Outside Insights

Chris Burkhard

Outside Insights is a platform for sharing your lessons and ideas for closing your personal gap. New thoughts to ponder every other week at myplacers.com/outside-insights. read less
BusinessBusiness
EntrepreneurshipEntrepreneurship

Episodes

Scaling Social Impact: A Candid Chat with Scott Beale
1w ago
Scaling Social Impact: A Candid Chat with Scott Beale
In the world of social entrepreneurship, few stories are as compelling and full of teachable moments as Scott Beale’s story. Recently, we had the pleasure of hosting Scott on our Outside Insights podcast, where he shared his personal journey from an aspiring changemaker to a global leader in fostering youth leadership and international volunteerism. Scott, who grew up in a family of educators, had his eyes opened to the world’s inequities while volunteering in Bosnia at age 20. This experience led him to found Atlas Corps in 2005, an innovative program often described as a “reverse Peace Corps.” The mission of Atlas Corps is to address critical social issues by developing leaders and strengthening organizations through training programs and a global alumni community of skilled social change professionals. I strongly encourage you to learn more about their mission here. Building Atlas Corps from the ground up was not easy. Scott faced plenty of skepticism from others along the way. But he persisted, fueled by the belief that positive change is possible when you refuse to accept the status quo. “People often fear that…when you choose to believe that change is possible, you then become responsible for making change. It’s much easier to accept you have no power than to try to change the world.”-Scott Beale Now, Scott’s journey has led him to his current position as the U.S. Peace Corps’ Associate Director for Global Operations. In this role, Scott continues to advocate for international service. On this episode of Outside Insights, he shares personal reflections that I really connected with, as he emphasized the importance of enjoying the journey rather than fixating on the destination.  Scott and I have been loosely connected via family connections over the last many years, and I watched from afar as Scott built Atlas Corps from scratch. Over time, I began to understand his mission and see his impressive outcomes and impact.  This is a classic story of an entrepreneur finding a gap in the marketplace and filling it with a passionate solution. Scott’s advice to our listeners is simple yet profound: seize any opportunity to make a difference. The road may be unpredictable, but it is rewarding. His story is a powerful call to action—be bold, embrace the journey, and use your potential to transform the world.If you’re inspired to create change, remember Scott’s words and take those first steps towards a better future. Do you have a “crazy” idea that has the potential to make a big impact? It doesn’t have to change the world to be profound – it could change one life, or even just change your life. Reply to this email and let me know. Until next time friends,Chris
Listen To Your Body - It’s Smarter Than You Think - Dr. Tricia Thompson - Episode 45
May 10 2024
Listen To Your Body - It’s Smarter Than You Think - Dr. Tricia Thompson - Episode 45
As most of you know, a key tenet of the Outside Insights way is breaking away from the grind to take care of one's physical and mental wellbeing. I was very honored to have the opportunity to talk with Dr. Tricia Thompson for the latest episode of Outside Insights learn about her journey in the medical field and some critical wakeup calls everyone can learn from.Dr. Thompson swapped the ER for functional medicine, after 20 years of feeling stuck just treating symptoms and not the real causes of why more and more people were feeling sick.Tired of the band-aid solutions in emergency care, Dr. Thompson now focuses on getting to know the full story of her patients’ health. Functional medicine is her tool for doing just that—it’s all about understanding the whole picture, from lifestyle to body systems, and fixing what’s actually wrong.Dr. Thompson made a real difference in my health.  Chronic health conditions and RA had worn me down and I felt like I had no options.  Dr. Thompson helps me do the right things today looking at health from a total point of view: food, supplements, hydration, mindfulness, exercise and our environment and our past exposures (smokers, mold, workplace).  This is no magic pill cure, it's knowing what to do so I can live my best life today - and that is priceless.Consider some health challenges that you’re currently dealing with. Have you worked to understand the root causes of them? For many people, “stress” is the glaring culprit behind their symptoms.Because of this, Dr. Thompson is big on tackling stress. To mitigate stress in the moment and avoid long term impacts, simple practices like breathwork can be a game changer, helping calm down our overworked nervous systems. Of course, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Dr. Thompson believes our bodies know how to heal themselves—we just need to give them what they need. Think good food, enough sleep, and less junk, both in our diets and environments. Today, Dr. Thompson is on a mission to make functional medicine mainstream and affordable and believes everyone should have the chance to get at the root of their health issues, without insurance headaches getting in the way.I know I preach the importance of wellness to achieve success and happiness in all aspects of your life. If you take one thing from this episode, I hope it’s this - listen to your body, it’s smarter than you might think. If something feels off, dig deeper - it’s probably trying to tell you something important. Here’s to prioritizing our health in 2024 and breaking away from old patterns that no longer serve us. I hope this episode inspires you to make the changes you’ve been waiting to make.Until next time friends, Chris
The Art of Quitting: Hang In or Hang It Up?
