Level Up Podcast-logo

Level Up Podcast

Business & Economics Podcasts

This is the Level Up Podcast where we generate authentic conversations with business and industry trailblazers on how to bring growth, diversity, and leadership to the next level.


United States


This is the Level Up Podcast where we generate authentic conversations with business and industry trailblazers on how to bring growth, diversity, and leadership to the next level.




Redefining Handcrafted and Fresh Baked Dog Treats With Kaleb and Kolby Rush

In March 2020, brothers Kaleb and Kolby Rush lost their internships with the onset of the pandemic. They decided to put their skills and knowledge to good use. Alongside their dad, they spent months perfecting their five-ingredient, human-grade, meat-based dog treat recipes. With a passion for entrepreneurship, a love for dogs, and their unique knowledge of dog treat craftsmanship, Kaleb and Kolby got down to business and co-founded Saint Rocco’s Treats. They’re focused on opening 15 Saint Rocco's kitchens by 2030. Kaleb Rush is also the Production Manager at Prime Packaging Partners LLC. Kaleb graduated from the Fox School of Business at Temple University with a major in supply chain management and a minor in entrepreneurship, selling skills, and sales operations. He is also the Recruitment Chairman for Delta Chi, where he developed a recruitment strategy and successfully onboarded 20 new members to help grow its colony and build Delta Chi's brand on campus. Kolby Rush sharpened his practical understanding of the business world as an Associate Consultant for Chess Consulting LLC, an Intern at Primerica, and by working for his dad at American Butcher Brand. Kolby received a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University with a major in finance and a minor in economics. He also studied abroad in Germany at Pforzheim University, learning business and economics. In this episode… Your four-legged friend has always been there with a gentle nose and a warm heart, so how can you make sure you’re catering to your pet’s dietary needs? What steps can you take to ensure an authentic consumer experience across various touch points? When Kaleb and Kobly Rush began their dog treat brand, they were certain about one thing — dogs deserve better. By bootstrapping their brand, they control the ingredients that go into each treat, so man’s best friend will only get top ingredients. Kaleb and Kolby enhanced their marketing recipe by using a genuine approach to reach their target audience and make a positive impact in their community by donating $1 to local dog rescues for every pound of treats sold. Bring tail wags to your home with this episode. In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco is joined by Kaleb and Kolby Rush, Founders of Saint Rocco’s Treats, to discuss the commitment and passion behind creating a pet food brand. Together, they talk about launching a human-grade dog food brand, why authenticity has a greater impact on consumers, and why remaining committed to your values is essential.


Passion, Purpose, and Performance With May Thao-Schuck, EdD, Vice President of Career and Professional Development at St. Catherine University

May Thao-Schuck, EdD, is the Vice President of Career and Professional Development at St. Catherine University. With a strong background in leading and advancing teams and organizations, May successfully propels growth through innovative strategic organization and business design. She was previously the Divisional Director of Workforce Development Employment and Training Programs at the Minnesota Department of Employment and the Director of Organizational Development for Training and Development at ActivStyle. She earned her doctorate in organization development and change from the University of St. Thomas, an MBA from Argosy University, and her bachelor’s in therapeutic recreation and recreational therapy from the University of Minnesota. May is an active board member at the Minnesota State High School League and CommonBond Communities. In this episode… Making difficult decisions and recognizing when it's time to pivot can be challenging for leaders. How can you embrace a diverse talent pool to create a stronger team and work environment? When statistics show that within the first 18 months, 40% of internal promotions and 55% of outside hires leave, how can you equip your organization with the right systems and processes to assemble lasting leadership? For May Thao-Schuck, EdD, the answer may be surprising: holistic positioning. Positioning leaders based on foundational career competencies and adaptability can set up organizations for success. If you want your organization to become successful, begin with your leadership. In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with May Thao-Schuck, EdD, Vice President of Career and Professional Development at St. Catherine University, to discuss cultivating a workplace with equity and opportunity. May talks about the impact employees make on the workforce environment, challenges organizations face while handling human capital, and how to empower leaders for generations to come.


