About this podcast
Life’s Tough…you can be tougher, with Host Dustin Plantholt is a podcast about personal stories of strength and perseverance. Along with Dustin, guests and listeners will share their real and vulnerable life stories of overcoming unique challenges and struggles to inspire and motivate each other towards personal fortitude, healing, growth and empowerment. The Life’s Tough Podcast is inspired by the life story and journey of Host Dustin Plantholt. The Podcast is geared toward men and women ages 18 and older.
About this podcast
Life’s Tough…you can be tougher, with Host Dustin Plantholt is a podcast about personal stories of strength and perseverance. Along with Dustin, guests and listeners will share their real and vulnerable life stories of overcoming unique challenges and struggles to inspire and motivate each other towards personal fortitude, healing, growth and empowerment. The Life’s Tough Podcast is inspired by the life story and journey of Host Dustin Plantholt. The Podcast is geared toward men and women ages 18 and older.
- Season 3
Life's Tough, Dr. Lawrence Krauss is TOUGHER, an American-Canadian theoretical physicist and current President of The Origins Project Foundation.
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Dr. Lawrence Krauss, an American-Canadian theoretical physicist and cosmologist who was a former professor at Arizona State University (ASU). Dr. Krauss also founded ASU's Origins Project, now called ASU Interplanetary Initiative, to investigate fundamental questions about the universe and served as the project's director. During his recent interview with Dustin, Dr. Krauss explored the fundamental questions about the universe and its origins—contrary to the opinions from those with faith—about life and its purposes. Dr. Krauss's childhood fascination about science motivated his lifelong passion to search for the ultimate answers once he reached adulthood. "Do what you enjoy...If you don't enjoy it, you won't do a good job; if you don't do a good job, you won't find the answers." He also discussed why it's important to find out about things: ask questions and you will learn. "Energy is the capability of doing work...when one has fear, fear will prevent one from learning and finding out about the truth". Dr. Krauss is an advocate for public understanding of science, public policy based on sound empirical data, scientific skepticism, and science education. He currently serves as President of The Origins Project Foundation and as host of The Origins Podcast with Lawrence Krauss. To learn more about Dr. Lawrence Krauss, visit www.originsprojectfoundation.org and join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: You Can Be TOUGHER! here on the “Life’s Tough” channel! Dustin Plantholt is founder and CEO of Life’s Tough. Surviving a traumatic childhood and now raising a family of his own, he is dedicated to helping others find their voice through sharing their story. Dustin says “Together, we are sparking a movement and changing the world, one heart at a time. It’s life … life is tough … but YOU can be TOUGHER!”
Life’s Tough — but Steven Strombeck is TOUGHER, Changing the World: "One Knob at a Time"
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Steven Strombeck, Founder and CEO of SafeHandles, who developed a uniquely superior product that not only keeps commonly touched surfaces clean but germs-free 24/7 for at least six months. During his recent interview with Dustin, Steven Strombeck tells of how his personal encounter with a random individual's hygienic behavior spearheaded his determination to partner with his creative team to create a product that "has been tested to not only eliminate germs but also solve problems for a long time." His mission? To keep our families safe. Three things in life matter more than ever before—health, purpose and the people we love. And SafeHandles' unique products can continuously reduce the growth of certain microbes to ensure the product is clean and durable, thus killing germs on the common surfaces people touch 24/7 so they don't get sick from that. A problem-solver with a strong passion for helping people, Steve is also the current Chairman of the Board for Redwood Teen Challenge and is a founding director of Redwood Capital Bank. In addition to his business and charitable pursuits, Steven partners with multiple non-profits around the world and spearheaded two thriving companies, Strombeck Properties and Strombeck Construction. To learn more about Steven Strombeck, visit www.safehandles.com, and join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: You Can Be TOUGHER! here on the “Life’s Tough” channel! Dustin Plantholt is founder and CEO of Life’s Tough. Surviving a traumatic childhood and now raising a family of his own, he is dedicated to helping others find their voice through sharing their story. Dustin says “Together, we are sparking a movement and changing the world, one heart at a time. It’s life … life is tough … but YOU can be TOUGHER!”
Life’s Tough — but Dr. Don Wood is TOUGHER, telling you: "Nothing is wrong with you or your mind"
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Don Wood, Founder of Inspired Performance Institute and CEO of Team Energy Inc., developed the TIPP method after spending years researching how atmospheric conditions affect minds and impact lives. Dr. Wood designed this cutting-edge neuroscience approach to "remove the stigma of trauma." When it eliminates the effects of disturbing or traumatic events in a person’s life, their performance improves both personally and professionally. During his recent interview with Dustin, Dr. Wood shares how things at home hit him on a personal note. “Both my wife and daughter experienced childhood trauma and I saw how it affected their life, including their health. They both had developed autoimmune disorders.” In his search for answers for them, Dr. Wood made the connection between trauma and their health issues. In addition, he recognized the daily stress they lived with and the only solutions provided came from medications. His experience with his family provided the determination required to develop a cutting-edge neuroscience approach. Dr. Woods is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and an avid author on neuroscience and a frequent podcast guest favorite. He has appeared on over 100 podcasts and many times has been the top 20% listened to show. To learn more about Don Wood visit drwoodphd.com, and join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: You Can Be TOUGHER! here on the “Life’s Tough” channel! Dustin Plantholt is founder and CEO of Life’s Tough. Surviving a traumatic childhood and now raising a family of his own, he is dedicated to helping others find their voice through sharing their story. Dustin says “Together, we are sparking a movement and changing the world, one heart at a time. It’s life … life is tough … but YOU can be TOUGHER!”