Apr 29 2024
The Art of Quitting: Hang In or Hang It Up?
Here’s the thing — quitting shouldn’t be a bad word. But why does it often feel like it is?At Placers, we champion values like results-driven performance and relentless hustle, epitomized by Winston Churchill’s wartime call to “never, ever, ever give up.” This motto resonated so deeply with me that it found its way onto t-shirts for the high school soccer teams I coached. My journey through rebuilding Placers after the 2008 recession and the pandemic has taught me the essence of perseverance — I even carry a coin in my pocket inscribed with “the obstacle is the way,” a nod to Ryan Holiday’s influential work.The never give up mentality was instilled in me from the beginning. When I was young I wanted more than anything to be a Cub Scout. From the day I joined I was all in, and my mom even became our Den Mother. I loved everything about the Cub Scouts, from the pinewood Derby, the meetings, and merit badges. I loved it all until one day — I just didn’t anymore. One by one my friends dropped out and soon I realized they were what made the scouts so enjoyable in the first place. My parents encouraged me to honor my commitments and I stuck it out until the end of the year before informing them I wouldn’t be returning.A little later in life, I worked tirelessly to make the senior baseball team at age 14 and was filled with pride when I learned I made the cut. Then, the day before the game, a star player — a 15-year-old who was bigger, stronger, and more skilled — suddenly joined the team. I felt intimidated, frustrated and I remember the distinct urge to quit washing over me. Again, my parents provided sound advice and urged me to contemplate whether stepping back was truly the right decision. In the end, I chose to stay the course and I’m glad I didn’t let my ego win that day.As children we’re taught that quitting means “giving up”. The heroes in our storybooks never give up. Giving up is “weak” and being weak must be avoided at all costs. But, as uncomfortable as it may feel, sometimes quitting is the best thing you can do for yourself.Other people’s perceptions often get in the way of our desire for change. “What will my team think of me if I leave the company?”, “This partnership is no longer serving me, but I don’t know how to have the conversations that need to be had”, “I don’t have the bandwidth to give to this hobby anymore but I don’t want to disappoint my friends”, etc. Do these questions sound familiar?As an entrepreneur I’ve faced numerous challenges that forced me to question my path both professional and personally. Over the years, I’ve narrowed down five questions that I use as a guide to determine if I would benefit more from persevering or allowing myself to embrace change.Take a moment to consider a crossroads in your life or a big decision that has been weighing down on you for a while. Now ask yourself these questions:1 — Sunk Costs: Are you continuing just because of the time and resources that you’ve already put in? Does the value of your past investment outweigh the current and future investment required to continue?2 — Effort and Outcomes: Have you done everything possible to succeed? Is there anything you could change up to see if it would drive different results?3 — Original Intentions: Why did you start this endeavor in the first place? Are you still reaping the intended benefits or have circumstances changed?4 — Opportunities Upon Quitting: What new possibilities could quitting open up? I’m not just talking business here. Could quitting a side project open up space for you to pursue something more aligned with your goals? Could it bring you more energy to funnel into your family or wellness journey?5 — Joy and Satisfaction: Does this path still bring you joy? If it doesn’t — the answer will alw
Lessons in Leadership: Mac Macleod’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Apr 12 2024
Lessons in Leadership: Mac Macleod’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Hello,In this week’s episode of Outside Insights, I was joined by Mac Macleod, the co-founder of Carvertise, a successful media company revolutionizing ride-share advertising. Mac and I go way back to the start up days of Carvertise as I worked closely with his co-founder, and previous podcast guest, Greg in local not- for-profit work with Junior Achievement of Delaware. Over the years, Mac and I have always scheduled time to talk business and share ideas and concepts that have helped us at key reflection points in our lives. We have been in MasterMind Leader groups together, shared the stage at entrepreneurial events, even done other podcasts together. I’m honored to now have Mac as a guest on the Outside Insights Podcast.A summary of our discussion can be found below, but I encourage you to listen to the podcast episode here during your next commute!Founded in 2012, Carvertise has become a big player in the advertising industry by leveraging ride-share vehicles for advertising. Major brands, like Netflix and 7-Eleven, partner with Carvertise to strategically place ads on Uber and Lyft cars to boost brand visibility. Even if you’re not familiar with the Carvertise name, you’ve definitely seen these advertisements if you’re cruising around major cities.Mac’s Entrepreneurial JourneyMac and I took a deep dive into discussing the trials, successes, and personal and professional growth that comes with entrepreneurship. During our discussion, Mac stressed the importance of enjoying the entrepreneurial process, despite inevitable challenges. Mac talks about the excitement and “adrenaline” of the early startup days when everything feels possible. Like many young entrepreneurs, he used to want to “conquer” every day but now focuses on chipping away consistently.A significant part of the discussion revolved around how leadership styles must evolve as a company grows. Mac reflected on the shift from being hands-on