What happens when your worst fear becomes your reality? Brent Cassity was a successful CEO working in a family business that grew to a national company, recognized by the media as being the pioneers in their industry. He had it all and lost it all, finding himself standing at the gates of Leavenworth Prison to serve a 5 year sentence. How do you adapt and survive in an unfamiliar unknown world? What tools can help you to overcome obstacles to keep moving forward?
This podcast explores these topics. Brent interviews the inmates he was with at Leavenworth. They discuss life before prison, life in prison, and life now outside of prison.
These conversations are inspiring, sad, often times funny, and always interesting!
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Use the LISTEN NOW & FOLLOW below button for Spotify or if you would rather watch the interviews, use the YouTube icon link at the bottom of the page!
March 9, 2023
Could you build a multimillion dollar company...go serve a 10 year federal sentence, and get out and start building it all back? Yes, because that is what Mike Morawski has done and it still doing today. This is a story of grit. This story deals with early addiction, getting clarity, and learning how to build a real estate company that controlled over $285 million in transactions over a 30 year period. He fell hard with the Great Recession in 2008, and it went from bad to a 10 year prison sentence. A sad divorce transpired months after becoming an inmate. Mike went through depression until another inmate said he had to get his act together and to not waste time regardless of where he was. He began to use his time for planning to come out for his big do over and rebuild. Mike hit the ground running when he was released. He is now an entrepreneur, author of the book "Exit Plan", real estate trainer, public speaker, and Chief Investment Officer of two multifamily hedge funds. He has coached hundreds of people to fulfill their dreams in the real estate world. It would have been easy to give up at any point along the way. You can really feel Mike's story as he walks us through his journey. If you like an old fashion comeback story of grit, overcoming, and tenacity then this episode is for you.
March 2, 2023
If you had to serve 20 years in prison would you come out beaten or a force for good? Tony Gant was incarcerated for a violent crime within the Michigan Department of Corrections for 20 years, from 1995 to 2015. Gant said he knew it was vitally important while serving his time to better himself with education and skills that would improve his life upon release. Tony says he doesn't want anyone to get the wrong idea that any of this was easy, especially getting out of prison after 20 years. He gives a lot of credit to his wife who he married while he was in prison that he knew growing up. She had gotten on the right track in her life, and she helped Tony stay on track both in and getting out. There was a lot of frustration with getting employed when being freed. Tony shares how he didn't give up and things started happening for him. He is now making big strides using his experience to help change the laws in Michigan for the previously incarcerated for housing. He is the Director of policy and programs operations at Nation Outside, a non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of formerly incarcerated persons. Tony says, “we are always looking to advocate for laws that lower barriers for people with criminal records. We want to break down barriers to housing, employment, or even access to higher education, anything that addresses the collateral consequences that impact people with convictions.” Tony is also a father, author of the book (Midnight Whispers), and a business owner Gant Lawn Care. Tony is an inspiring guy who does a great job of telling his story. It is inspiring to see someone with Tony's experience adding such a strong voice to people who may not have one... creating real change in their lives.
February 23, 2023
Could you go from homeless, to prison, to founder and CEO of a National Company? That is exactly what Harley Blakeman did with his life. I first saw Harley's story on a TEDX Talk a couple of years ago before this podcast started. Harley had tough childhood. His mom had a drug problem and left the family, and his dad died in a tragic motorcycle accident when Harley was 14. With the both parents being the black sheep of their family's, Harley had no connection or help with relatives. He became homeless just bouncing around doing whatever to survive. He has one heck of a story with how he goes to prison. In prison the relatives from Ohio reach out and the aunt says to come live with her when he was released. This was a game changer for Harley in his life. He enrolls in Community College and gains confidence and and gets good grades. He applies to Ohio St. and ends up graduating at the top of his class. He has a hard time finding a job because of his past. Harley decides he is going to help solve a problem by finding investors and creating the nation's largest fair chance employment platform named Honest Jobs. There are about 70 million people with some type of history. Honest Jobs works with over 1300 companies to help give these people a real second chance. I love it! I love the passion Harley has for creating a better space that we live in. Harley took a leap of faith leaving everything he knew, and moving to Ohio into the unknown. Look what happened when he changed his people, places, and things. A real life inspiring story!
February 16, 2023
Could you do 3 years in solitary confinement? Carlos Vasquez did and it changed his life in year 13 of his 20 year sentence. This is a riveting story about a complete life transformation for the good. Carlos life started off fairly normal, good neighborhood, good grades in school, great baseball athlete. His life changed when his dad suddenly left the family. Carlos's life spiraled into dark places. He became homeless at 13, joined a street gang that became his family, his best friend died at 16, and he was convicted of arm robbery at 19 years old with a 20 year sentence in a maximum security prison. Carlos used his natural leadership qualities to become the shot-caller on the prison yard. A Chaplain visits Carlos the day he was contemplating suicide while he was in solitary. That moment of someone caring and believing in him changed his life. Carlos gets released back to general population, and becomes a force for good and change. He gets educated with his high school and college degrees. He forms a group for men in prison to discuss strategies for creating the right mindset and winning one day at time. Once released, Carlos became a sought after motivational speaker, a screenwriter, and life coach. There is no way to listen to this and not walk away just feeling good!
February 9, 2023
Could you go from a 10 year prison sentence to being an LA real estate guru? Yep, Danny Navarro did just that. If you're into comeback stories where you hear, in real time, how the right mindset can change your life....the Danny Navarro Story is packed with everything you want to hear. Danny was a product of his environment. He came from a broken home with his dad using crack, and his mom desperately trying to keep the family safe and fed. All he knew were the gang streets of LA growing up. At 18 years old, Danny receives a mandatory minimum 10 year sentence for selling drugs. Half way through his sentence, an old inmate gave Danny the book "Think and Grow Rich" and it changed his life. He began reading all the books...Les Brown, Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, and others. When he was released Danny leads us through the struggles of living as an ex-felon, but he found a path to become a real estate agent, and sought out a great mentor that showed him the ropes. It took 18 frustrating months to finally get his real estate license because of his past record, but he never gave up on his new life and new plan. The way Danny shares his story, you are drawn to his authenticity and raw emotion of how he stepped through it all to totally free himself. Danny hopes by sharing his story it will inspire others that a second chance is really possible.
February 2, 2023
Can you get sentenced to over 10 years in Federal Prison for selling bath salts? Yes, Justin Smith was one of the largest suppliers out of Florida. These bath salts mimicked the effects of cannabis and ecstasy. HIs attorney warned him that he was walking down a dangerous path even though it was not a scheduled drug. Justin had become intoxicated by the ocean of money that allowed him all the material things with this lifestyle. Justin had success in business early on. At 13 years old he created an internet dial up service. He took his creative smarts to the real estate world to much success until a very strange thing happened. Always looking for opportunities his friend had a chain of smoke shops. Their best selling products were spices and bath salts. Justin saw an opportunity figured out a supply chain and took off. He shares with us how a program in prison changed his life. Justin returned home and did not let the ex-felon tag slow him down, He owns a very successful national company that is called Contractor Plus that is teamed with companies like Home Depot. Justin's story is about learning from mistakes but never giving up your tenacity to accomplish what some would deem impossible.
January 26, 2023
What would it be like to survive 4 years in a Mexican prison? JC Almanza did a lot of time at several different prisons. He grew up on the hard streets of the southside of Chicago. The way JC tells his stories it feels like you have stepped into a movie of his mind in a place you probably have never been. Since JC got out of prison 6 years ago, he has created a movement "Wrong to Strong." He has over 85,000 subscribers on YouTube and 55,000 followers on Instagram. Why? It is his message. It is his humbleness, vulnerability, and gratitude for where he is today. This is an interesting story because there was not a magic wand transformation. JC's journey happened in small steps...improving himself with each event even though he may take a temporary step back. The hardness and then the vulnerability keeps you hooked to JC's story. He is now fueled by the difference he is making in people's lives by sharing his experience helping others get to the other side. Wrong to Strong is a real movement. You feel it when you listen to JC.
January 19, 2023
Could a guy go from an inmate at Leavenworth to the Mayor of Leavenworth? Yes, Jermaine Wilson is that man! This incredible story has been on Good Morning America, The Sunday CBS Morning Show, and others. Jermaine grew up in Leavenworth. He lived in a tough neighborhood and ran with a tough gang of people dealing in drugs and mischief. Jermaine became a leader in that world. He eventually was sentenced to 3 years at a Leavenworth prison. He began believing he should use all his talents and leadership qualities for a force for good. When he got out of prison he began a non-profit that creates positive events for law enforcement and the community to unite and communicate. One day a friend said you should be Mayor. He didn’t really take it seriously until his wife said he should run. The rest of the story is simply incredible. Jermaine is so positive when he talks he just puts a smile on your face. I love what Jermaine has done, and I love his story. Look for his book coming out soon…”From Lawbreaker to Lawmaker.”
