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The Brave Files

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Trust Your Gut, Mama

Jazzmin Jackson’s story is one of patience, wisdom, courage, and dedication. After her young son’s adverse reaction to a routine vaccination, she was called to take on the role of medical advocate for her child. The path eventually led to effective alternative medication that fit her child’s needs. Standing in the face of fear, Jazzmin’s story teaches us to never back down and to fight for what we know is right. Detailed Show Notes Here.


The Meanest Woman Alive

Linda Smith is a champion for the success of all women. She is truly a voice for the voiceless. As one of the top five female litigators in the United States, Linda has used her experience to empower women to take their rightful place in the world of business leadership. Linda proudly owns the title “The Meanest Woman Alive” and her story teaches us that true grit is the key to success. Detailed Show Notes Here.


Unleash Your Inner B*d*ss

Donnie Boivin’s life has had its fair share of twists and turns. After 40 years of “living someone else’s life”, Donnie took a leap of faith and ventured into the unknown world of business ownership. Now, as the host of Donnie’s Success Champions Podcast, he inspires listeners and empowers guests through telling their stories and voicing their individual truths. In this episode of The Brave Files, Donnie shares how he motivates others to enjoy the freedom of their success and to unleash...


Seeing Signs

“Art brings people together. That is entirely the point.” - Erin Stephens-North For Erin Stephens-North, art transcends physical creations. Art is a bridge to understanding. As someone who deals with the hallucinations, manic episodes and depression that often accompany Schizoaffective Disorder, Erin uses art to ground herself and to share her unique perspective with others. In this episode of The Brave Files, Erin shares some of the experiences she has encountered while living with...


Made by a Black Woman

After starting a business, Shelly Bell missed community and connection. As a minority founder, she was also frustrated with the lack of access to capital for women of color. Despite her fears, she decided to solve both problems by creating Black Girl Ventures and hosting pitch competitions with a crowdfunding twist. Shelly is changing the way black and brown women get funding and launch businesses. Detailed Show Notes Here.


The Struggle Keeps Me Honest

David Jensen was raised to be polite and respectful. But mental health issues taught him the importance of using his voice. This week on The Brave Files, David tells the story of how he found that voice through art and design. Today, David shares his lessons and art through Practice Daily, where he creates iconic designs with simple slogans to inspire personal growth. Tune in to learn more about the meaning behind David’s mission, why he embraces failure, and how he gets himself out of bed...


Living Intentionally on Purpose

At a young age, Sarah Rose Humes learned the hard way how to survive in the harsh conditions of poverty. Today, she is channeling those life experiences to help others overcome their own challenges and fears through her coaching business and her writing. In this week’s episode of The Brave Files, find out more about Sarah’s inspiring story, and learn why one of her proudest moments in life was petting an animal at the zoo. Detailed show notes here.


What Happens If I’m A Girl?

Positive. Unexpected. Invigorating. After raising three boys, Jen Grosshandler thought she was ready for anything. But when her fourth child came out as transgender, she and her husband quickly realized they had a lot to learn. In this week’s episode of The Brave Files, Heather talks to Jen about her personal journey as a mother and advocate, and the search that led The GenderCool Project, a positive storytelling platform that spotlights trans young people in their own words. Detailed...


The Ingredients of Bravery

What happens when a crucial part of your identity slowly starts to slip away? In this episode of The Brave Files, Heather interviews Emily Ann Peterson, author of “Bare Naked Bravery,” about the medical condition that changed her career as a musician, her four favorite ways to build bravery, and the power of storytelling and creative expression. Detailed Show Notes Here.


Breaking Down Barriers

What could transform a quiet, solitary and mistreated child into a woman who travels the world to speak up on behalf of others? Kendra DeLarge’s own difficult path led her to a life of service to other girls and women halfway around the world. Learn about the mission of International Kendra, and how to help Kendra to support and empower the women of West Africa, in this episode of The Brave Files. Detailed Show Notes Here.