Recruiting, Leading, and Overcoming With Ginny Clarke

Ginny Clarke is the CEO of Ginny Clarke, LLC. She is a talent strategist and organizational builder who provides insights to some of the world's leading executive search firms and technology companies. She recently started her consultancy, where she speaks, writes, and hosts the Fifth Dimensional Leadership podcast. She was the Director of Leadership Staffing and led diversity and internal mobility and non-tech recruiting teams at Google for nearly five years. As a seasoned executive recruiter, Ginny possesses a singular approach to leadership assessment, diversity, recruiting, and talent management that is sought after by her peers. In this episode… An overlooked aspect of leadership is found in recruitment. More than merely focusing on the hiring process, great leaders can enable, nurture, and welcome new people into their teams. This slight shift into conscious leadership starts from the very beginning and runs through the entire relationship. However, this is easier said than done. Ginny Clarke is aware of the difficulties of conscious leadership and has positioned her career towards helping others develop that mindset. She has worked with powerful brands like Google and Spencer Stuart, growing a thorough approach to recruiting and diversity. Now she explains her ideas to you. In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco talks with Ginny Clarke, CEO of Ginny Clarke, LLC, about recruiting, growing, and conscious leading. They begin with Ginny’s career path and the story that made her the leader she is today. She then dives into greater detail on executive recruiting, developing an internal mobility and diversity team at Google, and knowing the difference between managing and leading. Check out the full episode for all of this and more!


Revolutionary Ideas for Financial Strategic Initiatives With Reyn Holden, Head of Finance and Accounting at Truebill

Reyn Holden is the Head of Finance and Accounting at Truebill, a finance company that manages subscriptions, improves credit scores, tracks spending, and builds budgets for consumers. He is a Global Advisory Board Member at AchieveNEXT and the Owner of Quintessence Properties I. Reyn led a team of internal and external staff supporting the technology acquired by Rocket Companies and helped Truebill become a member of the Rocket team. He is experienced in the finance sector and was previously the Lead Data Financial Analyst for the Virginia Regional Transit, a Consultant at LMI, Head of FP&A for Great Minds, and a Consultant for Clarendon Partners, LLC. In this episode… How can you communicate financial information that satisfies the appetite? What can you do to align objectives with financial goals for a product-driven company? Reyn Holden says the simplest way is not to overwhelm your clients with too much information. Effective communication requires tailoring and altering your message to a given audience. If your audience doesn't have the same level of understanding, you must express your message by directing it to the information that they want and need to know. Not everyone is a financial expert, so you must voice what's necessary to validate the next steps a business wants to take. Strategic business initiatives are built on the backs of financial information and assessing the risks and rewards of those decisions. Reyn helps translate the company’s financial needs and the desires of its product and brand-building goals, so the two form a cohesive strategy and set the company up to become an enduring enterprise. On this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with Reyn Holden, Head of Finance and Accounting at Truebill, to discuss authenticating and improving your business results. Reyn talks about examining the long-term success of your product, how to communicate financial needs effectively, and the steps you can take to balance a company’s financial and operational needs.


Drawing From Life Experiences To Help Serve Your Clients With Misty Law Flurry and Milton Corsey of AchieveNEXT

Misty Law Flurry is an accomplished human resources leader who brings over 20 years of experience to her position as Director of Talent Solutions at AchieveNEXT, a company that helps businesses achieve performance goals and outcomes through its peer communities, data, insights, and talent solutions. Misty’s years of experience enabled her to garner specialization in cultural transformation, organizational and executive development, and inclusive leadership. To put it simply, Misty is a champion for the people. Additionally, Misty has held senior HR roles at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Mellon, and Xerox. Milton Corsey brings over 20 years of experience to his role as Director of Human Capital Solutions at AchieveNEXT. In his role, Milton leads the leadership and management development practice. His experience and life lessons have led him to pen articles for acclaimed publications such as Harvard Business Review and Middle Market Growth. Milton is revered as a skilled facilitator who can break down complex concepts to help the diverse audiences he serves. In this episode… Have you overcome struggles and challenges to become the person you are today? Having the courage to sift through the trials and tribulations of life shapes you at your core. And you can use your triumphs and failures as tools to help others. You don’t have to have a colorful life to offer the world your talents or the lessons you’ve learned. Milton Corsey and Misty Law Flurry have unique backgrounds and have used their life lessons to become better leaders and serve their clients at a high level. Through their experiences, they’ve learned how to ask questions and listen to arrive at meaningful solutions using the empathy they’ve discovered inside themselves. They’ve learned to draw on the inspiration of the people they admire, pivot and change course when needed, live life with intention, and put in the work. Milton and Misty have applied their talents to their careers and have evolved and grown as people and leaders regardless of what curves life has thrown in their paths because they aren’t afraid of change and hold true to their values. In an ever-changing world that throws continuous obstacles at us, it is evident that we must become comfortable with the one constant in life — change. In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with Misty Law Flurry, Director of Talent Solutions, and Milton Corsey, Director of Human Capital Solutions at AchieveNEXT, to examine the ingredients that go into helping their clients. How do they do it? From sharing their own journeys, Misty and Milton talk about life lessons, what inspires them, and how they drew from tough experiences that helped shape their lives.


