Interview: Aaron McDaniel, young professional

Aaron McDanielAaron McDaniel is a corporate manager, entrepreneur, public speaker and community leader. Aaron has held diverse management roles at AT&T, being one of the youngest to serve as Regional Vice President. Still in his 20’s, Aaron is a serial entrepreneur and founder of multiple ventures including Young Professional’s Edge (YP Edge), a company focused on empowering young professionals to succeed in their careers. A graduate of UC Berkeley’s Undergraduate Haas School of Business, he taught a highly rated student-led course on leadership.

Outside of his professional life, Aaron is an avid international traveler, having visited 33 countries to date. Passionate about giving back, Aaron founded the Jill Wakeman Foundation for Equality and is an active community volunteer in San Francisco where he lives.

Young Professionals GuideAaron is also the author of The Young Professional’s Guide to the Working World: Savvy Strategies to Get In, Get Ahead, and Rise to the Top, due out in late September of this year. In the book, Aaron provides key insights relevant to young professionals who are looking to build successful careers, including providing the 25 attributes that all successful young professionals need to develop.

Pro-Track Profile

I talked with Aaron recently about his background. To hear what he told me, and the specific advice he has for young professionals who want to be successful in their careers, as well as his impressions of the National Speakers Association Pro-Track class that he is part of, click on the podcast icon below.

Interview: Ann Rea – Artist, Speaker, Businesswoman

Ann ReaSan Francisco-based artist Ann Rea creates an Experience of Art™ for select patrons that is an innovative blend of new and old world mediums. Patrons choose their favorite landscape and join this nationally acclaimed artist for a tour of that special place, one that holds their heart’s most meaningful memories.

The artist returns to paint several studies in oils on canvas, shaping colors inspired by sunlight. Week by week, patrons witness the evolution of their painting by way of a dedicated online creative diary. They then choose one or more studies for Ann Rea to reinterpret on larger custom canvases.

A beautiful signed storybook chronicles this personal experience.

Ann Rea draws on the tradition of the French Impressionists and the influences of her mentor, contemporary painter Wayne Thiebaud, an American art icon. Rea continues to garner national media attention, including in magazines such as Fortune and Wine Enthusiast. Ann Rea hosts a limited number of in-studio visits as well as Art & Wine Pairings.

She is also a spellbinding guest speaker at conferences and business events where she shares her inspiring personal story and innovative business approach to the art market. Visit her website to see samples of her amazing art.

Pro-Track Profile

I talked with Ann recently and asked her about her background as a San Francisco-based artist and the inspiration for the unique experience of art she shares with clients. To hear what she told me, and her impressions of the National Speakers Association Pro-Track class that she is part of, click on the podcast icon below.

Interview: Rachna Srivastava – Geek Woman Speaker

Rachna SrivastavaRachna Srivastava is a passionate speaker. Her goal is to inspire and empower girls, women and other underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and math. Her vision is of a global program that nurtures and encourages technical and mathematical skills in women and other minority groups. Rachna is a software developer with 15 years experience in software analysis, design, development and implementation. Her educational background includes a Masters in Business Administration in Finance (MBA), Masters in Science in Statistics (MS) and Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. She is currently a Software Engineer at HP working with development teams in a complex, globally-dispersed environment. Before joining HP in 2010 she worked as a Software Engineer at IBM for nearly nine years.

Women in Information Technology

Rachna asks, “Did you know that in the next decade, the national demand for scientists and engineers is expected to increase four times that of all other occupations? But where are women? The population of women in information technology has dropped from 40% of the workforce in 1986 to only 20% now and the number is still dropping.”

The importance of inclusion and diversity

Rachna lists three reasons why we should care about having women leaders in technology:

  1. A recent study done at MIT shows that a well-managed diverse group produces more innovative solution to problems than homogeneous groups. Why is so? We know that to create innovation we have to have diversity of thoughts and in order to have diverse thoughts we need to have diverse set of people bringing these ideas.
  2. Women tend to be emphatic and empathy creates a more complete picture of issues, which contributes to changing consumer behavior. This understanding is critical to both product development and product marketing.
  3. Women are good collaborators, they are more likely to ask for advice and consider other peoples opinion. They encourage employees participation, and when employees participate they feel powerful and important and get them excited about their work. This is good not only for employees but also for the organization.

You can read more on this and other topics on her Geek Woman Speaker blog.

Pro-Track Profile

I met with Rachna and asked her about her background and the initial steps she is taking on her journey to get the word out about her important message. To hear what she told me, and her impressions of the National Speakers Association Pro-Track class that she is part of, click on the podcast icon below.

