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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.
Dee Dee Strum
De Dee transfroms listerners through stories of ordinary women who came to demonstrate extraordinary achievements to prevail even in the face of gender bias and/or racial discrimation.


Listen to Our Latest Episodes



Ep. 70-A legacy of service

In this fast-paced interview, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Valarie R. Austin shares her life lessons on achieving four college degrees and serving in a combat zone while living in a Middle Eastern country with different cultural expectations for women.

In her interview, Valarie discusses her career as a military officer as well as life after her military service, in particular, pursuing her passion for writing and publishing; speaking to throngs of high school students (and parents) about making smart and informed decisions regarding college, college costs and student loan debt; the difference between an industry, a career and an occupation; and so much more! There is something for everyone in this highly informative and entertaining interview. Valarie is the author of The Student’s Comprehensive Guide For College & Other Life Lessons, a career and college readiness book, which is available on our SHOP page.

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)


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

Trailblazers Connect host DeeDee Strum 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)




Vanessa Elle Wilde (1)

Ep. 64-Vanessa Elle Wilde: Dare to Suck

Vanessa’s approach to life’s challenges and stresses is to reignite your creativity with play. She gives you her recipes which include hot yoga, silent discos, and fires on the beach with your girlfriends. And to remember there’s always a chance for failure and that’s OK.

(Click on Read More)



Barbara Daniel

Ep. 65-Barbara Daniel: The Fight Isn't Over Yet!

As Founder of the Cleveland Women's Journal, a digital and print magazine, Barbara knows what it takes to start a new business after being in another field for many years. Barbara and Nan talk about entrepreneurship, women's health and well-being, spousal abuse, sex trafficking, and dealing with breast cancer and death of a spouse.

(Click on Read More)


Ep.66-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.67-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.68-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.69-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.70-My Great-Grandparents were Bahamian Immigrants with a Legacy of Military Service

In this fast-paced interview, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Valarie R. Austin shares her life lessons on achieving four college degrees and serving in a combat zone while living in a Middle Eastern country with different cultural expectations for "women."

(Click on Read More)


Ep.71-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.

SHOP for her book The Comback, an energy makeover love story, on our site.


(Click on Read More)

Kimble Bosworth

Ep. 72-Kimble Bosworth: From Death Back to Life

Kimble Bosworth approaches life with a sense of fun-loving curiosity. When she was 15, she had a near death experience after almost succumbing to toxic shock syndrome. She remembers being at the doorway of what she believed was heaven, tempted to enter but instead willing herself back to life after hearing her mother’s voice in the hospital room.

(Click on Read More)


Ep.73-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)

Laura Piening

Ep.74-Laura Piening: Find Clarity Now

Building dynamic teams and helping individuals reach their maximum potential is a life calling for Laura Piening. Her expertise and vision in transforming organizations was honed through a 30-year career in the business and nonprofit world, where she broke through several barriers, including becoming one of the first women to work in international banking on Wall Street.

(Click on Read More)

Janie Stubblefield

Ep.75-Janie Stubblefield: Healing Through Play

Children’s natural language is play. That’s why therapist Janie Stubblefield used a technique in her practice called play therapy, which helps her foster deep connections with kids who need healing from trauma, bullying, anxiety, and other mental health challenges.

She takes an outside-the-box approach to making therapy more accessible with a mobile practice that goes where her clients are. (Click on Read More)

Kara Mac

Ep.76-Kara Mac: Dressing Up Shoes With Candy

Kara Mac grew tired of hauling around extra shoes. Like many working professionals, she would start her commute in one pair, change to another at work, and then swap shoes for an evening event. For two years she sketched and prototyped dozens of shoe concepts. She landed on a design for boots with swappable heel covers that she terms “candy” accessories.

Go to our SHOP page to buy her shoes with candy.

(Click on Read More)

Ana Bermudez

Ep.77-Ana Bermudez: Like that outfit? Just ‘TAGit’

Ana Bermudez would often find fashion inspiration on TV from her favorite shows. Yet finding the items in real life was a chore. It’s why she launched TAGit, a visual search engine that helps users find and buy items that pop up on TV shows. As a female tech CEO, she knows the challenges that women leaders and investors face, which is why it’s critical for women to support one another through both relationships and investment capital.

(Click on Read More)


Tyra Jarvis (1)

Ep.78-Tyra Jarvis: Never Stop Reinventing

Tyra Jarvis has had to retool her life many times. She’s worn an array of hats: consultant, project manager, blue collar roles, and ultimately an entrepreneur. Now through her company Kefi Coaching LLC, she advises business leaders in connecting passion, dreams, and the power of their mind to create a meaningful path. Transitions can be frightening, but they can launch powerful change. SHOP on our website for her book: “Teeing Up for Success"

(Click to Read More)

Jamie Amelio (1)

Ep.79-Jamie Amelio




Antonio McGinnis (1)

Ep.80-Antonio McGinnis

Antonio McGinnis grew up in a difficult housing project where he recalls constantly seeing drugs and violence. Basketball was his escape. It was the path to a college education and a life far away from an upbringing where he experienced abuse from a caregiver. After playing for Texas A&M and professionally overseas, he returned home one summer and broke his ankle — ending his basketball career. SHOP on our site for Tony's book, Life In the Bricks: 10 Lessons on how to make it out of the Hood. 


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