January 12, 2023
Could you have survived being put in a psych ward at 9 years old? Zach Babcock not only survived that but has become a big success with Empowerment Underdog Podcast and Speaking. Zach's dad died when he was 7 years old. He had a hard time with that and was constantly told he was not good enough and couldn't focus on tasks. This low self esteem led him in out of trouble with the law. When he was taken to prison he missed his twin boys being born. While he was in the "hole" he received a 30 second phone call you would never want to receive in prison. That he survived all of this makes his second chance story all that more powerful. Plus, Zach is so likeable, vulnerable, and authentic with how he shares his story. He went all in on becoming an entrepreneur. His story of being totally in makes you a believer with what it means to be committed. Eventually, it has all worked for Zach. He has a great wife, new home, coaches his twin boys, and has a booming successful business. This episode has all kinds of nuggets of wisdom spread throughout. Grit, overcoming, tenacious, Zach Babcock.
January 5, 2023
How did the Country Boy from Thayer Missouri eventually sell a bank for half billion dollars and eventually go to prison? Shaun Hayes had a persistent goal in his mind growing up...he wanted to be a millionaire. He bought his first bank at 29. He was the CEO of a big bank at 32, and running a public company by 35. At 44, he sold Allegiant Bank to National City for half a billion dollars. Eventually, after the sale, Shaun lost his way buying up smaller rural banks, along with, real estate investments that went sour that led him to a bank fraud conviction sentencing him to 5 years in Federal prison. Along the way, Shaun's story is captivating about the rise and fall of a very smart man. He is now building his second chance with his new book "The Gray Choice." He is also telling his story as a public speaker about the things to do and avoid when building a company. Shaun has several nuggets of wisdom he sprinkles throughout this episode. Shaun says, "if you never give up, you will eventually win." Shaun would love for you to go to his website www.shaunhayes.com or click this link Home and pre-order his book "The Gray Choice." Shaun is a masterful storyteller that makes the book a great read!
December 29, 2022
How many times can you get knocked down and get back up? Shane Spurgeon has had a life of falling down and finding the grit to stand back up and take another step to the right path. So much of Shane's life was locked into the wrong mindset believing he was not good enough. He believed he didn't deserve something good if it happened to him. Shane's story is raw, authentic, and vulnerable. Just when you think he has finally made it he falls again. He had a couple of people who finally showed up in his life that believed him, and did not give up on him when he was wanting to give up on himself. After all his struggles, he finally found his peace. Shane has been on quite a journey. He now is helping people who struggled with the same demons he escaped from to get them help.
December 19, 2022
Have you heard about the Lamar Johnson case in St. Louis? Lamar has served 28 years in prison with a nightmare case where so many things went wrong. I have an all star panel of Marvin Cotton Jr. (20 years), Ken Nixon (16 years) and Eric Anderson (9 years) all innocent men wrongly convicted of murder on my show talking about the Lamar Johnson case, and how the justice system can be fixed. Marvin says if all goes right Lamar Johnson could be home for Christmas after 28 years behind bars. This is a very insightful, powerful conversation from the men who have lived it and now are out making a difference for change across the country. Marvin Cotton's Book "Better Not Broken" just released #1 on Amazon!
December 15, 2022
What would you do if you were picked out of a line up for murder that you didn't commit? Darryl Burton lived that nightmare and finally was exonerated 24 years later. Some hurdles really had to be cleared to make this unbelievable story happen. There were bad jail house snitches who later recanted their story, and eyewitness accounts that did not fit the description of Darryl, and on top of that, Darryl was out of the state when this murder happened. Darryl was sentenced by a jury after 30 minutes of "deliberation" receiving life in prison without parole to a prison what TIME magazine coined "The bloodiest 47 acres in America."...The maximum security Missouri State Penitentiary that has now been shuttered. The sign read as you entered, "Welcome to the Missouri State Pen. Leave all your hopes, family, and dreams behind.” Darryl was rightly enraged, and angered at the injustice that happened to him, but he used that rage to fuel his passion to be heard and eventually be exonerated. He studied the law and wrote to Presidents, congressman, senators, and organizations that helped free the innocent. He finally was freed after 24 years. He never gave up even when he joked his name should have been Darryl "denied" Burton. His story between those years is gripping and stays with you. Darryl is now a pastor at the The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, the largest United Methodist Church in the US. He runs an organization that helps people who are released from prison to reenter to society. You can donate to his organization The Miracle of Innocence. Darryl Burton is known as the Miracle Man, and his story is truly disturbing and incredibly inspiring. Look for Darryl's book coming soon Innocent; A Second Look.
December 8, 2022
How do you go from having it all as a kid, popular athlete, modeling, starring in a movie to sentenced to 12 years in prison at 18 and becoming the shot caller of the prison yard. Buckle up with Peter Meyerhoff because he has an incredible story to share. Peter walks us through the darkness of the prison yard...to hitting rock bottom once he is released. This is when he finds his passion to be the man he is today. He speaks to hundreds of people in prison to motivate them to find the right mindset and quit with excuses. He launched a nationally ranked podcast "Roll Call with Chappy." Peter's goals are to motivate people through his memtal strength tools he learned while in solitary confinement, helping others get sober, and to change the recidivism rate by showing people what's really possible. Peter is using all of his life experiences to make a difference helping others to the next step!
December 1, 2022
The crash of the 2008 real estate market went from bad to worse to prison for Aaron Duncan. Aaron grew up with a strong knit family. The oldest of 3 sons. He bolted out of high school to be make it big in business. He had impressive early successes. He first started his own travel company much like Expedia using his previous contacts working for TWA. He has a wickedly smart marketing mind that led him into creating his own real estate investment company, The Duncan Group. The real estate crash happened and Aaron went scrambling for solutions to get short term investors their money back. It didn't work and his in-house attorney turned him into the authorities. Aaron does an excellent job of walking us through his nightmare. His first day in a medium security prison will take your breath away. The worst possible way to to start prison. He took advantage of his library job and became an expert in criminal law. Aaron got out and hit the ground running. He now runs an international company Elevate Media. He represents athletes, CEO's, celebrities, and businesses with their crisis at hand. He is particularly helpful to the indicted/convicted individuals to help them through sentencing and tips for life in prison. Aaron has found a way to use his life experience to help others who have found themselves in the same position that he successfully survived.
November 17, 2022
How would you handle a life threatening situation? Kevin Donaldson is an ex-police officer whose life changed one night when he was shot at, and a bullet grazed his ear. His life after this event began spiraling down a dark black hole. It triggered post traumatic syndrome that led to thoughts of ending his life and trying to cope through heavy drinking. Kevin is a mesmerizing storyteller that leads us into his world of struggle and then finally finding a way to overcome. It is interesting to hear his story through the eyes of a police officer. He now has an incredibly popular nationally ranked podcast "The Suffering Podcast." As Kevin says, "Suffering is the way to sustainable success." Kevin helps people who are in a similar situation as his... find their way through the darkness to success. Kevin Donaldson is a true Nightmare Success Story!
November 10, 2022
How do you flip the script on a really tough childhood? Shawn Medina had the type of childhood where both his parents were no help to his sister and him. They were shipped around in and out of foster care because his mom was strung out on drugs and his dad wasn't any better living 1000's of miles away with his own personal issues. Shawn is very open and honest about his own struggles that landed him in prison and then a return to prison on a violation of his probation. He leads us through his struggles and how he found his way. He finally found his passion... met a woman that he loves, and operates Steel and Ink Tattoo Studio with his wife. This famed ink shop is not just doing award winning tattoos. Shawn and his wife have a passion for giving to the underserved communities and charities such as the Shriners, women's safe houses, Missouri Network and Opiate Reform, local school fundraisers, as well as, volunteering his time to help feed the homeless. Steel and Ink offers a financial scholarship program for graduating high school seniors from the area called, "Good Decisions." All the things that Shawn knew he needed growing up he tries to give back now using his success to elevate people in need.
