Nan McKay
Nan brings to life fascinating stories of women struggling through life to blaze their own trails when there was no clear path ahead.


Listen to Our Latest Episodes



Ep. 58-Carena Lemons entertainment law and an acting career.

Carena Lemons can seemingly do it all, with a successful law practice and an acting career.

Her entertainment work isn’t just a passion, it’s also a major selling point to her Raleigh, N.C.-based law firm. She supports clients who want a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the industry. Her most recent role was in the film Harriet.

Over time she’s discovered that by approaching the firm with a business mindset, nurturing and growing her organization with a solid client base, has been the most effective way to achieve growth. Each part she takes on and clients she gains is a chance to grow and learn more, even if it brings about adversity.


Ep. 58-Carena Lemons entertainment law and an acting career.

Carena Lemons can seemingly do it all, with a successful law practice and an acting career.

Her entertainment work isn’t just a passion, it’s also a major selling point to her Raleigh, N.C.-based law firm. She supports clients who want a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the industry. Her most recent role was in the film Harriet.

Over time she’s discovered that by approaching the firm with a business mindset, nurturing and growing her organization with a solid client base, has been the most effective way to achieve growth. Each part she takes on and clients she gains is a chance to grow and learn more, even if it brings about adversity.


Ep. 57-Jewel Burks Solomon advocate for representation in and access to the technology industry.

For Jewel Burke Solomon an entrepreneurial drive set in early, as she sold her own paintings while in high school and dreamed often about charting her own path.

She thrived while at Howard University, parlaying her success to an internship at Goldman Sachs in New York, then leaping across the country to join Google. She sold Google apps and products to enterprise customers.

A major professional turning point was founding Partpic, which used a visual search software for customers to submit a picture of and find repair parts. The breakthrough attracted Amazon, which bought the company in 2016.

Solomon has moved on to new challenges, now as an investor. She credits her parents with instilling a sense of belief in herself, and hopes to inspire other women to work for their goals.

Nan McKay

Ep. 2 - “I Will Survive and Hold My Head High!”

Co-host and TBI founder, Nan McKay, shares her-story: where it all started in a little town in Illinois when her father was killed (Click on Read More button)

DeeDee Strum

Ep. 3 - DeeDee Strum:  The Whole World is a Stage and Everyone Plays a Part

DeeDee shares the benefits of life as a military dependent during the times when her counterparts were disadvantaged by segregated housing, segregated schools and denied the opportunity for equal access to public amenities such as libraries and swimming pools....(Click on Read More)


Ep. 4 - Shaune Arnold: I Divorced my Parents at Age 14

Shaune describes her emotional escape from an abusive household into the foster care system. From parental...(Click on Read More)


Ep. 5 - Dr. Iris Ann Cooper: Haters Serve an Important Lesson for Achievers

Being the “first and only” created childhood isolation and periods of self-doubt, but in the end, worked to underscore the old adage: “what don’t kill you only makes you strong” Iris went on to achieve multiple successes as a serial entrepreneur and gaining national recognition . .(Click on Read More)

Beth Cole

Ep. 6 - Beth Cole: “Segregation Now, Tomorrow and Forever!?" Hell, No!

Beth Cole’s history of activism and social change dates back to the presidential campaigns ...(Click on Read More)


Ep. 7 - Singleton B. McAllister: I Found a Way to Make the Law!

As a child of the segregated south and daughter of the first black state’s attorney in Maryland, Singleton shares the varied influences of parents, mentors and elected officials on her career trajectory and commitment to domestic and global social change.  (Click on Read More)


Ep. 8 - Mindy Bortness: As You Spend Your Days Is How You Spend Your Life!