Unleashing Your Story and Building Your Brand With Steve Dobbins, Founder and CEO of The Dobbins Group Inc.

Steve Dobbins is the Founder and CEO of The Dobbins Group Inc., a full-service agency solving marketing and communications challenges for clients worldwide. He is a seasoned marketing and communications professional and has worked side-by-side with CEOs to help build their brands for over twenty years. Steve was the Co-founder of revolucion LA, the Senior Vice President of Member Engagement at Vistage, the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for the Young Presidents' Organization, Inc., and the Owner of Spin Creative. In this episode… Every brand has a story, and as a leader, how can you effectively communicate and embrace the story you want to be told? How can you leverage your story into a marketing strategy that ties into your business plan? You can’t be an effective leader if you don’t look at your company’s long-term vision — and it begins with marketing strategies. Authenticity and integrity are at the heart of Steve Dobbins’ work. He has a passion for transforming a business into an enduring enterprise through marketing strategies, and he has helped many companies pivot and expand their talent pools and networks. So, how can you develop and execute a marketing strategy for long-term success? In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with Steve Dobbins, Founder and CEO of The Dobbins Group Inc., to discuss translating your brand’s authenticity through marketing channels. Steve talks about his valuable background in journalism, bridging generational gaps, and why an advisory organization is a beneficial tool for discovering learning opportunities.


Reaching Beyond the Sphere of Sports With Matt Aaron, President and CEO of Special Olympics Pennsylvania

Matt Aaron is the President and CEO of the Special Olympics Pennsylvania, a nonprofit organization that uses the power of sports to transform the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Over the course of 13 years working for this statewide nonprofit, Matt has more than tripled annual revenues by fostering a strategic vision to expand and regionalize the organization. Matt has positioned the Special Olympics Pennsylvania as an innovator and a next-level performer. Prior to joining Special Olympics Pennsylvania, Matt established a career in the US Navy, gained valuable marketing experience within the Strategic Planning Division of Procter and Gamble, and honed his business skills through management consultancy work with Booz Allen Hamilton. He completed his MBA with a concentration in nonprofit management from Yale School of Management. In this episode… As a sports organization, how do you allow athletes to engage in a meaningful way during the pandemic? When the dust settles, is it possible to build for the future to better engage and serve athletes across the globe? While the pandemic brought many challenges for businesses, it provided Matt Aaron the opportunity for innovation and reinvention. He and his team took action to effectively serve their athletes in the Special Olympics by implementing virtual events, challenges, and races. And after emerging from the lockdown, Matt knew that to boost the impact his organization brings to the community, he needed to create a new formula to rebuild. In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with Matt Aaron, President and CEO of Special Olympic Pennsylvania, to discuss how to better serve the community and athletes with higher-quality programs. Matt talks about grappling with the challenges of the pandemic, strategies for embracing organizational change, and innovative ways to connect athletes across the globe.


