Sitting on The Corporate Couch with Dawn Mitchell | Coffee & Cards Conversations #42

Dawn Mitchell, founder of The Corporate Couch, is a motivational speaker and trainer who encourages an empowered workforce.



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Turn Your Passion to Profit with Strategist Iyea Brandy | Can STEM Really Transform a Nation? | Podcast #16

Iyea Brandy is a strategist that solves problems for entrepreneurs and educators. She teaches entrepreneurs how to turn their passion to profit.  She also has a big idea what could transform an African nation.

My Pain is My Purpose and My Story is the Solution


Iyea Brandy, Strategist

Why did you choose to start your business – do what you do?
I have been a serial entrepreneur my whole life and love business of any kind. My passion is creating new and unique experiences that solve problems for others. I enjoy the adrenaline in starting a new venture.

Who inspires you?
My son-he makes me better.

What makes you different from other people in your industry?
I follow my gut and intuition. I have lived all the things I teach. I know success and failure intimately. I walk my talk.

Why should someone purchase from you instead of your competition?
What competition? I am a unique brand that appeals to the inner of my clients. I am not every one-cup of tea.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Walk away from my comfortable life in NJ and move to MD.

What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
One of former students screamed “Ms. Brandy is that you” in the middle of the mall and I felt so old. I actually said hush girl, not so loud. Ha ha ha

What is your biggest challenge or obstacle?
I am multi-talented so I have business ideas everyday and I have to say focused on one and grow that one.

What will it take to overcome your biggest challenge or obstacle?
I have to stay focused every day in growing my business and brand.

How do you juggle work and family?
I prioritize my time. I cook twice a week, I make sure to read to my son every night and do family activity with him. I make time to conduct my business and research when my son is at school and watching TV.

Three tips you would like to give to people who are thinking about starting a business in your industry?
1.  Find your niche and know what you offer
2. Understand your audience like you understand your self.
3. Genuinely connect to your audience by sharing meaningful content

What’s the best way to market your particular business?
1.  Speaking at various events where your audience is in attendance
2.  Writing a book or eBook on solutions for problems they have
3.  Networking with others doing similar things as you self
4.  Social media

How have you grown as a person since starting your company?
I’m still growing, I have to learn to bring more of myself into this brand. I want to leave my self out of it but people need to hear more of my story.

If you could travel back in time and speak to your 18 year old self, what would you say?
Girl you have it together, don’t quit just keep going. It’s not my 18 year old self that needs the help its my 25 year old self that lost me.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Creating another new venture, married with two children, traveling to different countries sharing my story and offering solutions on issues in entrepreneurship and education.

What else would you like to add?
My pain is my purpose and my story is the solution.

Iyea’s Big Idea That Will Transform a Nation

iyea-brandy-2_300x225Iyea has a big idea.

She wants to bring STEM to Liberia.

She believes that putting Legos, basic robotics and simple machines in the hands of the children of Liberia would inspire generations of engineers and scientists.  This idea requires teamwork.  If you are familiar with crowd-funding for non-profits and would like to offer some suggestions or advice to Iyea, leave a comment below.


Iyea Brandy’s Bookshelf

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How to Get Your Music Played by Radio Producers with Dick Schissler, Lonestar Internet Radio | Coffee & Cards Conversation #41

In episode 41 of Coffee & Cards Conversations, Dick Schissler, General Manager at Lonestar Internet Radio in Conroe, Texas explains the basic differences between podcasting and internet radio, how to host your own internet radio show, and how to get your music played by radio producers.



Get Your Music Played

The Rev card insideA 72 web

What’s Dick’s best tip for artists and bands who want their music considered for radio play?  Send the radio producer a greeting card!  Not just any greeting card.  A custom greeting card with three key ingredients:

  • Headshot
  • Note of Appreciation
  • QR Code to Download Song

SendOutCards makes creating these greeting cards easy!  Drag and drop technology, a robust contact manager, and card campaigns allow you to send the same card to just one radio producer or 5,000.

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Actor, Writer, Puppeteer Stephanie Diaz on Life in the Arts & Finding Your Own Way | Podcast 015

Actor, casting director, writer & puppeteer Stephanie Diaz is a multidisciplinary artist who has worked in markets across the country, including Seattle, Minneapolis & Milwaukee. Currently, she is an artistic associate with 16th Street Theater in Chicago.

Her recent work includes MARIPOSA NOCTURNA: A Puppet Tritych, a show she created in residence with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Stephanie is currently in rehearsal for Pinkolandia which opens April 3, 2014.