Interview – Cynthia Klein: Speaker, Educator, Author

Cynthia KleinSince 1994, Cynthia Klein has been guiding parents to creating happy and healthy families. As a speaker to over three hundred groups, Cynthia has given parents the tools and confidence to improve their family dynamics. Her presentations are interactive, highly visual and easy for parents to apply to their own family situations. Parents leave encouraged that they are able to make positive changes. Cynthia’s clients have included the parents at Stanford University, Kaiser Permanente, The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, The Children’s Health Council and Hewlett-Packard.

Cynthia works privately with parents who want to make permanent improvements in their families. The wisdom she has gained from successfully raising her strong-willed young adult daughter is invaluable in understanding each parent’s struggle and prescribing the correct solutions. Her success lies in her amazing ability to first accurately assess family dynamics. Then Cynthia creates unique and individualized strategies during her interviews with the parents. This fine-tuned approach fixes the foundation of family problems. Parents gain wisdom of how to apply their newly learned beliefs and actions to other family situations.

Cynthia authors the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. Her education background includes a B.A. in Psychology from Berkeley and a Training and Human Resources Certificate from U.C. Santa Cruz along with certificates from four parent education institutions. She has also been credentialed in California and New Mexico where she taught elementary school. Her greatest pride, though, is that her 23 year-old-college graduated daughter is self-sufficient, calls her for guidance and considers Cynthia her mentor.

Cynthia’s website is Bridges 2 Understanding.

Pro-Track Profile

I met Cynthia at a recent National Speakers Association Northern California Chapter Pro-Track class and asked her about her professional focus and what attracted her to Pro-Track. To hear what she had to tell me, click on the podcast icon below.

Interview: Rod Dunican – Wikipedia expert

Rod DunicanRod Dunican is an accomplished senior manager and trainer, whose entire career has been centered on delivering exceptional results with a positive, “can do” attitude. With more than 25 years of experience, Rod shares his thirst for learning, managing and personal growth to help individuals and organizations thrive.

Professionally, he has served in the roles of Director of Project Management, Director of Operations and Chief Operating Officer. In 2003, he began Rod Ventures, an organizational learning and development company specializing in management consulting, training and project management. He recently led a team to complete a successful, two-year $1.25 million project for Wikimedia—the non-profit that guides and runs Wikipedia.

Having provided training for start-ups, non-profits and Fortune 500 companies such as Chevron, Gap, Cisco and Wikimedia, Rod continues to be fascinated by existing and emerging organizational cultures and their affects on the people within those cultures. Since experience has taught Rod that business is always personal, he often uses the workplace as a starting point to coach individuals.

As a speaker and trainer in the U.S. as well as internationally, he has engaged audiences in conferences, universities, and corporate settings. His low-key, fun approach to the insanity of work, life and parenting has led to seminars that include: “We Need to Talk: The Perils and Challenges of Speaking in Public”, “Presentations Skills for Introverts” , “Relationships, One Man’s Perspective” and more.

Pro-Track Profile

I caught up with Rod at a National Speakers Association (NSA) Northern California Pro-Track class and asked him about his work training academics and others on behalf of Wikimedia. We wondered if there was a Wikiepdia entry for the NSA. There is, although members could probably contribute more content to make it a richer resource. Finally, Rod shared what attracted him to enroll in Pro-Track.

To hear what Rod told me, click on the podcast icon below.

Interview: Timothy Tosta – transformative listener

Timothy TostaTimothy Tosta is a cancer survivor, a seasoned hospice volunteer and a widely acclaimed speaker and lecturer. He is the author of two books and a featured columnist of the Daily Journal, California’s leading daily legal newspaper. Tim is an executive coach to legal and business communities. He also is recognized as one of California’s leading land-use and environmental attorneys.

Tim has spoken at annual meetings, conferences and conventions of, among others, the American Bar Association, American Institute of Architects, American Planning Association, California State Bar Real Estate Section, California State Bar Trusts and Estates Section, National Association of Real Estate Editors, Practicing Law Institute, California Association of Appellate Lawyers, Urban Land Institute, California City Managers Foundation, Association of Corporate Counsel, and California Coalition for Compassionate Care. In addition to the topics of planning, development, sustainability and the environment, related to his legal career, Tim is a frequent speaker to legal and business gatherings on topics of human potential, fulfilled living, and conscious dying.