and leading by example in the early stages, to adopting a more strategic and supportive role as Carvertise expanded. Effective leadership, according to Mac, now involves empowering a skilled team to drive the company’s vision forward, making adjustments as necessary to navigate the unpredictable landscape of business.Finding Balance and Personal GrowthIn true Outside Insights fashion, Mac and I discussed how to maintain a balance between the demands of entrepreneurship and the other facets of life. We share a similar approach to finding this balance, as Matt makes time for activities that recharge him, such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which helps him stay present and engaged. This practice of self-care and mindfulness is crucial for sustaining the energy and creativity needed to tackle daily business challenges. You can’t show up for others if you don’t show up for yourself.Mac’s journey with Carvertise illustrates the multifaceted nature of entrepreneurship, from the excitement of starting up to the complexities of scaling a business. His insights serve as valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs, highlighting the need for resilience, adaptability, and a clear sense of purpose.Until next time, friends.Chris Mac’s Book Recommendations:– " rel="nofollow">
Community Spotlight: Empowerment Through Connection - A Sit Down With Cierra Hall-Hipkins - Outside Insights Podcast Episode #43
Mar 15 2024
Community Spotlight: Empowerment Through Connection - A Sit Down With Cierra Hall-Hipkins - Outside Insights Podcast Episode #43
I’m a Delawarian through and through and perhaps one of my favorite characteristics of our little state is the big impact that local nonprofits have on our communities. I’ve been honored to speak with many leaders from these non-profits and am thankful that I can further their message through the Outside Insights platform.Recently, I had the chance to speak with the co-founder of one of my favorite organizations yet: Cierra Hall-Hipkins from Network Connect.Founded in 2019, Network Connect serves as a bridge to fill gaps in Delaware’s community services by providing unique support tailored to the needs of Black and Brown families. Cierra and her team work to build community capacity by coordinating grassroots and local partners to provide youth and families with social services, education programs, workforce skills, and mental health support.Follow this link to listen to this episode of Outside Insights to learn more about Network Connect’s mission.Two of the Network Connect’s critical initiatives you’ll hear about in the podcast include their Community Well-Being Ambassador (CWA) program and their Future Culture Creators workforce development program for teens.The ambassador program employs local residents to serve as connectors between community members and resources. CWAs provide mental health, substance abuse, positive activities, youth support, and essential needs solutions.The workforce development program provides teens with professional skills as well as training in design thinking and civic engagement. Over 100 youth have already graduated from this life-changing program!So, what inspired Cierra to take on such an important mission in the first place? Cierra’s motivation comes from her lifelong passion for service and Wilmington roots. With degrees in rehab counseling and experience in nonprofits and education, she has witnessed firsthand the needs not being met in many communities.Running a growing nonprofit is not without challenges, but Cierra stays resilient. She emphasizes the importance of empathy, patience, and sticking through the tough times. Support from her team and her spiritual grounding also keep her going.There are always more people to serve, so Network Connect continues to expand their impact — and the team has big goals this year! Please consider supporting Network Connect’s mission by attending their fundraising gala on Friday, April 20. Tickets can be purchased here! Be sure to follow along with Network Connect’s mission on Facebook and Instagram.Thank you for listening, reading, and supporting this important cause, friends.ChrisHelpful Links:– Website: www.networkconnect.org– Facebook: Network Connect– Instagram: wearenetworkconnect– Upcoming Gala: April 20th at the Community Education Building
The Energy Vampires: Navigating the Draining Forces in Our Lives
Mar 4 2024
The Energy Vampires: Navigating the Draining Forces in Our Lives
In life, we encounter a diverse cast of characters. Among the cast that surrounds us, there are characters that particularly stand out, such as energy vampires — individuals who, knowingly or unknowingly, sap our vitality and leave us feeling drained. These individuals aren’t confined to our social circles; they can also reside within us, manifesting as counterproductive thoughts and internal conflicts.The key to a peaceful life lies in our ability to manage our energy wisely, intentionally choosing where to focus our attention.Imagine an alarm clock that goes off constantly, without serving an actual purpose — begging for attention and probably being more than a little unsettling. That’s an energy vampire — metaphorically, at least.Have you ever found yourself multitasking to the point of distraction, or caught in a meditation session that’s hijacked by a barrage of unrelated thoughts? This internal battle not only zaps our focus but also our enjoyment of the present moment. Those thoughts? Energy vampires.The company we keep can significantly impact our energy levels. Reflect on the people who invigorate you, those whose presence motivates you. On the flip side, consider those whose company leaves you feeling drained after every interaction — whether it be from negativity, complaints or just hard to handle egos.Identifying Common Energy VampiresEnergy vampires come in various forms, and recognizing them is the first step toward