A podcast fueled by professionals bridging the gap between Sports and Business. Enjoy as guests share stories & experiences from the playing field to the board room
014 - Reinventing your Mind and Body with Lauren Jensen McGinnis
Meet Lauren Jensen McGinnis
Lauren is the owner and head coach of TriFaster, a professional speaker, co-founder of the nonprofit Making Waves Milwaukee, a contributing author to Tri’ing Times, and a world champion triathlete! As a licensed physical therapist and movement specialist, Lauren combines her extensive knowledge of the body along with over 35 years of multi-sport racing and coaching to help others to realize their full potential. Her style is to share in the adventure with the individuals that she coaches acting as a true partner in their journey and her company TriFaster provides professional multi-sport coaching and fitness programs to individuals of all fitness levels in both group and individual settings.
Seeing as though you've participated in over 400 triathlons, if you could eliminate the swimming, running, or riding your bike and replace it with anything else, which one would be eliminated and what would you replace it with?
Well, my strength is on the bike, my secondary strength would be swimming. So from me being a person who's extremely competitive, there would be the temptation to eliminate my weakness, which currently is running. If I were to replace that with something, anyone who knows me at all knows that I'm constantly eating. So even though I'm five foot two and approximately 120 pounds, I could put down about 3500 calories in a day. So I think that my third very natural sport would be eating awesome.
I have actually performed a triathlon myself and it was slightly different than the ones that you do. It actually was a five k run, then there was a rollerblading component, and then we actually finished with a canoe a one-mile canoe down the Milwaukee River. So I don't know if you've considered adding the rollerblading/canoeing component to the triathlon.
I will have to give up some thought. One year I did do this epic race, it was over four days with a partner. It was called the Border to Border, and it started in the southwestern corner of Minnesota and you ended up in the northeastern corner of Minnesota. The first day I think was 200 miles of biking and the second day was similar, and you're trading off with your partner. The third day was 50 miles of running. After this third day, you're really quite tired. And then the final day was 54 miles of canoeing, which included six miles of portages. Well, somewhere in the middle of this, my partner lost his shoe in the mud. So he's down to one shoe and then somehow his back went out and he was bent in half, 90 degrees. So I ended up paddling the last 17 miles on this by myself. And we get to the last Portage, which was a mile long. And thank goodness for the two army guys. They portaged their canoe a mile, walked back, got our canoe portaged our canoe for us and it took that entire time for them to walk those three miles forging two canoes for my bent-over partner to hobble the mile to the end of the portage, so we can finish.
When you hear about triathletes and just the mental preparation, whether it's through just the constant training like you said, you have to focus on so many different skills. In your experience does that create a different type of mentality for those athletes, so that when they're faced with adversity, specifically in competition, there is just this no quit mindset that they have?
I do believe that the athletes who are successful in the sport do develop the don't back down, I'm not going to quit, tough as nails type mentality. Another thing about the sport is the time in what's called transition counts. So you finish swimming, it's not like there's a break. I mean, there's a break, you could take a break, I mean, you could literally go in the locker room, take a shower, and apply makeup, but all that time counts when you race. So what you'll see is the people that are more skilled at the sport, it's almost like you
013 - Striving for Greatness and Being All In with Adam Albrecht
Adam spent his childhood in Vermont, where he was raised on maple syrup and snow. Following graduation from high school, he attended the University of Wisconsin, where he studied psychology, journalism, and cheese curds. He also captained Wisconsin’s Big 10 Champion track and field team.
Adam started his advertising career as a copywriter at Cramer Krasselt working on iconic brands including Reddi-Wip, Ski-Doo, GNC, Snap-On, Briggs and Stratton, and Case IH. His next stop was at Engauge where he ascended to the role of Chief Creative Officer, winning work with such well-known brands as Nike, Coca-Cola, Nationwide Insurance, Wells Fargo, UPS, and Chick-fil-a. Publicis Groupe acquired Engauge in 2013 and folded the agency into Atlanta-based Moxie, forming a 625 person marketing powerhouse. Adam remained at Moxie until 2016 when he left to launch The Weaponry.
In your life story one of your stops was at Engauge where you ascended to the role of Chief Creative Officer, tell us about that.