In this podcast, Stephanie shares stories from her journey as a working Latina artist and offers insight for up and coming actors wanting to break into the business.

I Tried Not Doing It



Sum up your business in three sentences or less.
I’m an actor, writer and puppeteer. I don’t know if it can really be called a business I’m an artist. The business part is really secondary (or tertiary), and the stuff that earns me the most money is sometimes the least interesting to me.

Why did you choose to become an actor?
I didn’t, really. It chose me. I tried NOT doing it, and it was not a good thing. I suppose I have my ex-boyfriend to thank for getting serious about it when I did, though (right after 9/11).

Where do you find inspiration?
It really depends on what I’m working on. With acting, I generally find it in the play itself, occasionally in great performances by others (lately, Matthew McConaughey is KILLING IT all over the place and I am mesmerized). The puppetry piece I created recently in residence with the Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs was inspired by Guatemalan folklore, sea life of the Monterey Peninsula, Ukiyoe archetypes, silentera films and the work of the Brothers Quay. Right now I’m really into microorganisms, and incubating ideas about how to make them into beautiful, light-up puppets. I’m really inspired by athletes. I’m obsessed with baseball and the Olympics. I am also inspired by avant-garde fashion and performance art.

What makes you different from other people in your industry?
I guess probably the variety of things that I do on a comparable skill level. Also, I’m not much of a sycophant, for better or worse. I don’t “play the game” very well. Diplomacy is not my strong suit. I am nobody’s satellite, you know?

Why should someone choose you instead of your competition?
It really comes down to what they want. Do they like what I make? Then they should hire me. Art is a really subjective thing. I mean, I’m a damn good actor, but so is almost every actor I know. The people who would probably be considered my “competition” as actors are so completely different than me? the only thing we actually have in common is that we identify as Latina and are in the same general age range. Other than that we’re as different as can be, in every possible way. I also find that thinking about my “competition” is really destructive to me creatively. I believe that there is enough work to go around.

Define your style?
Uh… what kind of style? Whatever style I’m working in depends entirely on the project. “Eclectic” is probably the best umbrella term, since it describes everything about me, from what kind of foods I like, to the clothes I wear, to my home decor, to the type of art I make/like.

Tell me about your typical day.
There really is no such thing for me. I generally get up after my husband goes to work (he makes the best coffee!) and what I do depends on what I’m working on: if I’m rehearsing a show at a big theatre, I’ll go to rehearsal in the daytime. If it’s at a small theatre, I’ll go in the evening. If I’m in performance or not working on a play, I might have to go somewhere for an audition, or record a VO audition in my studio at home. If I’m meeting a writing deadline, I’ll write in fits and starts throughout the day and night. I try to work out (Bikram or Baptiste yoga and running) every other day. I meditate 20 minutes a day. I drink coffee. I usually answer one or more casting emails (I’m a casting director), maybe coach a friend on an audition, maybe proofread some copy that’s going out for 16th Street (a theatre company I’m a member of). I might have a meeting with a collaborator somewhere. I take Pilates on Fridays at 11 (unless I have a booking).



How do you juggle work and family?
I don’t have to, really. I don’t have kids. But when I do have them, the beauty of what I do is that I’ll just choose projects to accommodate whatever is happening with child-rearing (or not). I didn’t marry an actor (I was never going to? not attracted to them categorically), so there’s a certain amount of financial stability in my marriage that enables me to have artistic freedom (this wasn’t always the case in our relationship, and I’m super-grateful that I’m no longer the main breadwinner. That was rough. I hate teaching and don’t love doing musicals, but they paid our rent for several years.)

Three tips you would like to give to people who are thinking about starting a business in your industry?

  1. Know yourself
  2. Diversify your hustle.
  3. Shut up and do the work. You can talk when you have something to show for yourself. Otherwise you’re just full of it.

How has your career helped you grown as a person?
I just sort of evolved into a working artist over time. When I was 25 I decided I wouldn’t work for free anymore, unless there was some kind of serious payoff in other ways and I haven’t. I guess the most profound and beneficial thing I’ve learned is that it’s OK to be the way I am, to honor and pursue my particular proclivities, and that there is truly no one-size-fits-all template for a fulfilling artistic career, no comprehensive measure of success. Also, learning to not judge the work, just letting it come about and THEN evaluating it is an ongoing lesson that I wish i’d begun learning earlier. It really is all about the work for me, and I try to let the work speak for itself. John Cage has a rule list for artists that has a lot of truth in it for me.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Not in Chicago!  And with children.  And a published novel.