November 3, 2022
Could you take a mess and make it into a powerful message? Travis Richey did exactly that! He is known as the Prison Education Czar in the United States. Travis is the man behind AccomplishED Ventures, the largest prison content provider in the U.S. Quite a journey that led him to his destiny. He had a tough childhood, his father struggled with drug addiction, and his mother worked hard to make ends meet. Travis got a scholarship and studied finance at the University of Miami. He became incredibly successful running an investment hedge fund. A knock on the door and life changed with Travis receiving a 2 year sentence due to a regulatory oversight in the State of Arizona. Those 2 years changed his mindset and purpose for life. AccomplishED Ventures is now on 750,000 inmate tablets in prison providing real hope for inmates to fix their lives and be a better part of society. His curriculum teaches life skills, job skills, entrepreneurial skills, and financial literacy. Travis is using his experience to change the narrative around incarceration and providing hope and opportunity for millions of incarcerated individuals who desire to change their lives. Wow! This is a feel good story. As Travis says, "You hold the pen to how you want to write your story!"
October 27, 2022
Did you like the movie "Catch Me If You Can"? Well, you will find Matt Cox fascinating. The episode of American Greed titled the episode "The Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde of Mortgage Fraud." His story has been chronicled on DATELINE NBC, FORTUNE magazine, and several others. Cox was a fugitive for over 2 years and ended up on the Secret Service Most Wanted list. Interestingly, there were always girlfriends assisting him with his cross country scheme. He had a strained relationship with his Dad. Matt was diagnosed with a learning disability early on. I believe, he was always trying to prove to his Dad that he was smart (Insurance Test Story)...with an IQ over 140 he was smart. He was finally captured and sentenced to 26 years in prison. While he was in, he began writing books for several inmates that he was incarcerated with. One of those inmates was Efraim Diveroli. That manuscript was made into a very popular movie titled "War Dogs." Matt began teaching a GED class in prison. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge about the business of real estate, and eventually began teaching a real estate class to inmates. Several of those inmates left prison and began successful real estate careers. I know Matt takes a lot of satisfaction with that. Matt now has a successful podcast titled "Inside True Crime with Matt Cox." He has several published books that can be found on Amazon. Matt is an entertaining storyteller and brutally honest about what he did and how he did it.
October 20, 2022
Can someone be sentenced to 10 years for selling marijuana? My guest, Stephanie Shepard, was. She was a first time, non-violent offender from a two parent suburban household. Stephanie said, "I thought going to prison would never happen to me." Her story of being arrested is mindboggling. She was released after 9 years and 5 different prisons, in 2019. Her emotions about the experience are still gripping and raw with how she survived. She shares the things that she learned in prison, and how she uses it on the outside. She also discusses how she did specific things not to lose "herself" in prison. Stephanie talks about the nervousness of getting back into society. How she had to fight for that first job opportunity. She is now a director of the Last Prison Project. LPP's mission is to set 1,000's of prisoners free that sit in prison for cannabis related convictions. President Biden, October 6th, pardoned 6500 with simple marijuana possession offenses. This is obviously a very current topic. The organization also helps with grants to help the ex-inmates get back into society who do not have a support system. Stephanie is using her experience to effect positive change and instill hope. She says, "It makes everyday worth it." This is a feel good story of overcoming!
October 13, 2022
Phillip "Uccikhan" Sample is a story of a complete life transformation. You will be immediately captured by the rawness and honesty of how Phillip describes his journey. In 1975, he was born into the toughest neighborhood in Detroit. He was raised between the slums of Detroit to the gang ridden streets of the Southside of Chicago. As a result of dysfunctional and unstable housing, ill-education and violence, Phillip became his environment. He joined a gang at 11 and became a leader of a gang at 14. He was eventually convicted of 3 counts of assault with intent to murder at 18 years old in a gang related war. He served 15 years in prison. He used the time to educate himself, studying psychology and what made him think the way he was thinking...undergoing a complete self-evaluation. Phillip was released after 15 years with a passion to amend past actions and rebuild the community he had helped to destroy. He established RAHAM Detroit (Response Able Hands and Minds). This organization is inspiring youth that there is an alternative to crime and incarceration. His organization is clearing and beautifying lots, building new homes, establishing areas of recreation, entertainment, and culture. Phillip's non-profit is teaching youth enduring life skills that may continue the process of strengthening family and community bonds. Phillip has always had leadership skills...now he is using his experience to effect real change for the good. These young people admire and listen to him. He is the author of the book "The Passion Of The Life (Part 1) the life, death, and resurrection of Phillip A Sample." This is an inspiring story of hope, and hope never goes out of style! I would love to wave a magic wand and clone Phillip Sample nationwide!
October 6, 2022
Getting out of prison is an incredible feeling, but going in and out of prison can become a depressing cycle. How do you reach down deep in your soul and change that cycle? Harvey Galler has an unbelievable story of what put him back in prison the last time. He finally made the break, and changed his life. Harvey gives the listener an honest, real, description of how he climbed out to the right side of his life. It wasn't easy, but he has put in the work to stay on the right track. He earned a degree from Washington University. Once Harvey was released, he took it on himself to create an organization to help others who were being released from prison with the basics they needed to get started back in their lives. Harvey wanted to help others break the cycle of not returning back to prison. He is currently working on a documentary. Harvey has lived to step over his nightmare to be the man he wants to be.
September 29, 2022
Would you become a fugitive if you were looking at 25 years in Prison? Writer/Director Seth Ferranti did just that. He faked his suicide and landed on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list. He was finally captured and sentenced to 25 years in prison for selling marijuana and LSD. As a drug dealing teen, Ferranti sold drugs at 15 East Coast colleges, crisscrossing across five states. This story attracted media attention from The Washington Post, Rolling Stones, and others for this first time, non-violent offender. Seth did not waste his time in prison. He found a passion for writing. He also studied the trade earning an associates, bachelors, and masters degree while in prison. With unlimited access to criminals and their stories Ferranti began crafting raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters. Seth wrote 22 books while in prison, while also penning columns in VICE, Don Diva, and others. He began building his brand from prison, Gorilla Convict. Ferranti became a true crime publisher documenting stories mainstream media refused to share. He became the most prolific writer of the War on Drugs era. In 2015, Seth was released from prison after 21 years behind bars. Seth hit the ground running, continuing his writing career penning pieces for VICE, The Daily Beast, and others. Ferranti teamed up in Hollywood with Shawn Rech and Transitions Studios to make "White Boy", a feature documentary on Richard Wershe Jr., that aired on STARZ, and became a Top 10 hit on NETFLIX. There was also a movie "White Boy, Rick." He has over 5 documentary projects in production. This man is relentless. Each time you think he is down, Seth gets back up and even makes a louder statement of what he is doing and where he is going. This man does not stand on the sidelines. He jumps in the game making a difference!
September 22, 2022
Could you or would you kill your father if he sexually abused you for 10 years? Stacey Lannert did kill her father at the age of 18 and received a life sentence without parole. This is a story that has been covered by national media...Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, American Justice, CNN Nancy Grace, Glamour Magazine to name a few. Her story is honest and painful, but inspiring by how she survived. You feel her triumph. She never lost hope. Stacey's prison sentence was eventually commuted and then pardoned after 18 years in prison. Stacey got out of prison and was accepted into law school, and is now a Missouri State Public Defender Parole Revocation Defense Team Attorney. A great quote from Stacey, "No matter what has happened in our past, we choose the life we want to live. Never allow your past to dictate your future." Tune in to hear her powerful story! Stacey is the author of the book, 'Redemption: A Story of Sisterhood, Survival, And Freedom Behind Bars' (Amazon).
September 15, 2022
Would you have the courage to post something on social media about your past, fearing it could possibly destroy the company you have built? That is exactly what my guest Andrew Gibbs-Dabney (Founder and CEO of Livsn Designs) did on LinkedIn because he knew it was time and he wanted to take back control of his story of going to prison. An investor had just backed out of a big funding deal with Andrew because they did a background check. Andrew decided he no longer wanted to be bullied with his past. He was going to stand out in front of his story and let the chips fall where they may. Andrew admitted he robbed a liquor store in his college years while in a Xanax and Oxytocin haze, knowing he owed a lot of money to bad people. He turned himself in and began treatment. He eventually was given leniency from a potential sentence of 40 years to serving 6 months in a hardcore Texas Bootcamp. If you failed the camp you had to do the rest of the long sentence. Andrew did his time, went back to school, got his degree, married his high school sweetheart and had two kids. He followed his passion for the outdoors, and became the founder and CEO of Livsn Designs, a very cool outdoor company that makes clothing for outdoor activities. The company was growing, but there was always the fear of the lifetime background check. Andrew published his personal story to LinkedIn, and a tidal wave of support followed in the comments. He received a flood of new investors who wanted to be part of his company because of his courageous story. The Outside Business Journal interviewed Andrew about his post and story. The steps Andrew has taken to get where he is today were not easy, but the story he shares with how he got to where he is today is certainly inspiring! The old fashion feel good, underdog, winning story!