reclaiming our energy and peace:The Complainer: This type thrives on negativity, turning every conversation into an opportunity to vent, leaving us emotionally spent. You can set healthy boundaries with these types of energy vampires while still being a good friend.The Narcissist: They demand constant attention and admiration, draining our emotional reserves.The Victim: Trapped in self-pity, they offload their burdens onto us, impeding on our own emotional space.To protect our well-being, it’s crucial to establish boundaries. Learning to say “no” and prioritizing our mental health over our relationships with energy vampires is key. Lets face it, some of those that are energy vampires are family, dear friends, business partners, neighbors, they are all around us. Take a second and pause, you do not have to engage, be dragged into the drama, or even participate. You have the right and can develop the skill to emotionally detach yourself. You’re not being rude, rather you’re practicing equanimity — mental calmness in the face of adversity. So you have a choice, don’t allow yourself to get to the place of resentment, anger and martyrdom. Don’t engage.And beyond external factors, we must also manage the energy vampires within our minds. Competing thoughts, doubts, and fears can exhaust our mental health, much like physical exertion wears out the body.So, how exactly do we protect ourselves from internal energy vampires?Meditation, mindfulness, and self-reflection are potent antidotes to the internal chaos. By becoming aware of our thought patterns, we can channel our mental energy towards more positive and productive pursuits, rather than letting it be siphoned off by these internal distractions.Life is far too precious to be overshadowed by energy vampires. My challenge to you is to make a conscious effort to identify these draining influences, whether they’re in your circles or within yourself, and take active steps to minimize their impact.Start this week and begin to uncover these hidden drains on your energy, establish firm boundaries, and cultivate positive habits that nurture a more balanced and enjoyable life. In doing so, you can ensure your life is filled with the vibrancy and peace you deserve.Until next time, friends.Chrishttps://myplacers.com/energy-vampires-navigating-draining-forces-in-our-lives
Episode 42 - Entrepreneurial Gems: A Chat with John Ratliff
Feb 16 2024
Episode 42 - Entrepreneurial Gems: A Chat with John Ratliff
In this insightful episode of the Outside Insights podcast, I sat down with John Ratliff, the entrepreneurial force behind Align 5 and CEO of Scaling Up Coaches.During the episode, John and I discuss the multifaceted journey of entrepreneurship and the significance of mental health and creativity in the entrepreneurial realm.  I have known John for decades and admire his body of work, accomplishments and drive to impact the entrepreneurial landscape globally. John has been a top 100 wish list target for Outside Insights - goal accomplished!Few have built a business from scratch, bootstrapped, built organically, grown by acquisition, exited successfully, been an investment banker, entrepreneurial coach, leader of coaches and all in all entrepreneurial advocate. Most importantly, John is a learner, loves new ideas and seems to always see the possibilities and bigger picture. I’m always feeling inspired by John.Save this podcast for your next commute or workout to hear two serial entrepreneurs discuss: The importance of recognizing and leveraging hidden assets within your business or any new venture. The value of external perspectives in uncovering these "Rembrandts."The challenges of entrepreneurship, including the risk of isolation and mental health struggles.The significance of creativity, curiosity, and continuous learning in navigating the fast-paced business landscape.The need for a supportive community and the willingness to seek help and mentorship.John Ratliff's entrepreneurial voyage began with his call center business, which, despite initial hurdles, laid the foundation for his understanding of business dynamics and growth strategies. His involvement with Align 5 and Scaling Up Coaches underscores his commitment to nurturing middle-market companies and their leaders, emphasizing the critical role these entities play in the economy.A pivotal theme John discusses is the concept of "Finding Your Rembrandt in the Attic." This metaphor illustrates the often-overlooked assets within businesses that, when recognized and leveraged, can significantly enhance a company's value. John stresses the importance of external perspectives in identifying these hidden treasures - someone to help you see what may have been right in front of you the whole time.The conversation also touches on the solitary nature of entrepreneurship. John candidly shares the challenges and internal struggles many entrepreneurs face, including the risk of isolation, depression, and burnout. He advocates for a supportive community and the courage to seek help, emphasizing the importance of mental health awareness and self-care in the entrepreneurial journey.John’s leadership philosophy is deeply ingrained in the principles of creativity and lifelong learning. In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and societal shifts, he believes that the ability to adapt and innovate is paramount for entrepreneurial success. His parting advice for entrepreneurs: Take moments to reflect on achievements and while remaining grounded in the fundamentals of business. Don’t get caught in the allure of rapid, often unsustainable, growth strategies. I hope you find yourself as inspired as I am in guests like John - who have achieved their goals many times over through grit, resilience and a healthy amount of stubborness. Thanks for listening, friends.ChrisLinksOpposite The Crowd
Do You Have a Career Agent? You Should.
Feb 5 2024
Do You Have a Career Agent? You Should.