Mindy Bortness powered through her own fears when fighting breast cancer to come out on the other side as an...(Click on Read More)

Faye Williams (1)

 Ep. 9 – Faye Williams: My Contributions to 65+ Years of Social Change

We All Stand on the Shoulders of Fay H. Williams (and her “comrades-in-arms”):  Family Law Attorney, Civil Rights Activist and Feminist!  At age 87 she is still going strong with 65+ years of activism to her credit.  Attorney Williams paved the way for women to enter political office as the chair, ...(Click on Read More)

As Time Passes

Ep. 10 - Beverly Kuykenall: Win Over Hearts and Minds

Beverly shares her journey to marry-up humanitarian interests with business motivation she provides... (Click on Read More)


Ep. 11-Carolyn Hayden: I Realized My Work Could Have a Social Impact

Carolyn Hayden shares her entrepreneurial history as a a regional contractor for American Express before Visa was VISA; on becoming one of the nation’s first black female owned and managed Ford dealerships; and launching an international management consulting firm ...(Click on Read More)


Ep. 12 - Denise Muha: Always Tell The Truth on the Hill: Capital Hill, that is.

Be it Capitol Hill, the state capital or the chamber of your local city council, Denise...(Click on Read More)

Caroline May

Ep. 13-Carolyn May: “This is the Time the Torch is Passed to a New Generation” – President John F. Kennedy

A young, animated, Carolyn May worked on Capitol Hill during that period of American history subsequently dubbed  “the Camelot years”:  that period etched in America’s memory as the magical era of the “Kennedy years”,  and in the public’s memory as an era ....(Click on Read More)

Monica Sussman

Ep. 14- Monica Sussman: You Can't Do it All!

Monica recounts the struggle for acceptance as a female attorney and then as a pregnant...(Click on Read More)


Ep. 15-Teresa Harris “What?! Women Can Do That?”

From a childhood of segregation, low-expectations of girls and women and the battle to define her sexuality, Teresa Ann Harris, shares her journey from military service, to homelessness, addiction and recovery with college graduation at age 40 followed by a stellar civil service career with ...(Click on Read More)

Lyn Burton

Ep.16-Lyn Burton: Live with Integrity and Joy!

Lyn Burton shares her journey from professionally accomplished to spiritually fulfilled. (Click on Read More)

Cathy Gibson (1)

Ep. 17-Cathy Gibson: I learned the rules to know how best to break the rules (“forgiveness” beats permission!)

Cathy Gibson left east Texas at age 18 to enter a Virginia girls college in the early 1960s as an “outspoken bigot” and graduated a Big 10 University four years later with a degree in Urban Education committed to increasing the literacy rates of inner city youth, and ...(Click on Read More)

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Desiree Doubrox

Ep.18-Desiree Doubrox: Don't Let Anyone Dim Your Light

Defining and executing “My” business...(Click on Read More)

Frances Johnson

Ep. 19-Frances Johnson: Against the Odds: Business, Divorce, and Death

With 30 years of franchise ownership, Frances now looks in her rearview mirror to reflect on how much she didn't know when she took on the purchase of a franchise form of business with it's deep trove of do's & dont's. She credits her father, who owned and operated a half dozen businesses having achieved ...(Click on Read More)

Cath McBreen

Episode 20 Parts 1 and 2: Cath McBreen: Overcoming Dyslexia to Become an IVF Nursing Specialist and Matching as a Gestational Carrier

Cath achieved her...(Click on Read More)

George Dapra

BONUS Ep - Parts 1 and 2" George Dapra: Love in the Old Country and The War Against Organized Crime

In this compelling human event story...(Click on Read More)

Susan Fielder

Ep. 21: Susan Fielder: Part 1 and Part 2 (Bonus). Losing a Loved One

Growing up in a privileged family, her world fell apart when her Father's businesses went bankrupt. She was 19 at the time. Her life changed forever. She was raised in the fast-food business in Kansas City...(Click on Read More)

Rae Meadows headshot

Ep. 22- Rae Meadows: Tips from an Award-Winning Author

After feeling unfilled in several jobs, a friend asked Rae what she would really like to do and she answered, out of the blue, “Be a writer.” That statement turned out to be utterly life-changing. She talks about how she crafts...(Click on Read More)

Emily Alcantar

Ep. 23-Emily Alcantar: Balancing an Executive Job with Family Needs

Emily grew up in Texas in a Latina family. At the age of 5, she still wasn’t able to speak fluent English even thou she was born in America. She started out in the STEM field as an Engineering. But later decided she wanted to do something else.  She develops her...(Click on Read More)



Ep. 24-Caramella Watkins: Research, Publish & Present! If You Want to Call Yourself a "Scientist".