Transformative Listening

Tim’s currently most requested talk is Transformative Listening, in which he describes how one of the most fundamental human competencies in establishing and maintaining relationships – listening – has become a lost art. Tim shares what he has learned about listening from his experiences as a 37 year veteran of law practice, a 20 year cancer survivor, a parent and husband and an eight year hospice volunteer. Tim demonstrates how to build listening skills that allow you to break through communication barriers that separate you from authentic relationships and fulfilled living.

Author and Blogger

Tim is the author of #DEATH tweet, Book 01 – A Well Lived Life through 140 Perspectives on Death and Its Teachings and #DEATH tweet, Book 02 – 140 Perspectives on Being a Supportive Witness to the End of Life. He currently is writing his third book, with his wife Nancy, #DOG tweet – 140 Perspectives on What Our Dogs Teach Us About Being Human. In addition to his monthly columns for the Daily Journal, Tim also blogs on life and death issues at Coaching Counsel.

Pro-Track Profile

I had a chance to talk with Tim at a recent Pro-Track 2012 class. I asked him about his background as a native of the Bay Area, his legal career and life since he was diagnosed with cancer 20 years ago. He told me about his work with the dying in hospices and what career professionals can learn from this. To hear what he told me, click on the podcast icon below.

Interview: Larry Dodd – Change Agent

Larry DoddLarry Dodd is a proven financial leader, consultant and trainer who applies an innovative, people-centered approach that helps the teams that he serves turn problems into business opportunities.

His professional career includes CFO roles with Robert Half’s CFO Services (consulting); Signature Properties and Meritage Homes. His client experience ranges from startups to established companies with revenues in excess of $1 billion. Larry’s industry knowledge spans health care, agriculture, auto racing, high technology, Major League Baseball, manufacturing, professional services and real estate development. His diverse array of clients are linked by a critical need to make a change in their business.

In 2011 Larry returned to his entrepreneurial roots by founding OpenPlaybook™, a consulting company specializing in change management consulting, management training and leadership coaching. OpenPlaybook helps companies and the people that lead them turn adversity into success, one team at a time. OpenPlaybook provides the leaders of change with the tools they need to unite the right team with the right vision; to discover and share individual team member strengths; and to provide a clear playbook outlining individual responsibilities and their impact on the team’s mission as a whole. The result is an effective team committed to the transformation process and to each other in a spirit of mutual accountability.

Pro-Track Profile

Larry honed his speaking and training skills by serving as an Instructor for Dale Carnegie Training where he taught hundreds of business people how to become more effective leaders and communicators by strengthening their human relations and public speaking skills. He is also a polished public speaker and management trainer. His topics include transforming organizations with strong, people-centered values; building stronger interpersonal relationships; developing and maximizing leadership skills; the business of running a Major League Baseball team and changing careers. In addition, he has served as a guest Instructor on Leadership for the University of San Francisco’s MBA in Sports Management Program.

To hear more about Larry’s background and what attracted him to the 2012 NSA Northern California Pro-Track program, click on the podcast icon below.

Interview: Manuela Pauer – Life Coach

Manuela PauerManuela Pauer, CPCC is a Certified Professional Coach and workshop leader. She is an authority in personal leadership and self empowerment. She works with clients who are stuck doing what they think they “should” be doing, rather than what they want to be doing. Her specialty is helping people fall in love with themselves so they can fall in love with their life.

Her work experience spans Strategy Consulting at Bain & Company, Product Management and Strategic Development at a successful start-up, and Executive Director of Product Management and Strategic Planning at AOL.

Manuela left the corporate world behind 4 years ago, when it became clear that she was feeling deeply unhappy despite her career success. She decided to give up the career she had worked so hard for to get back in touch with who she was and to find a vocation she loves. She realized that looking successful on the outside means nothing without feeling successful on the inside. And in order to feel successful on the inside, she had to fully accept and fall in love with herself first. Today, she is sharing the process she went through with other professionals who feel unfulfilled or stuck in their lives or careers and helps them rediscover their passion and purpose.

Manuela completed her coach and leadership training at the Coaches Training Institute and her relationship systems training at the Center for Right Relationships. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley.

Public Speaking

Manuela’s audiences walk away with new insights and practices that they can implement right away to increase their confidence, improve their relationships, and re-power their lives and careers.

Her most popular presentations include:

  • Transform Your Inner Critic into Your Inner Champion
  • The Five Fallacies of Success that Keep Us Overworked, Overwhelmed, and Unhappy
  • Authentic Leadership: Making an Impact While Being True to Who You Are

You can register here for her upcoming workshops.