September 8, 2022
Coming from a good suburban family, being an "A" student at Arizona State, falling into drug addiction, depression, abusive relationships, smuggling drugs for a Mexican cartel and finally getting hit with a Federal Prison sentence, Megan Racer is my guest this week. Her story is honest, authentic, humbling, gripping, and truly inspiring of overcoming all her obstacles and using her experience for good to help others at River Source Treatment Center. You don't have to have lived through addiction to feel this story. The way Megan walks us through her journey you feel her desperation of trying to survive, floating above water to make due in life. Megan's story invokes all the emotions you can feel. This story could be made into a movie about living through a nightmare, hitting rock bottom, and finally setting herself free to be the person she is today. She is now the happy mother of 2 kids, in a good relationship, and thriving with her job and life. A true, inspiring Nightmare Success Story!
August 25, 2022
Are you a product of your environment or can you break the cycle? Randell McKoy grew up with mentors in his life - his stepdad, mom, uncle, and grandma, teaching him how to be a man and knowing right from wrong, but he was still drawn to the adrenaline rush of the hustle of the street life. He says he was living a double life. It costs him. Eventually, he was arrested on drug charges, and his cousin... who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time with him ended up getting even more time. Randell tells the story of his journey being at 5 different prisons from maximum lockup to the minimum security at Leavenworth.... years of adapting and surviving the prison life. Randell is back home now. He successfully obtained his CDL license and has secured a good job. He has reconnected with his family. I believe Randell is learning how to break the cycle to create positive change.
August 18, 2022
How does the girl next door, smart, private school end up homeless at the age of 16 addicted to meth and eventually doing prison time in her 20's? My guest this week is Jenn Henry and she has had one heck of a journey to get to where she is today. She grew up not understanding and trying to fit in with a bi-polar Mom, and a dad who could not help her with her struggle of trying to fit in or escape her situation. She wakes up one day in a jail cell and sees an emaciated ghost of herself, and decides at her rock bottom moment...she had to change. Jenn walks us through her hard struggles and strategies of finally breaking free to where she is today. She uses her life experience to help others get better as a lifestyle recovery coach. There are all kinds of nuggets of wisdom for our daily life packed inside this episode.
August 11, 2022
What if you get a call from work to get home right now…you arrive, and your mom is in the back of the police car because she has murdered your dad – 5 years to that day you are walking through the gates of prison for a crime you didn’t commit to serve a 50-year sentence. Well, meet my guest Ronald Simpson-Bey, on this week’s podcast Nightmare Success In and Out. Ronald went through a dark 5 years after entering prison being involved in all the ugliness of prison mischief, until he read a book that changed his life. He began reading and studying up on the law and helping other people with their cases. He speaks of the pain of finding out his son, who he was planning to see on a visit, had been murdered that day on Father’s Day. He forgave the 14-year-old boy who killed his son and advocated for him not to be charged as an adult. Ronald never gives up on the injustice of his case and finally gets a federal court to overturn his conviction after 24 years. He describes how it takes him another 3 years to be freed from prison because of our system. Ronald and his story are an inspiration of optimism…kicking unfairness in the face and succeeding regardless. Ronald is now the National Executive Vice President of Just Leadership USA that is doing important work for the incarcerated and those who have been released. Funny quote from Ronald getting released after 27 years in prison…“I felt like Fred Flintstone returning home to the Jetsons!”
August 4, 2022
What do you think when I say Homeless? Probably not former police officer, detective, global security expert, CEO of a Private Worldwide Security Agency, Media Commentator, CEO of Hollywood TV/Film Production Company, Best Selling Author of Interminable...Well, my guest this week on Nightmare Success In and Out is Michael "Hollywood" Henderson, and he is all of those things rolled up into one man! I attempt to pull back all the layers of Michael's story...from a complicated but loving Mom and Son relationship to all the different mentors that showed up in Michael's life in the moment of need... then not knowing his Dad and then literally bumping into him at a park...this new connection changed his life. His Grandma introduced him at an early age to entrepreneurship. Michael shares the story of his "Milk Shake" moment to fuel him to where he is today. Michael says, "I always run towards things that scare me." Man, has he lived his life this way! He states that is where he continues to find all the great things in his life. As Michael walks us through his roller coaster journey from St. Louis, around the world and then Hollywood, we start to piece together what fuels Michael's confidence to keep him stepping forward regardless if it scares him. This episode is chalked full of life lessons of breaking down prisons in your own mind. Book: Interminable: Stories and Steps to Overcoming Life's Obstacles After a Repetitive Cycle of Pain and Loss - How to Maintain Your Win! Facebook: Michael Henderson Hollywood Instagram: @therealmichaelhenderson
July 29, 2022
What would you do if you were just sentenced to 25 years in prison, and the same week you are informed your 4 year old son has cancer? Jim Brock is my guest this week, and that is exactly what Jim was faced with. His son survived and Jim refers to him as his hero. Brock was a 1st Team All State Soccer Player at Lindbergh High School. Grades kept him off his senior year team, and the dark slide started. Jim shares how he mentally tackled a life in prison without losing himself in prison. Stray Rescue has a program with the prison for dogs who are not adoptable. Prisoners work and train these dogs. Jim became a champion of this program, eventually training 16 dogs that ended up being adopted with their forever home families. Jim found a lot of commonality with these dogs being neglected, caged, disappointments, and forgotten. Brock describes how incredible mentors showed up unexpectedly at different times in his life and created hope and a focused lifeline. Jim took the reins and became a leader and inspiration for other inmates with Washington University's Associate Program and eventually Bachelor Degree Program. He earned both while incarcerated. Jim is now home. A lot has changed in 20 years, but he has hit the ground running. He shares what he is doing now, and his dream of what he wants to do with his dog training. Jim says it is never TOO LATE! Man has he lived those words!
July 21, 2022
How do you not lose hope when you are sentenced to 30 years with no possibility for parole? Dion Soubasis never gave up. At the time of Dion’s nightmare, he had been in and out of prison selling drugs and was also charged with some burglaries. Life had not been easy up to this point in his life. His dad had died of a heart attack the night he was bailing his youngest son out of jail. That son blamed himself for his dad’s death. The younger son committed suicide, and Dion’s mom also goes to prison. Dion drops out of school in the 10th grade, and he starts hanging with the wrong crowd. One day in his prison cell Dion hits rock bottom and realizes he could die in prison as a man he doesn’t like. He told himself, “This place offers every opportunity to change myself, and even if I die in here, at least I have done something to better myself.” He made good on his resolutions. He reconnected with his daughter. Graduated college with a degree in theology, spent years as a prison barber, and amassed hours of rehabilitation and leadership programs. Dion unexpectedly was given clemency by Governor Parsons because of some helpful people who met with the governor accompanied with the good work Dion had done with his time in prison. He is now enjoying his life after 17 years in prison. He has great friends and family that have been there to help. He has a job where he is top of the board in sales month in month out. He is a connected grandfather, and even does some speaking to help others get to the next step by telling his inspiring story. Dion came to the interview with his notes loaded with nuggets of wisdom from his life experiences. Optimism, hope, and action are what this story is about.
July 14, 2022
Wow! What an emotional inspiring story of a man using his struggles, and life experiences to create good and help others. Robert Riley's dad went to prison when he was 2 years old. He only knew him from visiting prison. Robert's dad was an addict, and Robert fell into that life at an early age. He was in and out of trouble with juvenile courts and state prisons. He finally found himself serving time in a Medium Security Federal Prison, and received an emotional letter from his 10 year old son. This hit him deep and changed his mindset and life direction. When he was released, he followed the 12 step recovery plan, and just kept stepping making a difference in peoples' lives for the better. In the last 14 years since Robert has been released...he changed the laws, breaking down barriers for the use of Narcan that can save the life of an opioid user, he created transitional housing for people in recovery, he co-founded a 30 day recovery center with outpatient follow up, and he now employs and trains people in recovery as bakers and baristas with the companies he owns...The Coffee Culture Food Truck and The Cookie Hustle. This is a true man of action. He has a passion for helping others through his own life experiences, and stepping into the unknown opportunity each time has only made him more confident to keep stepping forward following his passions. Robert is so open and honest about his own struggles in life that it makes him a natural leader in an arena that needs leaders for real change.
