36 episodes

The Denise Ilitch Show is about overcoming adversity, staying positive, and giving back to the world we live in.

Denise Ilitch show Denise Ilitch

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 11 Ratings

The Denise Ilitch Show is about overcoming adversity, staying positive, and giving back to the world we live in.

    Going With Your Gut and Giving Back with Carrie Weiner

    Going With Your Gut and Giving Back with Carrie Weiner

    Denise talks to Carrie Weiner, co-founder and CFO of The Little Black Box, who is most proud of her ability to strike a balance between running a business and being a dedicated single mom. She says she’s a good planner and practicing stellar time management skills allows her to put her kids first while providing for the family. 
    Like many entrepreneurs, Weiner saw a need, and during the pandemic in 2020, along with her friend now business partner Michelle Scerbo, created a company that redefines the gift giving industry by making giving back a part of the business model. Her desire to support communities and women-owned vendors stems from her value of relationships and support, something she lacked at a pivotal moment in her life. 
    It was the toughest situation she’s ever had to face as a single mom. At age three, Weiner’s son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, Fragile X. Both of her parents had recently passed away, and she found herself without the emotional support of a loving community close by. So, she set out to make one. 
    Learning to trust her gut—the “visceral” feeling inside—has paid off. The Little Black Box is not only a luxury gifting service that’s totally customizable, it’s also an economic engine for the nonprofit community, with a portion of every purchase donated to charities for women like Alternatives For Girls, benefiting homeless and at-risk girls in Detroit. The range of gifts covers everyone from classroom teachers to corporate executives for any occasion at just about any price point. 
    Like her company’s products, Weiner’s advice to would-be entrepreneurs is thoughtful and timeless. 
    Hire an attorney   Write a business plan  Clearly define roles  Manage expectations  What would she say to her younger self? “You can do it!” Ask for help and help others.  
    Stay tuned for her two favorite Detroit moments, one with her dad and one with her mom, both of which may have foreshadowed her future. 
    Web | www.thelittleblackbox.com 
    IG | the_littleblackbox   
    Facebook| Little Black Box, LLC 
     
    *** 
    Carrie Weiner is co-founder and CFO of The Little Black Box®, a bespoke gift-giving company offering luxury, customizable, curated and affordable gifts for anyone desiring to give a meaningful gift. The company uplifts women and small business by sourcing unique products and donating a portion of each purchase to charity. To further the philanthropic arm of The Little Black Box®, Weiner and her business partner created Citizen Society, their own product line and activism hub. Weiner is a graduate of the New York School of Interior Design and previously used her creative talents in the design of homes and restaurants and her own women’s clothing store. She is the proud mom of two amazing children. 
    Denise Ilitch, an owner of Ilitch Family Companies and President of Ilitch Enterprises, has been a part of Detroit’s business and philanthropic community for over 40 years.  As a mother, lawyer, entrepreneur, devoted community servant and tireless advocate for women and children, she learned early, from her father, that everyone is worthy of contributing to the world.  Her passion for affordable, accessible, quality education stems from her own experience as a first-generation student, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, where she currently serves on the Board of Regents, and a law degree from the University of Detroit Law School. 
    FOLLOW DENISE @thedeniseilitchshow 
    TO LEARN MORE about all our inspiring podcasts visit https://www.lifestough.com/.  

