My Morning Cup

My Morning Cup

Interesting conversations with genuine people who have successful careers, overcame challenges, and can provide life lessons that we all can use every day. This business-based podcast focuses on what makes a happy life. Find out what’s in my guests’ morning cups.


May 20, 2024 46 mins

Sheriff Austin Garrett has had a long career in law enforcement, following (somewhat) in the footsteps of his father, Austin “Cowboy” Garrett.


In this episode, Sheriff Garrett shares his three reasons for doing the job, why the HCSO uses social media to share the good and the bad, and how he maintains a work/life balance despite having to always be “on.” 


Plus, he shares behind-the-scenes information on how the City and County ...

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Unlike many of My Morning Cup’s guests, Jacinda Woodward has worked at the same organization for her 39-and-a-half-year career. However, like many guests, she’s held several different and diverse roles at TVA.


In this episode, we talk about how a co-op opportunity opened the door for her at TVA while she was in college, how she didn’t skip steps as she progressed through the company, and why she feels “galvanized” after three tra...

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Ted and Kelly Alling join the podcast for a double-guest episode to share about the work they’ve been doing at Chattanooga Preparatory School, an all-boys public charter school.


In this episode, they reflect on the steps they’ve taken that got them to this point, including how they both grew up abroad, the success and sale of Access America, and a year-long sabbatical in London. We also discuss the importance of being “all in,” c...

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This week I welcome back our first repeat guest, Matt Hullander, who shares everything he’s been doing since he was last on the podcast in episode 3. 


Matt shares how a health scare in 2018 made him realize he wasn’t living his life “on purpose” and motivated him to write his book: The Daily Climb. He also shares advice for business owners, such as what makes a business sellable, why you need to find your “one thing,” and how to ...

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April 22, 2024 55 mins

No one thinks their marriage will end in divorce, and certainly no one thinks they will turn it into a career - but Brenda Bridges is a successful divorce coach, mediator, and financial advisor.


In this episode, Brenda shares how sometimes you just need to get your foot in the door in order to prove yourself, how her definition of success has changed throughout her career, and how she’s turned a terrible event into a way to help ...

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April 15, 2024 50 mins

Long-time Chattanoogans will know Jed Mescon from his 28 years anchoring the morning news on WRCB-TV. After a brief 7-year break from media, Jed is back on-air… but this time, on the radio (Talk 102.3).


In this episode, Jed shares how he became “King of the Passover Candy Sale” while in school, how he started his broadcasting career at the age of 16 by hosting a children’s game show, and fun anecdotes about his time at WRCB - lik...

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April 8, 2024 49 mins

Bo Drake is drawn to creating opportunities for others, which is what led him to pursue a career in higher education.


In this episode, Bo shares how his first career in insurance started by working in the family business (with a warning), how he used LinkedIn to get a foot in the door for higher education, and why it’s important to align your paycheck with your passion.


Bo Drake is the Vice President of Economic & Workforce...

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Dr. Elaine Swafford blooms where she’s planted. Throughout her life and career, opportunities have been presented and she seized them each time.


In this episode, Elaine shares with us her path from Teacher at Soddy Daisy High School to CEO of CGLA and every stop in between. She also tells us the story of her “Michael Jordan” moment, how 4-H speeches trained her to be an extrovert, and how she turned CGLA around within 9 months af...

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March 25, 2024 44 mins

For Cam Doody, the corporate path was just too clear and unappealing. Instead, he found a solution to a problem, and started, along with his partners, his own company, Bellhop - the fastest-growing moving & relocation brand in the U.S. 


Now, 13 years later, he helps other founders “burn the ships” and make it through “the trough of sorrow” - if they’re one of the ten startups that get accepted each year (out of 4,600+ applica...

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March 18, 2024 47 mins

Growing up on a farm in Iowa, Marj never dreamed of leaving her hometown. Nevertheless, with three babies under the age of 1, she moved across the country to California and began her career.