July 7, 2022
Randy Terrell grew up living a normal life, until it wasn't. Hardworking, supportive, married Mom and Dad, and Randy was the youngest of 6 kids. Randy played running back and outside linebacker all the way through college. He was going to the NFL. There was no plan B. He didn't make it and some of his friends did. He became depressed, embarrassed, and felt like he had let his family down. His life approached a fork in the road, making some bad decisions by trying to keep up with some of his friends who were living the "life." He began hanging with the wrong crowd. He started with gambling, selling some drugs, and getting into a stolen car conspiracy ring. Just when his life was getting right with a real job, the knock came on the door that began his nightmare. Randy is very open about his feelings and some of his emotions are still very raw as he describes the story he, his kids, and family experienced. His prison cell phone story will make you ask yourself "What would I have done if I was caught in the same situation of desperation?" Randy is a good guy and a very present Dad to his kids, and he makes a point of saying he will never be in a situation like that again...leaving them for prison. Randy has a good job and has so much gratitude for where he is now in his life. I think you will appreciate the open, raw honesty Randy gives us about his life story.
June 30, 2022
You know how you watch a movie or listen to a story, and you walk away and think wow that just makes me feel good! That is the Darryl Woods Sr. story. Wrongly convicted of murder at 18 years old...already a father to a son and daughter. Sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He dropped out of school in 8th grade, and became a child of the streets with all the bad things that had to offer. Darryl's story is one of complete transformation after hitting rock bottom. His underlying theme is never lose HOPE! In prison he became a model citizen being of service helping others with their cases and teaching GED classes. He became a very involved father in his son and daughter's lives. His kids love and admire him for the man he is. In prison, Darryl earned his GED, and Chaired the NAACP Detroit Branch Prison Program, and led 1,000's of youth and prisoners to transformation as the founder of RESTART Youth Deterrent Program. His case was overturned by the original trial judge who said, "Darryl was wrongfully convicted." It took him another 16 years of appeals to finally be released from prison. Darryl was locked up for 29 years. He was released in 2019. Since then he has launched SAY Detroit's "Better Together" initiative. This extraordinary program allows the community police officers and gang members to "break bread" together and find common ground. He has been appointed to the State Appellate Defenders Commission by Governor Whitmor. Darryl could have stayed bitter, but he turned the bitter to better. His life story is inspiring for so many things it teaches us about life and the way we should think. This is a Nightmare Success story you won't forget!
June 16, 2022
The Stanley Prince story is one where you just say..."wow!" 26 years in prison and what a story he has... He grew up in St. Louis City. He dropped out of school because he was embarrassed of his stutter. That decision led him down a bad path. He loved his mom, idolized his mom...you feel his emotion and sadness when he describes the hurt he caused her. Stanley's descriptions of state and federal prison are gripping and disturbing. His son died and he felt like ending it all. An inmate gave him a helping hand and it transformed his life, teaching him how to read and write. He received his GED and that was just the beginning. He took every programming class available. The Prison officials and teachers for the inmates took notice. A letter was written to the Warden stating that Prince is a model person doing so many good things, pleading that he should be released early. That request was granted and Prince was released 3 years early, but now what? No family connections, nowhere to live, no money after 26 years. Stanley got deeply depressed, but sought help. He finds himself and his purpose. He grabs hold of his inner confidence to start his own landscaping lawn care business. He gets chosen for the Harris Stowe College Entrepreneur Program, and then doubles his business. Stanley's story has a lot of bumps and detours, but it is so meaningful how we see him find his way to happiness, and truly feeling free. Stanley is brutally honest and raw with his story of surviving, and is just such a likeable personality.
June 9, 2022
Anthony Pierre had made all the right moves. He chose the right path in school, but he ran with a group who had chosen the wrong path. Anthony hit the books and graduated with A's. He dedicated himself to become a D-1 Athlete, and followed a mentor into Real Estate and built a regional company. A wife, kids in great schools, Dad soccer coach, and a beautiful home. One day a lifelong friend that he wanted to help who had chosen the wrong path came to Anthony for help...just this one time...a simple drop of drugs to someone Anthony did know. Anthony also knew this cash infusion could help his real estate company after the crash of 2008. Little did he know he was walking straight into a drug ring that had been under investigation for months. One bad decision...Anthony is pulled over and surrounded by agents. This Nightmare cost him 6 years in prison. At first Anthony was bitter, but he flipped the switch and began helping others. Anthony used his time to educate the inmates how to invest in the real estate business. The warden took notice and made his teaching an official programming class. His real estate school educated 100's of men while they were in prison...changing their lives as they re-entered the free world. This Pierre class is legendary in the state of Ohio Prison world. Anthony has written a book "Boundless Success" and has a real estate academy, along with being a successful real estate investor and motivational speaker. Pierre is a true gritty Nightmare Success Story!
See below links for more info on Anthony! https://linktr.ee/Apierre1002
June 2, 2022
The question I kept asking myself throughout this interview is, "how did Mikie Bobzin survive?" She recounts being a 5 year-old girl having to grow up quickly with a bi-polar mom who was a severe alcoholic. As a 7 year-old, Mikie knew she wanted her mom to drink beer not gin. That is a lot for a 7 year-old. They were in and out of public housing and Mikie was always trying to figure out how to fit in. She went down a dark path with her own addictions, hanging with a tough crowd. You really feel her rock bottom moment. Mikie is so honest and real in telling her story...she really puts you on the edge of your seat, and you can't possibly imagine this having a happy ending. Well, unbelievably it does. Mikie and her 5 kids are doing well together as a family. Mikie has a meaningful job, and just graduated with her Masters degree in Social Work. This is truly a Nightmare Success story, and Mikie is giving back to those who helped save her along the way.
May 26, 2022
Bill Glaser, tan, white hair, looks like the picture of a successful country club rich man, and he was. He had worked his way to the top of the class with sought after clients with his wealth management company and real estate. Then the nightmare...A bad homebuilder turned into a terrible fraud for Bill's clients. The FBI came knocking on the door, and Bill found himself in a spin cycle of bad to worse. Finally, he pleads guilty and finds himself designated to Federal Medical Prison, Lexington KY. Not a good place to be. This place has all classifications of prisoners. How does a guy like Bill handle being choked out and put in the hole for 8 months? This honest, heartfelt story has it all packed into one episode.
May 19, 2022
Shawntelle Fisher walked out of prison for the last time on her birthday...November 3, 2011. She had been in and out of prison with multiple felonies mostly pertaining to forgery or bad checks. Fisher had become a mother at 15, a convicted felon at 17...by the time she was 19 she was in prison. Her birthday release was going to be different. This time was the last visit to prison, and she set out on a mission to change her life and other peoples lives by founding Soulfisher Ministries, a nonprofit that helps educate children whose parents are, or have been, incarcerated.
Fisher is one smart woman. She sought out her education along the way after prison...she holds degrees with full ride scholarships from University of Missouri-St.Louis, graduate degrees from Washington University and Eden Theological Seminary. She became a licensed clinical social worker and drug and alcohol abuse counselor. She now helps hundreds of kids with education and life through her organization.
With all of these accomplishments, she was recently denied and then appealed and then denied again by a judge to be a foster parent. Why? Because of her felony record. Shawntelle says she will become a foster mom, and we have a deep discussion about what are the best solutions for people who return home from prison trying to make their way back in society. The recent setback is a gut punch to Shawntelle, but it is inspiring how she handles a challenge. Everyone can learn something from how Shawntelle handles life. I am a fan!
May 12, 2022
What if you were convicted of murder and it took 20 years in prison to finally prove you were innocent? That is exactly what happened to my guest Marvin Cotton Jr. one day when he was driving to pick up his 2 year old daughter from daycare. It is one heck of a story told in a way no one else can tell it like Marvin. We walk through his nightmare as if we are walking beside him...could have easily been one of us picking up one of our kids from school. His freedom would have never happened without the prosecutors office creating a special division in the office named the Conviction Integrity Unit. It was tasked to look at questionable convictions. Cotton's case was one they chose to investigate. After 2 1/2 years of investigation he was freed and exonerated after 20 years in prison. He did get work in prison. Marvin used his time there to help bring factions and gangs together through his unique leadership as a communicator. His Mom and family never gave up hope. He also kept his relationship alive with his daughter through all of these formative years. Marvin has not wasted any time since he was released. He is the CEO of Better Not Broken, where he is a motivational speaker, mentor, and coach that helps people overcome circumstantial roadblocks and progress to personal life transformation. Marvin Cotton Jr. is running for The House of Representatives 11th District in Michigan. We need men like Marvin in politics. He could so easily be bitter, but this is an optimistic man who is using his experience to effect change for the better. He never gave up hope, stayed determined, and had the courage to keep stepping through the unknown...what a message!