Life’s Tough — but Dr. Christina Rahm is TOUGHER, surviving cancer and empowering others to take control of their own health and wellness.
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Dr. Christina Rahm, artistic scientist, researcher & worldwide consultant in various areas of holistic health and wellness. During her recent interview with Dustin, Dr. Christina Rahm shares how she first got into healthcare and wellness. After battling Lyme disease in her twenties, and surviving multiple cancers in her thirties, Dr. Rahm made a vow to help people find their own paths of empowerment, by ridding them of the negative environmental and personal forces that prevent them from living a healthy and meaningful life. She is currently writing a book - Cure The Causes, that combines her own personal experiences and health challenges with extensive scientific education, bringing us a book to enable happier, healthier lives! Cure The Causes weaves us through why illness can happen to all of us, and how healing can happen by focusing on the cause instead of the symptoms. Dr. Rahm offers a thorough insight into how everything is connected, affecting our health and well-being. “Don’t let a doctor or anyone else tell you what to do with your body! You’re in charge of your body, so own it!” says Dr. Rahm. Dr. Rahm has an M.S. in Rehab Counseling, PhDs in Education Counseling Psychology with emphasis in NeuroPsych and Strategic Science. She has done postdoc work at Harvard and has taught CME courses for numerous Universities including Johns Hopkins University. She has also spoken and lectured at environmental, health and medical conferences in 78 countries and all fifty U.S. states. To learn more about Dr. Christina Rahm and her upcoming book, Cure the Causes, visit https://drchristinarahm.com/, and join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: You Can Be TOUGHER! here on the “Life’s Tough” channel! Dustin Plantholt is founder and CEO of Life’s Tough. Surviving a traumatic childhood and now raising a family of his own, he is dedicated to helping others find their voice through sharing their story. Dustin says “Together, we are sparking a movement and changing the world, one heart at a time. It’s life … life is tough … but YOU can be TOUGHER!”
Life’s Tough — but Greg Laurie is TOUGHER, pastoring one of the largest Churches in America and offering spiritual answers to life’s toughest questions.
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Greg Laurie, American author, Evangelist and Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, staying active in remote campuses across California and Hawaii. In a recent conversation with Dustin, Pastor Greg Laurie says that taking time to connect with others has always been a driving force in his life. He has been an evangelist and pastor for 40 years, authored 70 books, including The Upside Down Church, raised 2 children and now he and Cathe, his wife, enjoy life with their 5 grandchildren. He encourages listeners not to put him or any other pastor or leader up on a pedestal, but to remember that we’re all just human. He says, “At the end of the day, we all put our pants on one leg at a time and we all need Jesus just like everyone else.” Growing up, it was Greg’s dream to become a professional cartoonist, but God had a different plan for his life, and Greg says he’s glad! At a very early age, Greg found himself asking the big questions: What is the meaning of life? Why am I here? What will happen after I die? And at the age of 19, under the supervision of his Pastor, he was given the opportunity to lead a Bible Study and the church that formed from this Bible Study group has grown to become one of the largest churches in the United States - Harvest Christian Fellowship. To learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie visit https://harvest.org/and join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: You Can Be Tougher! right here on the “Life’s Tough” channel! Dustin Plantholt is founder and CEO of Life’s Tough. Surviving a traumatic childhood and now raising a family of his own, he is dedicated to helping others find their voice through sharing their story. Dustin says “Together, we are sparking a movement and changing the world, one heart at a time. It’s life … life is tough … but YOU can be TOUGHER!”
Life’s Tough — but Josh Nielsen is TOUGHER, founding a high-quality, web-based solution for podcasters all around the world.
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Josh Nielsen, founder of Zencaster — a web-based tool that helps podcasters easily record their guests, getting the same high-quality audio as in studio. In a recent interview with Dustin, Josh Nielson explains how it all started for him, chasing his story back to his very first job and detailing the beginnings of his groundbreaking podcasting platform. Recognizing that podcasters faced significant challenges recording their shows and collecting the audio from remote guests, Josh decided to employ some of the skills he’d been learning on previous projects to build something that would solve this problem. No longer do podcast hosts have to cross their fingers, hoping the internet connection doesn't fail them! Josh designed Zencastr with first class options and an arsenal of professional tools, allowing podcast producers to quickly and painlessly record their guests. Why Podcasting? Josh says that podcasting is a great way to connect with people who might otherwise be difficult to get 10 minutes with. By providing value to an entire audience though a podcast interview, everyone wins. “It’s a lot easier to say - ‘come be on my podcast my audience will really benefit from you’ than saying - ‘can I please have some of your time’. And the audience just love to be a fly on the wall for those conversations as well.” Josh says. Josh dropped out of college with one semester left, took a job at a startup and learned more working there for 3 months than he did in his entire University program. He quickly caught the entrepreneur bug and moved to Boulder, CO spending a summer working as a developer for Techstars. To learn more about Josh Nielsen and Zencastr visit www.zencastr.com and join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: You Can Be Tougher! here on the “Life’s Tough” channel! Dustin Plantholt is founder and CEO of Life’s Tough. Surviving a traumatic childhood and now raising a family of his own, he is dedicated to helping others find their voice through sharing their story. Dustin says “Together, we are sparking a movement and changing the world, one heart at a time. It’s life … life is tough … but YOU can be TOUGHER!”