I’m going to share a little secret about your job and career. It’s a simple truth: You, and only you, are responsible for managing your career. This wasn’t always the case. Our grandparents lived in a world where careers were often linear and lifelong, with a single organization rewarding decades of loyalty with a gold watch as a symbol of their appreciation. But times have changed.Today, we outlive companies as they are bought, sold, merged and closed or changed in ways we don’t fit or don’t want to be a part of. The speed of business is relentless, and staying afloat in such a competitive environment is challenging enough, let alone managing a career through it.I have a dear friend who exemplifies the power of proactive career management. Over 26 years, she worked closely with a recruitment leader who helped guide her through four company changes, numerous geographical moves, and transitions to different roles. This was possible because of the trust she shares with her mentor and their deep understanding of her career narrative. The success she’s enjoyed speaks volumes about this approach. Like her, we all need that sounding board, someone to share ideas with, and occasionally, someone who can open doors for us.You might wonder, “Shouldn’t I be managing my career on my own?” Think about it: We outsource so many aspects of our lives to experts — real estate, dental care, housekeeping. Why should career management be any different? Many of us rely on family, mentors, or workplace leaders, but there’s another option: a career agent.What is a Career Agent Anyway?A career agent is more than just a mentor or coach; they are a dedicated professional who understands your industry, your personal story, and your career aspirations. They offer tailored advice, whether you’re preparing for a performance review, negotiating a raise, or contemplating a job change.They’re also there to help with practical aspects like refining your resume, honing interview skills, or building your network. But more importantly, they encourage proactive career management. Instead of updating your resume only when a job is at risk, a career agent helps you keep it current. You should update your resume every 90 days. It’s much easier to write down your wins while they are fresh!Finding Your Career AgentSelecting a career agent is a significant step. Look for industry leaders or professionals whose work you admire. This person could be a coach, HR professional, recruiter, or consultant. When choosing your agent, consider:– Industry knowledge: How well do they understand your field?– Alignment with your needs: Do their advice and style resonate with you?– Long-term engagement: Are they prepared to be a part of your journey for the long haul?– Coaching style: What kind of counsel do you respond to best?After you have people in mind, schedule meetings, interview potential agents, and determine who best fits your needs!The bottom line: Managing a career in today’s fast-paced world is daunting. A career agent can be a pivotal resource in navigating this journey. They offer more than advice; they provide a partnership for growth and success.For more insights on finding a career agent, check out our podcast episode on this topic in “Opposite the Crowd,” available in audio, paperback, and e-book formats.Remember, the path to career success is rarely walked alone. Find your guide, your mentor, your career agent, and take control of your journey. I know I have more than a few career agents I’ve looked up to along my journey.Until next time, friends.Chris
Leveraging Tech for Social Good with Pat Callihan
Jan 19 2024
Leveraging Tech for Social Good with Pat Callihan
In this episode of Outside Insights, I chat with Pat Callihan, CEO of the national nonprofit Tech Impact. During our discussion, Pat shares how his organization is creating meaningful change through technology and workforce development programs.I'm inspired by Pat's commitment to leveraging technology for greater social impact through workforce development and nonprofit empowerment. Many of you know about Placer's own Act of Kindness Promise, here we provide both career coaching and business consulting sessions free of charge. Pat's leadership and vision are making a tangible difference, and motivates me to discover opportunities to do even more for our community.Key topics we cover include:Tech Impact's flagship IT Works program that has trained over 1,400 young adults for careers in technology. Many graduates see their income double or triple, creating a pathway out of poverty.The CX Works program that specifically trains people for jobs in the high-demand contact center industry. This was recently expanded through a pilot at a women's correctional facility, providing skills for re-entry.How Tech Impact supports 700 Delaware residents to enter technology jobs through partnerships with the state Department of Labor. This is helping address the skill gap locally.Consulting projects that have helped hundreds of nonprofits adopt cloud computing, donor management systems, cybersecurity protocols and more. This increases their capacity to further their missions.Exciting growth of Tech Impact's Data Innovation Lab that is informing data-driven decisions on pressing social issues like health care access, housing stability, addiction treatment and more.Outside Insights listeners interested in learning more can check out Pat's book recommendation "Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" for perspective on enjoying the journey versus fixating on details.I hope you enjoy this conversation and feel motivated to discover how you can make an even bigger impact in your community too.Until next time, friends!ChrisHelpful LinksOpposite The CrowdSpotifyhttps://open.spotify.com/show/2uGQIYB4eG0yKYAsfjkzGmAmazonhttps://www.amazon.com/Opposite-Crowd-Want-Must-Know/dp/B0C9S8B1CFWant this content in your email inbox? Subscribe to Outside Insights Check out Placers StaffingCheck out Chris’s WebsiteCreditsHosted by Chris BurkhardMusic by Steve Miller and Lainie Miller
Finding Success Off the Corporate Ladder - A Sit Down with Chris Bystriansky
Dec 22 2023
Finding Success Off the Corporate Ladder - A Sit Down with Chris Bystriansky
