Eagle Nation Podcast

Eagle Nation Podcast

United States

Welcome to the Eagle Nation Podcast! We’re excited to bring you a weekly dose of Eagle Fire through compelling discussions with inspiring guests, on topics that you care about. We’ll explore veterans, community, nonprofits, fitness, and leadership. Please be sure to subscribe to podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or however you get your podcasts. We’d also love you to be a part of the show. Please send any ideas, comments, or questions to podcast@TeamRWB.org. You can also hit us up on Twitter @TeamRWB by using the hashtag: #EaglePodcast.


EP036 - The Eagle Leader Fellows Podcast  

The need for leadership in our country has never been greater.  That is why we created the Eagle Leader Fellow Program.


This week is a very special episode as we talk with three of Team RWB’s Eagle Leader Fellows.  These leaders have spent the past several months on a mission to make their communities stronger.  


You’ll hear from Dennis Volpe (Jacksonville, FL), Marissa May (Omaha, NE), and Kris Lord (San Francisco, CA).  They share their experiences of taking up the mantle of leadership and how they’ve grown as individuals through the process.


The Eagle Leader Fellowship is a 12-month leadership development experience with a focus on leadership education, mentorship, and experiential learning.  Our first full class of fellows have done and absolutely amazing job (we’ve hired 5 of them to the full-time staff).  Applications are opening soon for the next class of fellows.  If you have a heart for service, a desire to lead, and think you have what it takes to make your community stronger…please follow this link to learn more.



EP035 - The Yoga Edition with Barry Peterson and Ed Stancombe  

In preparation for our first ever Team RWB national Yoga event, Eagle Namasday on December 3, we’ve got a great show this week with 2 unique individuals - Barry Peterson, and Ed Stancombe.  


Yoga, plays a huge part in both of their lives, and we’re excited to share it with you.  We cover some great topics, to include:

  What is Yoga? Why Yoga has been embraced by the military, after being shunned for years. The physical and mental benefits of Yoga. Eagle Namasday, and what you can expect.    

No matter if you’ve ever been in a Yoga studio or not, there’s a ton to gleam from this podcast.  We hope you enjoy it!

EP034 - Leadership through Basketball, and Parenting Young Athletes with Coach Babe Kwasniak  

Babe Kwasniak is not only a Army veteran, but he’s a nationally recognized basketball coach who has moved back to his hometown to coach and lead in his community.  He’s been incredibly successful, both on the court and in developing his players into productive members of society.  In this episode, we have an engaging conversation about a wide range to topics to include:

Military lessons in leadership that he uses on the basketball court Parenting young athletes The challenges and opportunities of leading teenagers Using social media as a leadership tool Babe is a thrilling guy, so don’t miss this episode!
EP033 - Jenifer Smith on a non-traditional military path and a life of priorities  

Jenifer Smith's military career has been a winding path and has taken many shapes. From an injury at Marine Corps bootcamp, to college at Norwich University, to the National Guard, Active Duty, Reserves, and Contractor - she has experienced the military from almost every angle. 

In this week's podcast, we have a great conversation around the challenges and opportunities in taking a non-traditional route. During the second half of the podcast, we get into some really good stuff like:

Finding a community you relate to The perils of over-committing How to identify and manage your true priorities The importance of investing in relationships
EP032 - The Election Episode with Dr. Jason Dempsey  

Dr. Jason Dempsey is a lot of things:

A Senior Fellow at CNAS An author and prolific writer An entrepreneur A former White House Fellow Former special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff A retired Infantry Officer in the Army  

But, luckily, he’s an expert in military demographics and politics, as well.  In this episode, we have a thrilling, and somewhat controversial conversation about politics, and the upcoming election.  We cover topics like:

  His book, Our Army, and how he was the first person to comprehensively study political views in the Army.   Why it’s dangerous for military leaders to get involved in politics How he believes the best way for civilians to support members of the military is by holding military senior leaders accountable. His role in the podcast Serial His military startup, Millie.  

Jason is brilliant, an original thinker, and brave enough to say things that most people won’t - don’t miss this episode.

EP031 - Todd Connor on Thinking Beyond Tech, Starting a B2B, and Timing  

Todd Connor is a Navy veteran and the CEO of Bunker Labs, an incredible nonprofit organization that helps veterans to achieve their dreams through entrepreneurship.  Over the past couple of years, Bunker Labs has grown from their original location in Chicago, to having chapters in over 10 cities across the country.  They provide support through mentorship, training, education, peer support, and even funding.


Through an innovative online platform at www.BunkerInABox.org, veteran entrepreneurs can embark on a 14 mission journey that takes them through the necessarily steps to start their business.


Recently, Team RWB has partnered with Bunker Labs in the development of our very own e-learning platform, EagleLeader.org (coming soon).


