Author: Ron Rapatalo

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In season one of Ronderings, Ron talks to his guests about their superpowers, including career advice, diversity, mindset, wellness, and leadership. Ron grew up in New York City, and has been coaching and leading executive searches for the last five years, taking what he has learned from 15 years in corporate, higher education, government, and non-profit contexts. He and his wife are obsessed with reality television, and Ron also moonlights as a men's personal stylist and group fitness instructor. Ron says, "I believe in the power of intuition and deepening one’s self-awareness and impact on others. I believe in the power of connection and transparency. I believe that we must dismantle systems of oppression and racism to recover our fullest humanity. Most of all, I believe our power to change the world starts from changing ourselves first."
44 Episodes
You can be both a happy human and a strong one!Mike Montoya is the CEO and Founder of Stronger Consulting. A 30-year education sector veteran, Mike is an expert in helping organizations design, manage, and improve educational programs for young people. Mike’s identity as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a person of color has shaped his entrepreneurial journey, as he educates non-profit organizations to act strategically on behalf of children.Mike grew up feeling the stress in an ultra-conservative area, but found that he had adults in his life who would allow him to just be himself. Part of the reason Mike got into his career in education, was that he had people around him when he needed them; Mike’s goal is to support the successes of young people through similar things he experienced as a child.We need people’s wellness and their identities being included - this is the foundation of everything!Notes:👦 Mike grew up in conservative Colorado as a Catholic, gay kid. 2:34😇 His career choice was partly influenced by adults who helped him find safe spaces while growing up. 4:09✌🏾 The Youth Development space develops you as a whole human being. 8:17🥇 The Broad Center: a framework for what adults need to show up to lead inside school systems. 10:55🏫 K-12 education has shaped Mike's entrepreneurial journey of Stronger Consulting: the influence of his identity. 16:32🤯 People usually didn't believe that he is a person of color. 19:11🪅 Mike's parents helped him to assimilate: the importance of his connection to migrant workers from Mexico. 22:30🎯 Stronger Consulting’s approach is unique because of the diversity of its people. 26:32💎 Mike's RONdering: to achieve success for children, have we been skimming away a little bit of their humanity? 30:01💚 We need the foundation of love and wellness: people's well-being and their identities being included. 33:36Links:Website with Mike: Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron:
How you internalize racism can destroy your sense of self.Daniel Anello is a member of the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship Summer 2016 cohort and the Leadership Greater Chicago 2019 cohort. He was named to the inaugural class of Presidential Leadership Scholars and he is a Board member of Chicago Urban League and Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education. He has served as Chief Executive Officer of Kids First Chicago since 2015, and he is supporting parent-led and data-informed change within Chicago’s public schools.Today he shared how he grew up in a rural community in a family of educators and how his experiences with a racial identity formed him as a person. Personal and family struggles formed his opinion about the equity work we need, the importance of deliberative democracy, and the importance of engaging impacted communities while creating policies.Daniel emphasizes the need for analytical and creative solutions in order to address the systemic issues in education that have lingered for decades. He thinks that empowering communities will provide strong pillars of change. There is a huge need for collective action to address systemic inequities and create a more just society.He strongly advocates that Black and brown low-income communities are capable enough to make decisions for themselves and their communities around policies that affect them and especially well-informed parents should be more involved in the decision-making.Notes:🧑🏾‍ MLK Jr.'s birthday: honoring his legacy and being a social justice warrior. 01:57🤩 Making sure that Black and brown communities in Chicago have the highest education at their fingertips. 02:54👩🏾‍🤝‍👨🏼 Brought up in an interracial family of teachers who moved to a rural area: family conversations about education and civil rights.04:04😓 His struggles with the schooling system and racial identities: getting a grip due to family issues. 07:20⚠️ The criminal justice system is not designed to rehabilitate, it's designed to destroy: his brother’s addiction story and legacy. 12:58👉🏾 Daniel struggled to fit in at investment banking internships and consulting gigs due to cultural differences. 19:01😇 He jumped into an entirely different environment: when Daniel’s life got more fulfilled with helping kids in the dorm than with business. 23:15🗣️ Kids for Chicago and getting focused on educational equity: giving voice to parents. 25:12✌🏾 Racial equity is essential for educational equity: paternalism is going to continue to hamper our ability to see the achievement gap eradicated. 31:25🎯 Community engagement and parental involvement in education and policy changes: engagement and projects for Chicago city. 36:56🥇 The golden rule of good servant leadership: being humble and finding answers through people who will be affected by policies. 🤓 Daniel wants to see a world where the utopia of racial equity allows us to see meritocracy. 45:14💎 RONdering: racial bias is very rooted: privilege doesn’t believe that Black and brown communities can take care of themselves. ⚡ Legacy of the Poor People's Campaign: “Power and privilege and racial inequity are the most dangerous work we do.” 51:57Links:Instagram: Danielanello.Substack.comRapatalo Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron:
Be open to life and to things that come your way!The oldest child of a Philippine immigrant family to the USA, Grace Cruz graduated from NYU and began a career in teaching. Grace currently works in consulting with the Centre for Powerful Public Schools in LA, intending to improve teaching and learning.Grace’s Philippine values and culture have a massive impact on the way she lives life, including how she leads in education. With a focus on community as well as individual contributions, Grace believes that if you work as a team and value the contributions within it, you will not need to hire experts for practice, but you will have that expertise within the team.Be intentional in how you choose to feel - the goal is to respond not to react.Notes:👩🏻‍🏫 Grace went to NYU and teaching got her to many different roles. 2:48🤔 So much of the focus is going towards expecting students to collaborate in the classrooms. 8:41🇵🇭 Grace’s Philippine identity and values have a massive impact on the way she leads in education. 11:37🤩 Generosity is a big part of Philippine culture. 16:29👉🏻 What teaching looked like under the dictatorship in the Philippines. 18:08👨🏻‍🔬 Her parents were both chemical engineers which made coming to the US easy. 20:53😇 When Grace went back home, she realized that all her relatives knew so much about her. 27:09🤓 Ron learned about entrepreneurship from his parents who worked many jobs. 32:34🦸🏻‍♀️ Today, Grace is consulting with the Center for Powerful Public Schools in LA: trying to improve teaching and learning. 34:03🫥 It's really easy for Filipinos to be invisible: both Grace and Ron have last names that don’t point to their origin. 39:02💎 Grace’s RONdering: be open to life, be open to the things that come your way. 42:54🧠 ADHD is not necessarily a bad thing: kids with ADHD have their minds work so quickly. 47:25Linked In: for Education: Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron:
