TrailBlazers Podcast Season 4


Ep. 61-DeeDee Strum and Nan McKay: Growing Up Black vs. White

Trailblazers Connect host DeeDee Strum shares with friend and fellow co-host Nan McKay how her family’s experiences with racism inform her dedication to lifting up women and people of color.

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Ep 62-Lisa Kleissner: Change Moves at the Speed of Trust

Advocacy started early for Lisa Kleissner. During her high school days in Hawaii, she pushed for environmental causes, earning the ire of school administrators when bringing in scientists and activists who challenged prevailing wisdom.

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Ep. 63-Rosemarie Harris: Don’t fear to strike out on your own

Rosemarie Harris has maneuvered effectively through the ins and outs of corporate life, spending 22 years at a large company before starting her own. Her only regret — not making the leap to launching a business sooner.

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Ep. 64-Vanessa Elle Wilde: Dare to Suck

Vanessa’s approach to life’s challenges and stresses is to reignite your creativity with play. She gives you her recipes which include hot yoga, silent discos, and fires on the beach with your girlfriends. And to remember there’s always a chance for failure and that’s OK.

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Ep. 65-Barbara Daniel: The Fight Isn't Over Yet!

As Founder of the Cleveland Women's Journal, a digital and print magazine, Barbara knows what it takes to start a new business after being in another field for many years. Barbara and Nan talk about entrepreneurship, women's health and well-being, spousal abuse, sex trafficking, and dealing with breast cancer and death of a spouse.

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Ep.66-Linda Vines-Bright: Every child is a magnificent individual

Linda Vines Bright has devoted her career to children. She’s passionate about supporting learners with special needs, using her methods to address and support many different learning styles.

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Ep.67-Lisa Alexander: Faith, Family, and Filmmaking from a Prolific Marketing Expert

Lisa N. Alexander details the personal and professional journey to becoming The Marketing Stylist™. The owner of PrettyWork Creative LLC and PrettyWork Studios, Alexander is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and marketing expert.

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Ep.68-Gina Goree Hitchens Keep your Tribal Sisters with You

Gina Goree Hitchens wants women to create a life of their calling. A major component is a firm financial foundation, and it’s what she helps clients develop through her practice GHG Financial Consulting.

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Ep.69-Valentina Vitols Don't be afraid to ask for help

Valentina Vitols has had a varied career, moving between politics, photography, app development, and the world of startups. Now an angel investor in Seattle, she mentors women founders to equip them for the journey of entrepreneurship.

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Ep.70-My Great-Grandparents were Bahamian Immigrants with a Legacy of Military Service

In this fast-paced interview, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Valarie R. Austin shares her life lessons on achieving four college degrees and serving in a combat zone while living in a Middle Eastern country with different cultural expectations for "women."

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Ep.71-Betsy Muller The power of emotional freedom

Betsy Muller is a self-described science person, with a degree in chemistry and an MBA. It makes her an unlikely advocate for the Emotional Freedom Technique, a form of alternative therapy.

SHOP for her book The Comback, an energy makeover love story, on our site.


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Ep. 72-Kimble Bosworth: From Death Back to Life

Kimble Bosworth approaches life with a sense of fun-loving curiosity. When she was 15, she had a near death experience after almost succumbing to toxic shock syndrome. She remembers being at the doorway of what she believed was heaven, tempted to enter but instead willing herself back to life after hearing her mother’s voice in the hospital room.

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Ep.73-Briana Weisinger Prepping Students for the New Economy

Today’s college students are entering an economy that demands an entrepreneurial mindset. Briana Weisinger, the startup advocate for the University of California, San Diego, wants students to be prepared for a future where independent work is the norm.

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Ep.74-Laura Piening: Find Clarity Now

Building dynamic teams and helping individuals reach their maximum potential is a life calling for Laura Piening. Her expertise and vision in transforming organizations was honed through a 30-year career in the business and nonprofit world, where she broke through several barriers, including becoming one of the first women to work in international banking on Wall Street.

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Ep.75-Janie Stubblefield: Healing Through Play

Children’s natural language is play. That’s why therapist Janie Stubblefield used a technique in her practice called play therapy, which helps her foster deep connections with kids who need healing from trauma, bullying, anxiety, and other mental health challenges.

She takes an outside-the-box approach to making therapy more accessible with a mobile practice that goes where her clients are. (Click on Read More)


Kara Mac

Ep.76-Dressing Up Shoes With Candy

Kara Mac grew tired of hauling around extra shoes. Like many working professionals, she would start her commute in one pair, change to another at work, and then swap shoes for an evening event. For two years she sketched and prototyped dozens of shoe concepts. She landed on a design for boots with swappable heel covers that she terms “candy” accessories.

Go to our SHOP page to buy her shoes with candy.


Dawn Simmons

Ep.77 BONUS-A True Superhero for Justice

There’s seemingly nothing that Dawn Simmons can’t do. A proud Harlem native, she shattered glass ceilings on Wall Street, worked as a teacher, flight attendant, and has championed numerous causes. Among her many achievements is her book Letters to Our Sons, which offers support to mothers who grapple with raising sons of good character.

SHOP on our site for her book, Letters to Our Sons.

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Ana Bermudez

Ep.77-Like that outfit? Just ‘TAGit’

Ana Bermudez would often find fashion inspiration on TV from her favorite shows. Yet finding the items in real life was a chore. It’s why she launched TAGit, a visual search engine that helps users find and buy items that pop up on TV shows. As a female tech CEO, she knows the challenges that women leaders and investors face, which is why it’s critical for women to support one another through both relationships and investment capital.


Tyra Jarvis

Ep.78-Never Stop Reinventing

Tyra Jarvis has had to retool her life many times. She’s worn an array of hats: consultant, project manager, blue collar roles, and ultimately an entrepreneur. Now through her company Kefi Coaching LLC, she advises business leaders in connecting passion, dreams, and the power of their mind to create a meaningful path. Transitions can be frightening, but they can launch powerful change. SHOP on our website for her book: “Teeing Up for Success"

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Jatrice Martel Gaiter

Ep.79 BONUS-Caring is Critical in Nonprofit Work

Jatrice Martel Gaiter shares the influences and the value of a pay-it-forward career started in her early 20s and serving her well into her 60s. With a childhood defined by parents who stressed the importance of education as the gateway to a life full of opportunity, risks and rewards; and finding purpose in the pain of others, Jatrice provides a heart-moving backdrop to her stellar career path.


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Jamie Amelio 

Ep.79-Staying Bothered

Jamie Amelio’s heart was moved by a child in Cambodia who begged her for a dollar. She was bothered by why a child would need to be out asking for money, and the encounter stayed with her. This drove her to launch Caring for Cambodia and invest heavily in building a charity that works to give children education and a future. Shop on our site for her book Staying Bothered: Find Your Passion, Commit to Action, Change the World.



Antonio McGinnis

Ep.80-Victory Off the Court

Antonio McGinnis grew up in a difficult housing project where he recalls constantly seeing drugs and violence. Basketball was his escape. It was the path to a college education and a life far away from an upbringing where he experienced abuse from a caregiver. After playing for Texas A&M and professionally overseas, he returned home one summer and broke his ankle — ending his basketball career. SHOP on our site for Tony's book, Life In the Bricks: 10 Lessons on how to make it out of the Hood. 

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