I landed there as a Creative Director overseeing the Columbus office and there are offices in Columbus, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Orlando, and Austin. Two years later, I was promoted to Executive Creative Director, two years after that they made me the Chief Creative Officer overseeing all the offices, and we had 275 people. We started to crush, that was a really fun time. But over the course of the next couple of years after I became Chief Creative Officer, we won business with Nationwide Insurance, Wells Fargo, Cisco Systems, we won business with, UPS, with Bob Evans, Walgreens, and it wasn't all me. But by the time we were, we were really rolling, we did a bunch of work with Kraft and Nike. So it was a hot time and the private equity firm that owned us after winning all this said "Let's sell." So I was involved as part of the four-person leadership team that did all the singing and dancing for all of our potential suitors. So in the first half of 2013, I was on Wall Street every single week, presenting, singing and dancing, and being with people who were interested in buying the agency. That was my advanced degree in business, and it set me up for the rest of my career.
What was that experience like?
The really interesting thing that happened to me here was that I spent my career in advertising as a creative. When I got into that sale process, and I got to sit down with, you know, the chief financial officers, chief executive officers and Chief Operating officers from these international holding companies, I quickly recognize going through the conversations with their banks, and such, that the people who are really making money in advertising are not the writers and the art directors, the media lady and the Account Exec who are up until two in the morning, trying to get the presentation ready for the next day. It's the bankers is the people who say, "Hey, I want to pay for that," or the investors who say, "I'll buy this business!" Those are the people who are really making bank. That was that that was all I needed to know. So I felt like, "Let's go change this in my next chapter."
So let's get into the next chapter where you start a business!
So after the sale went through I was incentivized to stick around with the next company for a couple of years. The company is called Moxie, based in Atlanta with offices in New York, LA, Columbus, and Pittsburgh. I was incentivized to stick around and I was trying to make the best of it, but I had an earn-out, which meant that a incentivize me to stick around for three years and every year on the anniversary they're like, "You did it, you stuck around another year!" By the end of my earn-out period, I was ready to go do something else. As I was thinking about what I might be doing next, one day, while sitting in my office at work in Atlanta, I get a ph
012 - Rowing out of athletic burnout and into professional confidence with Emily Coffman
Emily was a Division 1 Rower at the University of Oklahoma who found that the lifestyle she was living to be unhealthy. Emily believed she was healthy because she was constantly active and could eat whatever she wanted without gaining weight, but realized that she didn’t know how to train without overworking herself or how to fuel her body properly. Emily decided to start the Girls Gone Healthy Podcast when she realized how many girls just like her were struggling when it came to working out, eating right, and feeling confident in your body. The Girls Gone Healthy Podcast is her way of bringing affordable (it’s free!) and accessible health and fitness information to listeners. Hear from Emily as she goes through her journey and is joined by certified fitness and nutrition professionals that provides girls in Emily’s situation with advice on their bodies which are constantly changing and fluctuating. The link to her podcast is at the bottom of the show notes.
So your position in rowing is a Coxswain, what is that? How does someone become a Coxswain?
Yeah, so lots of people don't even know that there are multiple positions in rowing. But I did not have an oar, I did not actually row, I sat at the back and I had a microphone so I'm instructing, I'm steering, and I'm coaching them. So I'm a little bit more of a coach than an athlete, but I'm in the boat with them. Physically what they're looking for is you got to be small enough to fit in that spot and you have to be 110 pounds and then you know to be a good Coxswain you just have to kind of know the most about the sport because you're the one critiquing everyone else's rowing style. You have to know a little bit more than they do to be improving your team and just being confident with it too is what they look for.
Talk us through how that part of your position developed the leadership and the ability to talk to your fellow teammates, not in a way where you seem like a coach because I would imagine that that would be difficult.
Yeah, it's like a weird identity to be in. You do need to have some leadership over the team, but at the same time when I came in as a freshman, I was instructing people that had been there longer than me. It's that fine line where you're communicating between the coaches and the athletes and also back from the athletes to the coaches, but you also do want to be that friendly figure, you want to be their teammate. So I think that you just kinda have to balance that really well. Especially when, you know, I picked it up at 14 in high school. I'm like, I don't even know what this means. Like, it's a lot of pressure that I just would talk whatever came out of my mouth.
What does that pressure like to feel responsible for ultimately staying on a straight line and providing the right you know, the right tools for your team to be successful?
Yeah, there's a lot of trust that goes into me, all these people can't see what's going on with the racing field, they don't see what's coming up next. So they have to be able to trust me where what I'm gonna make that decision is the best possible one at that moment. That’s a lot of pressure sometimes because I have nine people's opinions, and I'm the only one voicing them. But I think that at the end of the day, they are my teammates, and some of them make mistakes, too. So I just had to realize that even though I do have more leadership than other positions, we're all still learning together, all competing together.