Life’s Tough — but Dr. Gary Onik is TOUGHER, pioneering revolutionary cancer treatments and never giving up on any patient.
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Dr. Gary Onik, a visionary medical Doctor and adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, working closely with his colleagues to develop the next generation of cancer fighting technologies. In a recent interview, Dustin asks Dr. Gary Onik to share about what has inspired him to explore these groundbreaking medical treatments and the lessons he’s learned from the ups and downs of his career. Dr. Onik admits that he doesn’t need the recognition from his peers or the public, saying, “That has helped me push the envelope and go against the standards.” Dr. Onik’s is turning the world of what is considered untreatable cancers upside down with his medical cancer treatments. Driven by compassion towards his patients, Dr. Onik says, “My criteria for accepting a patient is whether I believe they can walk out of the hospital cancer-free.” Dr. Onik was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of an accountant and homemaker. By age five his family had moved to Coney Island, and he already knew he wanted to be a doctor. One of the first science books Gary ever read was a picture book about Louis Pasteur. He was intrigued. But his dreams of becoming a doctor disappeared when, at eight years old, his father died unexpectedly, and he saw his mother struggle to make ends meet. It took a high school mentor and Harvard professors to inspire Gary to go on to Medical school. Gary graduated New York Medical College in Manhattan at the top of his class and has gone on to pioneer some of the most astounding medical breakthroughs in history. To learn more about Dr. Onik and his work visit www.garyonik.com. Dustin Plantholt is founder and CEO of Life’s Tough. Surviving a traumatic childhood and now raising a family of his own, he is dedicated to helping others find their voice through sharing their story, saying, Dustin says “Together, we are sparking a movement and changing the world, one heart at a time. It’s life … life is tough … but YOU can be TOUGHER!” Disclaimer: Dr. Onik is an adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and the chief medical officer of a biotechnology company that is conducting clinical trials and developing new cancer technologies. He also has a private medical practice treating cancer patients. He may have a financial interest in some of the topics he will be discussing
Life’s Tough — but Rebeccah Silence is TOUGHER, certified world-class Emotional Healing Coach helping and healing hundreds of families and individuals through life-changing breakthroughs!
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Rebeccah Silence, known for bringing her clients "back to life”, owner of Inspired Results, radio personality, highly sought-after keynote speaker and corporate trainer, specializing in "Emotional Release" coaching for individuals, families, life purpose, and healing. In her conversation with Dustin, Rebeccah walks us through her 5 steps for healing. She has an online program called, Healing Is Possible, and during the 5-week course, Rebeccah has helped countless people overcome a painful past and break through the patterns than keep you stuck. “It’s simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy,” says Rebeccah. After years studying, processing & integrating, Rebeccah has built a roadmap to freeing yourself from emotional pain. Courage, Wellness, Inspiration, Faith and Power are the 5 steps she believes are critical for healing. “If you feel stuck or held hostage by your emotional pain,” Rebeccah coaches, “if it’s keeping you from truly shining your light and becoming the person you're destined to be, this course might be right for you!” Rebeccah put the pieces of her life back together after leaving an abusive marriage and again when she survived cancer, getting her initial diagnosis while she was pregnant with her youngest daughter. She is committed to helping others heal their childhood traumas and her work includes support for sexual, physical and self-harm disorders. Rebeccah has spent the past 13 years helping her clients heal through their emotional pain stemming from dark & unimaginable trauma. She believes that we are all born exactly who we are supposed to be and as life happens to us, we drift, hide, numb and lose ourselves in our journey to adulthood. Through her work, she empowers others to choose their best self and claim the power to be who they were created to be. To learn more about Rebeccah visit her website. Dustin Plantholt is founder and CEO of Life’s Tough. Surviving a traumatic childhood and now raising a family of his own, he is dedicated to helping others find their voice through sharing their story. Dustin says, “Together, we are sparking a movement and changing the world, one heart at a time. It’s life … life is tough … but YOU can be TOUGHER!”
Life’s Tough — but Michael Dowling is TOUGHER, from Irish immigrant to President & CEO of Northwell Health—the largest Healthcare Provider in New York State—and true visionary leader of our time.