How to Cultivate Relational Versus Transactional Connections With RJ Juliano, Senior VP, CIO, and CMP at Parkway Corporation

RJ Juliano is the Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer, and Chief Marketing Officer at Parkway Corporation. He helps companies create environments where people want to work and customers enjoy doing business. In 2016, he began his career with Parkway as the Chief Information Officer, and in 2020 he was promoted to the dual role of Chief Marketing Officer. In 2021, he was also handed the Senior Vice President role. Working in real estate, higher education, and investments, RJ has over 25 years of business leadership and consulting experience specializing in technology strategy, media and marketing, operations, team development, and business processes. RJ earned both his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration from The University of Delaware. In this episode… How can you ensure your message is delivered and embraced by employees across all career lattices? When you’re communicating internally and externally, how can you portray the value and culture of your brand? For RJ Juliano, showing integrity and vulnerability should be your foundation. By establishing trust and authenticity, you’re creating the substance and form of the information you’re communicating across all levels of your company. RJ recommends being vulnerable and asking questions, no matter your leadership status, to connect with your community and employees. An outstanding leader is always willing to learn and teach strategies and goals for the benefit of the company — and RJ is here to share his expert strategies for finding value and contributing to your company’s success. In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with RJ Juliano, Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer, and Chief Marketing Officer at Parkway Corporation, to discuss optimizing and balancing your relationships and experiences across all levels of business. RJ talks about the importance of clearly communicating information, how to avoid counter productivity, and developing a corporate culture that reflects your core values.


Impacting the Greater Good Through Corporate Social Responsibility With Regina Black Lennox, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff at Satell Institute

Regina Black Lennox is the Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff at Satell Institute, a company well-known for a strong, supportive culture of accountability and dedication to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Ed Satell founded and fully-endowed the groundbreaking Satell Institute, a “Think and Do Tank for Corporate Social Responsibility.” The Institute is focused on championing the interdependence of successful business organizations, the well-being of the communities they operate in, and the need they have for each other, recognizing an inescapable priority for business leaders — to make the communities they operate in better by partnering for-profits with quality nonprofits, for the greater good. As a consultant, speaker, and presenter, Regina has also worked with faith educational institutions and nonprofit organizations to provide global resources to help companies understand and maximize their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, training retreats, and motivational seminars. Her best-known presentations include: The Language of Leadership, Ways to Incite & Excite; Stay Proactive—Not Reactive; Communicate to Create;Called, Challenged and Gifted; and Implementing Change Powerfully and Successfully.Regina serves on several boards and advisory councils and has received The Distinguished Advocate Award issued by The Support Center for Child Advocates. In this episode… As a business leader, how can you take action and make a positive change in your community? Where can you turn to find workable strategies and resources to nourish people in need and your community? Regina Black Lennox knows that leaders need access to tools and resources to take actionable steps to impact workforce development to sustain the community and the people who live there. She has been at the forefront of actively engaging and encouraging leaders to create immediate — and lasting — change in their communities through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Regina advocates for people to remain authentic and connect to others with a deeper meaning and to hold true to Founder Ed Satell’s belief, model, and teaching of “Think we, not just me.” In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with Regina Black Lennox, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff at Satell Institute, to discuss the importance of research and a commitment for doing good within the community. Regina talks about the sequence of connecting through research and education, ways to develop positive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and creating a sustainable future through the next generation. Stay tuned!


Positioning Yourself To Recreate the Future With Kendall Qualls, Republican Candidate for Minnesota Governor

Kendall Qualls is a Republican Candidate for the Governor of Minnesota. Before this, he was the Founder and President of TakeCharge Minnesota, an organization created to inspire and educate black and minority communities. He has over 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry, working as the Chief Commercial Officer and EVP for PotentiaMetrics and the Global Marketing Vice President for Covidien/Medtronic, as well as other roles for pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies. Kendall also served on the board of trustees at Nyack Hospital in New York City and the board of directors at Colorado UpLift. Prior to his career in politics and the healthcare industry, Kendall served as an officer in the US Army, Field Artillery. He earned his MBA from the University of Michigan and his master’s degree in communications and economics from the University of Oklahoma. In this episode… The most accomplished leaders are focused on building relationships, cultivating success, and developing a valuable culture for generations to come. For Kendall Qualls, these values helped him achieve success when the odds were against him. So, how did he do it, and what steps can you take to grow professionally and personally? Before becoming a candidate for the Governor of Minnesota, Kendall built a nonprofit helping minority communities achieve prosperity. He learned through his career and life the importance of fair and equitable opportunities for people from all walks of life. Now, he is here to share his story of becoming a pillar of courage within his community, creating a culture that moves past differences, and recreating the future for the next generation of leaders. In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with Kendall Qualls, Republican Candidate for the Governor of Minnesota, to talk about advocating for a better future for generations to come. Kendall shares the motivation and lessons he learned from childhood, how to prioritize prosperity in minority communities, and the important traits a leader should have. Stay tuned!


