Crossfit Mudtown: Jacki Rodgers


Today we’re taking a more nuanced approach and we’re going to hear some thoughts specifically on the subject of fitness. The longer I live the more I am convinced that fitness has the ability to change so much more than just our physical bodies. It affects our minds, our relationships, our confidence, our sleep, our grit, our energy levels, our focus. There aren’t a whole lot of areas in our lives that aren’t touched by how we take care of our physical bodies. To help me talk through this subject I have recruited my dear friend and coach, Jacki Rodgers. Jacki is a co-owner at Crossfit Mudtown in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a force to be reckoned with. She’s loud, insanely energetic and has a huge personality. As a coach she’ll kick your butt when you need it and if you work out with her, she’ll kick your butt there, as well. She’s also incredibly compassionate and cares deeply about each and every person that steps foot into her gym.

How do you know if this episode is for you? We discussed: 

  • The truth about our why we limit ourselves and what to do about it
  • The power of fitness to transform our lives
  • Why mindset is so important and how to train it for maximum effectiveness
  • The humble necessity of caring for others and allowing others to care for us

Great Bear Wax Co: Jake Carnley


Jake Carnley is the founder of Great Bear Wax Co. and they make some of the most amazing candles you’ll ever smell. Jake started pouring candles in his apartment while he was attending Auburn University in 2013 and since then he’s seen the brand really take off. They’ve been able to get in to some large retailers and he’s hoping to announce partnerships with more stores you’ve definitely heard of very soon. I was curios to hear what Jake’s journey has been like and why he chose to build a business selling candles in the first place. 

How do you know if this episode is for you? We discuss:

  • How to recover strategically after a big failure
  • Why more people need to take more chances
  • The power of maintaining a vision you believe in 
  • Empowering beliefs and why Jake believes you have what it takes

Check out Great Bear Wax Co online and go buy a few candles:




Mason Music: Will Mason


Will Mason's plan was to be a rockstar. That was until his band got dropped from their label. Having no backup plan, Will was forced to figure out what to do next. Through a fateful interaction with a kid wanting to learn to play the guitar, he realized he loved teaching people to play music. Shortly thereafter, he started Mason Music. Today he has four locations and employs dozens of teachers. I think you'll learn a lot from Will's story and his thoughts on letting go of control on the path to pursuing a dream.  


How do you know if this episode is for you? We discuss:

  • One question to help your team stay super focused
  • How to set super high standards for you and your team
  • The surprising force behind redundant communication
  • Control vs Growth and why you can't have both

Books Mentioned:

E-Myth by Michael Gerber 

Check out Mason Music:



Knight Eady: Michael Eady


Michael Eady believes in the power of sports to transform lives. So much so, that he founded his entire company on this belief. Knight Eady is a sports marketing and event management company based in Birmingham, Alabama. I've really enjoyed watching their growth since their start in 2013 and I'm inspired by how they're building this company. I sat down with Michael to pick his brain on company culture development and how he's been forced to change as a leader.

How do you know if this episode is for you? Here's a few things we discussed:

  • Why sometimes leaving a "secure" job is your best option
  • How to think about work culture and the advantages of working with Millenials
  • The importance of partnerships that balance your weaknesses
  • The value of intense self development

Books we discussed:

The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday

Zkano Socks: Gina Locklear

In its heyday, there were over 100 active sock mills in Forty Payne, Alabama. However, due to outsourcing and cheaper overseas manufacturing, all but a few of them have shut down their mills for good. That did not deter Gina Locklear from starting her own sock company, Zkano, in 2008. I’m fascinated by stories of people who defy the odds to start something they believe in, especially in an industry that is so challenging. Gina was kind enough to invite me to her mill, show me around and talk to me about how she got into the business and the adversity she’s had to overcome to make her dream a reality. 

gina crop.jpg

How do you know if this issue is for you? We discuss: 

  • The power of grit and why sometimes you just need to keep going
  • Why conventional wisdom should sometimes be ignored
  • The importance of attention to detail and the value it creates
  • Why prioritizing your team in good times and bad is so important

Check out Zkano online. These socks are incredibly comfortable and make for great Christmas gifts:

Steel City Pops: Jim Watkins

In 2012, opening a storefront that only sold popsicles may have seemed like a pretty crazy idea; but today, Steel City Pops is a growing brand with new locations opening all over the Southeast. The founder is Jim Watkins and this is a true grit and grind story of a leader who dreamed a dream and wouldn't give up until he succeeded. I'm a huge fan of Steel City Pops and Jim's story is as inspiring as it is insightful. 


    jim watkins.jpg

    How do you know if this episode is for you? We discuss:

    • How to build and develop an autonomous and responsible team
    • When you should bring more people into your decision making process and why
    • Why determination is such a valuable trait when starting an endeavor
    • The unexpected challenges growth can bring

    Mental Floss: Will Pearson

    There’s no roadmap for the entrepreneurial journey, no one to tell you what to do, how to do it and when to have it done by. The leaders who prevail are the ones who just keep going, trying option after option until they find an effective path. This was true for Will Pearson, who started Mental Floss out of his college dorm room and eventually grew it into a quirky business with millions of fans. There’s something to be said for believing in an idea and relentlessly executing until completion. 

    will pearson .jpg

    Here are a few of the things we discussed in this episode:

    • How naivety and a lack of industry knowledge worked in Will’s favor
    • The importance of keeping an open mind in looking for new opportunities and revenue streams 
    • Why business growth is a process of gradual shifts and organic evolution
    • The advice Will would give his college self, any anyone else starting something today

    Check out Will’s new podcast Part Time Genius, you’re bound to learn something interesting!

    Tricia Wallwork: Milo's Tea

    tricia wallwork with tea.jpg

    Growing a tea company from a regional brand with a few product offerings to a large CPG (consumer package goods) with a national presence is no small feat. Tricia Wallwork started her career as an attorney before switching course to join the family business. On her path to CEO, she took on many roles and learned the company from the inside out. Today, the company is growing at an incredible rate and Tricia was kind enough to share insights she's learned from her journey. 

    How do you know if this episode is for you? Here's a few things we discussed:

    - How to create a loyal fanbase through attention to quality

    - Key lessons for young professionals looking to advance in their career

    - Why stepping away from work to unplug is so important

    - Daily habits that enrich the mind and body


    Check out Milo's Tea on: 




    The web




    This is the final episode of Season 2. I've learned a TON from the leaders I've interviewed and I hope you have, too. Here are 5 of the most valuable lessons I learned: 



    Bringing New Life to a Struggling Company - Liz Pharo

    We've all been forced into situations that we didn't know how to handle, where the only choice was to move forward. That's exactly where Liz Pharo found herself four years ago. After the unfortunate passing of her father, Liz had to decide what to do with Momentum Telecom, a struggling company he owned. Rather than duck and run, Liz decided to make some major changes within the company's leadership and bring in a new CEO. Since then, the company has done a complete 180 and is now not only profitable, but expanding. Liz had guts and vision and is a woman and leader we all can learn from.

    How do you know if this episode is for you? Here's a few of the things we discussed: 

    • Overcoming difficult obstacles in pursuit of a big goal
    • Making decisions based on a mix of data and gut instinct
    • Why clear goals are so important for a team
    • Asking for help and why humility is vital to growth

    Connect with Liz: 

    On Facebook

    On Twitter

    Momentum Telecom

    The Transformative Power Of Insane Challenges - Kent Stewart

    There's no question that if you want to grow, you have to make decisions that put you outside of your comfort zone. Each new level of discomfort leaves us feeling stronger, more confident and better equipped to take on the next challenge. My guest today is a man who pushes himself physically, mentally and emotionally farther than anyone I've ever met. Kent Stewart is attempting to climb the highest mountain peak on each continent. He's climbed six so far, with only Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, remaining. Hands down, this is one of my favorite Bold Future interviews. I like it so much because Kent is an amazing man and leader and because I don't know anyone else who has even attempted something like this. I left my conversation with him inspired and changed. I hope you find it as impactful as I did. 

