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The Athlete Entrepreneur

Author: Greg Spillane

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The Athlete Entrepreneur podcast is a must-listen for anyone interested in learning about the unique mindset, skills, and traits of successful athletes and entrepreneurs. Each episode features in-depth interviews with accomplished individuals, and experts in their field, many of whom are former athletes, who share their personal journeys, strategies, and the parallels between high achievement in sports and business. Listen to engaging conversations where the host and guests explore various topics, including the entrepreneurial journey, emerging technologies, personal motivation, work-life balance, business strategies, and more. Whether you're an athlete, entrepreneur, or simply someone interested in self-improvement and achieving success in your life and career, this show has something for you. With a focus on the “High-Achiever Mentality,” our podcast is designed to appeal to a mainstream audience, providing them with valuable insights and strategies that they can apply to their own lives and careers. So, if you're looking to gain a competitive edge, level up in your career, and improve your overall well-being, make sure to tune in to the Athlete Entrepreneur podcast.
27 Episodes
Former NFL Oakland Raiders Tight End John Madsen has spent his career trying to help others master fitness, mindset and success.  He launched Supra Human in 2021; teaching high-performance behavior and mindset to over 10,000+ individuals, ranging from former NFL players, MLB athletes, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and high level executives-- and even ordinary men who want to level up. Madsen started as a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) for high school athletes looking for college scholarships. Within one year, he launched a 7 figure business, already earning a Clickfunnels 7-Figure Award. Madsen’s goal with Supra Human is to transition the Business Man into the Business Athlete. Madsen was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, but now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife and 3 ½ year old daughter.  His motto is something he lives and breathes personally: “Go Get What’s Yours.”Website: http://www.johnmadsen.comInstagram: us on Twitter @greg_spillaneFollow us on YouTubeFind me on LinkedIn
Lauren Foundos is the Founder and CEO of FORTE. Lauren was a 2x All-American Field Hockey player at the University of Maryland. After spending a decade on Wall Street, she founded FORTË in 2015. FORTË has revolutionized the fitness industry by providing access to avant-garde boutique studio classes coached by leading fitness experts worldwide. Both a technology and subscription-based streaming platform, FORTË installs hardware and software into boutique studios, which enable the classes to be streamed live to FORTË ’s platform.A FORTË subscription gives you access to this curated, cutting-edge, fully immersive, social, data-driven, interactive, real time, unedited, and unparalleled fitness experience with unlimited content and classes from the most elite boutique studios and coaches around the world. FORTË’s subscribers have the opportunity to experience their favorite classes live or through their on-demand library, but however or wherever you consume it, maximize your workout, smile, and have fun withFollow us on Twitter @greg_spillaneFollow us on YouTubeFind me on LinkedIn
Born in the South, briefly ran track for Vanderbilt. Formerly a touring professional fire juggler. Michael's career has centered around technology - programming, project management, and most recently sales. In 2016, left the US for 2 1/2 years to kiteboard, surf and explore over 50 countries. Upon returning, focusing on meditation practices such as Vipassana and Sadhguru.  Most recently practicing Dr. Joe Dispenza's work combining neuroscience, epigenetics and quantum physics. Currently living in Laguna Beach where he efoils and returned to Slalom, a global consulting firm.
Gene is the Founder & CEO, of Athletes Untapped a marketplace that connects qualified coaches with aspiring athletes. Athletes Untapped fosters strong connections between athletes and private coaches. We enable the relationships to last by backing them with dynamic technology.Gene is also the President, at VeryApt, a national real estate technology company dedicated to helping renters find their ideal apartment. We focus on partnering with major universities and employers to assist incoming graduate students and employees with their housing search. Gene was a former professional basketball player, Galway Titans (2016-2017) and has a BA in economics from Johns Hopkins (2016) where he was varsity basketball captain and conference scholar-athlete of the year. 
Rick Elmore is an entrepreneur, sales and marketing expert, and former college and professional football athlete. As the Founder and CEO of Simply Noted, Rick developed a proprietary technology that puts real pen and ink to paper to scale handwritten communication, helping businesses of all industries scale this unique marketing platform to stand out from their competition and build meaningful relationships with clients, customers, and employees. Founded in 2018 and based in Tempe, Arizona, Simply Noted has grown into a thriving company with clients of various sizes across the country including in hospitality, real estate, insurance, nonprofit, franchise, B2B, and others. Rick has served as the company’s CEO since its founding, for more than three years, and has over a decade of sales and marketing industry experience.
