Making Waves at C-Level

Jonathan Mendonsa is the co-founder of the ChooseFI podcast. ChooseFI started in early 2017 out of Jonathan's living room with co-founder Brad Barrett; since then ChooseFI has been downloaded millions of times in over 190 countries and spawned hundreds of ChooseFI local groups with ‘in real life’ meetups in 20+ countries across the globe.

ChooseFI blends personal finance, entrepreneurship and personal development as a life optimization strategy that focuses on intentionality, freedom, community and ultimately happiness.
Jonathan has a PharmD Degree from VCU and started his career as a pharmacist with $168,000 in student loans. He aggressively paid off the loans in 4.5 years and using the tenets of Financial Independence to cut his life expenses significantly, coupled with his business startup, he left his corporate job to focus on full-time entrepreneurship 9 months after starting the podcast.

Direct download: CTED_454.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:25am EDT

Brock Blake believes so deeply in the American Dream that he made it his life’s mission to help small businesses across the country fuel their own aspirations. As Founder and CEO of Lendio, the largest online marketplace of small business loans in America, he has helped thousands of business owners access more than $1 billion in funding.

Shortly after graduating from Brigham Young University, Brock won $50,000 to start a business through an entrepreneurship competition. He turned that money into FundingUniverse, a company that connected entrepreneurs with angel investors and VCs. But the company hit a wall when Brock realized that nearly 99 percent of businesses in the U.S. belong to Main Street rather than Wall Street. So he hit the reset button. Brock shut down FundingUniverse and launched Lendio, a decision he calls painful but necessary, as practically overnight his monthly revenue went from nearly $1 million to $0.

Since then, Lendio’s free-to-use marketplace has become a hub of small business lending, with a network of over 75 lenders offering a variety of loan products to thousands of American entrepreneurs. Brock has likewise seen his star rise. He has been named an Inc. 500 CEO, Utah’s Emerging Executive of the Year, and one of Utah’s top entrepreneurs. But he is most proud of his less public accomplishments, like building a fun-loving, results-hungry company culture while successfully juggling his roles as full-time CEO and full-time father.
About Lendio

Lendio helps business owners find the right small business loans in just minutes. The free online service simplifies the application process, matching qualified business owners with a network of over 75 banks, online lenders, and more. Lendio fuels the American Dream for business owners, facilitating over $1 billion in financing through more than 50,000 loans to-date.
Direct download: CTED_453.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:54am EDT

Thom Singer showed up at a comedy open mic night in March 2018 (at age 51). Nervous as hell, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. A friend, who is a comic, pushed him to give stand up a try.

When he was younger Thom had wanted to do stand up, but never had the guts to try it. But in his 50s his motto is "Try New Things", so when invited to accompany Drew Tarvin to an open mic in New York City, he said YES.

He was not great (but he did not bomb). But it was a solid push out of his comfort zone. Thus he decided to keep with it. He committed to doing 100 open mic nights to see what he would learn.

He is not at 50 open mics, and has performed in two comedy shows (was even paid once). 

But more than the comedy, the experience is teaching Thom about business and life. The learning is huge. 

Comedy is the hardest use of the spoken word. With over 800 professional speeches and 452 podcast episodes, Thom is not shy about being in front of people, but doing stand up has been hard. And he has bombed a few times.

But spending time with comics is teaching him things about business. In this episode he talks about four of those things:

1. Work hard. The comics that make it work hard. They do not half-ass even an open mic night. They put in the time to ensure they are prepared and they treat their comedy as a real job.

2. Craft the details. The success is in the small things. The best comics will work on fine tuning a joke time after time. They realize that good enough is not the answer.

3. Never say die. 100% of the people who quit never make it to the top. If you want to succeed you keep going.

4. Try New Things. This is Thom's life motto. He sees it in the best comics. They try new jokes and new ways to tell them. If you are not satisfied with your results, change your actions.