    How do you know if this episode is for you? Here's a few of the things we discussed: 

    • Why big challenges are so important and what they do to us
    • Choosing goals and the importance of visualizing their accomplishment
    • How to get momentum toward a goal that will help you see it through to completion
    • Automating our decision making through strong daily habits

    Connect with Kent: 

    On Facbook

    On Twitter

    His company, Reli Title

    Anthony Hood, Ph.D, Professor, UAB Collat School of Business

    Today, we dive into the world of academia to hear form Dr. Anthony Hood. Dr. Hood has done some very interesting research about friendships in the workplace and the implications they can have on culture. Admittedly, academic papers are outside of my usual business and leadership musings, but there are a lot of great lessons for us to learn here. 

    Jonathan Owen, Camp Director, Camp Straight Street

    You may not think there's much you can learn about leadership from a kid's summer camp, but Jonathan Owen is not your typical Camp Director. I've had the privilege of knowing him since we were in high school and over the years I've seen him develop into a deeply caring and compassionate leader. For 9 long weeks during the summer, Jonathan is the Camp Director at Camp Straight Street. Tasked with the extremely challenging and delicate responsibility of caring for children, he is their friend, confidant, entertainer and minister. Jonathan has continued to shape the camp into an amazing ministry to children and a resource for the community. I love Jonathan's heart for people, his desire to see his staff develop as leaders and his sincere belief that every child matters. 

    Bebe Goodrich, Founder, Icebox Coffee

    Bebe Goodrich started Icebox Coffee in her garage with just a bag of coffee and a bucket. Though she began with no entrepreneurial or business background, she has grown the company over the last few years to be a nationwide player in the coldbrew coffee market. Bebe is a remarkable person with relentless resolve and an attitude that is inspiring. I love that Bebe is vulnerable enough to admit she doesn't have all the answers and is willing to seek the help she needs to propel her forward. She is definitely a leader and entrepreneur that we should all seek to emulate. 

    Check out Icebox Coffee:

    Connect with Icebox:

    On Twitter

    On Facebook

    Book Bebe mentioned:

    Atlas Shrugged

    William Bell, Mayor, City of Birmingham

    Public officials are scrutinized more intensely than maybe any other type of leader. With so many responsibilities to so many different people it's impossible to keep everyone happy all the time. Today, I talked with Mayor William Bell about his path to public office and what he's learned during his tenure. We also discuss how he handles adversity, naysayers and persistent detractors. As with any city, there's always room for improvement, but Birmingham is on a positive trajectory in many regards and it was an honor to sit down and talk with Mayor Bell. Enjoy!

    Connect with Mayor Bell:

    On Facebook

    On Twitter

    Tony Summerville, Founder & CEO, Fleetio

    There are a lot of people who talk about starting businesses, but far fewer who go out and make it happen. Tony Summerville founded Fleetio, a fleet management software company, in 2012 and has been building a solid team both locally and remotely all over the country (and Mexico). Tony is a doer and I am grateful for his friendship as well as the inspiration he is to entrepreneurs and leaders everywhere.  I hope you enjoy his story and the rich lessons we can learn from him. 

    Connect with Tony:




    Book Tony mentioned:

    First Break All Rules


    Thanks for listening!!


    Bill Clark, Head Football Coach, UAB

    I love hearing stories of leaders who have prevailed against great adversity and today's guest, Coach Bill Clark, has experienced his share. In 2014, it was announced that the UAB football program was being cancelled and he would need to find employment elsewhere. Coach Clark decided to fight for what he thought was right for his players and the community and find a way to reinstate the team. The battle was hard fought and painful, but the lessons he shared about his journey are invaluable. 

    Connect with Coach Clark

    Coach Clark on Twitter

    UAB Football 

    Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director, Equal Justice Iniative

    I am super pumped about this interview with Bryan Stevenson! He is one of my all time favorite leaders and I am fascinated by him and his work. Bryan is the Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and is doing very challenging but extremely valuable work in the criminal justice system. His book, Just Mercy, is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and is a compelling case for fighting for what's right despite the obstacles and seeming hopelessness. There's a lot to learn from Bryan and I hope this episode both encourages you and challenges you to think about what you're willing to go through for the benefit of other people.