Cultivating A Talent Navigator Mindset With Emma Pollard, Director of Global Talent Development at Teleflex

Emma Pollard is the Director of Global Talent Development at Teleflex, a global provider of medical technologies with more than 14,000 employees worldwide. With over a decade of experience in talent acquisition, Emma helps companies develop and engage their employees and customers at every part of the enterprise. She enjoys exploring international environments, organizations, and cultures. Additionally, Emma has a background in psychology that assists with her communication, analytic skills, and interactions. In this episode… How can you set your employees up for success? What can you do to improve your company culture while enriching your employees' experiences? For Emma Pollard, it’s all about cultivating skillful communication in the workplace. As a talent development expert, Emma has helped teams improve the performance and experiences of their people. She believes there is strength in understanding another person beyond what they can contribute to the workplace. It takes authentic and personal connections to create a positive experience. So, what does this mean for your organization? In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with Emma Pollard, the Director of Global Talent Development at Teleflex, to discuss cultivating and aligning core values between employers and employees. Emma talks about generating authentic relationships in a remote team, the importance of a foundation rooted in communication, and how to set employees up for success in the workplace.


Empowering The Next Generation of Leaders With Dan Rhoton, Executive Director at Hopeworks

Dan Rhoton is the Executive Director at Hopeworks, a nonprofit founded in 2000 to help Camden, New Jersey young adults return to school and create pathways for gainful employment. Dan is an experienced education and nonprofit leader with two decades of experience helping youth and adults achieve their dreams. With a focus on education, technology, and entrepreneurship, Dan and his team at Hopeworks provide a positive, healing atmosphere that propels young people to build strong futures and break the cycle of violence and poverty. In this episode… Everybody deserves a second chance, and you never know what an opportunity can lead to. As a leader, how can you help someone that’s struggling achieve their goals? And where can you find the right people to help you? As Dan Rhoton says, all you need to do is show someone the right path and opportunities for growth to build a stronger future workforce. It takes people that are bold and brave to seek out help from others so that they can bring their authentic selves to what they are doing. You don’t have to shoot for perfection — instead shoot for better and lead with purpose. In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with Dan Rhoton, the Executive Director at Hopeworks, to discuss how you can strengthen your business and community by helping other people achieve their goals. Dan shares his proudest moment at Hopeworks, how to create competence and confidence in the young workforce, and the three elements to look for when hiring.


[Year in Review]

Nick Araco is the Founder and CEO of AchieveNEXT, a peer-led advisory network organization that empowers market leaders and their teams to meet ambitious growth goals. Over the last 20 years, Nick has helped facilitate a community of forward-thinking, entrepreneurial-minded, and financially educated C-Suite executives across industries. He serves as the voice of the CFO community, representing over 10,000 leaders and members of The CFO Alliance and The CHRO Alliance. Prior to founding AchieveNEXT, Nick served in growth strategy and business development leadership roles for companies including Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and RSM US. He is currently a renowned public speaker, a recognized global business leader, and the host of the Level Up podcast. In this episode… Creating and managing a business can be a daunting task. Where can you find industry experts to help you build your team and achieve next-level performance? For Nick Araco, interviewing today’s top leaders has given him an inside look at the biggest challenges affecting executives and their teams — and the tools to overcome them. This week, Nick shares key insights into cultivating a workplace environment that is inclusive, making your team feel valued, and empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs to create a more diverse and connected world. There’s something for everyone in this episode. In this episode of Level Up, Rise25 Co-founder Dr. Jeremy Weisz sits down with host Nick Araco to talk about some of the major lessons and insights from Nick’s past podcast episodes. Nick shares how consistency and sincerity produce growth, the importance of cultivating a diverse and inclusive work environment, and the key qualities that make a great leader.