For whom are you thankful? Who do you appreciate?
My mom, my husband, my sisters, my agents, my best friends Alissa and Jessica. I had a rough couple of years from a personal standpoint, and they were all tremendously nurturing and supportive in emotional and practical ways. They also really believe in the the art I produce, and that’s important, because when you’re IN it, it can be really hard to SEE it and know that it’s worthwhile. I also really appreciate super mediocre artists who produce, produce, produce I mean, obviously they don’t think they’re mediocre, but they are clearly not spending a lot of time worrying about whether something is “good” or not they just MAKE it. They get it made. Those people are very instructive.


Stephanie Diaz

Stephanie Diaz’s Bookshelf

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Get Poked with Alyson Bayer, LAc of Clear Choice Acupuncture & Wellness | Coffee & Cards Conversation #40

In the 40th episode of Coffee & Cards Conversations, Alyson Bayer of Clear Choice Acupuncture & Wellness explains the benefits of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. Then, we have a brief spat over parking lot semantics.   To wrap up, Alyson shares how she uses appreciation marketing with SendOutCards in her practice.

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Alyson Bayer, LAc Clear Choice Acupuncture & Wellness

Alyson Bayer, LAc
Clear Choice Acupuncture & Wellness

Clear Choice Acupuncture & Wellness
213 N Thompson St
Conroe, TX 77301


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“Woman” by Tracy Larson Clifford | Podcast Episode 14

Singer-Song Writer Tracy Larson-Clifford

Singer-Song Writer Tracy Larson-Clifford

Singer-song writer, Tracy Larson’ Clifford debuts her new single, “Woman” in this special edition of the Gratitude Geek Podcast.

Never Give Up

“In the beginning, stepping into the spotlight (on stage) made me feel extremely vulnerable and anxious in ways I had not yet experienced in life. I loved it so much but my heart knew there was more, more to being just a back up singer, more to doing someone else’s song.”

Tracy is the talent and genius behind the Coffee & Cards Conversations & Gratitude Geek Podcast theme music, “Never Give Up”.  In this very candid interview, Tracy shares her journey from teen mom to grandmother. Her 22-year career as a nurse exposed and inspired a drive to provide healing through music. Her organization, Soul Lily House v’Music strives to offer guitar and vocal instruction and sponsorship to struggling families.

In addition to “Woman”, Tracy also plays acoustic versions of her singles “Gone” & “Never Give Up” during the interview.  It’s a real treat for your ears!

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“The most peace for me in my spirit is when the first note is played and I begin to soar… at times, it feels as though I am flying around the room – JOY JOY JOY!”


Fitness Expert Lynda Davies on Spandex, British Chocolate & Kettlebells | Lucky Podcast #013 | Coffee & Cards Conversation #38

Confessions of a Coffee & Cards Conversationalist

When Lynda Davies & I sat down for Coffee & Cards Conversations, it wasn’t just to chat about spandex, British chocolate and kettlebells.  The real objective was to see just how many acronyms Lynda could use in 15 minutes!

Lynda Davies, Elite Fitness Training

Lynda Davies, Elite Fitness Training

Why ELITE Fitness Training, does that not limit your market?
ELITE is an acronym.  It stands for Everybody Loves the Individual Training Experience.

  • Everybody – from old to young, overweight, underweight, fit, or couch potato benefit from working with a personal trainer.
  • Loves
  • Individual – what you learn is for you as an individual. everyone’s plan is different, the time I spend with you is focused  on your goals and expectations.
  • Training – this is work I teach your mind and Train your body, it is not a walk in the park, except if that’s all you are capable of right now that is where we will start.
  • Experience –  when I train you, I do not just boss you around in my likable British voice I teach you about your body, and your lifestyles so that when our time together is through you can continue on the journey, and not undo all your accomplishments.

Explain the benefits of In Home Personal Training.
Time, Travel, Cost.

What new projects are you currently working on?
I am writing a book, based on a lifestyle plan I am developing.    My personal plan is 56 days to AWESOME, another acronym:

  • Attitude, you need the right one Before you start a lifestyle change be sure you are doing the right reasons, and know in your own mind that you will succeed.
  • Water, know how much to drink, and when. Learn if other drinks add or subtract from this total.
  • Exercise, know where, what when, and how much.
  • Sugar, know how to identify good and bad sugars. Understand the way the body processes the things you eat. Set a personal target for added sugar intake.
  • Oils learn about good fats and bed fat, and why I prefer olive oil, coconut oil, and butter, and I avoid canola oil, palm oil, and margarine.
  • Measurements, understand body composition , basal metabolic rate, available technology, set baseline measurements and use them to monitor progress.
  • Eating plans. Diets don’t work, if the did there would be no need for the Diet Industry. I will help you determine which eating options are right for you and help you develop a healthy lifestyle.