Check out his story on YouTube:
May 5, 2022
Samantha Lander gives us the Federal Prison experience from a female's perspective, and she has lived through her nightmare and survived. She has a very engaging personality that mixes humor and pain as she relays to us her incredible journey of survival, determination, and success. Sam grew up in St. Louis in an upper middle class suburban neighborhood. Her dad was a doctor. She went to one of the best high schools in the state and then attended the University of Michigan. She moved to LA and become a successful "A List" DJ in the club scene...just like that her world spun out of control with a SWAT team crashing down her door. How does the girl next door get saddled with spending 2 years in Federal Prison? Sam tells the details of what was going through her mind as if we are walking through the experience with her. She has gotten out and put her life back together. Always a great athlete, she is a sought after personal trainer, who now runs her own business @seefitliving. Sam optimizes your health holistically to get you and your life back! You should check out her Instagram account @seefitliving for healthy ways to live. Sam kept walking right through her nightmare and never gave up!
April 28, 2022
How about this headline..."I went from being one of the top teen golfers in the World (#4) to Hawaii's most wanted. This is Kyle Quilausing's incredible story of letting arrogance get the best of him...falling from grace as a child Hawaii celebrity... being expelled 6 months before high school graduation...taking one hit off a meth pipe losing it all...becoming a fugitive most wanted, finally being arrested, and then orchestrating one of the biggest escapes from prison to fuel his addiction. The story that is told only the way that Kyle can tell it. It will leave you on the edge of your seat. His prison stories left me speechless. It is emotional, inspiring, and a true story of redemption. Kyle now leads a life talking to kids all over the country of how to keep out of the dark hole he fell into. He explains how one wrong decision can be life altering. You can find Kyle on Instagram with the words he now lives by...stay, humble, pray...with over 30,000 followers (@stayhumblepray). This is truly a story of a man who has lived a nightmare and survived to use his experience for the good of helping others. If you like stories of how to adapt, survive, and create a successful second chance... you will be inspired by Kyle.
To reach out to Kyle:
April 21, 2022
Russ Faria is my guest this week. He has been on Dateline 6 times, a record. He is the subject of the popular Podcast "The Thing About Pam" that has over 30 million listeners. The 6 Part NBC Mini Series just finished up with the same title as the podcast. Joel Schwartz, Russ's attorney, was my guest last week, and did an excellent job describing the details and characters of the case. Russ gives us his life story. What kind of life he was living before the horrible December night tragedy? How did he and Betsy meet and what was their life and marriage like? Russ does an incredible job of letting us inside his mind as the events unfolded and what he was thinking and feeling. He shares nuggets of wisdom and strategies of how he kept being himself regardless of being locked up for life without parole plus 30 years. He never gave up or lost hope. Russ is a very likable, happy, optimistic man who wants to use his experience to help others and create change. He is using his new found fame to lend his voice to the Midwest Innocence Project. He wants people to know that there are Russ Faria's all over the country that are innocent and locked up in prison. Russ has recently gotten engaged, and his fiancé was actually one of the hunted potential victims of Pam Hupp's before she asked to be let out of Pam's car. You can't make this stuff up! Russ is a good man, doing good things... making a difference!
April 14, 2022
My guest this week is criminal defense attorney Joel Schwartz. He is the attorney who represented Russ Faria in the case that has become an NBC 6 part series ratings darling titled, "The Thing about Pam" starring Rene Zellweger (as Pam Hupp) and Josh Duhamel (as Joel Schwartz). Joel has written the book Bone Deep that takes readers through the perfect storm of miscalculations and missteps that led to an innocent man’s conviction—and recounts Schwartz’s successful battle to have that conviction overturned. Joel has been speaking to sold out audiences all over the nation that can't get enough of this story. He has appeared on Dateline NBC, 60 Minutes, CBS Morning News, CNN, Fox News and countless local television news affiliates. Joel went to undergraduate and law school at the University of Texas, Austin. He has a bit of an entrepreneur streak in him. While he was an undergraduate at UT, he created the popular "Men of Texas" calendar that landed him on the cover of Newsweek Magazine. After finishing law school, Joel headed to Hollywood to be an actor. He came home to St. Louis for a visit, and never went back to Los Angeles. He said he would give law a try for a year, and now 33 years later he is Principal Partner in the nationally respected Law Firm of Rosenblum, Schwartz, and Fry. On top of all of that, he has his own band, JFB, where he is the lead guitarist and singer. Joel is a family man with a wife and 3 kids who has a passion for making a difference with everything he goes to do. Joel is the criminal defense attorney you would want fighting by your side if you find yourself in a nightmare. In a perfect world, there would be a criminal defense attorney cloning machine making 100's of Joel Schwartz clones. He is definitely one of the good guys!
April 7, 2022
Ripped from todays headlines... my guest is Brandon Reid. Brandon, Intake Coordinator of Criminal Justice Ministry, has dedicated his life to helping ex-felons find housing when being released...ironically he was recently denied housing himself because of a blanket ban of not allowing felons to live in the Hampton Garden Apartments. This prompted a headline article over the weekend in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Brandon is a non-violent drug offender. He sits on boards and is the President of Pride STL. Brandon has a fascinating life story of growing up in Italy until he was 10 years old, and seeing abuse to his mom in the household. His first arrest was for drug possession when he was 18. Brandon was addicted to meth and heroin. He finally got himself on the right path, and his story is one of determination, survival, and success. He discovered an incredible mentor and a group of friends conquering their struggles. Brandon is using his unique experience to help others to affect real change. He is now bringing awareness with the most recent issue of legal discrimination for housing with ex-felons.
March 31, 2022
Billy Vasquez is my guest this week... A very likeable Texan, along with being a hardworking soft spoken gentle giant family man. Billy tells the story of how it was easy to fall into an addicted lifestyle with friends and family who were already living that life. He stepped into helping a group transport marijuana because of the benefits of being with the "in" lifestyle crowd. The group got greedy and did a back to back deal that Billy advised against. The Feds seized over 700 lbs. of marijuana on the second shipment. You can really feel his emotions of loss, love, and family with his nightmare and how he was able to eventually survive the storm. He is now back in Texas with his family. He is driving a big rig tow truck doing what he likes doing. He discusses how his perspective on life after prison makes him a very happy man living the life he had hoped for. Billy offers up nuggets of strategies with how he got through it all.
March 24, 2022
Paul Hartfield is my guest this week on Nightmare Success In an Out. Paul is an author of the book: For Such A Time As This – When a Singer Forgets why he sings. Paul had a 25-year career being a professional international opera singer…singing for presidents, world class opera houses, and major symphonies. His twist in his life story occurred when he retired from singing, and hit it big in the real estate world in the early 2000’s. When the real estate market crashed so did Paul’s business and his life. He walks us through his gripping story of losing it all and eventually having to come to terms with going to prison. He first struggled to find his way in the unfamiliar prison world, but eventually he found his voice using his musical talents to unite and inspire inmates. Paul is a natural storyteller who takes us on an incredible journey of overcoming the worst and living for the better. His charity Hartfield Missions works to help inmates with money in and out of prison.
March 17, 2022
My Guest this week on Nightmare Success In and Out is Paul Gutierrez. Have you seen the movie Cocktail with Tom Cruise flipping those bottles? Well, Paul can do all of that cool stuff. Paul shares a relatable story about how choices can lead you somewhere you didn’t even plan on going. Paul is a smart guy who had a great job in the healthcare industry in his 20’s, but it wasn’t enough. He wanted more. He started living a double life with a normal job and becoming a successful drug dealer. Paul describes in his story that he woke up one day and said how did I get here? He ended up receiving a 10-year sentence, but he never gave up on himself even when there were setbacks in and out of prison. There are a lot of nuggets of strategies that Paul shares with us.
March 10, 2022
Ben Robinson is my guest this week on Nightmare Success In and Out. What a journey, from the drug streets of St. Louis…to staying committed to his education… to his life taking a fork in the road with an interview with Boeing…that eventually landed him in prison with a 10-year sentence. His story of the final days of getting out of prison are unbelievable and everyone’s worst nightmare, but something you can’t stop listening to. His daughter and Mom were his beacon through the darkness. I am so proud of Ben. He now works for Habitat for Humanity and has his own clothing line branded Billionaire Royalties. Ben’s clothing line has a very cool vibe. He is living his Nightmare Success!