Creating Impactful Experiences With Roy Schindele, President at RDS Advisers Corp

Roy Schindele is the President of RDS Advisers Corp and the Executive Director of Sales and Marketing at Mission Inn Resort & Club. He grew up in an entrepreneurial household and has been in the hospitality industry for over 30 years. Roy’s customer-oriented focus and strategic planning experience have played a key role in his successful career. Previously, he was the Founder of a fashion design company, a Consultant at Walt Disney World, and the Resort Director at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge. In this episode… In the hospitality industry, the manner in which you treat your guests and employees can make or break your success. This same lesson can apply to almost every other field or sector. So, how can you uphold a standard of excellence within your business? And, as a leader, how can you inspire your team to deliver an outstanding performance? Roy Schindele delivers one-of-a-kind experiences to his clients and team through integrity, personalization, and an exceptional culture. As a leader in the hospitality industry, Roy knows that this experience is what can scale or crush a brand — which is why he specializes in helping people make unforgettable memories, not mediocre experiences. In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with Roy Schindele, the President of RDS Advisers Corp and the Executive Director of Sales and Marketing at Mission Inn Resort & Club, to talk about cultivating innovative and unique experiences to expand your brand. Roy discusses the importance of the client experience, strategies for creating impactful growth, and what exceptional leadership actually looks like.


Growing Your Team from Two to 200 With Myles Anderson, Founder and CEO of BrightLocal

Myles Anderson is the Founder and CEO of BrightLocal. BrightLocal is a marketing technology business that provides solutions to local marketing challenges. Their tools and services have helped over 80,000 local marketers develop success for their brands and clients. The BrightLocal team has grown to more than 200 employees working in four countries. Before launching his business, Myles was the Product Manager and Marketing Manager for VideoJug and the Director of Business Development for eHarmony. In this episode… It’s one thing to manage two employees. It’s a different challenge when you’re leading a team of 50. But, it’s a whole new ballgame to manage over 200 people in multiple different countries. Myles Anderson understands this firsthand. As he says, a growing company needs growing leadership — not just in numbers of people with fancy titles, but with people who are actively learning to become better leaders. What kinds of skills does a good leader need? Where can you learn them? How will it impact your company? In this episode of the Level Up podcast, host Nick Araco is joined by Myles Anderson, Founder and CEO of BrightLocal, to discuss how he grew as a leader while his company expanded. Myles talks about why learning great leadership skills was a priority, the culture he developed at BrightLocal, and how his team’s eight core beliefs power every business decision.


An Innovative Approach to Sustainability With Stu Benton, President and CEO of Bradford Soap Works

Stu Benton is the President and CEO at Bradford Soap Works, an international manufacturer of personal care products focused on sustainability. He has been with Bradford Soap Works for over ten years, serving as their CFO before expanding to his current position. Stu has held several executive manufacturing, distribution, and financial roles for companies including Northeast Security Inc., New Energy Alliance, Plymouth Rubber Europa S/A, and more. Stu holds a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Bentley University and an Executive MBA from Suffolk University. He is the Past President of the Massachusetts Society of CPAs and previously served on the Board of Directors of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Governing Council of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). In this episode… How do you run a successful, sustainable business? For Stu Benton, it’s about understanding the vision behind the company. As he says, building a long-lasting business begins with gathering like-minded individuals that are passionate about the company’s core values and mission. Stu is the leader of a manufacturer of personal care products that has dominated the market for more than 140 years. To grow in the industry, Stu knows that communication across all levels of a business is critical to cultivating an environment of passion and innovation. So, how can you mirror these core values in your brand? In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with Stu Benton, President and CEO at Bradford Soap Works, to discuss the framework of a successful brand. Stu talks about his transition from finance to leadership, why supportive leaders are crucial for brand success, and how he builds on his company’s fundamental value of innovation. Stay tuned!


The Importance of Diversity to Business Success With Travis Shumake, the First LGBTQ+ Driver for NHRA

Travis Shumake is a Licensed NHRA Funny Car and Super Comp Dragster Driver who is skilled in community relations, brand representation, and public speaking. Travis is the fastest LGBTQ+ motorsports driver in the world and the first openly gay racer licensed by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), which is considered one of the largest motorsports sanctioning bodies across the globe. Travis grew up in the drag racing world as the son of the late Funny Car champion, Tripp Shumake, and is an LGBTQ+ activist and a nonprofit fundraiser. In this episode… Are you in an underrepresented community and are looking to make a mark in your industry? What can you learn from other communities working together to drive success and influence others? Travis Shumake says that being inclusive is one of the most important components of business success in any field. As the first openly gay NHRA racer, he shares his story to inspire and encourage leaders and businesses to start working with more diverse people. Travis says success is not complicated — you only need to be open-minded. In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with Travis Shumake, the fastest LGBTQ+ motorsports driver on the planet, to talk about diversity and business. Travis discusses his experience as the first openly gay NHRA racer, the importance of asking questions as a leader, and how he deals with resistance. Stay tuned.