When you're on your site, and you read about your story, this is really kind of where it seems like your story starts at this point in your college career where you felt like you had consistently been able to maintain that 110 pounds, and then all of a sudden one summer you bumped up to 120 and then you spent the rest of your college career trying to almost be your former self
011 - CEO by day, Referee by night. Officiating adversity with Andy Gallion
Meet Andy Gallion: Andy is the CEO at InCheck which is located in the Village of Wauwatosa just outside of Milwaukee. InCheck provides full service customized nationwide background screening and drug testing solutions since 2002. Their clients represent a diverse range of industries and sizes ranging from local family run companies to enterprise level multi state corporations. For over 29 years Andy has been a basketball official for The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association and he brings with him a phenomenal insight into the sporting world from the referee side of things, as well as a long and recognized business career.
I've been coaching hockey now for seven years and I always find myself always trying to change the refs mind. I'm still actually looking for the secret sauce on how to do that so I'm curious if you could start the show by telling us what the secret sauce is to changing a call and ultimately changing a referee's mind?
It might not be about the one that you're questioning at the moment, but you might be able to get the next one to go in your favor if you play your cards right. Also, it is based off just how a coach approaches you throughout a game and what things stand out to you. It’s not that they're going to change your call so much, but whether or not you go up and you talk to them after a call or whether or not, or if you take the time to kind of hear them out after a call. I've had it both ways where sometimes I'll have to say, “Coach, I need you to sit down and he just shut the heck up,” or “Coach, I'll give you the time of day and let's talk through it.” With experience comes an understanding of when I expect to hear from coaches. So if there's a bang-bang play, or a 50-50 call, especially in a crucial situation of a game which goes against the coach, I can understand in that moment why he or she may want to talk a little bit more about that particular play. If it's a call that maybe I knew that I kicked, yeah, I'm gonna listen a little bit more and give them a little bit more rope, but that’s not usually the case. As a coach, pick your spots as to the calls that we're going to talk about because it's not going to be every single one of them.
If you could talk to sports fans that haven't put on the black and white and haven't been in your position, what do you think is a logical expectation to have of referees at the high school, collegiate or professional level?
Just to understand that the amount of training and time that they put into it makes them highly qualified for that position. I don't think most people understand, especially the basketball floor, what it's like to blow the whistle and then have thousands of people looking at you, and having to be the ultimate communicator in that moment. Now, at a professional level I think what we see as sports fans is that the NBA refs take a ton of criticism from the general NBA fan public. But quite honestly, those are the best basketball officials on the planet, and the percentage of plays that they get right is probably not understood.
When you leave that arena after a game and you're in your car by yourself, thinking back to that one play you might've got wrong, over your career, how have you evolved in handling those situations?
A great example of that is the last game that I worked last year was a high school sectional game, right before the season was cut short due to the quarantine. There was a play in that game that I'm still thinking about, a call that I should have made that I didn't make. I don't think it affected the outcome, but it sticks with me. I think for most officials, we are our own biggest critic and so getting certain plays wrong, or missing calls all together are things that can stick with us for a while. If we're trying to improve and do things the right way, we use those experie
010 - Transitioning Careers, Not Passions with Todd Townsend
Meet Todd Townsend
A former team captain and member of the 2003 Final Four team at Marquette University, Townsend’s coaching tenure has helped him build strong ties for recruiting in the Midwest. Todd played and coached in Europe before returning to the States and coaching at NCAA DI Schools such as NIU, Drake, UW-Milwaukee and Valparaiso. Within the last year Todd decided to make a career change and currently serves as Commercial Lines Sales Executive at R&R Insurance, where Todd helps companies improve their value by enhancing education, training, processes, and procedures that reduce the cost of doing business and offer our clients the best products, programs and professional services.
Q. Tell me about your transition that you went through from being an assistant coach at Valparaiso during the 2019 season to where you are now at R&R Insurance?
“Yeah, I would like to say it was a hard transition. At this time, it wasn't only because over the last seven-eight years I've been trying to make that transition, but to give up something that you love and coaching at the division one level or at the college level in general is a lifestyle, it's one of those things where you work in for 365 days a year and you're texting recruits on Christmas day to say "Hey merry Christmas” Hey, what did you get?" You know, you have that fear if you don't do it, another coach will. You’re always trying to get that leg up and, you do all that for 33 nights a year, trying to get the 34, 35, 36 in March. For the last 15 years my summers have been, either you're in a gym or you're on an airplane or you're in a car for 22-23 days out of July recruiting you know you spend all the June working basketball camps from seven in the morning to four or five and then hosting recruits and now I'm in sales it's like "hey, you want to golf?" "I was like during the week?" So I will say that the hardest part of the transition is actually not necessarily the job duties and things like that, it's realizing that my Saturdays and Sundays are actually for me and my family after the five or six o'clock at night you're with your family and for 15 years that wasn't the case.”