The Genie Inside

Who needs a genie in a bottle when there’s one right inside you? That’s the message Silva Mirzoian wants everyone to hear. On this episode of The Brave Files, Heather talks to Silva about being the black sheep of her traditional Armenian family; how she “failed forward” and transformed hardship into opportunity; and what it’s like to be a foreign-born female general contractor in a room full of men! Listen to hear the story behind Silva’s inspirational book, “Jump Start Your Life,” and...


Holding Up The Light

For most of her life, Casee Marie Clow’s anxiety was the elephant in the room that she never acknowledged. As a child, anxiety left her short of breath and full of nervous habits. As she grew older, anxiety began to stand in the way of her ability to do the things she wanted to do until she reached a point where she was scared to even leave the house. But when Casee, herself a writer, heard the words of a famous author, she was inspired and empowered to face that elephant in the room and...


Socially Conscious Living

When Chad Husar and Ernie Berlin saw people freezing on the streets of their home city of Chicago, the two friends founded Lost Format Apparel, a clothing company that helps the homeless through donations of clothing and personal care items. In this week’s episode of The Brave Files, you’ll find out what keeps Chad and Ernie going, and you’ll also be challenged to find a way to make a difference in your own community. Detailed Show Notes Here.


Girl Seeking Joy

What do you do when you’re faced with a hopeful unknown or a certain tragedy? Cassandra Bumpus chose the hopeful unknown, and it changed her life forever. On this week’s episode of The Brave Files, hear the story of how Cassandra’s diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis at a young age has shaped her life, and how a double lung transplant brought her new hope and possibilities. As a young entrepreneur and newlywed, Cassandra describes how she is learning to embrace joy and celebrate the here and...


Season Two Introduction

THE BRAVE FILES | Real Stories of People Living Courageously | Hosted by Life, Business and Success Coach Heather Vickery Welcome to season two of The Brave Files. We will continue talking with everyday people who are stepping out of fear and into bravery. Everything we want in life is just on the other side of uncomfortable, says award-winning entrepreneur and coach Heather Vickery. Each week Heather introduces you to a new guest who is moving beyond fear and doubt to achieve amazing...


An Ally In Verb Form

From helping people in his community through the nonprofit Suburban Unity Alliance to the students he teaches in his classroom and running for U.S. Congress, Anthony Clark has built a life around giving back to create positive change. In this week’s episode of The Brave Files, learn why Anthony keeps his focus local, how he keeps moving forward and speaking out, even when what he has to say may be uncomfortable — and how you can help. Detailed Show Notes Here.


Two Different Worlds

When she was in high school, Kirsten Palladino seemed like just another cheerful student. No one suspected that she was being repeatedly sexually assaulted by her classmates for months on end. In this week’s episode of The Brave Files, Kirsten tells the story of how a confrontation turned into her salvation. Listen now to hear how Kirsten emerged from the world of abuse to become a successful businesswoman and author. Detailed Show Notes Here.


Life Wide Open

Dana Gerrits isn’t just a nomadic, homeschooling, working mother of five. She’s doing all of that while managing a chronic illness. Dana has faced many fears — from feeling like she was at war with her own body, to the uncertainty of the life she and her family have chosen. Through it all, her bravery and trust in herself has kept her going. Learn more about Dana’s life-altering illness, and how her family maintains a sense of community while being constantly on the move, in this week’s...


Brave Out of Necessity

Becoming a mom at age 14 wasn’t part of Kimberly Carson-Richards’ plan. But this week’s Brave Files guest is living proof of how life’s challenges can help us focus on the things that really matter. Now a successful entrepreneur and mother of two, Kimberly shares her inspiring story, talks about her “best mistake,” and explains why being in her 40s is fantastic. FULL SHOW NOTES HERE.


Embrace the Fear

When an accident in the 1980s left Dale Spencer paralyzed from the waist down, the 20-year-old college student quickly saw that his motto of "I'll do it myself" wasn't going to work anymore. Dale's experiences overcoming his own fears motivated him to help others do the same. Learn more about the split-second decision that changed Dale's life, and the new path he made for himself, in this episode. Detailed Show Notes Here.