A lifelong athlete turned Nutrition Expert, Chris founded LyfeFuel as a way to share his passion for health and wellness.Upon learning that many of the nutrients we should be getting from food are non-existent in modern diets, and discovering that the supplement industry is saturated with petroleum-based synthetic ingredients and chemical extraction methods, I felt compelledto seek out a cleaner, more natural way to meet my daily nutritional demands without trading health for convenience.Borrowing from my experience as a professional athlete I immersed myself in the world of functional medicine to search for a competitive edge that could position LyfeFuel as uniquely different and more effective than anything else on the market. Years of research, personal experimentation, and cultural insights from living abroad ultimately led to a simple revelation... harnessing the power of plants to put back what’s missing from food.Taking a holistic approach to nutrition that uses real whole foods to deliver the essential nutrients missing from modern diets, our formulations are arguably the cleanest, most complete, and delicious on the market, each taking years to develop.Every aspect of LyfeFuel is backed by science, right down to the amounts of each ingredient. Instead of simply throwing healthy ingredients together, LyfeFuel’s products are engineered with the specific purpose of aiding absorption to make sure the body receives the full benefits of each and every life-sustaining nutrient.With a vision to become a leader in personalized wellness, LyfeFuel launched its first product, The Daily Essentials Shake, in September of 2016. The purpose of the flagship formula was to provide the core nutritional components that most Americans don’t get enough of, in a delicious and nutritious plant-based meal on the go. It’s nutrition, simplified.
Jelani Jenkins is a 5 year NFL Vet and Certified Performance and Mindset Coach. He is also the founder/CEO of Postseason – a social learning app that helps athletes continue their growth, success, and fulfillment beyond sports.Jelani built his coaching practice in response to the challenges he went through after retiring from the NFL. Built on two key principles, his methodology emphasizes Self-Discovery and Self-Mastery. Through mindset training, he helps athletes and high-performers overcome their subconscious limitations to achieve their goals quicker, easier, and with more fulfillment.About Postseason Postseason is founded by a Jelani Jenkins who knows about the challenges that former college and professional athletes face, and backed by a team of individuals that are passionate about helping athletes succeed. We didn’t just have our brilliant team run surveys on athletes. We brought our struggles, challenges, and successes to the table along with those faced by our friends and teammates. You always have one of our leaders to connect with.
James Mayo is the Co-Founder and Chief Hydration Officer of SOS Hydration, an electrolyte drink created from a need to hydrate better in his professional running career. Mayo understands the difficulties of trying to remain hydrated as well as optimizing performance while participating in world-class athletic events. James was the British National Mile Champion and traveled the world to compete. He was an Army Infantry officer for six years, where he continued to push his performance boundaries. Despite his elite athlete status, Mayo became pre-diabetic, and it was a wake-up call for the sugary drinks he had been consuming for performance fuel. He teamed up with his brother Tom and his wife to test out their own formula and created a hydration formula specifically designed for active lifestyles, that’s backed in research without the added sugars and unhealthy ingredients.James has grown SOS Hydration to triple-digit growth, bringing on board members including Shark Tank “Shark” Kevin Harrington and former NBA great/Olympian Charles Smith. James launched SOS’ philanthropic efforts including partnering with Global Empowerment Mission.James is a father of two beautiful girls and a husband to his co-founder, Dr. Blanca Lizaola-Mayo.