Pro-Track Profile

Manuela is a member of the Northern California Chapter of the National Speakers Association Pro-Track class of 2011.

I interviewed Manuela during a recent Pro-Track class and reviewed her reasons for enrolling in the program and why she recommends it to others. She also shares her insights into her role as a life coach and a simple but powerful tip to help people improve their self-esteem. To hear what she told me, click on the podcast icon below.

Interview: Paul Larsen – Business consultant

Paul LarsenPaul Larsen is an engaging and inspiring business consultant with over 20 years of experience within the business world. He has a proven track record of success in advancing strategic thought, streamlining operations, driving profits, and maximizing organizational growth and development within Fortune 100, start-up, high-tech, and non-profit environments.

Paul realizes that many organizations today are overrun with the “tourist” mentality: “Let someone else figure it out and then tell me what to do.”

Paul asks:

On life’s journey…are you a Tourist or a Traveler? Do you drive your tour bus or let someone else do the driving? Do you set your own itinerary or let someone else schedule your life?

Paul relishes all opportunities to transform leaders and teams from being “tourists” in their own companies into being “true travelers” and thus, take initiative and ownership for their results. The outcome is the creation of a well-connected, agile and motivating workplace of amazing results.

Paul is a frequent conference and workshop speaker on leadership and development at such organizations as the Southern Oncology Association of Practices (SOAP), American Society of Training & Development (ASTD), and the Northern California Human Resource Association (NCHRA). His organizational development work has been featured in the latest book, Consulting on the Inside by Bev Scott and B. Kim Barnes. And his latest article, “Your Front Office: Create Fantastic First Impressions that Last!” was recently featured in the journal of the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM).

Paul has a B.A. in History from the University of the Pacific and a M.A. in Human Resources Organizational Development from the University of San Francisco. He is a current member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), NCHRA, ASTD and the Bay Area Organization Development Network (BAODN). In his spare time, he can be found somewhere in the world helping communities as a member of a project team with Global

Pro-Track Profile

Paul is a member of the Northern California Chapter of the National Speakers Association Pro-Track class of 2011.

I interviewed Paul during a recent Pro-Track class and reviewed his reasons for enrolling in the program and the value he gets from the “learning community” of fellow speakers. He also shares his insights into his role as a coach and consultant. To hear what he told me, click on the podcast icon below.

Interview: Madelyn Mackie – Career coach

Madelyn MackieMadelyn Mackie is a Professional Development and Career Advancement expert. Having successfully navigated careers in biochemistry research, Tony Award winning theaters and major nonprofit agencies, she brings experience, motivation and step-by-step action plans that will Activate Your Career Dreams!

Ask any 5-year-old what they want to be when they grow up and they might answer, “a firefighter,” “an astronaut” or even “President of the United States.” Madelyn Mackie dreamed of being a Superhero and using her talents, strengths and unique gifts to change the world. Madelyn believes that the road to career success and happiness starts with having and living BIG dreams. In college while researching articles for tenured chemistry professors, she dreamed of finding the cure for cancer and other lifesaving scientific discoveries. While working in small community theaters, she dreamed of being a part of with Tony Award winning productions. And up until a few years ago, she dreamed of a job that would allow her to leap tall buildings in a single bound and save the world!

All those big dreams have come true.

Career coaching

Madelyn believes that life is too short to be unhappy, work at a job you hate and not make a difference. She brings experience, motivation and step-by-step action plans that will motivate everyone to activate their career dreams.

Madelyn’s newest workshop, Activate Your Resume! helps individuals refresh outdated resumes, highlight their strengths and showcase their experience for their next dream job. Participants will walk out with a professional, current, stylish resume that will get results!

In today’s competitive job market, Human Resource Managers want more than just a professional, confident, smart candidate with a charming personality. Madelyn’s Activate Your Interview! workshop promises give you the confidence you need to land the job. Find out the best way to research a company before you walk in the door. Learn how to answer the top 10 interview questions and the dreaded “uh oh” question. Discover the one thing you should bring to every job interview that will help you stand out from the pack.

For more information on Madelyn’s speaking presentation and workshops visit

Pro-track Profile

Madelyn is a member of the Northern California Chapter of the National Speakers Association Pro-Track class of 2011. As part of the class, she has created an intriguing demo video.

I interviewed Madelyn during a recent Pro-Track class and reviewed her reasons for enrolling in the program and the value she gets from the classes. She shared her insights into job searching, the value of LinkedIn and a key tip to customize a resume. To hear what she told me, click on the podcast icon below.