"Life is so much bigger than black and white - it's full of colors.”Dr. Rob Carpenter is a UCLA faculty member, author, speaker, and filmmaker who specializes in mass communication, rhetoric, and leadership. He has published many scholarly articles and books, including "The 48 Laws of Happiness."Rob shares how he saw life from multiple perspectives at an early age - ethnic, geographic, and social. His diverse career choices, from politics to film, television, startups, and education, have made him a Renaissance man with many unique skills. He uses these skills to explore important topics in our society and challenge the rules of industry gatekeepers.Dr. Rob emphasizes that he is a magnet, not a hustler. He believes that trust, vulnerability, and curiosity towards others are the best ways to build a better society. Fostering empathy in an increasingly divided world is crucial, but the journey starts within ourselves and with self-compassion. Our unique identities, passions, and values should be embraced, enjoyed, and fully lived. Surrender and enjoy the person you want to become. Notes⏳ Time accelerates as we age: how can we slow ourselves down to the speed of enjoying the time we have? 02:24😇 We need to be more aware of ourselves and other people: being fully present with life, moments, and others. 04:15👦🏾 Born in California and moved a lot around being a renaissance person as part Black, part white, and part Native American. 05:40✌🏾 Experiencing racism and colorism for the first time in Ohio: his journey from politics to startups to entertainment. 09:51▶️ Concept of starting all over again: parallels between different roles and Rob’s love for learning. 16:13🎯 Building trust by giving trust: reframing your disadvantages to advantages. 21:14🧪 My fate is tied to your fate: Ron’s formula for charisma. 26:35🤩 Looking at education as transformation: growing big people and creating more empathy. 30:10🥅 Changes start with teaching people to feel good about themselves: integrating self-compassion into K12 and the workforce will bring compassion for all. 39:21💎Rob’s RONderings: find what you're good at, what you like doing, what the world needs, surrender to that, and be satisfied with yourself. 45:25📙 Rob’s book 48 Laws of Happiness - fundamentals of resetting and reframing your perspective. 47:23Links:Connect with Dr. Rob: Rapatalo Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron: 
Tomorrow is not promised!Akinwole Garrett (Aki) is an accomplished senior strategy and business development executive with over fifteen years of data driven corporate development, business development, strategy and management experience at the intersection of technology, media and telecommunications. He sits on the Fuqua Minority Alumni Advisory Board at Duke University, the Board of Trustees of The Shipley School and is a founding General Partner of Sankofa Family Ventures, a family office committed to investing in Black and Brown VC fund managers.Aki talks about his journey from growing up in South Philly to becoming a media executive at Revolt TV. He talks about the importance of maintaining this order: God, family, then work; this in turn will lead to success,Time on this planet is short - do things that give meaning to your life!🫂 Old friends who were in a fellowship program with Core Leadership New York 15 years ago. 01:09👦🏾 Aki was born and raised in a big family of educators in South Philadelphia: from public to private school and changes in his trajectory. 02:10🌟 Having 30 first cousins: growing up with role models and having accountability training by his brother. 06:14▶️ Soaking in all opportunities and figuring out who he is. 09:10🎓 College parties and having fun:  finance and accounting and undergrad who worked for Wall Street and Bear Stearns. 11:49👨🏾‍💼 Being on Wall Street during the financial crisis: getting back to business school, however, banking took a toll on his health. 13:59💍 Getting married and getting to media: changing life-style and moving from NY to North Carolina. 16:00✨ God, family, and work are Aki’s priorities: providence and the divine order when everything falls into place. 20:26😇 Children are God’s children: kids are blessings and spirits parents need to nurture in the specific relationship. 24:38🤩 “I'm so much more important to my children, and so much more important to God, than I am to any job.” 27:40🧸 Aki’s oldest daughter is just like him, the middle daughter is like his grandma, and the son is a confident ball of energy. 29:28🦸🏾‍♂️ Every superpower comes with edges and shadow: kids are a reflection of you. 35:56🏫 The Shipley School commencement speech: being a free and happy child with a safe place to fail and chase his dreams.  37:33🎯 Circles that help you during life: Core people Aki always can count on. 41:55💎 Aki’s RONdering: staying urgent - the time on this planet is short, so do stuff that gives meaning to your life. 48:00✌🏾 Revolt wants to change the narrative for Black and brown people globally: Mercy Street entertainment. 50:15LinksConnect with Akinwole: / Threads: @akgeez215X: @akigarrettRapatalo Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron: 
Don’t be boring!Taylor Delhagen started his early visits to the principal's office after being expelled from classes. Now he is a doctoral candidate at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education, where his studies are focused on leadership, equity, and the internationalization of higher education. He started his teaching journey in 2006 in NYC with Teach For America. After finishing his two-year commitment, Taylor was hooked and decided to stay in the classroom. He shares amazing and refreshing insights about equity and education. Taylor does not believe that “one size fits all” when it comes to children in education and believes that children should be engaged and entertained every day. Knowing content and pedagogy is not enough; design thinking is essential in creating a classroom that facilitates learning. Having gained experience in classrooms in the USA and abroad, Taylor has gained a wealth of knowledge and information about how a school and classroom should be run to apply academic success and community involvement.Being a person of your word and being trustworthy is important for effective teaching and learning, as well as relationships! Snow Notes: ✌️ Born in Michigan to a father who was a minister and worked with the anti-apartheid movement. 