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Michael Dowling, President & CEO of Northwell Health (the largest healthcare provider and private employer in New York State), chair of the Healthcare Institute, and current member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences. Born and raised in Knockaderry, County Limerick, in Ireland’s southwestern region, Michael’s family lived on a small piece of property in an impoverished area. His home had mud walls, a thatch roof, three small rooms, and a mud floor. There was no electricity, no running water, no bathrooms, and no heat, only a big open fireplace where his mother did all the cooking. Michael was the oldest of five children and had to help support his family from an early age, but this only inspired him to push further in pursuit of his dreams. “No” was never an option for Michael as he realized early on, that with dogged resolve, one stands a good chance of achieving their goals and dreams. Ireland in the 50’s and 60’s was a two-class system, and nobody ever thought that people without money would ever go to college. Even though Michael’s mother was deaf, she was an avid reader and passed that “love of reading” onto Michael. As a child, Michael remembers reading everything he could get his hands. In the end Michael did well enough in high school to make the cut and get accepted into college. “Never let your circumstances interfere with your potential,” his mother would say, always encouraging her children. Michael became the first person in his family to attend college, graduating UCC (University College, Cork) while working odd jobs to pay his tuition. He went on to receive his masters from Fordham University, while also holding honorary doctorates from Queen's University Belfast, University College Dublin, Hofstra University, Dowling College and Fordham University. He began his career at Fordham University as a professor and the assistant dean at the Graduate School of Social Services. He went on to serve under Governor Mario Cuomo for seven years, as state director of Health, Education and Human Services, as well as Deputy Secretary. He also served as commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services. Before joining Northwell Health in 1995, Michael was a senior vice president at Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield. At Northwell Health he was the health system’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, before becoming president and CEO in 2002. Northwell Health is the largest healthcare provider in New York State, caring for more than two million people annually through a vast network of more than 830 outpatient facilities, including 220 primary care practices, 52 urgent care centers, home care, rehabilitation and end-of-life programs, and 23 hospitals. As president and CEO of Northwell Health, Michael leads a clinical, academic and research enterprise with a workforce of more than 75,000 and annual revenue of $14 billion. “Innovation needs to be a core competency for any organization and part of its ongoing DNA.” says Michael. “It’s about people not being slaves to tradition, challenging the status quo and pursuing new, creative ways of doing our jobs and delivering care.” As one of health care’s most influential voices, Michael tackles societal issues such as gun violence and immigration that many health system CEOs shy away from. He has also authored several books; his latest—Leading Through a Pandemic: The Inside Story of Humanity, Innovation, and Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Crisis—highlights the passion and energy that drives Northwell to be on the leading edge of medical policy and innovation, documenting dramatic stories of what it was like on the front lines, battling the COVID 19 pandemic of early 2020. Today, Michael and his wife Kathy live on Long Island with their two children, Brian and Elizabeth. Join Dustin and Michael for a stimulating conversation and hear how Michael overcame adversity and achieved his dreams. As Michael says, “If you tell me I can’t do something, that’s when I become determined to get it done.”
Life’s Tough, but Rick Tirelli is TOUGHER, solving nearly 600 homicide cases as one of NYPD’s greatest detectives.
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast is honored to feature Rick Tirelli, retired NYPD homicide detective, Film Producer at Kauffman Films, and entertainment industry’s technical advisor for crime documentaries, films and TV shows—most notably for the legendary “NYPD Blue” television series. Rick Tirelli is best known for being the heart and soul behind the legendary series “NYPD Blue”—one of the most successful law enforcement TV series! Rick joined the NYPD on January 4, 1984 and worked in the 114 precinct’s (in Queens) anti-crime. In 1988 he was assigned to the Detective Bureau with the 105 Detective Squad. Rick is considered one of the greatest interrogators in the history of the NYPD and was nicknamed “Master of the Box”. He worked his way up to the Manhattan South Homicide Squad and the 26 years he served as a homicide detective, saw over 700 cases cross his desk and is proud to say “...solved 575 of them.” In 1996 Rick was elected the Queens Trustee for the union representing the Greatest Detectives in the world—The DEA (Detectives Endowment Association). Shortly thereafter he was elevated to DEA Secretary, where he served for 6 years, negotiating contracts, grievances, hearings, health benefits, annuities and all other union related matters. Remarkably, while investigating homicides, Rick also closely worked with the producers of the legendary series “NYPD Blue”, advising intimately with the casting, writing, development, post-production and locations—with his access to police departments throughout the country proving to be his strongest asset. He has also worked behind the scenes on “Big Apple” and the feature films “Pride & Glory” (advising Jon Voight, Ed Norton, and Colin Farrell) and “Exposed” (coaching Keanu Reeves in specific police lingo). Rick was Executive Producer of “Watching the Detectives” on A&E, and “The Perfect Murder” on ID. Rick first forged his friendship with Titus Welliver on “NYPD Blue” and later, on “Big Apple.” Rick wore many hats during “The Perfect Murder,” “Watching the Detectives,” “I Married a Mobster,” and while producing “Godfather and Sons” working with several actors to teach accurate terminology and sometimes even giving them a tour of the precinct. He also played the instrumental role of conducting interviews for the shows. “One of the things we always try to do is show that the cops are out there to do the right thing,” Tirelli says of projects like Ace, “...and that means, stories showing how the police and public work in tandem to solve crimes.” Rick retired from the NYPD on March 1, 2015 as a 1st Grade Detective to further his television producing partnership with Kevin Kaufman from Kaufman Films. “Kevin and I do everything together, pretty much from the beginning to the end,” Rick says. “We basically put our minds together … not only for the police stuff but for all of it.” Join Dustin and Rick for a deep dive into his 31-year career with the NYPD and learn some of the “behind the scenes” work that goes into making the greatest cop shows and films ever produced!
Life’s Tough – but Mallory Weggemann is TOUGHER, smashing limitations in and out of the pool!