In this episode of Outside Insights, I chat with Chris Bystriansky, an author, attorney, real estate investor, coach, speaker, and endurance athlete. Yeah - some people really can do it all.During our discussion, Chris shares his journey from a challenging childhood to pursuing higher education and then eventually finding himself climbing the corporate ladder. He then shares how his focus turned to identifying passive income streams, like real estate investing. Through his ventures, he realized the corporate path didn't guarantee happiness or fulfillment.Chris emphasizes the importance of having multiple income streams and passive income as a safety net against potential job losses. He shares his philosophy on overcoming inertia and embracing change, even though it's difficult. I really feel like we can all take something away from his experiences. I loved hearing how Chris taught his young daughter about investing and passive income. He paid her to do chores, then let her "buy" household assets like their toaster. He paid her weekly "rent" for the family using her toaster, giving her hands-on financial literacy. She even charged late fees! Ultimately laid off from chores, she still earned rental income from "owning" items. This clever firsthand investing lesson inspired Chris's book "Renting From My 6 Year Old"When he’s not building passive income, Chris works to push his physical and mental limits through endurance events like Ironman triathlons. His book "New Steel" relays how we can overcome challenges and do more than we think possible. I identify with many lessons in this book as regular listeners know I’ve had my fair share of physical and mental health journeys.Key topics we cover in this episode include:Taking control of your career path and why the path least traveled may be the bestTeaching financial literacy to your children early to set them up for success The importance of building a financial safety net and passive streams of income Continually challenging yourself, both physically and mentally  Why you should focus on making progress in small steps rather than getting overwhelmed trying to make sweeping changes all at once.I hope you find as much value in this conversation as I did when I connected with Chris. One of the best ways to improve yourself is to surround yourself with people that inspire you - and I sure left this conversation feeling inspired. Until next time, friends.ChrisBooks Mentioned:- Renting From My 6 Year Old by Chris Bystriansky - New Steel by Chris Bystriansky- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie- Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins- Living With a SEAL by Jesse ItzlerChris Bystriansky's website:https://chrisbystriansky.com/
A Misfit Thanksgiving - Outside Insights Podcast #39
Nov 22 2023
A Misfit Thanksgiving - Outside Insights Podcast #39
We’re officially kicking off the 2023 holiday season this week! With that in mind, I wanted to bring you some fun, lighter content to be consumed while recovering from too much tryptophan and your leftover turkey.Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings and to recognize our abundance and it is my hope that you spend this long weekend with your loved ones, friends and family and with your community. Thanks for being a part of my community, whether that's through Placers, Outside Insights, Opposite the Crowd or wherever our journeys may have crossed. This episode of Outside Insights is endearingly named the “Misfit Thanksgiving Special” and features my backpacking group and some of my longest friendships.What is a Misfit, you might ask? If you ask old Merriram Webster, a misfit is a person whose behavior or attitude sets them apart from others in a conspicuous way, IE) “A motley collection of social misfits''.  My personal group of Misfits has bonded over all things backpacking over the years and, as we get older, are still endeavoring to live life enjoying the outdoors. We tell bad jokes, often, are regular raconteurs on the trail, discussing our successes and setbacks. We even remember to take a selfie or two for our folks back at home. When dubbing our group the Misfits, little did I know that there is also a common thing called a Misfit Thanksgiving. Started by Nashville musicians who could not travel home for the holidays, Misfits got together with friends in the area, or frankly anyone else who did not have a place to go for the holidays. If you ask me, this concept perfectly lives up to the spirit of Thanksgiving: Spending time appreciating our bounty, breaking bread and being with your community - whoever that community may be. A Misfit Thanksgiving is inspired by the fact that family can be found anywhere and often has little to do with blood.My Misfits have regular meetings, training schedules, group by-law and even t-shirts. But at the core, we’re really just a group of men from all walks of life finding common purpose out on the trail - and prioritizing our mental and physical health while we’re out there. Our group mantra has informally become a quote by John Muir, included below. We say it often and we mean it. “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”  - John MuirI’m so excited for you to learn more about the Misfits during this episode of Outside Insights - I think everyone can take value away from our discussion. Maybe you’ll even see a little of yourself in one of their stories. During the podcast, I’ll guide the discussion as you hear from Mark, the founder of the Misfits, Jack the retired photographer and resident botanist who can outhike all of us, Chris (the other Chris), our master chef and resident gearhead, and Ray, the guy who never sits down and guarantees us a campfire most of the time. Some fast facts about the Misfits:We have 30 plus trips accomplished since 2007 including the White Mountains, John Muir Trail, Mount Rainier, and every backpacking loop you can think of from Georgia to New Hampshire,We are section hiking the Appalachian Trail although we need to pick up our pace.We all have a love for gear and it keeps getting lighter. My pack went from 50 pounds to 32 over 30 years!We met over service, three of us were Rotarians and love the outdoors.Bourbon is the Misfit Celebration beverage of choice!And, I’ll leave you with a couple other quotes from John Muir. It’s nearly impossible to choose just one. Happy Thanksgiving friends, thank you again for being part of my