    • 18 min
    Learning to See Your Blind Spots with Joshua Cascade

    Learning to See Your Blind Spots with Joshua Cascade

    Denise talks to Joshua Cascade, a former private equity investor with over 25 years of industry experience. Cascade has led or co-led leveraged buyout transactions representing over $2 billion in aggregate acquisition value. These days you’ll find him back on campus, educating the next generation of MBA candidates at the Yale School of Management and undergraduate business students at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. 
    Having rubbed elbows with thousands of founders and CEOs in 48 states, he’s proud to have learned so much from such a diverse group of people. His experience—and his mistakes—along the way have taught him the importance of knowing what your blind spots are. When he was starting out, his answer to overcoming adversity was to put his head down and work harder. Now he asks himself, “Am I being too risk averse? Am I making this decision out of fear?” 
    Cascade is happy to be back in his home state of Michigan, and happy to be teaching for both Yale and his alma mater, University of Michigan. The wisdom he would offer his younger self is the same he offers his students. Slow down. Embrace the “I don’t know.” Apart from crediting his wife as the real secret to his confidence, he stresses having an open mind and humility. Learn before you leap. 
    Cascade is super impressed by his students’ curiosity and intelligence. The next generation is incredibly data savvy and their ability to gather better information faster will undoubtedly be a game changer. 
    Not surprisingly his favorite Detroit moments are sports related. With the city’s sports teams getting better and better, much like the revival of the city itself, he believes when one of those teams wins a championship again, the party will take to Detroit’s downtown streets like never before. 
    Both Denise and he agree, that is something to look forward to. 
    *** 
    Joshua Cascade is a former private equity investor with over 25 years of industry experience, most recently as a Managing Partner at Wellspring Capital. Prior to Wellspring, Cascade was a member of the investment team at Odyssey Investment Partners. He began his career at The Blackstone Group in 1994, after earning an undergraduate bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Michigan. Since 2018, Cascade has been teaching a private equity course to MBA candidates at the Yale School of Management and undergraduate business students at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. He resides in Michigan with his wife and daughters. 
    Denise Ilitch, an owner of Ilitch Family Companies and President of Ilitch Enterprises, has been a part of Detroit’s business and philanthropic community for over 40 years.  As a mother, lawyer, entrepreneur, devoted community servant and tireless advocate for women and children, she learned early, from her father, that everyone is worthy of contributing to the world.  Her passion for affordable, accessible, quality education stems from her own experience as a first-generation student, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, where she currently serves on the Board of Regents, and a law degree from the University of Detroit Law School. 
    FOLLOW DENISE @thedeniseilitchshow 
    TO LEARN MORE about all our inspiring podcasts visit https://www.lifestough.com/.  

    • 18 min
    Seeing Adversity as a Gift with Robert Paylor

    Seeing Adversity as a Gift with Robert Paylor

    Seeing Adversity as a Gift with Robert Paylor 
    Denise talks to professional motivational speaker Robert Paylor, who inspires millions with his message of hope, courage, and unwavering determination. Paylor is living proof that with discipline and a strong support team, we can achieve the impossible. He uses the story of the best day of his life, also the day of his greatest tragedy, as his driving purpose to help others. 
    At 6’ 5” the Sacramento native was naturally strong and a gifted athlete. His love for contact sports led him to rugby, first as a student at Jesuit High School, the number one ranked team in the nation. A natural born leader, captain of the team, Paylor and his team won a lot of hardware. As a college student at UC Berkeley, he earned a starting position on the legendary Men’s Rugby Team, which has won 33 national championships. 
    May 6, 2017 his team was competing in the Collegiate Rugby National Championship against Arkansas State. As a big guy, Paylor was accustomed to being in a maul where three or more players push against one another. There are strict rules about mauls, one being that players are not allowed to join from the side. As the opposing team continued to make illegal moves, Paylor found himself in a tight headlock and was pushed to the ground. He heard a “snap” and in an instant was face down, in the dirt, unable to move. 
    He suffered severe injuries to his spinal cord and doctors told him he’d never walk again, let alone move his hands. Faced with whether to have a potentially life-threatening surgery he contacted his priest. A devout Catholic, Paylor wanted to make sure he could receive the Sacrament of Last Rites. He was given 30 minutes to decide. 
    In this inspirational conversation, Paylor pays forward the advice he’s been given, and the strategies he uses to keep making progress. As his priest told him right before his surgery, “The one thing you have control over is your mindset…Your willingness to wake up every day and fight this is up to you and this injury can’t take that away from you.” 
    Paylor found the courage to face his fear of a body—and a future—he didn’t recognize. He says he sleeps peacefully knowing he gives every day all he has. When he doesn’t feel like exerting the effort to simply get out of bed in the morning, he remembers that millions of people feel just like he does. When he faces difficulty, he asks himself, “Compared to what?” not to dismiss his challenges but to overcome them. 
    The single best catalyst to leaping those mental hurdles comes from knowing that when he stays strong, others can stay strong too. Instilled by his faith and engrained by athletics, Paylor is inspired by the words of his UC rugby coach and friend Jack Clark, “Be grateful for everything and entitled to nothing.” 
    To book Paylor and follow him on social media go to www.robertpaylor.com.  
    Setup by a friend to pay for uncovered medical expenses, visit his healing and rehab GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/robertpaylor. 
    *** 
    Robert Paylor is a motivational speaker who shares the skills he uses to overcome quadriplegia and go from paralyzed to powerful. The former 2017 UC Berkeley Men’s Rugby Team player uses a life-changing injury to fuel his purpose of inspiring others to reach their full potential. Four years after he was told he would never walk again, Paylor walked with assistance across the stage to receive his diploma from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. Paylor still resides in California, enjoys the outdoors, barbequing, hikes, the water—and still loves rugby.  
    Denise Ilitch, an owner of Ilitch Family Companies and President of Ilitch Enterprises, has been a part of Detroit’s business and philanthropic community for over 40 years.  As a mother, lawyer, entrepreneur, devoted community servant and tireless advocate for women and children, she learned early, from her father, that everyone is worth