FEBRUARY 24, 2022
This episode is chalked full of incredible nuggets of good stuff for surviving, resilience, and determination...and this guy, Michael Hughes, is so damn smart. Mike is brutally honest about his life, his relationships, and his addictions. Mike never gave up on himself. He believed until he was breathing his last breath there was always hope to make it. Mike shares his incredible love story about he and his wife Shannon...they met in college, they married, they divorced but still loved each other and supported each other through the storms of life and remarried 14 years later. Shannon is a true warrior for Mike and his recovery. Mike and Shannon are now living their best life...empty nesters with 3 kids. This is a real story of Nightmare Success!
FEBRUARY 17, 2022
Sean McFarland grew up as an army brat that traveled the country. Sean is educated as a horticulturist, and he is also a talented known singer and songwriter that is currently performing with his band singing the 60 songs he wrote in prison. Running in his pajamas down a mountain in the rain away from the Feds who had ransacked his marijuana growing farm in California…this is a story to tune in for. I know what you are thinking…pot is legal in California. Well, it is until it isn’t. We discuss this.
Sean is a great storyteller who has some deep thoughts about prison and life. It will make you think. He is a very optimistic man who gives us tips on how to get in that state of mind. After living through a nightmare, Sean is now living the life he envisioned when he was in prison. This stuff belongs in a business book about stepping into and acting on goals and plans you envision.
He now is married with a 3-year-old son, living on his farm with his apple orchard making hard cider…just how he had envisioned. On top of all of that…he is a dinosaur bone hunter, and he has discovered hundreds of dinosaur bones. Yes, you read that one right! Great story…Tune in for this!
FEBRUARY 10, 2022
They should have made a movie about Jeff Smith...wait they did...A documentary titled "Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?" He has always been a man on the move. Playing basketball at 5'6" and 100 something bumping up against bigger stronger players, but none of them more tenacious or passionate...has been a metaphor for Jeff's life. He is not afraid to tackle the deemed impossible. He got his PHD. in Political Science from Washington University St. Louis. At 25 years old he co-founded Confluence Charter Schools in St. Louis City that now has over 4,000 students. He ran for Dick Gephardt's open congressional seat against Russ Carnahan in 2004...losing by less than 1%. He was elected Missouri State Senator. Jeff shares the incredible story how everything fell off the cliff with a crazy man car bombing that unbelievably led to the crazy man's connection to Jeff's 2004 campaign...which eventually leads to his best friend wearing a wire to frame him for Federal Election Fraud and Obstruction of Justice....movie stuff. I love how open Jeff is about his life experiences and the prison world. His perspective on life today really hits home. It is good stuff! Jeff wrote the critically acclaimed book "Mr. Smith Goes to Prison." He has even done a TED Talk titled, "Lessons in Business...From Prison." This episode is full of lessons and tips for life. Proud of what this man has accomplished!
You can check his book on Amazon!
FEBRUARY 3, 2022
I have a couple of firsts for this weeks episode. I interview two people...Jordan Markell and Wendy Watson. This is my first interview with a female who has gone to prison. Just to warn you this episode is pretty graphic and has explicit language, but I think they are two stories that need to be heard.
Jordan (AKA Lowkey$) came from the hard crime streets of North St. Louis City. A drive by shooting cost Jordan 10 years of his life in prison. He has done a 180 with his life becoming a successful singer/rapper/songwriter with over a million subscribers on YOUTUBE. He gives his Mom the credit of introducing him to the "laws of attraction" while he was in prison. This changed Jordan's life, and he explains how.
Wendy had a very tough home life as a kid. With no good role models, she drifted into drugs and became a heroine addict. Wendy shares her story of how she was raped and became pregnant. She also shares the woman perspective of life inside prison. Wendy is interesting to listen to because she is just so open and honest about the stages she went through and how it changed her. Prison is where Wendy got her act together. She became clean and focused on being the real "Wendy." Wendy focused on getting educated when she returned home. She now has a degree from St. Louis University, and a masters degree from Washington University.
Yes, this episode is more graphic than the previous episodes, but the message is strong. A second chance is possible if you believe, take action with the right mindset...both Wendy and Jordan changed their lives...Nightmare Success
JANUARY 27, 2022
Big Man Mark Ross is my guest this week. Mark grew up in a little town in Iowa with less than 1000 people. He also has an identical twin brother. Playing sports until dark in the park and dreaming of someday playing football for the Iowa Hawkeyes was his simple boyhood plan. Mark achieved his childhood dream of playing for the Iowa Hawkeyes football team. He shares some behind the scenes stories of what it is like to be a D-1 athlete in a town where you are worshipped. Mark had always been good with numbers. When he got out of college he worked for a credit card company and a bank. His life took a turn when some friends said they would pay him to help them hide or launder there money. He slipped into the drug world with these friends, and things took a dark turn. Mark is widely known at Leavenworth for the Warden Tractor incident. It is an incredible story that no-one died that day. Returning home, Mark has spent some time talking to young people about the choices you have in life, telling them that you are the only one responsible for making the right choices. Mark is a gentle giant with a big heart that has some thoughtful reflections as his life moves forward.
JANUARY 20, 2022
My guest this week is Jeremy Gilmore. Jeremy has a story that reads like a movie. Jeremy was a kid growing up in Southwest Missouri. Good parents…he loved hunting and fishing, but drifts into some friends that help get him addicted to meth. This appears to be Jeremy’s only crime…a meth addict. His story leads us through a crazy taxidermy story where he is arrested. His business competitor is the local law enforcement officer across town. This ends up costing him 1 ½ years of state prison time. Eventually, Jeremy takes us through a horrific look at our criminal justice system. He received embarrassingly awful legal representation that had him all wrapped up in a drug conspiracy with guys who just kept ratting out names to lessen their sentence. Again, Jeremy was just a meth addict. Maybe he could have used a good drug treatment program. Instead, Jeremy refused to give in and went to trial. The Judge gave Jeremy a LIFE SENTENCE to be served in a maximum-security prison. He and his family never gave up on appeals. They eventually were successful with a resentencing because of ineffective counsel. After serving 14 years, Jeremy is back at home today in Kansas City. He is a proud business owner of Jeremy Outdoor Services 816-715-1880. This is a story about resilience, adapting, and surviving…Nightmare Success! I could not be prouder of how Jeremy handled all his challenges to never lose himself and step forward. Good Stuff Jeremy!
JANUARY 13, 2022
My guest this week is Ron Slovacek, a true Texan survivor of his life experiences. Ron is the first person that I have interviewed who went to trial. His story is fascinating, with an inside look of a big case and the workings of the Federal Government. Ron got swept up in one of the biggest cases in Texas history…The Dallas Morning News titled it the “Dallas City Hall Corruption Case." In all, 14 defendants were convicted. The mayor received an 18-year sentence.
Ron was rolling along as a successful real estate developer, married man, and dad of 3 living the big Texas lifestyle…loving life, but he felt there was something missing. He had always been involved in the Catholic Church, and his Dad, who he idolized, was a very devout Christian man. Ron felt he should be giving something back, and he always wanted to make his Dad proud. He decided he would get involved in the business he knew to help low-income people in Dallas with new housing developments. Things did not turn out the way he envisioned, and it started the engine of a nightmare. After a five year investigation, Ron eventually lost his case and received a 7-year sentence. He was sent 13 hours away from his family. Slovacek gives us great nuggets of information and strategies he used as he navigated through this new unknown world.
Ron is now back home in Denton, Texas. Back in the development business he loves, and even mentoring one of his sons in the business. I have always admired how Ron steps through life.
JANUARY 6, 2022
My guest this week is Eric Ross. Eric grew up on the north side of St. Louis. He wanted to be liked and to be the "cool" kid in school, which sometimes got him in trouble and running with the wrong crowd. He found himself starting his own painting business, but running with a gang, living a criminal lifestyle for the adrenaline rush, and feeling of being accepted. Ross shares an incredible story of the day he was caught with 3 kilos of cocaine. He is also brutally honest about how he tried to escape everything around him in prison by taking more drugs. He had a brush with death, and the light switch went on knowing he wanted to live.
Eric drastically turned things around in his life for the better. He got healthy and his faith in God gave him strength to stay on the right path. He shares those survival skills with us.
He now owns a successful company renovating and flipping homes. Eric is married to a beautiful wife with 2 kids. I am proud of how he turned his life around, and is living the life he wants. Yes, Nightmare Success!
