The Podcast, “Talk Of 12 Oaks”, is hosted on Tuesdays by Wendell Sconiers.
-It’s EXCLUSIVELY For the Neighbors, About the Neighbors, By the Neighbors; in our unique 12 Oaks Community
-Think of it as bringing to life the 12 Oaks Living…a deeper, live-dive into the residents
-This is a Not for Profit Podcast…it’s all about getting to know our neighbors, from birth to now, about their professions, what they are “most proud” of, why did they choose 12 Oaks, and how’s it working out?
Episode 20: Chris Cofoni - CEO of TriAction Toys and Music Performer
In this episode, I am excited to be introducing you to another neighbor and he is a force to be reckoned with. I am talking with a junior olympian swimmer, singer, traveler, and fisherman. We talk a lot about toys in this episode and you won’t want to miss the big announcement. You may have heard this neighbor perform at the 12 Oaks Summer Slam, Raleigh’s High Park Bar or Woody’s Sports Tavern and Grill. This is the first EVER episode where our neighbor sings for YOU.
Chris Cofoni is the Founder and CEO of TriAction Toys. Chris is also a singer-songwriter. Chris was born in Westerly, Rhode Island. He was raised in an Italian family along with his older sister by his Mom and Dad. His family moved quite a bit during his childhood years. While attending high school, Chris discovered, after much nudging from his Mom, that he had a true musical talent. Last year Chris launched “Instraspection” which is his best album yet, recorded here in Raleigh. Chris is married with three children.
12 Oakers, we are so fortunate to have Chris as a neighbor and as an onsite performer, rockstar to boot. We look forward two Chris’ next performance, here in 12 Oaks.
In This Episode:
[04:14] Welcome Chris Cofoni our 19th “P” in the pod[cast]. He is the CEO of TriAction Toys and a Music Performer. [04:33] TriAction, which stands for “innovate, design, and play” introduces popular European design and quality toys to American audiences, with distribution, specifically focused on independent toy stores and specialty retailers. [06:52] Chris had major roles in high school community theatre and professional theatre with Off Broadway runs and formed a rock band named Lucid. [07:38] In 2000, Chris had his first major release “Born Backwards.” [09:32] He has been to 31 countries and the Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island is still the best beach he has ever walked on in the world. [10:17] He was a junior olympian for freestyle swimming when his family lived in California. [11:18] Some of the first people he made friends with after moving to Mystic, Connecticut approached him about singing with them in a rock band and they are still his best friends to this day. [13:01] He was singing in Italian, German, and French at the age of 15. [14:45] Chris was chosen to sing a solo out of the whole country with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C. [16:10] He received a full talent scholarship to Hartt School of Music. [17:39] His father showed him that nothing was more important than a hard day’s work other than family because that is why you work. [19:02] There were times in his career when he took the next step and it was a very difficult decision but he made it based on something his grandfather told him. [20:40] His brand is a guy that never gives up. [23:44] His assertiveness and passion together got him a promotion to the A&R department at Lunar Records. The second record he worked on was with Norah Jones. [24:20] Of all the records he worked on, the one with Al Green had the biggest impact on Chris. [25:40] Working with Norah Jones, Chris has Gold and Platinum plagues. [27:13] Chris performs a small part of a song he wrote called Claustrophobia. [33:43] He transitioned to the toy industry because the record industry had a huge drop. [36:40] Chris started a new job at Melissa and Doug. [38:52] He moved on and became VP of Sales for Jazwares. They launched Fortnite toys. [41:07] Chris is doing licensed toys for Boglins now. He is manufacturing at this time. [43:19] Through his experience, he has learned that out of a weakness can come a strength. [45:13] After several years, he bumped into Daniela literally in Time Square on Valentine’s Day. [47:52] Chris loves to fish. He was in a Bass Club with his grandfather. [49:48] Why did you choose North Carolina and 12 Oaks? [52:42] Chris recommends having fun and traveling in your 20’s and
Episode 19: Erin Bircher - Psychotherapist and Life Coach
In this episode, we learn more about another amazing 12 Oaks neighbor. I am talking with the Maggy Award winner for Best Therapist in Western Wake and the Food Truck Queen of 12 Oaks. She was also a finalist during Indy Week, Best of the Triangle 2020 for Best Couples Therapist and Best Therapist. We talk about her move from Rhode Island, Virginia, then Florida and finally to North Carolina.