Todd and I have a great conversation about transitioning from the military and how starting a business may be a great option.  We cover topics like:

  When is it the right time to leave your day job, if at all? How to create minimally viable product to test your business idea Why starting a business-to-business company is a smart move Thinking beyond “tech” …and a whole lot more  

Todd is an extremely engaging and inspiring guy, and we hope you enjoy our conversation.

EP030 - What We've Learned So Far  

The first six months of the Eagle Nation Podcast have flown by.  We are 30 episodes into this journey and it has been a blast so far.  We have had some amazing guests and have covered a lot of really interesting topics.  This week, we thought it would be cool to pause and take a look back at what we've learned so far.

In this episode, JJ and I talk about:

The best advice we've been given on the podcast Questions we wish we'd asked How we've grown through this process Not letting perfect be the enemy of good The vision for Team RWB's future

A bunch of listeners have asked us for a consolidated list of some of our favorite books and podcasts that we've mentioned on the show.  Here to go!

Our favorite podcasts:

TED Radio Hour Freakonomics Radio Tim Ferriss Show Barbell Business

Our favorite books:

Contagious Tribe Zero to One Start With Why Daring Greatly Fooled by Randomness Originals Good to Great
EP029 - Doug McCormick on running your family like a business and economic empowerment for Veterans and military families  

Doug McCormick is a lot of things - an Army Veteran (Infantry), a small business owner, a skilled investment banker, a Veteran advocate, and financial author, just to name a few.  In this podcast, we talk about economic empowerment for the military community, and why the traditional model of investing and asset allocation is imperfect.

We cover a ton of great content, including:

His book, Family, Inc. Economic empowerment for Veterans and Military Spouses The striking lack of financial literacy in America, and why it's a problem
EP028 - Bill Hecht - COO of the Westfield Corporation,  on Building Community, Hiring Veterans and Giving Back.  

In this podcast, we talk to the COO of one of the world’s premier shopping center companies, the Westfield Corporation - Bill Hecht.  We discuss what it takes to bring the community together in a physical space, being part of rebuilding their World Trade Center location after 9/11, why supporting veterans is important to Westfield (and him personally), and the Old Glory Relay.   

We cover a ton of content in this podcast, to include:

Westfield’s support of The Old Glory Relay Being part of rebuilding at the World Trade Center post 9/11 The importance of community in America
EP027 - Secretary of  Veterans Affairs, the Honorable Robert McDonald  

The Eagle Nation Podcast is the official podcast of Team Red, White, and Blue and this week, we have a very special guest.  Host, Blayne Smith, is joined by Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Honorable Robert McDonald…or as he prefers, Bob.

Bob was nice enough to invite us into his office during a recent trip to D.C., and we had a great conversation.  During this episode, we address a number of topics that are on the front of Veterans’ minds.  Of course, we touch on leadership.  Bob tells us how he has managed to recruit some amazing people into VA and how building a values-based culture is the only way to ensure excellent service.

We also talk about the role of Veteran in managing his/her transition from military life and the need for Veterans to assume a mantle of leadership in our communities and country.

Finally, we dive into healthcare.  Bob provides his thoughts on recent calls for privatization of the VA and discusses the importance of having a healthcare system that addresses the whole person and focuses on preventative care.

Team RWB and VA have a strong and growing relationship in our collective effort to serve Veterans and build strong communities.  You won’t want to miss this episode!

EP026 - Best Selling Author Jonah Berger on creating contagious content, invisible influence and how to get people involved  

In this podcast, we talk to best selling author and professor at the Wharton School, Dr. Jonah Berger.  He’s a thought leader on the academic side of what causes certain content to go viral, how influence plays a part in all of our lives, and we discuss how this relates to life and Team RWB.   

We cover a ton of content in this podcast, to include:

How his book, Contagious, has influenced Team RWB How to get people involved The Invisible Influence that shapes all our lives
EP025 - Eric Garcia on beating addiction and the power of serving others  

Eric Garcia has been lost.  After an impressive military career that included assignments with the 75th Ranger Regiment and the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (Old Guard), his life took a turn for the worst.  In 2010, Eric found himself homeless, addicted, and on the way to rehab.  Just 7 months later, he started a small nonprofit to support Veterans through fitness and fellowship.  He soon found Team RWB and in the time since has been one of our very best volunteer leaders.

Today, Eric serves other Veterans as a case manager at the Salvation Army in Tampa, Florida.  He is working on a Mission Continues fellowship and will complete his degree in psychology next spring.  Eric spends his time in trenches, meeting Veterans where they are at, everyday.  His perspective is absolutely priceless.

This episode is a very raw and honest conversation that speaks to all of us.  Please take it to heart and share with your friends.

EP024 - Patricia Walsh on real vs. perceived disabilities and triathlon  

In this episode, we talk to one of the best paratriathletes in world, Patricia Walsh. She is currently representing the USA at the Paralympics in Rio, and is an all-around amazing person.