Direct download: CTED_452.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:14pm EDT

Laura Gassner Otting inspires people to push past the doubt and indecision that keep great ideas in limbo because her presentationsmake listeners think bigger and accept greater challenges that reach beyond their limited scope of belief. She delivers strategic thinking, well-honed wisdom, and perspective generated by decades of navigating change across the start-up, nonprofit, political, as well as philanthropic landscapes. Laura dares listeners to find their voice, and generate the confidence needed to tackle larger-than-life challenges. She leads them to seek new ways of leading, managing and mentoring others.
Laura’s entrepreneurial edge has been well-honed over a 25-year career that started as a Presidential Appointee in Bill Clinton’s White House, where she helped shape AmeriCorps. She left a leadership role at the respected nonprofit search firm, Isaacson, Miller, to expand the startup Laura also founded and ran the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group, which partnered with the full gamut of mission-driven nonprofit executives, from start-up dreamers to scaling social entrepreneurs to global philanthropists. In 2015, Laura sold NPAG to the team that helped her build it, both because she was hungry for the next chapter and because she held an audacious dream of electing our nation’s first female president. Along the way, while serving on Hillary Clinton’s National Finance Committee, she was asked to do a TEDx talk which became so popular that it launched a speaking career.
Laura has spoken across the United States and internationally to universities, companies, conferences, accelerators, TEDx, and the US Military. She is the author of Mission-Driven: Moving from Profit to Purpose (2015) and the upcoming Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve Your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life coming in April 2019 via IdeaPress. She lives with her husband, two teenage sons, and troublesome puppy outside of Boston, MA.
Direct download: CTED_451.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:19pm EDT

Are you asking yourself the right questions on a daily basis? Thom Singer shares his list of "Curious Questions" on episode 450 of Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do.

This episode is about finding you way toward better performance. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut and never take the necessary actions to reaching your potential.

Thom is a solopreneur who has over ten years of experience working for himself, but he often has had those days where he gets nothing done. Since developing his habit of asking these questions on most days he has seen more achievements (he is human and forgets and blows up his routine with busy work sometimes).

Thom Singer's "Curious Questions"

1. What really matters?
2. What brings you joy?
3. How will this impact the business (or your life)?
4. How will this impact others?
5. If you succeed, how will you feel?
6. What did you learn today?
7. What action did you take today?
8. What will you do tomorrow?
9. Who should you meet?
10. Who can you help?

Direct download: CTED_450.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am EDT

Ryan Santwire is a born and raised Northwest product, growing up in the greater Seattle area.  He truly loves the Seattle area, calling it one of the greatest cities in the country, with so much to do and everyone has something in common - dodging rain drops and mud puddles.  

As a kid, he started out by working paper routes, painting houses, mowing lawns and doing whatever it took to make a dollar as a young teen. One of his first full-time jobs, was a busboy in a restaurantthen moving up to waiter and continuing in the restaurant business through his college years.  He was only 19and still in college, when he worked his way into a union job only 30-somethings got into and was the youngest person in the company by 12 years.  From there he leveraged the funds he made to start a liquidation business, an advertising company, a deal company similar to Groupon and many other companies.  

Over the last 20 years, he has been a consultant for corporate and enterprise customers, helping them maneuver through their technology needs and platforms.  He has been involved in billions of dollars in sales, closing some of the biggest deals in the world for Verizon (a Fortune 20 company) with firms like Amazon, Microsoft, Costco, Nordstrom, Getty Images, Weyerhaeuser, Expedia, etc.  He has extensive experience driving sales on a global level with Managed Services, Data Center builds, Application Management, Application Performance, Cloud Services, IT integration, IT Security, ERP, Professional Services and Enterprise IT delivery.  

He has been in senior management positions and loves to roll up his sleeves and work to contribute to whatever aspect that will drive a company and the business forward.  His motto in business and life is, you do whatever it takes to make it work” and believes that we all need to dig in where needed and that were all in this together.  