Q. What is your current relationship with the sport of basketball since you have left it from a full time stance?
“I still have to get my little taste and I talk to the coaching staff and players at Valpo every day. I kind of play a consultant role with them. I talk to NBA scouts here and there, so I spend about an hour to two hours talking basketball every day, whether it's 7am in the morning after I get off my peloton, or if it's at night, but it's hard with social media because I don't follow it too much mostly because I don't go on to social media to follow it. I don't want that itch to go back and coach because I really like how life is right now.”
Q. What were some of the biggest aspects as an individual, and as a family man that you were dealing with while you were deciding on your future as a basketball coach?
“Yeah it was even before the last six, you know, six, seven years, I've been trying to get out of coaching from the moment I got into it, or after the first couple years. My first couple years I coached Dominic James, Jerel McNeal, Wesley Matthews, Lazar Hayward, Steve Novak for a year and Joe Chapman. You go into the Big East, the NCAA tournament, and you're doing this stuff and for 33, 34, 35 nights of the year which is fun. But when your mom says, "life shouldn't be that hard'', or "you shouldn't have to work that hard, and you start saying, "Mom, you don't understand," and "I'm happy, I'm happy," and other things like that... Moms know when you're not happy. Other than that I would say the lack of friends because when you get into coaching so early it's tough. My best friend (Travis) Diener is still playing Europe, my former teammates are still playing and
009 - Leading During Trying Times with David Mylrea
Meet David Mylrea
David is the president and CEO of Engage Technologies Corporation. Engage owns a number of companies in the printing and packaging sector - including selling inkjet printers. Prior to becoming the CEO of Engage he was Executive Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel of Engage. In addition to his duties with Engage, he was also a Capital Partner with the national law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, a firm of in excess of 650 lawyers in 30 cities across the United States, as well as London UK. In the sports world, David is a member of the St. Olaf Football Hall of Fame and has spent many years as a hockey coach.
Where are you speaking to us from?
I'm speaking from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Actually a suburb in the southwestern corner of the City of Minneapolis. And I'm working from my office, my home office this morning. The last several months have been very interesting as a result, obviously of COVID-19 and how that's impacted our company and the operations we are in the industrial packaging business, we do coding and marking - meaning inks and printers. But we have another side of the company that does packaging and delivering. So we package, we sell equipment that packages products, we sell equipment that puts codes and marks on products. Everything from bottles of various types of vitamins and foods - to the little white plastic clips that you see on a bag of hot dog buns that you buy at the grocery store. Those little white plastic clips have a code or a mark that's printed that say this bread is good through this date. Our motto is that we help companies deliver their products to the world. Last year we sold products into 50 countries all over the world. We've been operating largely remotely, our entire sales team operates remotely because of COVID. My marketing group, including our social media people, operate remotely. Most of our engineers are operating remotely. All of our accounting group except for a couple of folks who work daily out of the office, but substantially all of them at our customer service group are all operating remotely. So we've had to make some adjustments that way to allow us to continue business, but not business the old fashioned way, where everybody went into the office all day every day.
Relating to sports here, we’re all waiting as the various leagues’ executives sit behind closed doors and discuss what’s best for their respective sport. So what’s it like having those types of conversations as a company executive?
I don’t want to sound cliche, but the most important asset that we have is our employees - and I think we really walk the walk. We take all of this COVID-19 stuff very seriously. Since February, I have taken to writing notes, emails to all of our employees, to talk to them about what we're doing and why we're doing it and why we want them to participate in things like being very careful. Wearing face masks, social distancing, doing all of the things that the CDC recommends that we do. We spend a lot of money on cleaning our facilities, much more than we did in years prior. We now require people that visit our facilities to wear masks and have their temperature taken.They also have to fill out a form stating they haven’t felt sick - all of those provisions that the CDC suggests. I also regularly communicate with our entire team and let them know how we're doing on the COVID front and also how the company is doing. My way of dealing with this has been to communicate openly and freely with all of our employees on a regular basis and to do everything that we can that the CDC requires. The goal is to maintain the health of our employees because if we lose our employees, we're out of business. So far we've been very fortunate, we haven't had any COVID direct hits so far.
When you look at what you guys have been able to do, do you think that it is
Customer ReviewsSee All
Love this show and the conversations that Will has. It’s both entertaining and educational, I can’t wait to listen to more!
Interesting and unique perspective with Andy Gallion. Emphasis on not losing sight of the important things either in officiating or business.
Will does a great job of asking intriguing and insightful questions. He also was able to focus on the dedication most officials put into their craft, which is often overlooked.
Overall a wonderful and enjoyable podcast.
Thanks for the unique perspective.