Erin Bircher is a Psychotherapist, Life Coach, and owner and founder of Foundations 4-Change. She helps individuals break through barriers, work through difficult situations, set boundaries, and helps to explore any limiting belief systems that may be preventing them from leading the life they truly desire. Erin was born in Providence, Rhode Island. At the age of two, she and her mom moved to Northern Virginia where she grew up in the small town of Leesburg. After graduating high school, Erin’s mom told her she had to take at least one class at the local community college. She ended up taking psychology and that class captured Erin’s love and focus on what she wanted to do with her life. Erin has been married to her husband Jay since 2017 and has two boys, Ashton and Dylan.
It was wonderful getting to know Erin and learning more about her and how she helps people every day through some of the most difficult times in their lives. We are so fortunate to have Erin as our neighbor and soon to be a friend to many more of us.
In This Episode:
[02:35] Welcome Erin Bircher our 18th “P” in the pod[cast]. She is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach. [04:52] In 2003, she moved to Miami to gain her Masters of Counseling degree from Florida International University. [06:11] In 2019, Erin completed the certification to become a Life Coach. [08:23] She grew up in the small town of Leesburg, Virginia. She played a lot of soccer growing up and also spent a lot of time working with children. [09:24] Even though Erin had no interest in college her mom pushed her to take one class at the community college. The one class she took was psychology and she realized what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. [10:07] She went to the Dominican Republic and worked in an orphanage for a week. It was a life changing experience. [11:22] She values all of her experiences because she has learned and grown a lot and she has helped a lot of people because of the things she has gone through. [11:56] She has a true love of the outdoors which she credits to growing up on 8-10 acres as a child. [13:08] Respect goes a long way. Everybody wants to feel appreciated and respected. [13:47] One of the biggest things that stood out to Erin is the importance of working hard. [15:19] Erin shares why she fell in love with psychology. [16:14] Working in the Nonprofit Agencies was a lot of hard work, she learned a lot, and it laid the groundwork for what she is doing now. [18:12] She shares that everyone that comes into therapy has some aspect of their life that they want to be different, so they have to do something different. [20:12] She realized that the more vulnerable that she became, the more vulnerable her clients became. [21:25] Erin tells what it's like as a Day in the Life of a psychotherapist. It is different since the pandemic because now she sees her clients virtually. [22:52] At first the virtual meetings were hard for Erin because she liked sitting with people, but she is getting used to it now. [25:35] Being a life coach opens up more doors for Erin to be able to do different work in different capacities and mix it up. [27:14] In the next 5-10 years Erin hopes to be doing more speaking engagements and workshops. She is putting her hands in different areas and meeting new people to see what different doors open. [29:45] She is working towards different credentials for life coaching. [31:44] Erin is the Food Truck Queen of 12 Oaks and is excited to host more foo
Episode 18: The Wagners - A Proud Family of Professional Insurance Agents
In this episode, we mixed it up a bit. Instead of interviewing one neighbor, I am actually interviewing three neighbors. You may have seen these amazing neighbors on the cover and feature article in the “Meet your Neighbors” section of the March 2020 edition of the 12 Oaks Living Magazine, or getting their cajun, low-country boil on at the 12 Oaks, Club’s Mardi Gras Party, or hosting the end of Summer Slam at the Pond. One of these neighbors is also responsible for the daily “pee in your pants jokes” on the 12 Oaks Community Facebook page. We also talk about insurance, relationships, jokes, hockey, sports cars, and of course Frozen 2.
Ryan Wagner is a 3rd generation State Farm Agent. Ryan was born and raised in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Ryan is a trivia extraordinaire, enjoys playing golf, and is an avid runner. Katrina Wagner is the owner of Goosehead Independent Insurance Agency. She was born and raised in Capac, Michigan. At the age of 27, Katrina was a Dale Carnegie Instructor for seven years. She has also been a music minister since 1995. Their daughter Ellorie started kindergarten this year and is all things Frozen 2. She can often be found cruising the neighborhood in her sports car.
It was great “Hangin’ Out with the Wagners.” They are a blast and a very special family.
