Founder and Executive Director of Church Health Center, discusses the early days of starting Church Health Center, how to find joy, how challenges lead to growth, why being alone is the quickest path to fear, how to maximize your abilities, how to think about fear, and more.

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July 2, 2020

Michael Dunavant, US Attorney of West Tennessee, discusses how he found his calling, what keeps him moving forward, how he and his team represent the people of West Tennessee, his thoughts about the murder of George Floyd, and his plans for making West Tennessee more safe.

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June 25, 2020

Fred Jones, founder of the Southern Heritage Classic, discusses how to think about taking risks, the importance of community and celebration, having a vision and enduring through negativity and cynicism, systematic challenges, key people that helped him along the way, the importance of mindset and faith, and more.

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June 23, 2020

Isaac Bruce, Super Bowl Champion and 2020 Hall of Fame Inductee, discusses when he knew he had a chance at something special, the rollercoaster of emotions, family, faith, his goal to be an NFL owner, and more.

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June 18, 2020

Drew Holcomb, singer/songwriter and entrepreneur, discusses his early days starting his music career, how growth occurs, relationships, partnerships, creativity, authenticity, growth mindset, adjustment to COVID-19, and more.

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June 11, 2020

Dr. David Rudd, President of the University of Memphis and US Army Veteran, discusses "knowing your why", innovation, data, growth, values, time management, transforming an organization, what he would tell a student who had the opportunity to attend the University of Memphis or a prestigious institution such as his own alma mater, his involvement with Penny Hardaway's hiring, and more.

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June 3, 2020

Michael Rallings, Memphis Police Director and US Army Veteran, discusses his service in the US Army, 30-year career with the MPD, perspective on duty and service, how to think about data, what he was feeling during the 2016 bridge protest, thoughts on George Floyd, and what we need to do to improve our community.

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May 28, 2020

Cathy Pope, CEO of Mid-South Food Bank, discusses her diverse career, the importance of family, work ethic, relationships, leadership, adversity, and much more.

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May 20, 2020

Entrepreneur Carolyn Hardy discusses her all but easy career path before acquiring her first company with high-interest money, living out her purpose, family, career advice, and much more.

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