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Mallory Weggemann, two-time American Paralympian swimmer who holds 15 world records and 34 American records, highly sought-after motivational speaker, and author of her memoir Limitless: The Power of Hope and Resilience to Overcome Circumstance. A competitive swimmer since she was seven, Weggemann was 18 and a former co-captain of her high-school swim team in Minneapolis when she received a third and final epidural injection to alleviate back pain in January 2008. The procedure went awry and left her paralyzed from the waist down. Several months later, after one of her sisters showed her a story in the local newspaper about the 2008 Paralympic swimming trials taking place at the University of Minnesota, Weggemann went to the meet to speak with the coaches. One of them offered to train her. In a Sports Illustrated article in 2016, Weggemann said: “When I got back into the pool, I started by racing nine-year-olds who were beating me. But I knew I was back to racing. With each passing practice, I got faster and each was a new step forward. Swimming signified fighting back.” Weggemann attained her first set of world records at the 2009 Speedo CAN-AM Para Swimming Championships, held in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. And, in 2012, she was swimming for Team USA at the Paralympic Games in London, where she won two medal—a gold and a bronze. Following her Olympic experience, Weggemann became a motivational speaker at corporate gatherings and she also began training for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Then, in 2014, she suffered an injury that resulted in lasting nerve damage to her left arm. She again fought back and ultimately earned a place on the U.S. team that went to Rio. Weggemann has kept her competitive swimming career going. She won two gold medals and one silver at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in London. Additionally, Weggemann continues to be a prominent public advocate for Americans with disabilities. Her book, Limitless: The Power of Hope and Resilience to Overcome Circumstance will be released early in March. Join Dustin and Mallory for a rousing conversation on how Mallory turned tragedy to triumph through resiliency and hope, and how she motivates others to do the same.
Life’s Tough – but Julia Golding is TOUGHER, penning great novels while leading worthy causes!
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Julia Golding, humanitarian, podcaster, and internationally acclaimed author best known for her Cat Royal series and The Companions Quartet. British novelist Julia Golding was born in London in 1969 and grew up on the edge of Epping Forest. She has written and published more than 50 books since embarking on her literary career in 2006. Most of her books target children and teen audiences, though she has also written novels for adults. Her books span a range of genres, including historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. Julia writes under her own name, along with two different pen names. She is “Joss Stirling” for her teenage mystical romances and “Eve Edwards” for her historical fiction. Julia started out by studying English at Cambridge University. She then took a civil service exam and ended up working in Poland for three years as a member of the Foreign Office. After her return from Poland she enrolled at Oxford University, where she earned a doctorate in British literature of the Romantic period. While wrapping up her studies at Oxford, she wrote her first novel, The Diamond of Drury Lane. The book, set in the 1790s (the early years of the Romantic Period), introduced one of Julia’s favorite characters, Cat Royal. Published in 2006, it also won coveted awards: Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize and the Nestle Children’s Book Prize. A series of five more Cat Royal books (released between 2006 and 2009) followed and gained a rabid fan base. Julia’s next stop was the policy department at Oxfam, the global movement that combats poverty and injustice. She served as an international lobbyist, advocating for the protection of civilians caught in war zones. After her tenure at Oxfam, she became a full-time writer. More recently, Julia was writer-in-residence at The Royal Institution of Great Britain in 2019. The London-based Royal Institution, established in 1799, promotes public awareness of, and engagement with, science. In 2019, Julia launched her “What would Jane do?” podcast, in which she applies Jane Austen’s sensibilities to contemporary issues. Saving Tolkien’s house Julia describes one of her passions as a three-month crowdfunding campaign that she is leading in order to purchase and save the house where J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The house, built in 1924, is located at 20 Northmoor Road in Oxford, England (an hour’s drive from London). Known as Project Northmoor, the campaign started this past December with a goal to secure $6 million to acquire the house, renovate it, and set up a literary center there as a tribute to Tolkien. Julia resides in Oxford with her husband and three children. Join Dustin and Julia for a fascinating chat on her literary life and commendable humanitarian efforts.
Life’s Tough – but Dr. Philip Stieg is TOUGHER, showing the world how to harness the power of the brain!
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Dr. Philip Stieg, internationally acclaimed neurosurgeon and Chairman & Founder of the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center—the leading center for patient care in New York City. In addition to his clinical practice, and his leadership duties at the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center, Dr. Stieg is a frequent lecturer around the world. He recently launched the second season of his bi-weekly podcast “This is Your Brain with Dr. Phil Stieg,” which explores the many wonders of the brain.Conveying complex issues related to the brain in a non-technical, matter-of-fact way, some of the topics he addressed in his podcast last year included: anxiety; Parkinson’s Disease; a brain-healthy diet; and how elite athletes deal with pressure. Dr. Stieg received an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin, a doctorate in anatomy and neuroscience from Union University, and a medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin. He trained at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School after completing a fellowship in cell transplantation for restorative neurological function at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Dr. Stieg then joined the faculty of the Harvard Medical School. In 2000, while at the Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, he was asked to develop a new Department of Neurological Surgery at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The center is now a global leader in the comprehensive treatment of central nervous system diseases. Dr. Stieg has served as president of the Brain Tumor Foundation and president of the New York board of the American Heart and Stroke Association. His expertise in head trauma and traumatic brain injury has led him to consulting positions with the National Football League, the New York Giants, and the Department of Defense. He has appeared on the list of Castle Connolly’s “Best Doctors in America” every year for more than two decades and is internationally known as a lecturer dedicated to the training of other neurosurgeons. Join Dustin and Dr. Stieg for a stimulating conversation and hear what is in “the brain” of this gifted physician.