Marissa is an innovative, prolific Senior Marketing Director with a demonstrated track record of achievement in digital marketing, social media advertising, B2B and multichannel marketing, content development, campaign planning and management, brand communications, audience development, and community building. Utilizes strong communication skills to interface with key influencers and decision makers, provide training and development, and strengthen stakeholder relationships. Proven aptitude for increasing traffic, driving sales/revenue, and enhancing the overall digital experience.Honors include being named as one of Marketing Insider Group’s Top B2B Marketing Experts to Follow (2022), Named by CVENT as one of the 20 Event Professionals You Should be Following (2021), Top 29 Event Industry Influencers to Follow by G2 Planet, named as An Influencer by Hubilo in their 2020 Ode to Women In Events Industry, nominated as one of Eventex’s 100 Most Influential People in the Event Industry, named a Top 5 B2B Content Marketing Influencer on Social Media by B2B Marketing, and more.You can follow Marissa on Twitter @MarissaPick, and visit her blog Marissa’s Picks at
Park Lane is an investment bank founded to provide sports finance advisory services to a variety of clients in the sports industry. Edwin has been a member of Park Lane since 2017 and is actively involved across all of the firm’s services. Edwin’s primary responsibility is leading the firm’s efforts with sports franchise valuations and due diligence, which include client relations, market awareness, and deal sourcing & execution.  He also plays an integral role in the firm’s Sports Team M&A, Capital Group, and Traditional Real Estate strategies. Before his time at Park Lane, Edwin was a professional basketball player in Europe. During his 10-year career, Edwin competed and won championships in countries such as Switzerland, France, and Hungary. Toward the end of his professional basketball career, he founded the private wealth management/financial planning firm Diesel Financial where he helped professional athletes build a strong financial future. During that time, he earned his C.F.P. (Certificate of Financial Planning) and E.A. (Enrolled Agent) distinction.Edwin earned his undergraduate degree at Yale University and M.B.A. at the U.S.C. Marshall School of Business. He holds Series 63, 79, and 82 securities licenses.
After 2 years in the NFL, Brendan was able to channel his competitiveness & drive into a sales career. Today, the team-building & coaching skills he learned from football are ones that he leverage day-to-day.He joined Yelp in 2007 as an Account Executive & its 60th employee. In that time, he hit his benchmarks and was consistently promoted, moving from an individual contributor role to a leadership position in 2009.In 10 years of management experience (12 total years in sales), He has managed several hundred individuals in fast-paced environments. He has deep industry expertise & experience both with private & public companies. He also has extensive experience working with SMB owners, listening to their current challenges, and helping them create solutions to help their businesses.Learn More: Follow us on Twitter @greg_spillaneFollow us on YouTubeFind me on LinkedIn
Casey LeBlanc is the CEO of New Venture Escrow. He is a serial entrepreneur that has led several small to medium-sized businesses that have experienced rapid growth and scale. He is also a business development addict who thrives on innovation and promotes healthy leadership.Casey was born and raised in the Bay Area. He played collegiate football at San Jose State for four years, where he was a captain for both his junior and senior years. Casey credits his athletic background to learning the importance of leadership and hard work.Follow us on Twitter @greg_spillaneFollow us on YouTubeFind me on LinkedIn
Mike Reilly, the official "Voice of IRONMAN" worldwide and a member of the IRONMAN Hall of Fame, the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame, and the Running USA Hall of Champions, is the only person to have been inducted into all three.Mike has also done on-site announcing and television coverage for over a thousand other triathlon and running events in 10 countries. October 2021 will mark his 31st appearance as the IRONMAN World Championship announcer in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.He's called 194 IRONMAN races worldwide, and his iconic call of "You are an IRONMAN!" has been heard by over 350,000 finishers.
Taylor Monks | Co-Founder & CEO @  Taylor went from a college dropout who hit it big in Bitcoin to a tech entrepreneur with a whos who of silicon valley investors almost overnight. BasicBlock just closed a $78M round of funding.   BasicBlock, at its very high level, is a company that offers a mobile document scanning solution to trucking companies. The solution we provide helps trucking companies digitize their workflow and automate part of the billing process. We save current clients tens of thousands of dollars with a simple download of an app, but more importantly, they don’t have to change a single bit of their current process to do so.Follow us on Twitter @greg_spillaneFollow us on YouTubeFind me on LinkedIn
Don Davey was the first, and is still the only student in NCAA history to be named to GTE's prestigious First Team Academic All-American Team in four consecutive years.  After earning his Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Wisconsin, his unique combination of intelligence, talent, and unrivaled work ethic propelled him through nine successful seasons in the National Football League with the Green Bay Packers (1991-1995) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-1999).  Since retiring from the NFL, Don has immersed himself in several entrepreneurial, charitable, and athletic endeavors: ·       He is the owner of Disciplined Equity Management, an institutional wealth management firm for professional athletes, business owners, executives, and other high net worth investors.·       He is the largest Firehouse Subs franchisee in the country, developing more than 30 Firehouse Subs locations in Florida and Wisconsin.·       He is the owner of Parrothead Property Investments, a real estate investment company with commercial and residential holdings in Florida and Wisconsin.·       He donates considerable time and resources to several non-profits including the University of Wisconsin, the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, and the Ironman Foundation.·       He fuels his competitive drive by competing in Ironman Triathlons, having completed eleven full distance IRONMAN events around the world.  Don recently became only the second modern era NFL player to complete the grueling Ironman World Championship course in Kona, Hawaii.Don is married to his high school sweetheart and fellow Wisconsin Badger Kristen.  They have five beautiful daughters named Livy, Carly, Kuki, Chloe, and Kasey and reside in Atlantic Beach, Florida.