Carmella Davis Watkins became a research scientist and meteorologist after completing her undergraduate degree in mathematics at the University of Maryland College Park accomplishing advanced studies in meteorology at Penn State. She became a trailblazer dedicating her ...(Click on Read More)

Robin Kardon smiling

Ep. 25- Robin Kardon: How to Get Published

Robin grew up in a dysfunctional family looking for love, craving attention. She shares what she learned did and didn't work. She went on to lawyer, pilot, interview coach, author. She explains the process of writing and publishing...(Click on Read More)

David Northern smiling

Bonus Episode- David Northern: Overcoming Challenges, a Change in Direction and a Determination to Make a Difference

David’s biological father was a gangster; he was in the burn unit with severe burns in 3rd grade, and he grew up in the murder capital of the...(Click on Read More)

Tara Peters smiling

Ep. 26- Tara Peters: 16 Year Old Teen Mom to PhD at 36

Tara describes the challenges and difficulties of being pregnant in high school and then being a teen mom. She is a role model for teens facing the same issues today. She credits her family for helping her raise her son who has become an attorney today...(Click on Read More)

Jocelyn Bronson

Ep. 27- Jocelyn Bronson: Don’t Listen to the Negative Voice in Your Head

Jocelyn’s journey to finding self is a journey shared by so many other women caught between the world of “low expectations of women” to her world of high expectations for herself. She shares her story of moving from a young “self”, replete with marital trials...(Click on Read More)

Emily Loya

Ep. 28- Emily Loya: Lost My Dad to the Bermuda Triangle

Emily shares her early childhood family tragedy of losing her father, a 1934 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, who went on to become a navy flight, and was subsequently "lost", along with his entire flight crew, in the infamous "Bermuda Triangle" towards the close of WWII; her early years of nursing at a time when "doctors were Kings"...(Click on Read More)

Diana Vellos Coker

EP. 29- Diana Vellos Coker: Be a Voice for Those Who Can’t Speak for Themselves

Being the daughter of a Belizean immigrant, Diana Vellos-Coker decided to become an immigration lawyer to bring about a change she saw needed in the immigration system. She had to convince her father that being...(Click on Read More)

Penny Wing

Ep. 30- Penny Wing: Building Companies, Aging Parents, and Marriage.

Penny shares the story of her globe-trotting life from England and Germany to Japan and back to America. She describes making the challenges associated with the transition between a variety of countries cultures. She shares with us...(Click on Read More)

Ep. 31- Janice Greene I Lived in Two Different Worlds: Black and White

Janice established the distinction between purpose and mission and what she wanted personally in childhood. She talks about how to wend your way through the corporate environment to survive. She shares...(Click on Read More)

Anita Harden

Ep. 32-Anita Harden: Mentors Made the Difference

Anita talks about her personal battles to overcome recurring attacks of self-doubt fighting back the absence of self confidence born of her introverted personality but all the while recognizing her abilities to achieve each goal she established. Her career was fueled by mentors and personal cheerleaders helping her to elevate from nurse to (Click on Read More)

Janise Graham

Ep.33- Janise Graham: I Have Clubs, Too!