4:35👦🏻 In high school, Taylor often got himself into the principal's office and expelled from the class. 6:54🟣 After college, he felt passionate about Teach For America, where he worked with his wife. 11:07🇮🇳 Went from teaching in Brooklyn to research and teaching in India together with his wife. 13:49👨🏻‍🏫 His work in the Relay Graduate School of Education: teaching history teachers. 16:27😇 What we don’t know about the diversity of the Indian freedom movement. 22:44🎯 The importance of the art of critical thinking and the art of historical thinking. 26:09🤯 In India, the BJP party had come to power and immediately changed the history textbooks. 27:333️⃣ Three levels of operating within equity as equal outcomes: frameworks, charter schools, and new graduate schools of education. 32:01🤗 Taylor is inspired by the global organization - Teach for All. 32:53🎓 Ron reflects on his K-12 education experience and how it shaped his perspective on equity in education. 34:47💣 K-12 education in America was never meant to be built to teach all kids. 36:10💡 Charter schools were supposed to be places to innovate: but are they really? 38:57🔦 A teacher can't just go after the well-being - it has to be married to a deep learning experience. 42:02🇵🇪 How students in Peru applied student leadership, academic skills, and community involvement. 42:44🧠 Design thinking is essential for creating a classroom environment that facilitates learning; knowing content and pedagogy is not enough. 47:16💎 Taylor’s RONdering: Don’t be boring! Every single day, kids deserve to get engaged and entertained. 52:43 🤓 Taylor recommends Boston College's leadership in higher education program. 57:39Links:Connect with Taylor: Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron: 
How to be a misfit that could fit into a lot of different places?Brandon White is an educator, emcee, podcaster, and poet. He is a former middle school ELA and Restorative Practices educator for the Rochester City School District and has worked for seven years as a servant leader intern and site coordinator for Freedom Schools Summer Literacy Programs in Rochester, NY. For seven years he worked as an ELA Specialist for UnboundEd, and currently, he serves as a consultant and professional development provider for systems and educators who are implementing ELA and Literacy Curriculum.The influence of Brandon's parents who were also deeply involved in social justice, made him see and feel the differences between two classes, the two sides of his hometown, different approaches to life and his privileges in education made him a specific person who can understand deep differences but also common grounds.Brandon shares amazing insights about hip-hop music, and why it touched him emotionally and intellectually to explore it deeper while he was growing up.  Education has shaped his family’s life through generations, and he chose to help make it better through his educational role. Yes, the system still lacks many things and Brandon felt it on his skin many times: lack of Black and Brown teachers, hiring practices, bad curriculum, and exploring beyond typical forms of education might help tremendously to serve communities.Why Brandon thinks ethnic tribalism helps white supremacy and how to cure that. Where is home to all the people, why roots and DNA are important, how basketball is changing, and how to improve the world by being a misfit are just some of the subjects from this episode.Keep on fighting for social justice with honesty and integrity!Notes:🏀 End-season tournament between Lakers and the Pacers: LeBron James' leadership sets the tone and lever for the team and the NBA.  02:13⛹🏽‍♂️ Brandon’s biases and expectations prevented him from enjoying basketball: love-hate relationship with the Knicks. 05:19🤩 History of teams and players: Knicks, Blazers, Lakers, Pat, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Wembanyama, Sabonis, Doncic, Drazen Petrovic, Stojakovic. 08:22🏆 Valuing players, especially younger ones: K-12 education standards are changing just like basketball. 11:55🤩 Being in a doctoral program at Rochester University and feeling like 21 Jump Street.14:42🗽 Frictions between upstate and downstate of New York: born and raised in Rochester, NY. 17:17👩🏽‍🤝‍👨🏾 Growing up in a family with strong roots in civil rights and social justice: seeing a lot of different worldviews and different cultures, 20:33👩🏽‍💼 Wedge, Rochester is home to Frederick Douglass and Susan B Anthony: split custody allowed even the influence of two parents on Brandon. 24:05🧲 Importance of getting to the Magnet High School: racial and education factors - Brandon’s privileges and amazing foundations he got. 26:41🤓 Being a hip-hop head and thinking about being in education. 30:12💪🏽 Wu-Tang Triumph video amazed Brandon: demonstration of the culture - a different kind of hip hop. 31:23🎶 What music does to your brain and body: music can make you feel and think, and Brandon went in the past to research more artists. 37:06🧬 Receiving things from your ancestors: the narration, knowledge, trauma, and habits are in the DNA of our family. 40:41🎓 Brandon is an educational consultant: not all people in education should teach - there are so many roles that are crucial and needed.  44:36🤯 Issues with getting a job in Rochester: lack of black English teachers and media sensationalized and misinterpreted reporting about Brandon’s job. 48:50⚠️ Counterintuitive hiring practices in school districts: system needs changes and stepping away from politics and power. 51:50😎 Learning about himself through teaching: ELA teacher and working with UnboundED. 55:56👉🏽 Systems are built to have certain incentives:  inequity and unfairness that exist in the system. 01:03:58💎 Brandon RONdering: how do we stop ethnic tribalism from serving white supremacy? 01:07:47🏡 Growing up with the level of proximity across different identities: home is telling our story.  01:11:05✌🏽 Brandon’s work and podcast: how can we emphasize grade-level engaging, affirming, and meaningful instruction in education? 01:17:07Links:Instagram- @litinpracticepodTwitter- @classroomBemail- bwhite@mayaclaude.comPodcast- The LP- Literature in PracticeLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron: 