This episode of The Athlete Entrepreneur features Zachary Colman, the CEO of CreatitiveCreatitive is a sports branding agency based out of Arizona. They use their combined sports and web background to help athletes brand themselves, increase their value to sponsors, and help sports and athletic organizations increase their revenue. Founded in 2014 by Zach Colman, CEO and Creative Director; his father is a former NFL player.Trademarked BrandBuild® process helps clients create customized branding, public relations and website strategies. Creatitive can also provide ongoing implementation as part of a long-term partnership.Experience with a wide range of athletes and companies to develop their brands, including MLB’s Phil Coke and NFL’s Calvin Prior, and businesses such as the Phoenix Suns.Connect with ZacharyTwitter:
This episode of The Athlete Entrepreneur features Therese GeddaTherese Gedda is an award-winning entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Reimaginez. She brings nearly 20 years of entrepreneurial experience from running multiple companies including tech startups to her executive coaching and cultural consulting practice. She has developed proprietary frameworks proven to deliver transformative change in both fast-growing companies and large corporations. Therese has actively engaged with over 1,000 founders, CEOs and executives. Her company, Reimaginez, reimagines the workplace by supporting startups and scaleups in becoming more people and purpose-centric. She is also a sought-after Executive Coach for high-achieving founders, investors, and the C-suite.Therese has been an invited Keynote Speaker in over ten countries on topics such as Company Culture, the Future of Work, and the High Achiever Mindset where she has inspired more than 30,000 people. Therese has been featured at exclusive invitation-only events led by companies such as Apple and LVMH as well as international conferences such as Inbound in Boston alongside Michelle Obama, Adam Grant, and Brené Brown. Other notable conferences include Viva Tech in Paris, TEDx in Stockholm, and Web Summit in Dublin. Offstage, Therese has been featured in NBC News, Fortune, and VentureBeat, to name a few.As a result of her dedication to entrepreneurship and company culture, Therese has been recognized by Nordic 100 for her cultural and Future of Work efforts, naming her one of the most influential and impactful people in the Nordics. The list is equivalent to the ‘Forbes 30 under 30’ and ‘Forbes 40 under 40’ in the United States. She’s also been recognized by the SKAPA foundation via the Future Innovator Award given in memory of Alfred Nobel. This award is one of the most prestigious of its kind, and the recipients are considered to be “Swedish Champions of Innovation”.More about Therese Website: http://www.reimaginez.comTwitter:
This episode of The Athlete Entrepreneur features my good friend and co-founder of Hero Barbell Co.,  Lt. Col. Frank "Squiggy" Savarese. Lieutenant Colonel Savarese was born the son of a Marine attack pilot.  He graduated the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelors of Science in History and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in May 2002.  In June 2006, Lieutenant Colonel Savarese finished his initial training at VMFAT-101, and reported to the Death Rattlers of VMFA-323 for follow on training.  He also deployed aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (II) in 2007 and again in 2009 in support of theater security operations in the western pacific.  He was designated Air Combat Tactics Instructor in December 2008. Departing from the Snakes in July 2009, Lieutenant Colonel Savarese received orders to become a Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor and reported to VMFAT-101.  While with the Sharpshooters, he was selected to attend the United States Navy’s Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and was designated a Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor in June 2011. Lieutenant Colonel Savarese received orders in August 2012 to report to Marine Aviation Training Systems Site (MATSS) Iwakuni, and relocated his family to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan.  While assigned to MATSS Iwakuni, he served as MATSS operations officer and as the MAG-12 standardization evaluator.  In July 2013, he received orders and reported to the Bats of VMFA(AW)-242 and serve as the pilot training officer.  He attended Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 1-14 was designated a WTI in October 2013.  For his efforts as training officer, he was recognized as the 2015 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Aviator of the Year. Subsequently, Lieutenant Colonel Savarese reported for duty as Air Officer, 11th Marine Regiment in April 2015.  