In This Episode:
[03:19] Welcome Ryan, Katrina, and Ellorie Wagner. They are our 17th “P” in the pod[cast]. [04:49] We have all come to love Ryan’s “pee in your pants” jokes on the 12 Oaks Community Facebook page. [07:21] Ellorie, their soon to be six-year-old daughter loves all things Frozen 2 and driving her sports car around the neighborhood. [08:45] Katrina had a great childhood and is one of three strong and capable girls. She is the baby of the family. [09:21] Katrina shares all about growing up on a dirt road and riding around on her banana seat bike. Her parents were amazing gardeners and taught them to live by the earth. [10:47] After high school she went to Japan as an exchange student. She shares this experience and it was a life-changing experience. [13:13] Wendell connected with Katrina because he is also the baby of the family. His mom was a major seamstress. [13:49] Ryan had a unique early childhood experience living in a foster care home. [15:24] Ryan learned how to skate and his parents signed him up for a hockey league at age 5. He played hockey all the way through high school. He played baseball for most of high school as well. [17:32] Katrina shares about her new blog on Instagram called The Pretend Food Blog. She started the blog to be a tourist in her own town. [19:31] Ryan shares about the half marathon where he got to run out of the tunnel at Lambeau Field. He was so proud of this accomplishment because he is not a natural long-distance runner. [21:21] He has his eyes and feet set on conquering the Annual Walt Disney World half-marathon. [22:01] Hard work, persistence, and giving back are Ryan’s top values. Katrina shares the importance of investing in yourself and others. [24:46] Katrina shares about the importance of being aware of what the people in your life need even if they can’t say it and showing up for them. [26:34] Ryan shares about the hard work he put in at his first job at the golf club and how after a rough year it finally paid off. [29:53] Ryan joined the Kiwanis Club and later became president. [32:21] Ryan actually tried to avoid the insurance field at first, but then he realized the power of helping families with important insurance needs. [33:33] Katrina became a small business owner right out of school and much faster than she had anticipated. She is really passionate about owning her own business. [35:27] In the class of 2012 Ryan received national recognition as one of the top 100 new insurance agents with State Farm. [37:02] Ryan really focused o
Episode 17: Amber Duerbig - Founder of the 12 Oaks Golf Cart “Posse” and a Professional Dental Hygienist
In this episode, we meet a fraternal twin, a Minnesotan, a Californian, and a Halloween enthusiast. She played the violin as a child and classical music is very calming to her. She likes baking, healthy cooking, art, yoga, walking, and listening to music. This neighbor even considered changing careers to become a police detective. Who is this amazing neighbor? Listen in to find out all the details.
Amber Duerbig is a local Professional Dental Hygienist and has been in the dentistry field for 20 years. She has the vision to bring neighbors together even during a global pandemic and she is the official founder of the 12 Oaks Golf Cart “Posse.” Amber was born in Rochester, Minnesota. When she was six months old her family moved to the San Bernardino Redlands area of California where she grew up. She and her sister are fraternal twins. Amber has been married to her husband Billy for 14 years and they have two children.
It was great getting to know Amber even more. We are so fortunate to have Amber as our neighbor. Be sure to join the Golf Cart “Posse” and watch for upcoming events.