Working within a male-dominated industry, she discusses how she dealt with the challenge of fitting in. She talks about knowing your history so you know how to move forward in life and the importance of women knowing who they are and their purpose. (Click on Read More)

Cara Gillette

Ep.34- Cara Gillette: Community and the Joy of Bringing New Life in this World

One life-changing moment changed the way she looks at human rights. She believes every woman should give birth the way she feels most comfortable and there is no wrong way or one more spiritual than...(Click on Read More)

Lisa Preston

EP. 35-  Lisa Preston: "No Secrets in This Family" 

Lisa provides advice on how to guard against child abusers by talking with your children. She has climbed Kilimanjaro and several other mountains. She worked in the police department in vice, crimes against children...(Click on Read More)

Mildred Morgan Ball

Ep. 36-Mildred Morgan Ball: A TV Commercial Star at Age 80

Mildred Morgan Ball provides her journey on a career peppered with being the "first and only", starting with her high school career in the late 1940s, and continuing through a career of promoting gender and racial equity for young athletes and the performing arts. Her father became a widower with eight children to raise when she was age (Click to Read More)

Elsie Escobar

Ep.37- Elsie Escobar: She Podcasts! 

From teaching yoga to podcasting yoga classes, Elsie is a woman icon in podcasting with 4 shows including She Podcasts! With a background in acting, she transitioned successfully into a different medium and works for Libsyn hosting company.  (Click on Read More)

Raynette Halvorsen Smith

Ep.38- Raynette Halvorsen Smith: I Discovered I Was the Only Female in my Profession!

Raynette shares her first-hand experience with the disparity in pay of women professors and the resulting changes, in part due to Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the advent of the birth control pill and the ... (Click on Read More)

Marisa De Lecce

Ep. 39-Marisa De Lecce: New Swimsuit Line Featured in Oprah!

In this episode, Marisa takes us on her journey that started with a career in healthcare and moved into launching a now very successful swimwear line, Hermoza Swim. With Colombian and Mexican parents, her family went from rags to riches through hard work, dedication and perseverance. Before starting the swimwear line, she worked for the non-profit, Rivers of Hope,Click on Read More)


Ep. 40-Patzetta Trice: Don't allow Anyone to derail your dreams: "Own

Patzetta Trice recounts a childhood fueled by the leadership and sage advice her father shared with his daughters to include the values of "Faith, Family and Community". Living these values became her personal mission informing the professional and civic outcomes that led to the receipt of local, national and global awards. (Click on Read More)

Case Lane

Ep. 41-Case Lane: Prepare for the Future!

Having been to 100 countries and lived in 11 of them, Case Lane describes her experience as a foreign diplomat and global traveler. Educated in communications, political science, business, law and economics, her website,, provides advice to people thinking of starting a business all the way to experienced entrepreneurs.

(Click on Read More)

Molly McKay-Williams

Ep. 42. Molly McKay Williams: The Fight for Same-Sex Marriage

Daughter of Nan McKay, Molly shares what it was like being on the front lines of the fight for marriage equality in California for over 15 years. As co-founder and Media Director of Marriage Equality USA, Molly describes her journey through the the early days of marriage equality advocacy all the way through the day that LGBT marriage became legal.

(Click on Read More)


Ep.43-Sharon Cossey and Gail Gillespie: Life, Discrimination, and Divorce

Sharon, Gail, and Nan, long-term friends on a retreat in Las Vegas, talk about a variety of subjects from growing up experiences to going to Maya Angelou's Black Tie birthday parties given by Oprah to discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere.

(Click on Read More)



Verna Jones-Rodwell

Ep. 44-Verna Jones-Rodwell: Hope, Health and Healing in Elected Office

Verna Jones-Rodwell shares her early start as a community organizer and advocate for affordable housing and community development where she worked to improve the living conditions of Baltimore's poorest families.

(Click on Read More)


Ep. 45-JoAnn Yukimura: It's the Greatest Joy to See Things Work!

JoAnn Yukimura explains her love of Kauai, her early years on the island, and her efforts to preserve and protect her island home. As Mayor and County Councilperson for Kauai, she learned to use her voice to influence policy including restrictions on development for setback and height limitations.

(Click on Read More)



Ep. 46-Brianna McDonald: A Champion Against Bullying

Brianna McDonald was bullied as a child, including being held under water in a lake by five girls, until it became so bad, her parents had to move to another town. It still affects her today as she struggles with the Imposter Syndrome.