Jen Chau Fontan, a certified somatic coach, works towards helping people recreate the spaciousness that they already have.Living in Westchester, NY, after working within NYC nonprofits in management and talent/HR positions, Jen Chau Fontan transitioned into full-time coaching as an executive coach to senior leaders of progressive sector organizations through The Management Center, where she serves as an adjunct coach today. Jen created her practice, JCF Coaching, in 2018. Jen shares how she had many responsibilities in her early life, which gave her amazing experience in creating a culture and spaces for people to be happy.  With a gift for feeling people in somatic coaching, Jen explains how getting back to our bodies and finding time to work on the thing that is most important to our core is the essence of us humans.Family and circumstances around us, including culture and community, shape us; we are always practicing something, and we have to be aware of what it is that we are practicing.Notes:🌺 Jen had many responsibilities while growing up: HR, culture, and creating spaces for people to be happy. 04:00🔝 Limitations in DEI work always come from the top: becoming a coach and helping CEOs grow their leadership. 05:10🤩 Nurture and nature of Jen’s family: being tuned in with all of her family, and dynamics that helped her in her new company. 07:26🪞 Ron’s mom had a specific gift: Jen’s gift for feeling people in somatic coaching. 11:15⚡ Feeling people through Zoom is possible: picking up so many things in front of us. 14:19☯️ Ron’s spiritual coach, Julie Chan: all dimensions of knowledge and wisdom around us. 16:23🤓 What is somatic coaching: personal training for the most important thing you want to be. 17:40🤖 Getting us back to our bodies: how capitalism and racism are making us robotic - there is wisdom in the body.  19:43🫱🏾‍🫲🏼 What is great about being White, Black, Latinx, or Asian: the embodiment explains so many human characteristics.  23:47😇 Shaping stories from family, institutions, and communities: gender, race, and culture shape us.  27:03😍 Jen and Ron worked six years together in New Leaders: passion, love, and respect for the cause. 29:01🎳 Bowling matches during New Leaders: competitive and fun team building and socializing. 32:31💎 Jen’s RONderings: What are you practicing right now - we are always practicing something, so be aware of what. 35:39Links:Connect with Jen: practice with Jen - "Easy Mondays": up for a coaching consult: Jen's Instagram:
We need to think more about living with intention and growing old gracefully. Risa Morimoto is the Founder and CEO of Modern Aging and Dream Retirement in Mexico.  She focuses on holistic health practices and lifestyles to optimize longevity for people in midlife. She is also an award-winning TV and documentary producer/director.  She has directed over 200 episodes of House Hunters International and other programs for HGTV, Animal Planet, A&E, Hulu and others. In our society, we are not creating a safe space for conversations around aging and health. Risa discovered the importance of finding the root causes of health issues rather than just treating symptoms. Being a woman of color and having perspectives of multicultural living brought her to the conclusion of how Eastern and Western medicines, combined, can provide answers for healthier lives. Her personal story about taking care of her parents led her to her life purpose and to help others to be healthier. Living in gratitude, resilience, and understanding that only small actions can lead to a more fulfilling life are the gems Risa is sharing with the audience. Bio-individuality and not a cookie-cutter approach to health care and wellness is the future if we want to have healthy and happy people. Humans are living beings who need to be looked as a whole. Grinding systems are not a good place to create healthy habits and meaningful change around health care and aging. What is the point of living until 100 if you are going to be sick all the time? Joy, meaningful connections, air, food, genes, habits, work, stress, personal growth, and time for self-care all have an important role in our lives. In order to live your life without regret, don’t forget to focus energy on meaningful pursuits.Show notes: 🎬 Risa is a filmmaker, a podcaster, and a documentarian: helping the start of Asian/Pacific/American Studies at NYU. 01:07🌸 Art was not a realistic pathway for Risa back then: film school at NYU. 02:59❤️‍🩹 Heart attack that made a change: what is the impact she wanted to leave behind? 04:14⚠️ Stress is at the core of so many illnesses: all the things that bring us down. 07:58⚡ The power of joy and feeling safe: Modern Aging - healthier aging process. 09:37🧓🏻 Resilience and gratitude her mom had in sickness: documentary series on Asian-American families and caregiving. 15:44😇 Living up to 100, but being sick all the time: hustle and work can’t help you age gracefully. 22:40🎯 Western medicine vs Eastern medicine: marrying both and finding roots of the diseases -  holistic health. 27:17🤓 How identities get put into policies that are created: creating safe spaces for people of color and need for shifting things. 31:22🧠 Mindset changes and habits are making it work: wellness and a personalized approach to it. 34:05🏃🏻‍♀️ Working out after 14 hours of filming and Ron’s workout habits. 38:08😍 Producing House Hunters: filmmaking and traveling to many places. 41:26🙏 Risa’s hodgepodge projects: appreciating your life to move in it meaningfully.  47:58💎 Risa’s RONdering: Living without regret - we are not limitless, so beware of where you are focusing your energy. 49:44.🥅 Don’t let other people define you: do what makes you happy. 51:41Links:Modern Aging:  thisismodernaging.comGet Strong Over 40: getstrongover40.comDream Retirement in Mexico: www.dreamretirementinmexico.comRapatalo Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron: 
There is power in living life in community; no one is superhuman.Mary Rice-Boothe, Ed.D., currently serves as Executive Director, Curriculum Development and Equity at the NYC Leadership Academy. She has had the opportunity to partner withschool systems across the country to support them in implementing their equity policies, as well as supporting the development of equity-focused resources for district-levelleaders looking to name and dismantle the inequitable practices they are seeing at theschool and district levels. Mary holds a BA in Metropolitan Studies from New York University, an MA in English and English Education from the City College of New York, and a Doctorate Degree in Leadership and Organizational Change from the University of Southern California, and has written Leading Within Systems of Inequity in Education: A Liberation Guide for Leaders of Color.The challenge we are all faced with is the question of, how do we take care of ourselves, physically and spiritually, but also emotionally. This is not something that can be achieved alone, we have to look further into community, allowing ourselves to learn from those around us; correlation is key.Nurturing ourselves will only be possible with the help of others!Show notes:🌞 Ron and Mary have so much in common: concentric circles in New Leaders, K12 education, and NYU. 02:00🧔🏾‍♀️ The low expectations that were put on women in three generations: a story of the cotton fields of Arkansas. 03:28👩🏾‍🏫 Experiencing education in practice in college: after-school nonprofit world and becoming a teacher. 08:22📙 Mary wrote a book: practical advice and examples for those who want to dismantle the system and create a more equitable space. 11:27😇 Liberation guide: competencies that are a framework for the book, divided into three sections. 15:54⚡ Being a principal of a school is a lonely job: the power of being in a community. 19:12🏆 Mary’s circles of champions; she has multiple of those: nurturing yourself with the help of others. 22:54🏃🏾‍♀️ Running marathons: Mary’s first marathon and creating time for herself and her body.  25:10🌸 How do you take care of yourself physically, spiritually, and emotionally? 30:13😍 Building systems of wellness in K-12 education: creating space for your team to feel good. 34:36⚠️ Equity and leadership development: not all teams are working in witness times and hours. 38:11🤓 Her book as retention strategy: a framework for liberation to happen. 40:25💎 Mary’s RONdering: Power of doing things together - you are not a superhuman. 42:04🤔 Individual thinking and rise and grind culture is not a pathway to real, healthy success. 44:53Links:Purchase book: Sign-up for newsletter: LinkedIn: Partner- website: 