We talk about a lot of great stuff including:

Para-triathlon Her TED Talk Getting a STEM degree as a blind person Her competitive fire and how it drives her accomplish whatever she sets her mind to
EP023 - Benjamin Bunn on transition, entrepreneurship, and making peace with a life of violence  

To say that Ben Bunn is interesting would be a massive understatement.  The guy is a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, has served as a Green Beret and Infantry officer, and has a tattoo of Chuck Norris on his left arm.  More importantly, Ben is a smart and thoughtful guy that is in a middle of making what I'm sure will be an excellent transition from active duty.  He and his partner own Cigar City CrossFit in Tampa and are building a really strong community.

In this episode, we dive into some deep stuff, including:

Taking a proactive approach to transition Why starting a business is scary and thrilling Quiet moments and why they are so hard Reconciling a violent past Committing to a life helping others

This is a really honest conversation and we hope that you'll take a lot from it.  

EP022 - Tommy Caldwell on rock climbing, adventure parenting, and assessing risk  

In this episode,we talk with one of the greatest rock climbers to ever live, Tommy Caldwell. We talk about his long-time involvement in Team RWB, rock climbing as a post counter-culture sport, and how being a family man has changed his outlook on life.

We cover a ton a really exciting topics including:

The Epic Rope Swing He and Alex Honold completing The Fitz Traverse His ground breaking free climb or the Dawn Wall Tommy's biggest fear
EP021 - Brian Stann on attitude, fighting, and how to get up off the mat  

Brian Stann is the CEO of Hire Heroes USA, an organization that has helped thousands of Veterans find high-quality careers. He is also one of the toughest and most accomplished people you'll ever meet. Brian played football at the US Naval Academy before being commissioned in the United States Marine Corps, where he would earn the Silver Star during one of his tours in Iraq. Never one to slow down, Brian became a professional fighter, eventually becoming the heavy-middleweight champion of the World Extreme Cage Fighting Championship and a top middleweight contender in the Ultimate Fighter Championship. In addition to all of this, he holds down one of the world's hardest jobs as the father of three young daughters.

We cover a lot of ground in this podcast, including:

Finding a passion outside of work How to promote your abilities without being arrogant The importance of a great attitude Who he'd like to fight again And so much more!

Brian is an incredibly inspiring guy and we guarantee that this episode will leave you ready to run through a brick wall.

EP020 - Simon Sinek on Leading in a Virtual Space and Owning Your "Why"  

In this episode, we talk with best-selling author and leadership expert, Simon Sinek.  We have a great conversation about ideas like: applying the "Circle of Safety" in the virtual world, why digital relationships will never replace actual relationships, and how 3/4 of an answer is better than an answer and a half.

Simon was a pleasure to talk with and he's been a long-time supporter of Team RWB.

We cover a ton of content in this podcast, including:

Leading in a virtual/distributed environment The "Circle of Safety" How knowing your personal "why" is critical to effective leadership Why in-person meetings are vital, and often overlooked
EP019 - Theresa Larson on being a woman in uniform, overcoming perfectionism, and the importance of owning your story  

Theresa Larson is a woman with many titles and one inspiring story.  She's played college and professional softball, served as a US Marine, and is now a doctor of physical therapy in San Diego.  In her recent memoir, Warrior, Theresa bravely shares her story of being platoon commander in Iraq and battling some inner demons.

We have a very raw and honest conversation about:

The issues that come with being a perfectionist The challenges of being a female Marine officer How movement and exercise helps us overcome trauma The importance of owning and sharing our stories
EP018 - Nate Boyer on Lifelong Learning and Football  

In this episode, we talk with Nate Boyer - relief worker, Green Beret, Texas Longhorn football player, and all-around great guy.  He is a pleasure to talk to and we are thrilled to have him as both a long-time member of Team RWB and a guest on the show!

We cover a ton of ground of this one, including:

Lifelong learning and having a growth mindset Texas Longhorn football Breaking the 10,000 hour rule Bringing Veterans to Hollywood
EP017 - Maj. Gen. (Ret) Chris Cortez from Microsoft on Veteran employment and Old Glory Relay  

Major General (Retired) Chris Cortez served in the United States Marine Corps for 33 years. As an Infantry officer, he led Marines at every level, from platoon to division. After leaving the military, Chris took on a new mission at Microsoft and has committed himself to supporting Veterans that are interesting in moving into the tech industry. Through the Microsoft Software & Systems Academy, Veterans are getting incredible training and certifications that put them on the path to jobs, not only at Microsoft, but with companies across the tech sector.

In this conversation, we talk with MG (ret) Cortez about:

His transition from the military and how he found his new mission Why Veterans are great employees for the tech sector The power of Old Glory Relay and how it brings communities together How Veterans can get training that leads to high-paying job Why Microsoft is "all-in" on supporting Team RWB
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