Helping Our Communities Thrive: Zip Code Wilmington. A Sit Down With Desa Burton — Outside Insights Podcast Episode #38
Oct 27 2023
Helping Our Communities Thrive: Zip Code Wilmington. A Sit Down With Desa Burton — Outside Insights Podcast Episode #38
As many of you know, I’m a proud Delawarian. There’s nothing I enjoy more than watching our local businesses thrive. When a business’s core mission is helping other Delawarians thrive, well, I’m sold.In this episode of Outside Insights, I sit down with Desa Burton, Executive Director of Zip Code Wilmington, a nonprofit coding bootcamp. Zip Code Wilmington provides adults with intensive software developer training, with no college degree requirements. In turn, the program helps build tech talent pipelines for employers in the Wilmington region.Many Zip Code students see dramatic boosts in their income after completing the program. This lifts up individuals and families while also benefiting the Wilmington community.During our chat, Desa shared her own career journey, from graduating the US Naval Academy and serving as a Surface Warfare Officer, to earning a law degree and working in intellectual property, and eventually, leading Zip Code Wilmington.Of course, I had to dig into Desa’s leadership philosophies. She discussed the importance of empowering her team to help them grow, which she links back to lessons learned from mentors in the military.Other key topics we discuss in this episode of Outside Insights include; taking care of yourself to avoid burnout, overcoming inertia to embrace change, and continually developing new skills.If you’re a burgeoning entrepreneur with an idea, someone interested in learning new skills, or you just want to learn more about businesses doing good in Delaware communities, this episode is for you.Reply and let me know what topics you’d like to hear next on the podcast!Until next time, friends.ChrisZip Code Wilmington:Website: https://www.zipcodewilmington.comEmail: info@zipcodewilmington.comBooks mentioned:A Whole New Mind by Daniel PinkOutliers by Malcolm GladwellTipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Prioritize Your Passions: Tech Leader to Creative Visionary. A Sit Down With Nick Wilkinson
Sep 29 2023
Prioritize Your Passions: Tech Leader to Creative Visionary. A Sit Down With Nick Wilkinson
In this episode Outside Insights, I sat down with Nick Wilkinson, Founder and CEO of Wilkinson Advisory services. Prior to launching his own consulting firm, Wilkinson built a successful career spanning various industries and has collected multiple hats over the years, including CEO, entrepreneur, author, and filmmaker – more on that later. Nick and I go way back. I first met Nick on the board of a non-profit when Nick was running a global IT firm. I was a young upstart on that board and I still recall the many business and life lessons I absorbed from him and many years later applied when I chaired the same organization. In true Outside Insights fashion, we discussed Nick’s leadership philosophy, which he explains was shaped by his military background. Nick emphasized the value of servant leadership, where success is achieved through empowering and supporting others. This is a topic you know I’m already passionate about. I always love catching up with Nick and not just because of his extensive leadership experience and stories of triumph and failures that we toss back and forth. No, what I enjoy most is Nick’s passion and the fact that he truly is a man of many talents. Not many corporate CEOs can say they’ve also dabbled in scriptwriting and directing – but Nick can. During this episode of Outside Insights, we actually discussed one of Nick’s most exciting milestones yet, the launch of his short film, “The Fast Track Program”. Inspired by his corporate career, the film encapsulates Nick’s personal anecdotes and lessons learned in a 12-minute story. “The Fast Track Program” is currently being submitted to film festivals, with upcoming plans for a public release. With the little free time he has left, Nick cultivates his passion for cooking and soccer. In fact, his next creative endeavor, “Olde Boys,” is a soccer-related comedy centered around an old guys’ team from Pennsylvania. This reminds me of my own “old boys” hiking group, the Misfits. I’m so excited to bring Nick’s story to you all today because it illustrates that your job is only one facet of life. You need to make sure to grow in other areas, too. You gravitate towards your passion for a reason – don’t ignore that call! Until next time, friends.Chris
A Mission for Money Education. A Sit Down With Mark Olazagasti
Sep 1 2023
A Mission for Money Education. A Sit Down With Mark Olazagasti
Most people have a few, or a dozen, financial mistakes they look back on and really regret. For many,  becoming financial savvy is learned through trial and error and living with a few regrets from your younger years is all part of the process. Isn’t it ridiculous credit card companies send applications to 18 year old kids before they even graduate high school? With predatory practices everywhere you turn and lines of credit increasingly accessible - it’s all too easy to make a few blunders, right? Well, a recent Outside Insights guest is on a mission to help prevent this. In this episode of Outside Insights, I sit down with Mark Olazagasti, a first generation entrepreneur and lifelong Delawarean. Mark recently retired from his role of managing partner at Info Solutions, an IT infrastructure consulting and managed services company he co-founded. During our chat, Mark got transparent around his personal experiences with finances. He was raised by a single mother who struggled financially, started a business during the Great Recession and learned tough lessons about debt after making mistakes that many people have before, like buying furniture before being paid. Now, through his nonprofit YourMoney101, Mark advocates for personal