(Click on Read More)



Janice Stewart

Ep.47-Janice Stewart: Birmingham Church Bombing: I Was There

One of our most powerful episodes to date, Janice Stewart describes seeing the 16th Street Church in Birmingham burning as she was headed to Sunday school. Sunday, September 15, 1963, at 10:22 a.m., the church became known around the world when a bomb exploded, killing four young girls attending Sunday School and injuring more than 20 other members of the congregation.

(Click on Read More)



Ep.48-Diane Jackson-Chapman: Standardized Tests Said Below Average to Average - Now Have My PhD

Dr. Jackson-Chapman revisits memories of growing up in the days of a vibrant, thriving Gary, Indiana; a steel-mill city devasted by the decline of manufacturing in the 1980s-90s and the disinvestment that followed.

(Click on Read More)


Bonus: Kent Watkins: I Helped Write the Civil Rights Act

Kent’s podcast is a gift for students of history! He was directly involved in the passage of the The Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Kent gives us inside information on how the law actually was passed and what it like to participate in the March on Washington.

(Click on Read More)



Ep.49-Sharon Hirota: Quit My Job or Stay?

Sharon Hirota, a native of the Big Island of Hawaii, was faced with a difficult decision. Her boss had resigned, she was chosen to replace him, and then he decided not to quit. She was at a crossroads. Should she go back to her old job or should she leave? When her housing program needed a shot of creativity in decreasing the waiting list turnover, she developed a new program for families on the waiting list, using her own personal experience to bring a new perspective.

(Click on Read More)


Season 3 Ep.50-Debbie Feinberg: Living her convictions to stay close to her authentic self.

Debbie grew up in an environment of helping others and was a creative entrepreur as a child. She talks about her Jewish heritage and living in Israel for a year during a particularly tumultuous time politically. We went on to talk about children and gun violence, including her fears for her own children.

(Click on Read More)




Ep.51-Betty Lou Larson: Insight into the reasons and magnitude of homelessness.

Working for Catholic Charities as a homeless advocate, even into retirement, she still represents the organization's priorities in homelessness at the State Legislature.

(Click on Read More)







Ep.52-Ellen Walsh: A Global Perspective of Discrimination

Ellen Walsh reflects on a childhood filled with the joy and discoveries of living in Hawaii, Japan and Iran, along with the pain-filled memories of living in Mississippi in the mid-to late-1950s; a state where segregation was the "law of the land" and witnessing her mother's pain as a brown skinned Polynesian married to a white Portuguese engineer.

(Click on Read More)

Donna Miller

BONUS Episode-Donna Miller: We Have It! Let's Use It! Women Helping Women

Donna Miller founded a company called Purse Power, providing everyone an opportunity to purchase from women-owned businesses, including businesses with 20% women on the board.

(Click on Read More)





Ep.53-Jennifer L.W. Fink: Single Parenting, Depression, and Writing about Boys.

Jennifer gives her thoughts on the journey of raising four boys, much of the time by herself as a single parent. She has struggled with depression, thinking that depression equals sadness and when people aren’t exhibiting sadness, she felt they must be pretending.

(Click on Read More)


Teri Ljeoma-v2

Ep.54-Teri Ljeoma: Successful Stocks Trader Top 4 Trading Secrets.

Teri Ljeoma shares her 4 secrets to trading in the stock market. Her interest in the stocks market started when she was in high school, and she worked on Wall Street to learn the trade. She credits her mother and her grandmother for her success today, her drive to persevere and that motivation to keep going.

(Click on Read More)


Ep.55-Rocio Cavazos: Engineer Turned Successful Investor.

Growing up in a society where gender bias was prevalent, Rocio Cavazos always found that she was attracted to professional industries where women were few and far between. She started out as an engineer then later transitioned into finance where she worked on Wall Street for 12 years in another male dominated industry.

(Click on Read More)


Ep.56-Linda Dupre Hull: Sr. level financial managers are "problem-solvers" and not worker bees.