Upon graduating Tactical Air Control Party School and being designated a Forward Air Controller (FAC), he attended WTI again as an air officer.  While at WTI, he received the India 14 award, distinguishing him as top FAC.  During his tour with 11th Marines, he was responsible for Joint Terminal Attack Controller training throughout 1st Marine Division.In October of 2016, Lieutenant Colonel Savarese reported to the Death Rattlers of VMFA-323 for his department head tour.  During this tour, he served as the maintenance officer in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, and deployed with Carrier Air Wing 11 aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in June 2017.  He returned in December of 2017 and served as the executive officer until his departure in March of 2019. After departing the Death Rattlers for a second time, he reported to Commander Naval Air Forces (CNAF) to serve as the Tactical Aircraft Integration (TAI) officer.  For his continued efforts to integrate both the Navy and Marine Corps, he was recognized as the 2019 USMC Tailhooker of the Year.His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (Strike/Flight), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (gold star in lieu of third award), and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (gold star in lieu of second award).  Throughout his flying career, he has accumulated over 2300 mishap free F/A-18 hours, over 150 combat hours, and 364 carrier-arrested landings.LtCol Savarese is happily married to the former Jamie Alameda of Yuma, Arizona.  They have four children, Charlotte (10), Reid (8), Frances (4), and Margot (1).
This episode of The Athlete Entrepreneur feature James WuJames Wu is an executive at Sirius XM Radio. Raised in the suburbs of LA. After an elbow injury ended his baseball career prematurely, he jumped into football full time.  Although he was All-Conference, All Valley, All San Gabriel Valley Decades team, he received no scholarship offers out of high school. After a stint at the local Junior College, he received a number of non-scholarship offers from Ivy League schools but wanted to go somewhere where they paid his way. After his coach at Junior College made a call to the Defensive Coordinator at San Diego State University, he ended up enrolling as an undersized Defensive End where his dedication and work ethic made him a favorite amongst the coaches and earned the respect of his peers. After graduating with honors, he became a stockbroker and in a stroke of terrible timing, opened the doors to his financial services firm on Monday September 10, 2001.Several years later, he was brought on to run American Honda’s licensing portfolio.  He turned a $500K/yr business into a $10M/yr business.  He negotiated a $100M/yr guaranteed licensing deal for Honda but Honda Japan stepped in a killed it.  Frustrated with big company culture, he went to work at XM Radio pre-merger with Sirius but left to join a startup called Stitcher Radio. While running business development for Stitcher, he got Stitcher into 5M cars and is the reason why Stitcher is the native podcasting application for both AppleCarPlay and Android Automotive. He was recruited back to SXM in 2013 where he now serves as Vice President of Automotive Partnerships. 
This episode of The Athlete Entrepreneur features Femi Ayanbadejo Femi Ayanbadejo was a member and significant contributor on the 2000 Ravens Super Bowl XXXV championship team.Femi’s football career began as an undrafted free agent in 1997 with the Minnesota Vikings. He played college football at San Diego State where he also earned his BA in Psychology He also played for the Baltimore Ravens (1999-2002), Miami Dolphins (2002-2003), Arizona Cardinals 2004-2007), Chicago Bears (2007), and California Redwoods (2009) of the UFL.Since retiring from professional football in 2010 Ayanbadejo has been immersed in the health technology space. He was co-founder and operator of a private training facility where he was a personal trainer and nutrition consultant. He then sold his equity in the company and enrolled at Johns Hopkins University where he received an MBA focused on Digital Health.Femi is the founder of HealthReel, Inc. and the creator of the AI-powered HealthReel body composition and health assessment app. HealthReel began with technology Ayanbadejo exclusively licensed from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. NASA’s stellar algorithm is the engine driving HealthReel.Follow us on Twitter @greg_spillaneFollow us on YouTube Follow Femi on TwitterFollow Femi on Instagram
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