DECEMBER 16, 2021
My guest this week is Gerald Murphy. Gerald Murphy has many talents, but one he is famous for is being the creative inventor of the Leavenworth "fried honeybun." Murph describes the funny story of how this fried honeybun is prison made. Murph's story moves along from his early childhood growing up with "Southern Women"...with yes mam, no mam rules in the house. His Dad is his best friend and made certain moves to keep Murphy away from the trouble on the streets. Murphy was a top athlete that excelled in sports, particularly football. He shares the story of his Dad moving him to a Kansas county where they were the only black family, which made Murph the only black high school student. He says some of his best friends today are from his high school days. Murphy has the personality to always adapt and make friends regardless of the circumstances. His life took a turn in college when he ventured into the drug world. Murphy served a state prison stint and states this is where he learned how to be a better drug dealer. When Murph returned home his goal was to be at the top of the drug trade. Murph is an incredible, likeable storyteller who is so humble and honest about his journey. Murphy got out of Leavenworth and gritted it out doing jobs no one wanted while attending school. Now he has a good job, and is in a good relationship...just bought a new car! I am proud of Murphy with what he has done to get to where he is. You just gotta like Murph and his story. He has lived Nightmare Success for sure.
DECEMBER 9, 2021
My guest this week is Ed Levinson. Ed was a very successful homebuilder in the St. Louis area, and he is also an engaging, funny storyteller. Some of the most quality neighborhoods in the St. Louis region are a legacy of Levinson's creative vision. Ed even ventured into politics when he thought the city of Chesterfield needed a voice of reason from the business world. When the home market cratered in 2008, so did Ed's homebuilding business. A spiral of disasters happened that ended up with Ed being accused by the bank of misappropriating loan dollars with different projects. Ed fought and finally gave in to a plea. His story is about being at the top of his industry, losing it all, and adapting to the unfamiliar world of prison. Ed's marriage did not survive the turmoil, but he has a strong, close relationship with his daughter through it all. Ed handles it all with grace and humor. I think you are going to really like Ed and his story.
DECEMBER 2, 2021
You will want to listen to this episode with Marc Glover. Marc received a 14-year sentence. He immediately takes us on a rollercoaster journey with his brutally honest assessment of all the different choices he made in his life. His Dad went to prison when he was 3 years old. He began getting kicked out of school from the 6th grade on for having issues with authority and running with the wrong crowd that eventually had him getting really good at cooking and distributing meth. Along the way, he also becomes an addict, daring prison to come and get him. His story is inspiring because Marc has a complete mindset change while in prison. He received his GED while serving time and learned various trade skills. He used his time to get better. So proud of him with what he has done with his life!
He is now home in Joplin, Missouri with his son and daughter. He has a job he enjoys, and he is 16 years sober. Marc is an incredibly likeable guy, and an engaging storyteller. You will get engrossed in his story. I am not even sure if I interviewed Marc because I was so into the jarring vivid descriptions of his story.
NOVEMBER 18, 2021
What happens when your worst fear becomes your reality? My guest this week is Corbin Bosiljevac who shares his gripping true story of his life and choices he made that lead him from a stand out high school athlete, Kansas University Graduate, Fortune 1000 salesman, to being an upper class black-market drug dealer. Corbin is an author of his new book, "On to the Next Thing." The first chapter of his book reads like the opening scene of an action movie...with the Federal SWAT team surrounding and raiding his house, Corbin escapes and runs straight at and past the Feds. Of course, he is eventually caught. The book is an exceptional read about not giving up on life no matter how far you have fallen.
In the interview, Corbin is brutally honest about the small almost unrecognizable choices he made that eventually led him down the wrong path. He said he was always a pleaser and that led him into some wrong choices. Corbin's story is a mind-bending, thought provoking journey of adapting and surviving. His 7 plus years in several different prisons is particularly interesting with the strategies he used to cope. He has truly lived the Nightmare Success Motto...adapt, survive, and set yourself free.
All-American looking Corbin Bosiljevac could easily be your next door neighbor. That makes the talk even that more interesting. I highly recommend Corbin's book, "On to the Next Thing." You will definitely want to read this book. I am proud of him... ex-inmate and published author Corbin Bosiljevac...come on in for the listen...
NOVEMBER 11, 2021
What happens when your worst fear becomes your reality? My guest this week is Jim Strobbe. Strobbe and I were bunkmates in an 8x10 cell for over a year. Needless to say I got to know Strobbe. He is one cool cat. He was pretty much the "RED" (Shawshank) of Leavenworth. Strobbe was a very resourceful guy. He owned a very successful landscape business in Kansas City. He also veered into the world of quick easier money of dealing in drugs that ended up spiraling into a ten year Federal Prison sentence. Strobbe in an engaging storyteller who takes us on a journey with him about how he adapted and survived every unfamiliar turn. He has made a positive transition after prison...he enjoys his job and the man he works for. He has been able to get involved as a Dad in his daughters lives, and he has a great girlfriend to top it all off. Strobbe shares some great advice about life and what is important to be happy. You will enjoy this listen with Jim Strobbe.
NOVEMBER 4, 2021
What happens when your worst fear becomes your reality? This week's guest is James Borders. James has a story that should be made into a movie. James grew up 1 of 16 kids in Hayti, Missouri. His dad died when he was a year old. His mom held the family together. James received a life sentence as a first time non-violent defendant. He spent 21 years in the system. His story is inspiring, and you won't meet a more positive person. He remarried his wife, and they have started their own business, a clothing line called "Entwined." James shares how he adapted and survived dealing with a life sentence, and was finally able to set himself free. You will want to listen to this episode!
Check out their clothing line at https://www.entwinedapparel.net/
OCTOBER 28, 2021
What happens when your worst fear becomes your reality? This week Brent interviews Jason Rauschelbach, the former CEO of The Mortgage Store. Jason shares his story of having it all losing it all and then entering the unfamiliar world of Leavenworth. He adapted to make his time work for him in prison. Jason also has some insightful thoughts about life after prison. Jason believes second chances are possible. He has stayed determined to seek opportunities outside of prison.
OCTOBER 21, 2021
What happens when your worst fear becomes your reality? This week's guest is Joey Ramos, or as I know him, “Romo”. He has a heartfelt, gripping story that takes the listener on a journey from a Texas State Maximum Prison to Leavenworth Federal Prison Camp, and then back to Federal “Bloody Beaumont” Maximum Prison in Texas. Romo struggles, but he is always trying to find the right path through his strong Catholic faith. His emotional conversation explores the violence of gangs behind the walls, and his own survival in a dangerous world. Romo believes his passion for boxing saved his life as young teenager. He is now out of prison and helping others as a coach in the boxing world, which fills him up believing he is making a difference in young peoples’ lives.
Romo was my first bunkmate and a tremendous help to me getting "set-up" in the Leavenworth world.
OCTOBER 15, 2021
What happens when your worst fear becomes your reality? This episode, we talk to Jim Clark from Kansas City. We discuss life before prison, in prison, and out of prison. Jim was one of the first guys I met at Leavenworth. He truly helped me get "set up" in prison. I will never forget that act of kindness. He introduced me to the inmate rules. I admired how he was making it work in prison. Jim shares his story of building a respected company, and then publicly losing it all. He held onto his faith and that was the engine that powered him through his journey. This is a reflective open discussion of hard days, inspired days, along with tools Jim used to grit it through. These insightful tools can be useful to apply to our everyday lives.
I am inspired with how Jim is now using his life experience to help others. He is involved with helping to mentor foster kids through an innovative idea that connects the youth to seniors. Come join me for this open intriguing discussion with Jim. I believe you will be glad you did!
OCTOBER 5, 2021
You are probably thinking Nightmare and Success are two words that do not belong together. Brent is here to tell you that they have always co-existed, because if we want to succeed or set ourselves free...we have to walk through our own fears or nightmares to get to where we want to be. Brent has had extreme highs and lows in his life and does not want his experiences to go to waste if he can help someone see that a second chance is possible, or help someone become unstuck to reach their potential. Our experiences build an invisible prison in our minds. The question is: how do we break down those walls to set ourselves free?
SEPTEMBER 29, 2021
What happens when you worst fear becomes your reality. Brent Cassity had it all and lost it all finding himself standing at the Gates of Leavenworth prison. How do you adapt and survive in an unfamiliar unknown world? What tools can help you to overcome obstacles to keep moving forward?
This podcast will explore those topics. Brent will be interviewing the inmates he was with at Leavenworth. They will discuss life before prison, life in prison, and now life outside of prison. These conversations are inspiring, sad, often times funny, and always interesting.