Linda Dupre Hull, age 67, provides powerful insights into a childhood where at age 12 she became a partner with her father in developing the family budget and managing the family finances out of the necessity of ensuring the family could survive off of his earnings.

(Click on Read More)


Ep. 57-Jewel Burks Solomon advocate for representation in and access to the technology industry.

For Jewel Burke Solomon an entrepreneurial drive set in early, as she sold her own paintings while in high school and dreamed often about charting her own path.

(Click on Read More)



Ep. 58-Carena Lemons entertainment law and an acting career.

Carena Lemons can seemingly do it all, with a successful law practice and an acting career. In this episode, Lemons explains how career choices are often intertwined, lending strength from one to another.

(Click on Read More)





Ep.59-Carnela Renee Hill: The power of ‘walking afraid’

Design is about more than aesthetic choices for Carnela Renee Hill. It’s building relationships and new opportunities for strengthening others.  Hill shares her journey of tackling each day as it comes, relying on belief that God will guide her in what she sees as her ministry.


(Click on Read More)



Ep.60-Sherese Brewington Carr, I come from generations of social change agents; I am who I was Intended to be!

Sherese Brewington Carr provides a rapid-fire delivery of her professional insights into the world of migrant farm work, the criminal justice system and what it takes to help both veterans and ex-offenders to successfully transition into the contemporary workplace.

(Click on Read More)


Ep. 61-DeeDee Strum and Nan McKay: Growing Up Black vs. White

Trailblazers Connect host DeeDee Myers shares with friend and fellow co-host Nan McKay how her family’s experiences with racism inform her dedication to lifting up women and people of color.

(Click on Read More)


Ep 62-Lisa Kleissner: Change Moves at the Speed of Trust

Advocacy started early for Lisa Kleissner. During her high school days in Hawaii, she pushed for environmental causes, earning the ire of school administrators when bringing in scientists and activists who challenged prevailing wisdom.

(Click on Read More)


Ep. 63-Rosemarie Harris: Don’t fear to strike out on your own

Rosemarie Harris has maneuvered effectively through the ins and outs of corporate life, spending 22 years at a large company before starting her own. Her only regret — not making the leap to launching a business sooner.

(Click on Read More)


Ep.64-Lisa Alexander: Faith, Family, and Filmmaking from a Prolific Marketing Expert

Lisa N. Alexander details the personal and professional journey to becoming The Marketing Stylist™. The owner of PrettyWork Creative LLC and PrettyWork Studios, Alexander is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and marketing expert.

(Click on Read More)


Ep.65-Linda Vines-Bright: Every child is a magnificent individual

Linda Vines Bright has devoted her career to children. She’s passionate about supporting learners with special needs, using her methods to address and support many different learning styles.

(Click on Read More)


Ep.66-Gina Goree Hitchens Keep your tribal sisters with you

Gina Goree Hitchens wants women to create a life of their calling. A major component is a firm financial foundation, and it’s what she helps clients develop through her practice GHG Financial Consulting.

(Click on Read More)


Ep.67-Valentina Vitols Don't be afraid to ask for help

Valentina Vitols has had a varied career, moving between politics, photography, app development, and the world of startups. Now an angel investor in Seattle, she mentors women founders to equip them for the journey of entrepreneurship.

(Click on Read More)


Ep.68-Betsy Muller The power of emotional freedom

Betsy Muller is a self-described science person, with a degree in chemistry and an MBA. It makes her an unlikely advocate for the Emotional Freedom Technique, a form of alternative therapy.

(Click on Read More)


Ep.70-Briana Weisinger Prepping students for the new economy

Today’s college students are entering an economy that demands an entrepreneurial mindset. Briana Weisinger, the startup advocate for the University of California, San Diego, wants students to be prepared for a future where independent work is the norm.

(Click on Read More)


Ep.71-Samantha Urban Breaking language barriers with smart software

Samantha Urban doesn’t want the joy of travel to get lost in translation. Her company, Urban Translations, builds software for the hospitality industry that replaces paper menus with tablets displaying content in the travelers’ own language.

(Click on Read More)