For you Kandas, I could work 56 days of GRATITUDE.

  • Goals – I will show you how to set SMARTER goals.
  • Rules – we will establish rules about sugars, oils and processed food.
  • Activity –  we will set the basic requirements for daily and weekly exercise
  • Timescales – we will establish the 8 week time frame and how it fits into your life plan.
  • Irrigation – Water supply, how much do you really need, do other drinks add or subtract from that total
  • Target – What are you aiming for, could be weight loss, fat loss muscle gain, how will you know you have reached them. Baseline and endpoint measurements.
  • Dairy- pros and cons of dairy consumption
  • Eating plan –  Will you DIET, ( do I eat this) or follow a conventional Atkins, Paleo, weight watchers etc program.  Will you move towards using more single ingredient foods and cooking from scratch and away from overly processed foods which may contain controversial ingredients whether listed on the label or not.  DIET, by the way, is an acronym for “Do I Eat This”?

How have you used SendOutCards to market your business?
I send cards to my clients on Birthday and Christmas or other special occasions.   I send thank you cars when they stop being my client.  I send random cards for accomplishment.  I have never sent a card to a prospective client yet, but who knows when I might need to do just that.

Lynda Davies Looks Good in Spandex, the Video

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How to Handle a Tacky Networker and other Networking Tips from Award-Winning Event Planner Shelly Rice | Podcast 012

Award-winning event planner Shelly Rice has spent the past 25 years helping business owners grow their networks and their companies through business events, workshops, mentoring and collaboration. In Gratitude Geek Podcast Episdode 12, Shelly shares her top networking and business tips, including how to deal with the infamous tacky networker.

This is NOT a Cold Call

Award-Winning Event Planner Shelly Rice

Award-Winning Event Planner Shelly Rice

Kandas:  Where would you go if you were invisible?

Shelly:  I would go visit all of my childhood boyfriends and play pranks on them.

Kandas:  What’s your motto?

Shelly:  Attitude is everything

Kandas:  What makes you different from other people in your industry?

Shelly:  Experience. Lots of great events out there but few can say they have held successful events all over the country. I’ve hosted nearly 1,000 events in 80 cities.

Kandas:  What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Shelly:  I spent two years helping my son overcome an illness. Two years of not knowing if he would walk again, or live or what the outcome would be. Tough two years. He’s just fine now by the way!

Kandas:  What is your biggest challenge or obstacle?

Shelly:  I seem to be my biggest obstacle. I can blame circumstances or others but in reality I am the only thing in my way.

Kandas:  What will it take to overcome your biggest challenge or obstacle?

Shelly:  Just never giving up. That and my coach is kicking my butt.

Kandas:  Define your style?

Shelly:  REAL

Kandas: Tell me about your typical day.

Shelly: I pretty much work 14-16 hours a day.


Networking 101:  Connect with People Not Business Cards

Kandas:  How do you juggle work and family?

Shelly:  Son is grown, still find time to see him and my family, it’s not tough.

Kandas:  Three tips you would like to give to people who are thinking about starting a business in your industry?

1. Put your plan in writing.

2. Have twice as much money as you think you’re going to need.

3. Collaborate with others.

Kandas:  What’s the best way to market your particular business?

Shelly:  This information is going to cost you!

Kandas:  How have you grown as a person since starting your company?

Shelly:  I started my company 25 years ago so I’ve grown and changed a million times since then.

Kandas:  If you could travel back in time and speak to your 18 year old self, what would you say?

Shelly:  Listen to your parents, they know what they are talking about.

Kandas:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Shelly:  Same thing….working like a mad woman, speaking on more stages, shaking more hands…….

Kandas:  For whom are you thankful? Who do you appreciate?

Shelly:  God, my family, my best friend-Reda and my mentor-Patty Farmer. Also thankful for my business partners: Margie Baxley, Reeshemah Holmes and the incredible Dawniel Winningham.

Kandas:  What else would you like to add?

Shelly:  I sincerely appreciate you having me on your show. Thank you. Please let me know how I can be a resource for you.

Shelly Rice’s Bookshelf

Bonus Book Pick

The Big Take Away

My big take away is:  It doesn’t matter how long you have been doing what you are doing, you still have much more to learn.

What about you?  Leave a comment with your big take away about this networking and business building conversation with Shelly Rice.

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Be the Boss Magazine

Be the Boss Magazine

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