Life’s Tough – but LyNea Bell is TOUGHER, through fierce fortitude and preparation, defying the odds to become a formidable talent agent!
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features LyNea Bell, motivator, speaker, and founder of Bell Hall (B.H.) Talent and Literary Agency. LyNea “LB” Ball – the Southern California talent agent whose motto is ‘do it with passion or don’t do it at all’ has operated the Bell Hall (BH) Talent and Literary Agency for the past five years. With grit, savvy and ’a tough skin,’ LB defied the odds in getting her agency up and running. She entered an industry known for its cut-throat culture, and one that was traditionally for men. The chances of a Black, single mom making it in this industry seemed remote. Yet, LB, as she has consistently done, managed to forge a path to success. Though people may first see her as a demure, youthful-looking woman when they first meet her, LB says she’s really ‘a silent beast’ who’s apt to get an edge through her comprehensive knowledge of the industry and her steadfast ability to negotiate with anyone. Located in Encino, California, BH is a full-service agency that represents talent throughout the entertainment industry. Its dozens of clients are generally people who have worked for years in television, film, comedy, commercials, print, and literary development. LB considers herself a partner with all of her clients. As such, she promotes a mindset within her agency in which the clients are expected to regularly invest in themselves through coaching, training, and interacting with like-minded individuals. Through these collaborative activities, her clients can advance their marketability, she says. LB is all about getting better and being ready for success. “You wish, you want, then you get it,” she says, “but you’re not prepared for it so it slips through your fingers.” LB also strives to support her clients’ interests in working in new areas. “We start looking at other things they wanted to do,” she says, “and we put together a strategy to get to those points, as well.” She refers to this individual creative development as attaining “hyphenation”—when someone, for instance, can become a writer-producer or a TV actor-voiceover specialist. In that spirit, LB, herself, decided to tap into her interests in computer technology as she guided the seven-month development and recent launch of a new, privacy-based Internet search engine, GotConn.com. Earlier challenges Just prior to opening her agency, LB suffered a business reversal and lost everything. She became homeless and ended up living in her car for several months. Still, she bounced back to open the agency. A native of Seattle, LB gained familiarity with the entertainment industry by growing up in it. Her mother was an actor, producer and writer, and LB’s first client was her younger brother. When she was at an industry event with her brother, an established talent agent came over and told LB that she’d make a terrific agent. LB said she was often helping others navigate the industry. She just ’didn’t have the (agent) title.’ LB, who’s not quite 50, has cultivated her tenacious approach to meeting challenges for years. As the result of being sexually assaulted, she had a baby at the age of 14. The following year she graduated from high school and went to work to support herself and her child, and has been on her own ever since. Eventually, she earned an Associate’s Degree in computer programming. LB has the unique distinction of being a triplet. Her mother raised the triplets even though she became a quadriplegic after being shot when she was 21. Join Dustin and LyNea for a profound and stimulating conversation to hear what drives this fascinating woman and how she strives to inspire others to live up to their endless potentials. While growing up, “there was no ‘I can’t,’” L.B. said. “Things happen to you ... and you make the best of them. There’s ‘I need a little help,’ and ‘Can you help me?’ -- but you can never say ‘I can’t.’”
Life’s Tough – but Ronald Diamond is TOUGHER, serving Family Offices as if they were family!
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU can be TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Ronald Diamond, longtime investor, entrepreneur, and Founder & Chairman of Diamond Wealth—a boutique financial services and advisory firm catering exclusively on the many unique needs and objectives of Family Offices.
- Season 2
Life’s Tough – but Stephen Shamus is TOUGHER, delivering “Super” experiences to legions of comic fans.
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU CAN BE TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Stephen Shamus, President and co-founder of ACE Universe—foremost producers of immersive and experiential events that bring together top-name Film and TV celebrity talent, professional Illustrators & Writers, Award-Winning Designers, Gaming, Cosplay, Comic Books and top-notch daytime & evening Q&A and instructional Programming. Collecting has always been in Stephen’s blood. From a young age, he would store and treasure anything he could get his hands on—comic books, sports collector/trading cards, comic art, and memorabilia. His passion is infectious, and his expertise and understanding of the material is extensive and widely respected. In the early 1990’s, Stephen was CMO of Wizard, co-founded the world’s leading magazine covering comic books, toys, games, and animation, along with many specialty books. By the mid-90’s Wizard then acquired and launched its first of many live events including the Chicago Comic Con. This began Stephen’s 20+ year career of producing over 175 Comic Con festivals across North America—booking over 3,000 celebrities, tens of thousands of artists, and playing host to millions of ecstatic and satisfied fans. Stephen co-founded ACE Universe in Sept 2017 and has spearheaded the company’s growth and influence, reaching premier status in the comic-based experiential events production industry. Stephen works with all the major talent agencies and managers, including WME, CAA, UTA, ICM, APA, Innovative Artists, and Gersh. He is the premier talent booker of the biggest and most significant celebrities in the industry, including what is considered the greatest Comic Con lineup ever, which saw nine of Marvels’ The Avengers. His most recent celebrity bookings include Gal Gadot, Brie Larson, Henry Cavill, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zoe Saldana, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Kit Harington, Don Cheadle, Josh Brolin, Michael Fassbender, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Zazie Beetz, Tye Sheridan, Tom Ellis, Lee Pace and more!! Stephen recently created a talk-show style podcast called “Take a Break with Stephen” that features collectibles and airs on the ACE Universe podcast network. He is also the co-creator of several ingenious and ubiquitous collectible products, including those related to Autographed Comic Books, Lithographs and Photographs. These products are used on most occasions where special handling is required when comic books are being signed by the illustrators, writers, or celebrities. Join Dustin and Stephen for a delightful and lighthearted conversation to hear about his fun and unique universe and what makes “Superheroes Tougher!” and the legions of fans that adore them.