    • 33 min
    Getting To Know Yourself Through Adversity with Brooke Lites

    Getting To Know Yourself Through Adversity with Brooke Lites

    “You gotta walk away from the elephant to see that sometimes adversity opens up new opportunities.” Brooke Lites 
    Denise talks to Brooke Lites, a woman with an established love of learning about to embark on a new career path, and Denise’s daughter! Brooke says her experiences in higher education have been a great foundation for approaching problem solving. Her love of justice and fair-mindedness initially drew her to study law. 
    The toughest situation she’s faced was her divorce in 2018, which she wasn’t as equipped to handle as she thought. She’s learned that whether the problem is personal or professional, keeping a sense of humor and rolling with the punches help get you through. Stressing the importance of asking for help, she’s grateful to have a strong tribe to lean on; having an emotional support animal was a plus. 
    She says maintaining confidence is a daily exercise—that and going to the gym to get her endorphins going. She knows herself well enough to see the signs of self-doubt; that’s when she leans into the present moment, changing what she can and accepting what she cannot. Instead of comparing herself to other women who seem like they have it all together, she honors all parts of herself as making her whole.  
    Brooke credits her mom for always making time for her and staying connected and the two enjoy a wonderful, loving friendship now. Growing up with a mom who ‘did it all’ Brooke knows now that moms are more than the sum of the hats they wear. Seeing her siblings and their spouses enjoy parenthood is a privilege she hopes to one day share. 
    She says that working on big problems makes room for the opportunity to create big solutions and she reminds us of the words of Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 
    Brooke’s sage advice to her younger self is good medicine for everyone: 
    Be more accountable.  Be softer and kinder with yourself.  Remember your worth.  Establish boundaries. Put yourself out there; make friends. Hit the travel button more!  Laugh at your mistakes.  Brooke says she’ll proudly represent Detroit forever; stay tuned to learn some of her favorite Motor City moments. 
    *** 
    Brooke Lites, currently studying to become a certified personal trainer, previously owned and founded Boudoir B a luxury and vintage clothing store after working as a substitute teacher in Oakland and Washtenaw County, Michigan. Lites was an anti-bullying educator for Defeat the Label, a nonprofit aiming to end bullying by putting the power to do so in the hands of students. Lites earned a BA at the University of Michigan, a JD at the University of Detroit Law School and a master’s in psychology at the Michigan School of Professional Psychology. She resides in Jacksonville, Florida. 
     
    Denise Ilitch, an owner of Ilitch Family Companies and President of Ilitch Enterprises, has been a part of Detroit’s business and philanthropic community for over 40 years.  As a mother, lawyer, entrepreneur, devoted community servant and tireless advocate for women and children, she learned early, from her father, that everyone is worthy of contributing to the world.  Her passion for affordable, accessible, quality education stems from her own experience as a first-generation student, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, where she currently serves on the Board of Regents, and a law degree from the University of Detroit Law School. 
    FOLLOW DENISE @thedeniseilitchshow 
     