The Mindset of a Successful Leader With Jeff Terhune, Director of Federal Affairs at JBS Communications, LLC

Jeff Terhune is the Director of Federal Affairs at JBS Communications, LLC, a bipartisan government relations firm. In his role, Jeff is a trusted advisor to private sector leaders, community agents, and public policymakers — providing strategy guidance that is informed by his experience with federal and state government officials. He serves small and medium-sized enterprises, institutions of higher education, and nonprofits with a primary focus on improving livelihoods in rural America. In this episode… Are you struggling to come up with solutions that best fit your problems as a leader? What if there was a simpler way to solve your challenges? Jeff Terhune has a proven record of finding unique answers for any given problem. Through his experience as a government relations advisor, he has gathered the required ingredients for becoming a successful leader. As he says, great leadership is not complicated — you only need to adopt the right mindset. In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with Jeff Terhune, the Director of Federal Affairs at JBS Communications, LLC, to talk about problem-solving and servant leadership. They discuss the mindset a leader should have, tips for executing on diversity and belonging, and how to maintain valuable relationships for the success of your business.


Elevating Founders Into CEOs With Mike Krupit, Founder of Trajectify

Mike Krupit founded Trajectify, a business and leadership coaching company, in 2013 to help entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed. He has been at the helm of eight diverse startups — including Real Food Works, Novotorium, and CDNOW — and is familiar with the highs and lows of running a business. He began his career as an engineer before discovering his passion for leadership and coaching. During his 30 years of experience, Mike helped a 15-year-old telecommunications company double its revenues to $25 million and spent a decade in Silicon Valley working with two innovative businesses: Verity and KnowledgSet. He moved back to the Northeast and was a pioneer for Infonautics and Knite Inc., a spin-out from Princeton University. He has also helped cultivate communities like the Philly New Tech Meetup and Bootstrappers Breakfast. In this episode… What are the ingredients of a great leader? As a founder of a business, how can you elevate your leadership and take your team to great heights? Great leaders are not sculpted overnight — they must be given the opportunity and tools to rise to the next level. Mike Krupit has the perfect recipe for crafting an effective leadership approach and evolving your business for growth. Are you ready to build your confidence and turn your organization into something exceptional? In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco sits down with Mike Krupit, the Founder of Trajectify, to talk about growing as a business leader. Mike discusses the importance of communicating effectively with your team, why you should be cognizant of the stages of development within your organization, and how to make confident and timely leadership decisions. Stay tuned.


Work Smarter, Not Harder With Richard Polak, Global Business Advisor

Richard Polak is a global business consultant and renowned thought leader with over 40 years of experience. He has designed world-class and HR benefit programs for multinational firms, including leading hotel chains, Fortune 100 companies, and global technology brands. Currently, Richard serves as a senior global advisor for an advocacy group that advises Congress on benefit issues, as well as other prominent associations and consulting firms. Richard has helped hundreds of companies in more than 90 countries increase productivity, improve HR Forensics, and take their businesses to the next level. Previously, he worked as the Executive Vice President/Area President for Gallagher Multinational Benefits and HR Consulting, the President and CEO of IBIS Advisors, and the Senior Vice President for Johnson & Higgins/Mercer. In this episode… How can you take the leap and revolutionize your workplace to increase revenue? What if there was a way to create and sustain an environment of positivity and productivity in the workplace? Richard Polak knows the value and efficacy of empowering employees. He advises companies all over the globe on the importance of working smarter, not harder. As he says, people need to feel valued, and a relationship of trust between employers and employees can positively increase productivity — and promote balance and well-being. In this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco talks with Global Business Advisor Richard Polak about employee-building and developing a more sustainable and productive future. Richard talks about the benefits of empowering employees, how the pandemic presented an opportunity for leadership to evolve, and why you should surround yourself with people whose strengths complement your weaknesses.