In the Arena: Conversations of a Lifetime

In the Arena: Conversations of a Lifetime

What makes leaders tick? In the Arena podcast delves into the inner workings and personal dynamics of leadership. We’ll shine a light on the life-shaping experiences and perspectives of leaders who have navigated adversity and moved their organizations and themselves forward. Defining moments, lessons learned, and points of inspiration provide a roadmap for these conversations of a lifetime. The podcast title In the Arena has historical roots. In 1910, a year after leaving the presidency, Teddy Roosevelt gave a rousing address in Paris in which he chastised cynics and grenade-throwing critics who lambasted leaders as they worked valiantly to improve the human condition. Over time TR’s “The Man in the Arena” became indelibly linked to the nobility and struggles of leadership. In the Arena host Brad Rieger is the chief executive officer at Cooper-Smith, a full-service marketing and advertising agency headquartered in Toledo, OH with a satellite office in Stamford, CT. Prior to working in the private sector, Brad enjoyed a meaningful 31-year career in education serving in the roles of teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. He is a student of the complexities and nuances of leadership and admires the strivers, trailblazers, and influencers who lead with conviction, courage, and resilience. Host/Executive Producer; Brad Rieger, Audio Engineer/Production Coordinator; Kerry Schwable, Social Coordinator; Tim McCarthy, Graphic Designers: Stephen Shankster/Jeremy Thomas. Content made possible by Cooper-Smith Advertising LLC 2023

Episodes

February 23, 2024 62 mins

For over 30 years Levi has held corporate leadership roles and been a strong supporter of numerous charitable organizations and worthy causes throughout the Metro Detroit area. As Vice President and Community Impact Officer for Systems Technology Group (headquartered in Troy, Michigan), Levi leads the company’s sales, new business, and diversity efforts. He also serves on numerous boards including the Motown Museum, Teen Street Ski...

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Amy Chang, who grew up in Taiwan and came to the United States as a high school exchange student, began playing the cello when she was 10 years old. She honed her musical skills at the Taiwan Academy of Arts, Music Institute of Chicago, and Eastman School of Music. Throughout her highly accomplished career as a cellist, Amy has used the platform of music to move people’s emotions and provide a sense of uplift. She believes that a f...

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Entrepreneur Logan Sander joined like-minded young professionals to establish and run a vibrant nonprofit media thinkhub that highlights the unique qualities, opportunities, and challenges associated with the Midwest region. She has merged a love of multimedia storytelling, research, education, and community service to provide a meaningful contribution to the Midwest narrative. 

Host/Executive Producer; Brad Rieger, Audio Engineer/P...

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Based in the Tuscan hillside town of Cortona, Italy, Marco Molesini owns and operates the internationally renowned Molesini Wine Shop. His vast knowledge of wine, deep connections with Italian winemakers, frequent wine tasting events in the United States, and a robust wine club membership make Marco one of the most respected and sought-after experts in the wine industry. His passion for what he does is captured in a phrase he often...

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Bill’s Boston area roots, hockey playing days, being up close to the devastating impact of the 9-11 attack, guidance from strong mentors, and a supportive, best friend spouse shaped his career path and leadership approach. His core belief: ordinary people can do extraordinary things. 

Host/Executive Producer; Brad Rieger, Audio Engineer/Production Coordinator; Kerry Schwable, Social Coordinator; Tim McCarthy, Graphic Designers: Step...

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In his youth, Dan Creps wanted to be a disc jockey at an alternative rock station. Working with disadvantaged youth in a recreation program changed his career trajectory and pointed him in the direction of education. In every school position he has held, making a connection with students, staff, and community members has been a point of emphasis. When the Rossford Schools superintendent’s position opened-up in 2013, a school distri...

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Tim Selgo had an iconic two-decade run as the director of athletics at Grand Valley State University. The highly professional way that he led and fostered greatness in others is considered by many to be the gold standard for collegiate athletics. He now draws upon his 40 years in collegiate sports to help college athletic directors and senior administration build vibrant programs. Tim’s stories and insights about investing in peopl...

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Driven by the desire to do something meaningful for others, Dianne leads a team of dedicated professionals and volunteers as they provide therapeutic services to people going thru a cancer journey. Her enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion provide a foundation of hope for participants and their families. Based on her experience, the best way to help friends, neighbors, and colleagues battling cancer is to show up and be there for the...