Leadership can be a lonely place, especially for folks of color.Ron Summers is the CEO of a non-profit focused on providing equitable access to careers in technology.  He is a leader with a vision of guaranteeing every K-12 student access to computer science and computational thinking. Ron has dedicated his life to advancing CS exposure, access, and inclusion for Black, brown, and female students and he shares his leadership experience, especially for people of color, and emphasizes the importance of self-care and authenticity as two main pillars of good leadership.Ron's journey from web designer to CEO of a non-profit is filled with resilience and determination. Raised in Queens and Brooklyn within a family of educators, Ron's path was shaped by his desire to create, but he encountered very early with microaggressions, inequity, and being the only Black kid in the IT classroom. Ron and Ron are discussing why adaptability, mindfulness, and holistic self-care are important for leadership roles. Why balance between entrepreneurship and family responsibility is the key to a good and healthy leader. Good leaders are always the transformative power that makes this world a better place especially if it is rooted in authenticity and empathy for their community. Notes:👦🏾 Black and proud: kid from Queens who grew up in Brooklyn within a family of teachers. 02:06💻 Ron wanted to create websites: in a college, Ron was the only black young man and he experienced microaggression. 04:41🤓 Getting a gig in IBM at 19: why Ron decided to become an educator. 06:59🌞 Black kids lack opportunities: filling gaps and helping young black people get in tech and stay there. 09:48💥 Creative people in Ron’s life and tech: ‘Artists are engineers’. 11:55🔥 Starting as a substitute teacher in NYC: the important step before teaching is figuring out the rhythm for a classroom to make it work. 17:48🏆 His circle of champions and influencers: every human requires accommodations. 20:13✌🏾 Challenges and losses are needed for wins: taking losses to make the world a better place. 22:59💪🏾 Being a Black leader and running non-profits: nothing is linear - keep fighting for kids to have a pathway of experiences.  29:22😍 Having a supportive partner and help from a network of like-minded people: when we all win.  34:123️⃣ Three leadership lessons he learned: prioritize adaptability, being thoughtful and taking care of your self to care for others. 37:54😎 Entrepreneur’s mindset, athlete's body, and an artist's soul:  learning from Gen Z and showing up for yourself.  47:36💎 Ron’s RONdering: listen to your body, mind, and soul while being in tech or building your own company. 49:13⚠️ Sacrifice for your family: being a workaholic but be careful because it can take a toll. 51:34⚡ Creating equitable access and implementing it. 54:34Connect with Ron: 
 Everybody deserves to walk down the street and feel safe.James Solomon represents downtown Jersey City as the Ward E Councilperson. As a dad, a cancer survivor, a teacher, and someone who leads from the outside, James is committed to making Jersey City a place that supports ALL families, not just the well-connected.City government is directly connected to people, and helping them is key to making the world a better place. The lesson, or the value that matters most, is always putting family first. As a politician, James finds himself pulled in different directions, but the driving factor for him is always that family comes first.Solving small problems first, with immediate effect, allows people to trust you and begin a relationship where there previously was none. Show Notes 🤩 James tried to be happy outside of NJ, but it didn’t work: he developed a passion for city government in his late teens. 02:22💊 After a lymphoma diagnosis and remission, James got elected in 2017: he wanted to have a family and became a dad. 04:06👨‍💼 Cora Alumni days in St. Louis: learning tools to keep you grounded. 06:25⚡ People on the streets are pulling him aside to help them: James is able to have an impact and push some things in government to make lives better. 08:28🌞 Strategic and personal reasons behind his responsiveness: city government is directly connected to people, and helping them is the key.  11:35📱 Mayor Booker’s ways of serving people: using Twitter and fixing things. 15:32👨‍🏫 James is an adjunct professor: ideas and comments from students are very valuable for him. 17:02🏘️ The core thing is housing and gentrification: initiatives and policies James worked on and bad systems that need to change.  19:30🤓 How do people acquire power and how they use it: the drive behind political life. 24:09✌️ New Your City’s policies vs New Jersey policies: revitalizing communities and not accepting money from NJ real estate developers. 27:40👉 Real estate is the dominant player in Jersey City: ways to push back.  32:08🏈 Fantasy football is James's passion: he won the championship last year.  34:37😎 Steelers fan in New Jersey and Patriots domination: Tom Brady, I just want to hate you. 36:38💎 James’ RONdering: Always put family first. 42:00📌 Childcare is expensive: policies for thriving families. 44:38😇 James built a large donor base that's outside the political establishment. 46:07 Links Link to donate - with James: www.solomonforjc.comRapatalo Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron: 
 Each person is the director of his or her own life, and even in the face of the most challenging obstacles, is capable of shaping and painting an extraordinary life.Catapulting us on a journey of perseverance and resilience is Joselyn Martinez, a NYC-based business consultant and certified neuro coach specializing in entrepreneurship. A spokesperson for personal tragedy, she shares with us the challenge of solving the mystery of her father’s murder, as well as her success in entertainment and music as a member of an all-female band.Her mission? To help, empower women and to shape the lives of their dreams.Creativity takes many forms, and Joselyn’s experiences teach us the value of embracing the creative spirit in all aspects of life. Hers is a story of exploration and self-discovery: the brain’s ability is to change and adapt, and understanding it can foster personal growth and overcome fears. Those seeking to transform their lives will find tangible hope and encouragement.Accept the diversity of your experiences and find strength in the uniqueness of your path. Be open to discovery, authenticity, and creativity.Every step forward, no matter how tiny, contributes to your transformation! Show notes:🌟 Joselyn loves Mondays and new beginnings. 