Life’s Tough – but Mel Allen is TOUGHER, bringing us inspirational accounts of human endurance and fortitude through his flair of long form storytelling.
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—YOU CAN BE TOUGHER!” podcast this week features Mel Allen, American journalist, author, college professor, and current editor of the prestigious Yankee Magazine. Mel imparts enriching stories of human strength, perseverance, and survival. Mel Allen is a New England institution. He wrote his first story for Yankee Magazine—the official publication of the region—in 1977, and has been there ever since, being named the magazine’s top editor in 2006. During his career at Yankee he has edited and written for every section of the magazine, including home, food, and travel, with his dedication of long form storytelling being vital to his mission. In his pursuit for a good story, he has raced a sled dog team, crawled into the dens of black bears, fished with baseball legend Ted Williams, profiled astronaut Alan Shephard, and stood beneath a battleship before it was launched. He also once helped author Stephen King round up his pigs for market, but that story is for another day. Earlier in his career, Mel taught fourth grade in Maine for three years and believes that his education as a writer began when he had to hold the attention of 29 children through months of Maine’s long winters. He learned you had to grab their attention and hold it. He later taught magazine writing at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst for twelve years and currently teaches in the MFA creative nonfiction program at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. While Mel has seen his share of challenges in his 74 years (including the loss of both parents, his brother at the young age of 29, sister at age 58, and his first wife), he believes that his losses pale in comparison to the stories about those he has written about in the magazine. Admiring their courage, he uses their stories of strength and resilience “to keep going and doing good.” He says, “I am certain that my desire to write about these people were fueled by my personal experiences. So many of my stories have been about people faced with seemingly impossible obstacles. And through-perseverance—and in no small measure, courage - they find a way to push through.” Some of Mel’s most inspirational stories (in his own words) include: - One of my first stories for Yankee, in the early 80s, recounted how six young men who had trekked through snow and ice to climb Maine’s highest mountain in winter became trapped on a tiny ledge by a fierce, unexpected blizzard. Though temperatures plunged well below zero made it impossible to move, all through the night they shouted hundreds of times, “Endure! Endure!” All but one made it off the ledge at daylight, and one eventually lost his legs, only to become the world’s best para-Olympic skier. - Grace Corrigan: The mother of Christa McAuliffe, she stood watching Challenger lift off that cold January morning in 1986 and then explode—a tragedy that could have destroyed her. Instead, she found the resolve to carry on her daughter’s mission to highlight how vital education and teachers were. https://newengland.com/yankee-magazine/living/profiles/christa-mcauliffe-nh/ - Bill De la Rosa: When Bill was in 10th grade his mother returned to Mexico to what she was told would be routine paperwork to enable her to obtain a legal visa, since her children were US born and her ailing husband was a U.S citizen. Instead, she was detained for having once crossed illegally, leaving Bill to care for and raise his young brother and sister. My story told how he graduated first in his class, came to Maine’s elite Bowdoin College and graduated being named the number one Hispanic scholar in America. https://newengland.com/yankee-magazine/living/profiles/two-worlds-bill-de-la-rosa/ - Brendan Loughlin: I told about this once homeless man, whose paintings of sunflowers inspired an entire Connecticut town and how he went from obscurity to a local institution. https://newengland.com/yankee-magazine/travel/connecticut/stilllifes/ Besides writing about the people who have defied defeat, Mel has assigned and edited countless others—including the story of a logger who had to saw off his own leg when a tree fell on him deep in the woods, and a sailor who survived two months on a small raft. Mel is also the author of A Coach's Letter to His Son. His column, "Here in New England," was 2009 and 2012 National City and Regional Magazine Awards Finalist for the category "Column." He is also one of the feature writing judges for the National Magazine Awards for the American Society of Magazine Editors, where he weighs in on many of the best nonfiction long form narratives to appear in magazines in the past year. Mel lives and writes in New Hampshire, and like all editors, his greatest joy is finding new talent and bringing their work to light. Join Dustin and Mel for a heartfelt chat and hear Mel share stories that highlight humanity’s incredible courage and about looking to others to find your inspiration and overcome your own challenges. Of these stories Mel says, “When we read about those of us who have endured, we find solace and hope for ourselves as well. We feel we know them. Maybe they are no different from us, their storms were simply stronger. Because they made it, we believe we can.”
Life’s Tough, but Doron Kempel is Tougher
Doron Kempel is an Israeli-born American international technology innovator, serial entrepreneur and former deputy chief of a special forces unit of the IDF. Kempel graduated from Harvard Business School with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). He also holds a law degree (LLM) and a philosophy degree (BA) from Tel Aviv University. Kempel was also a member of Israel's national youth team-handball team. Kempel served in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) from 1981 through 1994. He was deputy chief of Sayeret Matkal, a special forces unit of the IDF, in which former Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu served as officers. Join Dustin and Doron for a thought-provoking conversation on his business acumen, his involvement in the military, and how all it takes, is all you got!