    • 22 min
    Three Steps to Finding Your Confidence with Dan Mulhern

    Three Steps to Finding Your Confidence with Dan Mulhern

    “Locate your confidence in what you’re great at, in what you love.” Dan Mulhern 
    Denise talks to Dan Mulhern, award-wining teacher at the Haas School of Business and Goldman School of Public Policy at University of California, Berkeley, public speaker, radio personality, and acclaimed writer. With all his accomplishments he’s very proud that he learned to be a “different kind of man” to support his wife’s role as Governor of Michigan. Being Michigan’s First Gentleman was not a role that he ever expected to play. 
    Like Denise, Mulhern is one of seven children, the firstborn son to his Italian, Irish Catholic parents. When he was only three, already with three sisters, he was elated to learn that his fourth sibling was a baby brother. Two months after his birth, his brother died, and Mulhern suffered his first trauma—a broken heart. He says that much of his life since then has been mending hearts, starting with his own. 
    His second bout with adversity was facing his own failure as a campaign manager for a congressional campaign. It took him years to learn that it wasn’t his strength. Eventually he found his sweet spot, teaching. Mulhern says he works to be a good teacher, not just of content, but of people. And so, his advice for cultivating confidence is to find what you’re good at. 
    The best kept secret to confidence, he says, “is forget about you,” and focus on others. Research on psychology and resilience supports that serving others is one of the best sources of satisfaction. He also says it’s important to “stay in your zone of control” where you can make the biggest difference.  
    He remembers fondly growing up in a family that valued kindness and inclusiveness. But he also recognizes that we pass along less desirable values, like workaholism, by virtue of the way we live. Denise sees in her own children, a strong work ethic, balanced with the desire to spend time with family.  
    Mulhern realized along the way that he’s also naturally good at something else, encouraging others and having faith when the chips were down. But he wasn’t very good at doing it for himself. Now, he knows he can trust himself to give the gift he has so readily offered to others—the gift of grace. 
    *** 
    Dan Mulhern is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of leadership, gender, and organizational culture. He teaches courses on leadership, organizational behavior, and public policy at the Haas School of Business and Goldman School of Public Policy at University of California, Berkeley. He has won numerous awards for his teaching and leadership mentoring and writes an acclaimed blog, “Reading for Leading.” Mulhern, an honors graduate from Yale University and Harvard Law School, is the Co-Founder of LeadingX2 and founder of Dan Mulhern Inc. In addition to his books on leadership, Mulhern co-authored A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future with his wife, former two-term Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. The couple have three children. 
    Denise Ilitch, an owner of Ilitch Family Companies and President of Ilitch Enterprises, has been a part of Detroit’s business and philanthropic community for over 40 years.  As a mother, lawyer, entrepreneur, devoted community servant and tireless advocate for women and children, she learned early, from her father, that everyone is worthy of contributing to the world.  Her passion for affordable, accessible, quality education stems from her own experience as a first-generation student, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, where she currently serves on the Board of Regents, and a law degree from the University of Detroit Law School. 
    FOLLOW DENISE @thedeniseilitchshow 
    TO LEARN MORE about all our inspiring podcasts visit https://www.lifestough.com/.  

    • 22 min
    Choosing Your Battles Wisely with Carol Cain

    Choosing Your Battles Wisely with Carol Cain

    “I would not go back and second guess the choices that I made back then, or now.” Carol Cain 
    Denise talks to Carol Cain, journalist, broadcaster, and Emmy award-winning producer, who earned her stripes in the business without the benefit of a news department at CBS. Since her third-grade teacher tasked her with being editor of the school paper, her course was set, and she’s loved both the print and television sides of her professional career. She’s been a reporter, columnist, editor, and host, on just about every major network there is. And she says none of it would have been possible without the loving support of her family and life partner Jim Stapleton. 
    Cain learned a valuable lesson early in her career when she turned down an opportunity because she didn’t want to work with someone who had a wanton reputation. Rather than be labeled as a “troublemaker” had she tried to do something about it, she took a pass. “Sometimes you just have to say no.” 
    One right decision led to another as her career moved from journalist to broadcaster organically. Cain admits she was naïve in thinking that she’d be rewarded simply because she worked hard. Now she knows, and advises, the importance of networking and finding good mentors. Sometimes knowing the right person leads to opening doors you never thought of walking through. 
    Like Denise, Cain is one of seven children. Although unlike Denise, she is the youngest of her siblings and therefore, “listened a lot!” Cain says she’s naturally inquisitive but has honed her interviewer skills over many years, putting herself into her audience’s shoes—asking what she believes they most want to know. 
    Not surprisingly having worked in news media for so long, Cain’s favorite Detroit moment weaves together the 1967 Detroit Riots and Detroit Tiger Willie Horton’s courage and kindness. 
    Stay tuned to hear the one question Carol, ever the investigator, can’t keep herself from asking Denise! 
    *** 
    Carol Cain, 13-time Emmy award-winning senior producer, is the host of "Michigan Matters," Detroit’s highly-rated weekly public affairs show on CBS. She also hosts and produces CBS Detroit's "Eye on The Future" TV specials and has been nominated for a Peabody Award. Cain began her career at United Press International, the Toledo Blade and was a nationally syndicated columnist at The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press, where she continues to write a Sunday column. Cain has received numerous awards for her work and steadfast focus on diversity. A native Detroiter, Cain attended city public schools and earned a BA from Michigan State University and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. 
    Denise Ilitch, an owner of Ilitch Family Companies and President of Ilitch Enterprises, has been a part of Detroit’s business and philanthropic community for over 40 years.  As a mother, lawyer, entrepreneur, devoted community servant and tireless advocate for women and children, she learned early, from her father, that everyone is worthy of contributing to the world.  Her passion for affordable, accessible, quality education stems from her own experience as a first-generation student, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, where she currently serves on the Board of Regents, and a law degree from the University of Detroit Law School. 
    FOLLOW DENISE @thedeniseilitchshow 
    TO LEARN MORE about all our inspiring podcasts visit https://www.lifestough.com/.  
     

    • 19 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

KristinMeekhof ,

Episode 3 Grateful

I’m thankful to be in conversation with Denise (episode 3). She is thoughtful and generous host, and I hope our words inspire confidence and hope of good things to come!

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