finance to be taught in all Delaware high schools. He also personally provides financial mentoring and education to individuals and companies. As a father to two young people and someone who has learned from past financial mistakes, I think this mission is all too important. In this episode, you’ll hear:- Mark's origin story and lessons learned from starting a business- Why Mark was inspired to advocate for personal finance education in schools- Common money and debt mistakes people make- The importance of tracking income vs expenses- Managing psychology around money decisions- Book recommendations for learning about personal finance - include a list below as well for easy reference! Mark’s Budgeting SpreadsheetMark’s Credit Card Debt Payoff Calculator Spreadsheet Book Recommendations from a finance wiz:The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn't Have to Be Complicated by Helaine Olen and Harold PollackThe Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness by Morgan HouselThe Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark MansonThe Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
Is It Time To Rethink Degree Requirements? A Sit Down With Brian Matthew Rhodes, Esq
Aug 4 2023
Is It Time To Rethink Degree Requirements? A Sit Down With Brian Matthew Rhodes, Esq
We’re going to start this one with a question: How was success defined for you when you were 18? For many, the definition of success was likely narrowly defined as “study hard and make it into a great university”. Many of us today can agree that this definition is limiting. Thankfully, in recent years more and more job descriptions are shifting their degree requirements and instead honing in on “years of related experience” or technical expertise.In our latest episode of the Outside Insights podcast, I talk Brian Matthew Rhodes, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary at Opportunity@Work.Opportunity@Work’s is a really neat organization that’s on a mission to rewire the labor market so that everyone Skilled Through Alternative Routes, or STARs, can work, learn, and earn to their full potential. In other words, a four-year degree isn’t the only path to success. At Placers, we’re proud to help job seekers with diverse backgrounds and experience levels find work, so of course we’ve been big fans of Opportunity@Work for a while.During our talk, Brian provided eye-opening perspectives on how degree requirements can disadvantage certain groups and why skills-based hiring makes sense, especially given the current labor shortages. Opportunity@Work has conducted research that highlights the on-the-job potential of STARs and points to them as a solution for broadening talent pools with great candidates that would otherwise be overlooked.Here are a the key takeaways from this episode:Opportunity@Work pushes for skills-based hiring so those without degrees have equal opportunities.There are ~70 million American "STARs" skilled through bootcamps, certifications, and military service.Research shows “STARs” are disproportionately people of color, women, vets, and rural workers. Hiring STARs helps uphold businesses critical commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion. With today's labor shortages, expanding talent pools beyond degrees just makes business sense.Brian shares his “5 fingers of success” and explains why he would tell his 21-year old self to be patient - a reminder I think we could all use.How learning from younger generations and diverse viewpoints helps fosters workplace inclusion.At Outside Insights, we’re all about changing the status quo and coloring outside the lines. By embracing STAR’s in the workplace, we can create a more skills-focused and inclusive workforce that empowers all talents to thrive - and I think that’s something we should all embrace.If you were 18 today, would you consider alternative routes to a four-year university? Reply and let me know. Let’s discuss. Until next time, Chris
You Can't Be Anybody But Yourself
Jul 7 2023
You Can't Be Anybody But Yourself
I’m blessed to have many people in my circle that inspire me and push me to become a better version of myself every day just through their example. Some of these people are close to me, like my wife or my father. Others, I’ve met throughout the seasons of life and am honored to have them in my network - cheering one another on as we reach new milestones. One of these people is Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, the president of Goldey–Beacom College in Wilmington and recent Outside Insights podcast guest. Colleen welcomed me into her office shortly after becoming President and we engaged immediately in talks of leadership, higher education and all things business.  During the pandemic I had the honor of being the commencement speaker for the College and Colleen had to listen to me at least six times with each graduation ceremony.  I have linked here as the message fits our conversation.During our talk, Colleen shared her inspiring journey, from her early career experiences to her current role as a college president, offering valuable insights into personal growth, mentorship, and leading integrative lives. All in all, the lessons she shared really highlights one critically important value of Outside Insights: Authentic leadership.In this episode, you’ll discover: Colleen’s career journey and the lessons she learned along the way, including the importance of having mentors who guide and support professional growth. Why adaptability and seizing opportunities to learn and expand one's skill set are crucial for success.The importance of continuous learning, building relationships within the higher education industry, and Colleen’s unique perspective on effective leadership.And of course, in true Outside Insights fashion, the importance of balancing different aspects of life, such as family, career, and personal interests, is emphasized.Save this podcast for your next morning commute or start it now. You won’t want to miss Colleen’s lessons for personal and professional development as you reflect on your own journey and consider ways to cultivate growth and balance in your life.Until next time, friends. Chris