Life’s Tough, but Rodney Herrington is Tougher, extending lives in more than 50 countries through water treatment devices!
Rodney Herrington has spent decades in water treatment and is passionate about creating innovative, inexpensive and sustainable technologies that provide safe water and disinfectant to everyone. Founder of Aqua Research LLC in Albuquerque, Rodney has taken technology previously used on large-scale municipal devices and miniaturized it into two compact devices that have already saved countless lives in more than 50 countries. Join Dustin and Rodney for a thought-provoking conversation on why “Water Matters”!
Life’s Tough – but Calvin Ayre is Tougher, betting on online gambling and winning BIG!
Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—You Can Be Tougher” podcast this week features Calvin Ayre, visionary entrepreneur, online gambling pioneer and founder of the Ayre Group and Bodog entertainment brand—the success of which made him a billionaire. Born on May 25, 1961 in Lloydminster—a Canadian city straddling the provincial border between Alberta and Saskatchewan—Calvin Edward Ayre grew up on a farm outside Lloydminster, and graduated from high school in Salmon Arm, British Columbia. In 1984, he received a Bachelor of Science (BS) in general sciences from the University of Waterloo and added an MBA in management finance from the City University of Seattle in 1989. In 1992 and in his early thirties, after reading a newspaper article about a Caribbean-based company offering betting services over the telephone, Ayre concluded that gambling was tailor-made for the internet. A self-taught network design expert, Ayre converted his Vancouver-based Internet incubator company into a software support firm for online gambling—which eventually became Bodog. Although he licensed his software to several online casinos, he soon realized the real money was in running his own gaming operation. His gambling business—based in Costa Rica—was setup in 1996 and Bodog.com was established in 2000. As the face of the Bodog brand, Ayre’s public profile increased in the mid-2000s as he chose to make himself the focus of Bodog’s marketing strategy and creating a public profile designed to showcase the trappings of a jackpot-winning lifestyle. The image he fashioned earned him the reputation as a man who likes to party. Ayre’s notoriety increased as online gaming’s popularity surged, landing him on the cover of Forbes magazine’s 2006 annual Billionaires edition and Star magazine’s “Most Eligible Billionaire Bachelors” list in late 2007. As the brand grew, Ayre sought to build Bodog into not only one of the largest online gambling brands but also a “mainstream 21st-century digital entertainment conglomerate”. He launched several non-gaming properties under the Bodog brand including BodogConference.com in Las Vegas for sports handicappers; Bodog Music record label which spawned the Bodog Music Battle of the Bands television series on Fuse TV; Bodog Fight, a mixed martial arts league incorporating a television series and live pay-per-view events; and Calvin Ayre WildCard Poker, a televised poker series on Fox Sports Net featuring pro and celebrity players facing off against online qualifiers. In March 2006, while filming party scenes for the first-season finale of Calvin Ayre WildCard Poker at his compound outside San Jose, Costa Rica, Ayre’s home was raided by an estimated 100 police who were under the mistaken impression gambling was taking place. Ayre, who was not charged, used his marketing savvy and the media spotlight provided by the raid to promote the series and the Bodog brand. He made light of the raid, claiming the police “ate half my buffet.” Ayre’s involvement with cryptocurrency and Bitcoin was brought to light when in June 2016, Andrew O’Hagan published a writer’s account of the background behind Craig Wright publicly asserting himself to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin cryptocurrency. He revealed Ayre to be part of the business operation behind this affair, possibly even its ultimate organizer and the financial backer of the $30 million acquisition and development of Craig Wright’s assets. In August 2017, Ayre acquired cryptocurrency news site Coingeek.com and in September 2017 became a Bitcoin Cash (BCH) supporter. In July 2018, Ayre’s crypto-mining operations Coingeek became the world’s largest Bitcoin Cash miner and in November 2018, Ayre threw his support behind the new Bitcoin SV (Satoshi Vision) cryptocurrency, based on his belief that BSV is “a currency, not an asset just to be held, and has real utility.” Ayre predicted that the original Bitcoin (BTC) would “go to zero value as it has no utility, it doesn’t do anything and its supporters intentionally are anti-scaling.” A foremost philanthropic at heart, Ayre has supported charitable causes including the LA Lakers Youth Foundation and actress Shannon Elizabeth’s Animal Avengers organization. In 2005, Ayre formalized his charitable efforts and founded the Calvin Ayre Foundation which chose to focus on areas including animal welfare, the environment and education for the disadvantaged. The foundation has supported needy families, elementary schools and physical rehabilitation centers in Costa Rica, worked with groups to combat bear bike farming in Asia, and provided funding to enable individuals to pursue higher education in Antigua. The foundation has also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to relief efforts tied to the devastating earthquake in Haiti and provided assistance to communities ravaged by destructive typhoons in the Philippines. On November 14, 2019, Antigua and Barbuda Governor General His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams presented Ayre with the Faithful and Meritorious Service Cross award in recognition of Ayre’s philanthropic efforts and contributions to the country’s national development. Join Dustin and Calvin for a thought-provoking conversation on his business acumen, his involvement in the cryptocurrency space, and how he built a digital entertainment empire on his terms and persona. As Calvin says, “The lifestyle I sell is about 80% the reality of what I live.”