In this episode, Marj shares what it was like “dressing” chickens in Correctionville, how she moved up the ranks at a company for 19 years, and why she started her own Leadership Training business (which is still going strong decades later).


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March 11, 2024 46 mins

Patrick Wells got an early taste of the startup world when he won a business plan competition in college. From there, he’s grown businesses in the legal, auto salvage, and stone industries.


In this episode, Patrick shares how one good idea changed his life’s path, what he learned from pole vaulting (and the adjustments former athletes must make to be successful in business), and how he’s acquired and grown several businesses.



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March 4, 2024 50 mins

Growing up, Valoria Armstrong wanted to be an attorney. She never imagined that she would have a career in HR or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


In this episode, Valoria shares how she was elected President of the NAACP board at the age of 26, how she evaluates opportunities before committing to them, and why inclusion comes before diversity at Unum.


Valoria Armstrong is the Chief Global Inclusion & Diversity Officer at U...

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February 26, 2024 34 mins

Virginia Anne’s career did not start in the art world, despite a passion for the performing arts. She originally followed in her father’s footsteps as a lawyer, but her involvement in the community grew, leading her to the Hunter Museum nine years ago.


In this episode, we discuss what it was like to be the second woman ever hired at Miller & Martin, switching her focus from litigation to commercial real estate, and why art is...

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February 19, 2024 55 mins

Entrepreneurship has always been in Craig Fuller’s blood. From a young age, he’s been starting and growing businesses.


In this episode, Craig shares the ups and downs of his career, starting with growing Xpress Direct to $140 million in revenue within two years, then getting fired from the family businesses (twice), and now leading FreightWaves and acquiring legacy media brands.


Craig Fuller is the Founder and CEO of FreightWav...

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February 12, 2024 43 mins

Matt Rasmussen originally wanted to be an archeologist (thanks, Indiana Jones!) or a forester, but after settling into engineering in college, he never looked back and has had a wildly successful career with the Tennessee Valley Authority. 


In this episode, Matt shares his many steps up the corporate ladder and what makes someone stay at one company for 22 years. He also gives the inside scoop on nuclear power and what happens be...

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February 5, 2024 44 mins

Dr. Jordan is not a “pulpit pastor” - he’s active in the community. He’s the pastor of Mt. Canaan Baptist Church and some will tell you he is the pastor of Chattanooga. He founded an anti-violence program called Stop the Madness, which combatted the crack epidemic in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1992. Now, Stop the Madness is a national non-profit.


In this episode, we discuss gratitude, finding inner peace despite adversity, Stop the M...

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January 29, 2024 51 mins

Charles Wood is a self-proclaimed “class clown” turned salesman. Despite an unstable childhood, he’s built a solid career in Economic Development. 


In this episode, we discuss how backpacking through Central America changed his perspective on life and his pit stops in Mobile, College Station, and Pensacola before arriving in Chattanooga 12 years ago. Plus, how he’s steering the Chamber towards Economic Development by inviting the...

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January 22, 2024 34 mins

With a passion for music and comedy, no wonder Eric Foster became an on-air personality for a radio station!


In this episode, Eric shares his process for writing his stand-up acts, how he got started in radio, and what it’s like to donate a kidney?!


Eric is the Program Director and an on-air personality for Brewer Media Group. You can learn more about him here.


My Morning Cup is hosted by Mike Costa of Costa Media Advisors an...

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January 15, 2024 50 mins

Most people would get tired of traveling if they lived in 7 states during their childhood, but it only grew Sybil Topil’s love of seeing new places.


In this episode, we discuss her role of “putting Chattanooga on the map,” her resourcefulness that helped her find jobs in France and Nashville, how introverts can create a persona for networking, and the challenges that come along with a cancer diagnosis.


Sybil is the VP of Market...

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January 8, 2024 41 mins

This week’s guest needs no introduction! Everyone knows his political story, from mid-size city mayor to US Senator and Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee. How did he get there? In this episode, we discuss his early career days on construction sites, the formation of Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, and the importance of having bold visions.


Bob Corker has owned several businesses and held several political positions. H...

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