Ryan is also the president of a Seattle restaurant icon, Paseo.  They have three locations today, with a new Tiki Lounge concept theyve launched, as well as a new location inside T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners.  This is a place Yelp has rated as the #3 restaurant in the country.  Anthony Bourdain has visited on several occasions and called Paseo out as a top place to eat in the Seattle area.  Esquire called it out as having the best sandwich in America, with TLCs Food Network saying it had the 2nd best sandwich in America.  People from all over the world have contacted Ryan about investment and franchise opportunities with Paseo and he is now finally ready to make that a reality.  

He has been involved in energy businesses, technology companies, wine businesses, several restaurant businesses and many other businesses tied to the hospitality business.  He has really been able to tap into those past experiences to better how he works with his opportunities today.  He has truly worked from next to nothing, to a vibrant leader that is always looking for new challenges.     

As for philanthropy, he is also a board member for the Pike Place Market Foundation and previously the American Cancer Society, raising funds and helping support both causes in the Seattle area.  His view is that it is all of our responsibility to help the community grow, have more interaction within, function better overall and to give back wherever we can. He looks at philanthropy as a part of his life and is involved with a variety of additional causes.  

Ryan is an avid oenophile, with aspirations of making some of his wine own someday.   

If you would like to contact Ryan, please email him at  

Direct download: CTED_449.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

New book by Damian Mason - "Do Business Better"

Damian Mason speaks on the two subjects he knows best: Business and Agriculture. Since 1994, he has spoken to nearly 2,000 audiences in all 50 states and 7 foreign countries. 

Damian is a graduate of Purdue University. He also studied comedy writing and improvisation at The Second City – Chicago. Damian is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the National Speakers Association. He is one of only 900 public speakers in the world to hold the Certified Speaking Professional designation. 

When he’s not traveling for work, Damian can be found on his Indiana farm with his wife Lori or escaping from winter at their Arizona residence.

Direct download: CTED_448.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:13pm EDT

John Del Bello of Capital Strategies LLC is an active member of the Austin Technology Council. This episode is co-produced in partnership with the ATC, the largest tech industry organization in Central Texas that empowers members by using insights, resources, and connections their members need to succeed and thrive.
John is the Firm Business Development Director at Capital Strategies.  He oversees all outreach and client services in the start-up(funded) & small business markets throughout Texas and across the country. He has developed a unique & proprietary platform offering employees & teams  at companies with 5-500 employees (majority employ 40-300) Free Financial Education, and Benefits that may include Financial Planning for individuals and any financial services that may not be available through their employer. He has a team of Financial & Investment Advisors that deliver this solution to many companies who lack these services.
Capital Strategies LLC has been operating in the mid-size company space for more than 6 years with a similar offering with great success. At CS our mission is to provide a client focused approach in a collaborative process that delivers valuable strategies to each client and provides expertise and customized solutions based on our team of specialists.
Hear John's story on Episode 447 of the "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" podcast.
Direct download: CTED_447.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:42am EDT

April 1, 2019 marks ten years since Thom Singer became a full time professional speaker. He was laid off from his corporate marking job on the first day of April in 2009 (the bottom of the Great Recession), and he has never looked back.

The journey has been difficult. When he was let go from his job he knew there were not many opportunities in marketing available, so he decided to jump in full time to making a go at professional speaking.

Being a professional speaker was something he had dreamed of doing. While working in a career in sales and marketing he had attended a lot of events that featured motivational speakers and other thought leaders. Because he was not sure he was in the right job, he would watch these presentations and think "They have a cooler job than I do".

Alas he had not choice but to follow his dream, and in 2009 he went full steam ahead into a career as a professional speaker.

His family and friends were supportive. Many people in his network when out of their way to make introductions to companies and associations that hosted meetings and got him considered for the keynote speech.

But the most important thing that happen was meeting other speakers. It was connections he made in the National Speakers Association who showed him how to do the business side of being a professional speaker. Being good on stage is just one part.

In this episode Thom shares his journey. He openly talks about the ups and the downs of the last decade. 

Check out Episode 446 and hear Thom Singer's story about becoming a professional speaker and sustaining that for over ten years.

Direct download: CTED_446.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:36am EDT