01:25💔 Lost her father in street violence in NY: perseverance and not making a decision based on counselor's opinion: 03:56⚖️ Moving on or putting your trauma on hold: Joselyn started to pursue justice for her murdered father. 08:48🔍 Murder crimes can’t go unnoticed or remain unsolved. 12:09🕵🏻‍♀️ Finding the man who murdered her father: 25 years after the day, she slept well.  13:20🎤 Experience in Las Chicas del Can: stage presence and public speaking practice. 18:07🎬 After NYU, she pursued acting and commercial work: doubling for Jennifer Lopez in her movies. 22:34🧠 Neuro coaching: learning how your brain works to boost productivity and change your habits. 24:29🤔 Understand yourself: certain areas of your brain govern your emotions.  28:10🔄 Neuroplasticity in our brain is showing us we can change a lot even when we are old. 33:39🗓️ The Modern Woman Planner and Mastermind course: Joselyn’s plans for her business.  35:21🎨 Power of creativity while having joy and impact: we are all creatives. 39:10🏃‍♀️ Movement and cognition: meaning exists in our bodies, and movement strengthens ideas. 40:17💎 Joselyn’s RONdering: you can design your life as you please. 42:30Links:Connect: Check: Rapatalo Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron: 
 Stories are the threads that weave the fabric of our identities, embracing our cultural roots, shaping our resilience, and illuminating the transformative power within us all.Rudy Valdez, a two-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, shares his remarkable journey, triumphing over adversities such as homelessness while underlining the underlying value of embracing one’s cultural heritage and identity. His success isn’t just about luck or money: it’s about love, passion, and a strong cultural background.The conversation is a goldmine of insights into how personal stories and cultural background shape the way we tell stories. Valdez spills the beans on how facing challenges is often a key ingredient in making meaningful art.There’s a call to action here: empower new filmmakers and make sure that underrepresented voices are heard loud and clear in the world of storytelling.Tune in, feel inspired, and let’s take steps together to champion diverse storytelling. Your action today could pave the way for a more inclusive and empathetic tomorrow. Let’s make it happen! Notes💥 Appreciate all the wonderful things around us: people of color can just be great without an asterisk. 02:22👦🏽 Wrestling on the beach: jujitsu, storytelling, and childhood memories. 07:52⚡ Lessons from his brother: high school struggles and one special improvisation in drama class. 09:55🎭 Drama class as refuge place from the rough life: finding support from his family. 19:43🚌 Writing 5–7 stories a day: creating his own game to writing stories. 24:39🥥 ‘Coconut’ comedy show: a breakthrough in performing, teaching, and writing comedy. 28:56🎥 A family issue that alters Rudy’s life: the moment he becomes a filmmaker. 31:29🌞 Who cares?: sharing stories to evoke empathy, and Sundance Audience Award. 36:30🎬 Learning from sets: Rudy’s formula for filming. 38:49⚖️ Documentary The Sentence: taking risks, failing, and learning from it. 41:53🥊 Documentary by Sylvester Stallone: Hollywood to produce crime movies. 44:06🤩 Deciding not to limit himself to criminal justice films: Rudy created 17 documentaries. 45:55😇 Sharing experiences: letting others learn from personal stories. 51:55💎 Rudy’s RONderings: Believe in yourself, your voice matters, and push for positive change. 54:19🎦 Carlos Santana movie and Disney projects: pushing everyone up the hill is crucial. 56:06  LINKSConnecting with Rudy: www.rudyvaldez.comRapatalo Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron: 
Your story is the single most powerful thing you own. Embrace it, share it, and watch the world transform around you.Renowned for her ability to empower leaders to unleash their full potential, Stephanie Zhong is a brand strategist and storytelling specialist with over 20 years of experience. Her journey spans diverse sectors, from non-profits to civic organizations, and her passion lies in helping individuals authentically amplify their presence.Despite cultural norms that often discourage self-promotion, Steph finds curiosity and strength in the field of storytelling — a field she has passionately embraced and recognized the transformative potential that lies in owning one’s narrative and voice.Her unwavering commitment to unlocking leaders’ potential has shaped her mission to create spaces where personal narratives may grow without being constrained by social standards.Steph’s message is clear and important: own your narrative, embrace your voice, and acknowledge the vast possibilities within your own story. Together, let’s create a transformative culture where storytelling serves ad a catalyst for personal growth, empowerment, and the celebration of our rich unique human experiences.🗣️ Your voice matters: we are connecting through our unique stories. 01:39🥰 Loving shouting: from Hamilton musical to cherished family stories. 03:00🤐 Stephanie is a story strategist: Chinese and Japanese cultures have similar rules about not talking about yourself. 05:55👧🏻 Navigating identity: growing up as an Asian girl in white communities in Philadelphia, straddling multiple realities. 09:02🌞 Having artsy parents who didn’t pursue math or science mold for Stephanie: knowing the history and stories of your people can show you why the whole community acts in one way. 16:02🥰 Social justice coded in Stephanie: her mom was the first feminist and librarian, and her parents believed all people are equal. 18:48🤓 Being a bridge: seeking communities of difference, learning from them, and finding common ground. 24:45😇 Breaking barriers and connecting with people: using storytelling to claim the truth. 28:28🦸🏻‍♀️ We are all the superheroes of our own story: the importance of embracing and valuing one’s unique strengths and talents, even in branding. 30:37🌳 Visualizing strength like a sequoia tree and being rooted in yourself and not in outside success: moving with the wind but not cracking up. 38:37☯️ Spiritual journeys, intuition, and decision-making in business: symbols, feelings and having unusual talents. 43:46🧘🏻‍♀️ Being in business and having 6th and 7th sense feelings and how to share that in the business world. 46:08💥 Building space without being in front of each other is an understanding of how to manifest energy. 50:20🤩 Physical and energetic alignment of your values: energy changes when you say something out loud to another human. 53:00💎 Stephanie’s RONdering: the thing that is “too weird” for the world is your brilliance. 57:11🎤 Great karaoke songs with specific messages. 58:05📽️ Free video series: Double Down on Your Difference. 1:00:04Links:Attend the free Brand Your Brilliance Masterclass with Stephanie: www.stephaniezhong.comLinkedIn: Rapatalo Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron: 