In This Episode:
[03:47] Welcome Amber Duerbig our 16th “P” in the pod[cast]. She is the founder of the 12 Oaks Golf Cart “Posse” and a loca Professional Dental Hygienist. [05:11] Amber and Billy have been married for 14 years. [06:30] Amber shares about growing up in the San Bernardino, Redlands, Empire Area. She lived in California for almost her whole life. [07:41] Halloween is more special than Christmas for Amber. [08:33] Amber likes baking, healthy cooking, art, yoga, walking, and listening to music. [10:18] She believes in just trying to put out there what you want to get back. It is very important to be honest as a friend and human. [11:38] There is just so much noise around us and if we can just sit back, listen, and take one breath at a time that’s how I find my inner peace and happiness. [13:05] She saw a lot of ugly and decided at a young age that she didn’t want to live her life with so much hate. [14:19] In third grade she chipped her front tooth on the monkey bars and she went to the dentist and he fixed her tooth. [15:46] Amber shares a typical “day in the life” as a dental hygienist. [18:08] Amber just recently accepted a position in Holly Springs at Sunset Ridge Family Dentistry. [20:45] Wendell shares a story about finding a poisonous snake in his yard one Sunday morning. [22:34] Her dream since she got into dentistry is to be established with a dental office where she retires with the dentist. She hopes to retire in twenty years. [25:12] Amber wanted to create a community connection where a couple of times a year people could volunteer their time, decorate their golf carts, do some fun stuff, and bring some smiles to peoples’ faces. This was the beginning of the 12 Oaks Golf Cart “Posse.” [27:39] The next Golf Cart “Posse” parade will be the day before Halloween. [29:49] A neighbor Billy had never met before played with him in the Member Member Golf tournament and they ended up winning. [32:05] Anyone that lives in 12 Oaks can become a member of the Golf Cart “Posse.” They currently have 202 members. [35:08] Amber hopes other neighbors would continue the Golf Cart “Posse” tradition if they ever move. [36:59] After high school, she hadn’t seen Billy in three years. She was working as a dental assistant and he came in as a patient. At the end of the appointment, Billy gave her his numbers. [39:20] In March of 2002 she went over to Billy’s house for a surprise dinner. He was sleeping on the couch, but when he woke up she felt the electricity. [41:03] They wrote letters every single day for six months while he was away at boot camp. [42:20] Amber’s kids are the most curious kids in the whole world. They ask questions all the time and they are super fun. [43:36] Why did you choose 12
Episode 16: Ed Hanley - PGA Professional and General Manager of 12 Oaks
What does the largest outdoor swimming pool in the country, Portugal, the University of Rhode Island, and lots of golf have to do with 12 Oaks? Golf may be an easy connection, but you don’t want to miss this conversation including the question I should have asked, but didn’t. Do you know someone in the neighborhood that resembles Richard Gere? Tune in as we put these pieces together to learn about another 12 Oaks member.
Ed Hanley is a PGA professional and our own general manager, right here in 12 Oaks. At the age of 14, he started working at a golf course and immediately fell in love. He has been a PGA professional for 20 years and a general manager for the past 10 years. Sports have been a part of his life for as long as he can remember and are responsible for his work ethic and business style.
Ed was born and raised in Cranston, Rhode Island. He is the oldest child from a proud Portguese family. They gather together each summer at his aunt’s house in Portugal to catch up with his family that are still living in Portugal. After high school, Ed went to the University of Rhode Island. Ed is married to his wife Maclin and they have two children, but we can’t forget their four-legged 3rd child.
It was great getting to know Ed even more. We are so fortunate to have Ed as our general manager and golf pro. Be sure to stop into the club and visit Ed.
In This Episode:
[02:24] Welcome Ed Hanley our 15th “P” in the pod[cast]. He is a PGA professional and general manager of 12 Oaks. [04:11] Ed and Maclin recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. [05:53] Ed shares about growing up in Rhode Island. [06:11] His mother was from Portugal and his father from an Irish family. He lived in a diverse neighborhood. It was a great way to experience life. [07:49] His mother’s family is/was from San Miguel, Portugal. [08:28] When you immigrate to a new country everyone has to stick together and that played a huge part in their family’s closeness. Your bigger family is truly your entire family. [10:07] When you recognize and see the sacrifice of what my aunts and uncles did by leaving, it truly empowers you to know that you can do anything. There are no limitations or ceiling. [11:12] Ed enjoys putting smiles on peoples’ faces the most. [11:02] His values and how he puts smiles on peoples’ faces starts with respect. You have to respect everybody. [13:25] One of the most important things he learned was the value of hard work. Once you are taking responsibility for something, you now have an obligation to work as hard as possible to deliver on whatever it was that you took responsibility for. [16:01] His employment began at age fourteen when the golf course said they might as well put him to work since he was already there everyday. His first job was as a weekend starter before they took tee times. [17:05] He did very well and climbed up the ranks. He fell in love with the golf business. [18:55] Ed was the men’s golf coach at Brown University from 2002-2007. He learned a lot about managing and motivating as the golf coach. [21:31] He loved learning from the players about their background, what motivated them, and where they were going with their lives. It was a very enriching experience for him. [24:15] Today is today, but how you work today is going to explain what you are doing tomorrow and the next day. The better you are at what you do, the better the team performs. [27:26] He took the job at 12 Oaks to have a positive impact on all the departments and elevate the experience for the members of 12 Oaks. [28:08] Ed shares a typical “day in the life” as a general manager at 12 Oaks. [30:01] He is a golf guy and will always be a golf guy. He loves the business of golf and golfers. It is in his blood. [32:41] Planning is a challenge at the club because of the pandemic and the unknown. The focus now is safety.