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A goal-oriented and fast-paced individual that had her life upended by a significant health challenge. Mary has combined a new outlook, resilience, and a longstanding desire to serve others to propel her philanthropic work. An inspiring professional who uses her talents and platforms to help organizations be successful. 

Host/Executive Producer; Brad Rieger, Audio Engineer/Production Coordinator; Kerry Schwable, Social Coordinator; ...

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Tom is a high-impact entrepreneur that founded and captained Plastics Technology, Inc and six other related business ventures. He has published three books, holds six U.S. patents, and for several years served as the Interim Dean of a College of Education. Tom’s definition of success… defining meaningful and challenging goals for yourself and doing the work necessary to achieve those goals. Helping others reach their potential is a...

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At a young age, Dr. Somerville was encouraged and challenged by her parents and educators to set lofty goals. She coupled that life advice with a strong work ethic to establish a career path focused on serving others and making an impact. An early defining experience that sparked an interest in leadership; she served as a residence advisor/supervisor of a college dormitory when she was an undergraduate student. As president, Dr, So...

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After several years working in the banking industry in NYC, Joe pivoted to the business-side of sports. Early on he had management roles with the Canton-Akron Indians, Toledo Mud Hens, Chicago Bulls, and Detroit Tigers. In 1998 he returned to the Toledo Mud Hens as VP and General Manager and was instrumental in elevating minor league sports in the Toledo region and nationally. He was the force behind Fifth Third Field being built i...

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Danielle leads a dedicated WBCA team that is focused on supporting/promoting women’s basketball coaches/players and growing women’s basketball across the country. She oversees WBCA’s programs and services, budget, marketing, and personnel. Danielle works closely with the NCAA, USA Basketball, WNBA, Women’s Basketball HOF, and Women’s Sports Foundation. 

 

Her path of success started early. A four-sport athlete at a suburban Atlanta h...

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His down-to-earth upbringing in Sioux Center, Iowa provided a foundation for Randy’s 40-year career in healthcare and personal life. At the age of 28, a defining conversation with his boss served as the catalyst for a series of decisions that paved the way to professional opportunities and incremental leadership roles. For the last 13 years of his career, Randy led the largest healthcare system and the biggest employer in Northwest...

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While combating a blazing house fire early in her career, the second story floor supporting Allision Armstrong collapsed to the first floor engulfing her in flames. Other firefighters rushed-in and pulled her from the house. She suffered severe burns and a back injury. This near-death experience was a defining moment that strengthened her resolve to help others, serve the public good, and be the best firefighter she could be. After...

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Growing-up in Eastabuchie, Mississippi, Janet Eaton-Smith was always on the go. The performing arts, theatre productions, church choir, and athletics filled her days of youth. As the starting point guard, she led her high school team to a 37-0 record and state championship. She took what she learned during these formative years and paved an impressive path in athletic administration. Her ability to connect with people, resilient mi...

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A diverse work portfolio – nonprofit CEO, adjunct professor, entrepreneur, and elected official – provides Chad Bringman with a unique perspective about leadership and life. In his varied roles, the emphasis has consistently been on results, strategy, and culture. Chad’s people-oriented disposition and financial expertise anchor an effective leadership approach. 

Host/Executive Producer; Brad Rieger, Audio Engineer/Production Coordi...

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It’s rare for someone to have the titles of President, CEO and Reverend attached to their name. An engaging conversation with education enthusiast and youth advocate John Jones. He uses his leadership roles and platforms to connect with and elevate people around him. His primary purpose in life… service to others. 

Host/Executive Producer; Brad Rieger, Audio Engineer/Production Coordinator; Kerry Schwable, Social Coordinator; Tim Mc...

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Tom’s competitive spirit, work ethic, and passion for the game sustained him throughout a 40+ year career in professional baseball. The high-pressure situations that he navigated as a MLB player and coach gives him a unique perspective on leadership. Tom’s candid stories and insights about working in an industry with “no guarantees” are fascinating. His guiding core belief…  Start each day with a grateful heart. 

Host/Executive Prod...

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Elizabeth and Wallace Motley always encouraged their daughter to believe in herself and pursue stretch goals. One of Dr. Motley’s early mentors advised her to “walk through the door” when an opportunity presented itself. She became a teacher in order to create meaningful learning experiences and life-shaping opportunities for students. Prior to becoming superintendent, Dr. Motley served in a wide variety of building-level and centr...

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