Navigate the dualities, overcome challenges, and lead with compassion; authentic success intertwines passion with purpose while nurturing the soul.Kishshana Palmer introduces herself as a multi-hyphenate serial social entrepreneur with diverse experience in fundraising, marketing, and policy within the social impact sector. Through candid honesty, Kishshana reveals her path towards self-understanding and embracing strengths, illuminating a journey of personal evolution. Cultural influences and the dynamics of her upbringing emerge, shedding light on their profound impact on her career, money management, and decision-making. Her journey embodies a redefinition of success, advocating for holistic well-being and a shift from external validation to internal fulfillment. Entrepreneurship, values alignment, and the importance of self-care for effective leadership take center stage. Kishshana's revelation that her true passion lies in empowering women, girls, and young people represent a transformative shift from a pursuit of financial stability to finding joy in impactful work.If your team is thriving, they will move mountains for your mission, your company’s bottom line, and for you, whether it involves a product or a service aboveNotes: 👩🏾‍💼 Kishshana is a multi-hyphenate serial social entrepreneur: to lead well, you have to live well. 01:54 👉🏾 80% of CEOs are afraid they will lose their job: escaping hatches and ensuring your team is comfortable. 05:32👧🏾 Growing up with hardworking parents: schooling in the EU, and living in Queens, within divorced families taught her about diversity. 08:17💥 What Kishshana’s parents wanted from her: learning to soften her rebellion. 12:07😇 Living in two households and respecting authority: children must be seen and not heard. 16:19🤩 Being a high achiever in school: the duality of ways to spend money and perceived success and material things. 19:09🔥 Navigating adulthood with all the choices we make: being out of fear and over-burdening. 21:00🤓 People in their 40s need to let go of things they learned from their parents: the hardest work in life. 25:56🤯 Embedding equity work with every breath: realizing people are snapping and competing with unknown standards, and losing health and life over that. 28:36📌 Starting your own business is not easy, but how to enjoy it: journey vs. goals and outcomes. 34:21🏔️ The Black Godfather had an influence on Ron: when your word moves mountains. 42:22🎙️ Kishshana’s dream is to build a studio for creatives and small businesses: why crowdfunding and asking for help is a risk. 45:29💎 Kish’s RONderings: you have a responsibility to take care of yourself - filling the cracks to create new ground. 51:00📙 Book: Take off Your Cape: rethinking everything to be healthy and have life. 52:36LinksConnect with Kishshana: Rapatalo Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron: 
 Education isn’t just about learning, it’s about celebrating differences and fostering inclusivity.As CEO of Ascend Public Charter Schools, Recy Dunn’s story encapsulates the transformative power of personal experiences and the resounding impact they can have on one’s pursuit of educational justice and identity exploration. Raised by a mixed-race couple in Texas, his upbringing propelled a lifelong quest to understand identity amid societal complexities, stemming from racial prejudices and fueling his mission to reshape the educational landscape to address disparities in access and opportunities based on race.An enlightening turning point surfaced in his life upon encountering a Langston Hughes poem, a moment that ignited a fire within him, setting him on a trajectory of exploring education’s potential in shaping identities and fostering an environment where differences are celebrated rather than marginalized. His insights highlight the complexities of navigating educational paradigms and emphasize the urgency to embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure a thriving educational ecosystem.May Dunn’s voice resonate, sparking action in each of us, as we collectively endeavor to shape a more inclusive, diverse, and excellent educational landscape for generations to come! Show notes:👨‍👩‍👦 Recy’s childhood: growing up in a mixed-race family in Texas and experiencing racism and prejudice.  01:34🎓 Understanding identity and race: the transformative power of education. 04:18🗽 ”There has to be more to this world”: moving to NY in a few days. 08:07🔄 Career shift: from customer services to becoming a recruiter. 12:06🚀 Entrepreneurial ventures:  launching a tutoring startup and expanding to LA. 18:54👥 How John Deasy and Bill Hite influenced his work: Prince George’s superintendent and deputy superintendent. 24:25🌟 New beginnings: transferring to the New York City Department of Education and working in DOA.  29:03🏫 Opportunity to serve communities that look like him: from being explicitly college prep to being an organization that’s focused on educating kids and students. 38:03🌱 Generational navigation: when your students are the priority. 44:59🕰️ Words to younger self: Recy’s reflections and life advice. 47:55🌎 Recy’s RONdering: Taking over the world. 49:13🎖️ Ascend’s impact: empowering 6,000 students in Brooklyn. 50:30Links:Connect with Racy: Ascend: Join: Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron: 
Empowering minds is the spark, transforming communities is the flame that ignites a brighter future for us all.Dr. Ian Buchanan, the visionary CEO of Nia Education Group, is a role model of transformative leadership. Embracing his identity as a “Black Nerd”, he shares his path, transitioning from teacher to administrator to an inspiring entrepreneur and leadership coach.Addressing the poignant absence of diversity in education, his role amplifies the critical need to bridge cultural understanding gaps in pivotal services such as academics and social work. He champions the celebration of one’s true self and cultural heritage, urging individuals to represent their authentic identities within their professional realms.Rooted in the belief that fundamental needs and values transcend cultural differences, let us champion advocacy for others, ensuring their cultural intricacies find voice and inclusion. Become a guiding light for those sharing your heritage, showcasing your genuine self wherever you tread!Notes😎 Jay-Z of leadership coaching: Ian Buchanan is Ron’s education co-conspirator. 00:40🏆 It is great to be great: working with people with expertise is something Ian enjoys. 02:21🧒🏾 Being the opportunity myth before the opportunity myth: growing up in the poverty of East St. Louis, Illinois.  03:36🧑🏾‍🏫 He didn’t want to be a tool for the oppressive society: transferring from engineering to being a teacher.  05:13🎤 Being a cool nerd: Ian was completely immersed in hip-hop culture and rap as the transformational power of the spoken word. 07:32🦸🏾 When Ian realized that teaching was his superpower and the way to impact the world. 09:50🧑🏾‍🎓 Ian comes from a family of educators: Ian is a teacher, principal, central office leader and entrepreneur. 10:24🆚 His presentations were booed: understanding charter vs traditional public, white run charters vs People of Color Run charters without autonomy. 12:57✌🏾 Working with ASD and applying lessons to his work: emphasizing the importance of elevating the voices of those closest to education. 15:45👑 K.I.N.G. masterclasses and book: who influenced his entrepreneurship journey. 24:43💯 Ian’s dreams:  the power of coaching and developing a master class with a broader reach. 27:24🌞 The most important coaches for Ron and Ian: context is the most important for good coaches - working on a human being, not human doing. 30:46🤩 Helping men of color connect with their emotions and soul: breaking away from toxic behaviors using 10 saboteurs from the Positive intelligence system. 33:43💎 Ian’s RONDering: Having sugar-free K-12 schools - the power of fresh food to kids’ brains. 40:38🌎 Broadening kids’ experiences with traveling out of the country to have more global dexterity. 45:20📘 Ian’s book KING: A Four-Part Leadership Framework for Black Men. 46:45Links:- LinkedIn page- IG: nia_education_group- Twitter: @docianbuchanan- Facebook: Ian Buchanan- Amazon link to book- Nia Education Group Website