Episode 15: Sheri Reed - Philanthropist and Project Manager
Did you see the tall, aged, long-legged bird, with a long heavy bill, and white and black plumage circling the Green Oaks roundabout? We solve the mystery for this rare occurrence in this episode and we also talk about Kyra Sedgwick and Dave Matthews Band.
Sheri Reed is a philanthropist by passion and a project manager by trade. For the past 7 years, Sheri has worked in the beverage alcohol business. She is currently working from home for Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, the largest wine distributor in the United States. Sheri is in Information Technology managing a Microsoft Team’s deployment project impacting 22,000 employees.
Sheri was born and raised in Illinois. She earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Southern Illinois University. Her major was Educational Administration as she intended to work at a college or university, but sometimes life has other plans. Sheri met her husband Rob at SIU and they recently celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary. You don’t want to miss this “mother knows best” story. They are very proud of their three children. In 105 days, Sheri and Rob listed and sold their house in Illinois and bought and moved to 12 Oaks.
We are so fortunate to have Sheri and her passion as a philanthropist as our neighbor. If you are looking for a way to get involved and connect with others you definitely want to connect with Sheri and watch the 12 Oaks Facebook page for ways to help.
In This Episode:
[02:26] Welcome Sheri Reed our 14th “P” in the pod[cast]. She is a Philanthropist by passion and a Project Manager by trade. [04:02] Sheri and Rob recently celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary. [05:13] We talk about the tall, aged, long-legged bird with a long heavy bill, and white and black plumage circling the Green Oaks roundabout for Sheri’s birthday. [06:31] Sheri shares more about growing up in the quiet and peaceful town of Joliet and then Shorewood. [07:25] She shares why she chose education as her major in college. She completed her degree in three years and continued on to obtain her master’s degree. [08:21] She hopes she would be understood or recognized for using her resources to help others. [09:59] When she finished her master’s degree her intention was to work in a university environment and started in financial aid. [10:56] She was sharing her experience in the financial aid area at a family event and was hired by a friend of the family to work at Lucent Technologies. [12:39] She worked on 911 software and managed the Y2K transition at the city’s 911 center. [14:02] Sheri shares about a typical day working as a Project Manager. [16:23] She shares how the pandemic has impacted the way she does business. Zoom meetings have become a huge part of her day. [17:32] Sheri will be moving into the role of Microsoft Subject Matter Expert. [19:54] She took on philanthropy work about 6-8 years ago by making meals for the homeless. [22:38] When Sheri’s family came to 12 Oaks she started and managed a neighborhood food drive during the Christmas season. [24:01] She has also organized the neighborhood blood drive, supported an informal Meals on Wheels program during the pandemic, and did some cooking at the Ronald McDonald House. [25:39] Sheri plans to schedule blood drives on a quarterly basis including upcoming events in September and November. [27:46] Sheri’s family helps deliver dinner to elderly community members on Wednesday evenings as part of a local dinner delivery program that has delivered 12,000 meals during the last 18 weeks. [29:34] They also made the last meal prior to the pandemic for the Ronald McDonald House. [32:05] Sheri shares information about the food and blood drive on the 12 Oaks Facebook page. [32:54] Sheri shares how she met Rob as a grad student at SIU. Sheri worked in the financial aid office and Rob was a greeter. [35:12] They celebrated their
Masterful, Artful Edutainment!!!
Wendell pours his energy into his P’s in the Pod(cast). He engages his guests in a real, natural and entertaining way. His facilitation is exciting, draws you in and makes you want to hear more. His guests are residents of 12 Oaks which brings the community together and builds bonds between neighbors that otherwise may not have been established. The community is an amazing place to live— and this Talk of 12 Oaks - The Podcast is a perfect fit!
Masterful, a Resource to Residents with Charisma!
Wendell is a true artist whom intertwines his professional background with his gift of communication, charismatic personality and beautifully executes it into brilliant pieces of work. You’ll be transformed after listening to the first episode and hooked on his messages which are sprinkled throughout. If you are a 12 Oaks resident, were one, or are considering being one, THIS is for you.