Bring a piece of yourself into everything you do so you can be a role model for others like you.Yexenia Gómez is a renowned culinary director and educator who helps bring health and nutrition education to underprivileged people in her community. Working with businesses and children alike, Yexenia's passion is empowering people to feel more confident and creative in nourishing themselves.There is a tragic lack of diversity in the education sector, leaving a cultural understanding gap in fundamental services like academics, social work and nutritionists. This is why it is so important to stop adjusting yourself for other people in your industry and to represent your authentic self and your culture.No matter our differences, our basic needs and values are the same, so we need to start advocating for others and ensuring that the nuances of their cultural needs are represented and accessible. Be a mentor for others who share your background by showing up as yourself everywhere you go!Notes:🌞 Yexenia is a great friend, a supervisor for community educators focusing on wellness and nutrition, and an amazing chef.  01:09⚡ Emigrating from El Salvador to NY:  empowering her culture through food and her life. 03:37🌮 Feeling like being the only one in the room: the need to talk about and elevate her culture. 06:23🇸🇻 Living on the farm in El Salvador as a kid: dark and light memories of growing up. 10:41😇 College days in NYU and struggles to pay for education: finding her tribe and family in college. 15:31😍 Being a pioneer and a role model in her family: being on the cover of People en Español and empowering people with her story. 18:08🍏 Wellness and getting diagnosed with type two diabetes: helping her community get healthier.  20:43🍽️ Before colonialism, Philippine cuisine was much healthier: teaching children to visualize their plates with ‘real food’. 22:33👩🏽‍🍳 Cooking every night to get more energy and good food: moderation and accumulating bad food. 29:09👉🏾 The importance of having more Black and Latino nutritionists. 30:40⚠️ We choose careers based on our childhood wishes: Latino communities are not getting proper information on diabetes and nutrition. 33:29🙏🏼 How intuitiveness and spirituality helped Yexenia survive Hurricane Sandy. 37:22🕯️ Being shamed to ask for more from Universe: cultural issues in finding your self-worth. 41:34📦 Yexenia’s RONdering: Show up as yourself everywhere you go: don’t adjust yourself for others.  45:30🤩 Social justice in roots of NYU students now: looking beyond yourself and advocating for people who don’t look like you. 48:20🍜 Being an entrepreneur: private cooking classes for organizations. 51:46Links IG: @Chef_YexeniaFacebook: @chefyexeniaTwitter: @Chef_YexeniaYouTube Channel: @chefyexeniaTik-Tok: @chefyexeniagomezLinkedIn Profile:  Mobile Site:  Rapatalo Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron:
 Collective responsibility resonates strongly in supporting our communities, urging us to recognize the beauty and brilliance present within our own people.Dr. Nancy B. Gutierrez, President & Lead Executive Officer of The Leadership Academy, and Dr. Roberto Padilla, superintendent of Community School District 7 in the Bronx, share their journeys as educators and advocates for students of color. Together, they challenge the prevalent belief that success necessitates leaving one’s community.In a world that often promotes the idea that leaving one’s community is essential for success, this episode celebrates and elevates leaders who choose to remain rooted in their community. It advocates for inclusive educational practices and a new definition of success that is closely tied to community strength and identity.Listeners are invited to reflect on their role in reshaping societal ideas around success and community. We help promote a culture that honors and celebrates the unique richness of different places. By amplifying voices and experience Notes: 🚪 Roberto was brought into foster care at the age of four: initially not prioritizing school, significant life events shifted his approach.  02:58👩🏽‍🏫 Nancy’s passion for learning blossomed in 8th grade: she pursued a career as a teacher and later as a school principal in her hometown of San Jose.  07:52🚶🏽‍♂️ “Leave to succeed” mindset: Roberto reflected on feeling compelled to walk away from his community and motivated others to share their stories about it in the ‘Stay and Prevail’ book. 11:25🥰 A love story about their home communities everyone said they should not love. 15:08⚠️ We have an obligation in educational space:  be aware of the messages we convey to children, our perceptions of their communities, and how we are redefining success.18:58🌞 Equity as a problem we are trying to solve VS equity as an opportunity we want to cultivate. 21:01🤯 Sometimes messages are repeated across generations of loved ones: home is not  good enough, disconnect from the identity and source of your character. 23:03⚡ Ron’s personal life crisis: leaving a meaningful legacy and empowering kids to mirror his background to make a difference in their communities.  23:55🔥 Stop comparing ourselves to what people have told us we need to be. 26:32😇 “Stay and prevail” community leaders are fully connected and accessible: take on those hard conversations and stay in that space. 28:44😍 Roberto’s journey of leaving and returning: carrying “home” with you wherever you are,  fostering love and support for numerous children in the district. 31:48😇 A “hardcore home girl” who found success in NY: offering mentorship and inspiration to everyone in San Jose. 34:27🌞 Don’t bash children’s communities, let them choose whether to leave or stay: embracing the power of family connections. 38:55💎 Nancy’s RONdering: Why is my brain trained to think I don’t deserve some things, and I’m not enough? 41:50💎 Roberto’s RONdering of ongoing growth: not seeing black and brown children from very tough areas in the real light of their talents and worthiness.  43:39Links:Book:'s LI: Roberto's LI: Rapatalo Group: rapataloconsulting@gmail.comLeverage Publishing: www.leveragepublishinggroup.comConnect with Ron: 
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