This Episode features an inspiring story about Melanie Landano who ventured down a different career path during COVID-19, launching a popular food truck in New Jersey called Mel's Butcher Box. She knows how to pivot, reinvent, and land on her feet. Melanie weaves stories about her early days growing up in Brooklyn, her life-long friendships, and the loss of her parents, while sharing insights to navigating life's unexpected challenges. She even teaches me the correct way to pronounce mozzarella and marinara.
Guest: Melanie Landano
Melanie Landano prides herself in creating memorable experiences. She makes the most out of every interaction and her positive energy is contagious. Melanie's career started at an amusement park in Brooklyn when she was only 11 years old. From there, she landed her dream job with Walt Disney World Company as a Signature Event Coordinator. Melanie quickly moved up the ranks and became an international liaison between the Disney Corporate Management and international associates from sixteen nations. She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in leadership training before moving back to New York to be near family.
Melanie was hired by Bally Total Fitness and worked her way up from an entry level position to spokesperson for the Corporation. Bally featured Melanie in their national television spots. When the Bally Corporation went bankrupt, Melanie shifted direction and reached out to her childhood friend Pat LaFrieda, the CEO of Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, who hired her on the spot.
Melanie has worn many different hats at Pat Lafrieda. As Senior Project Director, she led numerous projects and special events for clients, including the NY Mets, NY Jets, Boston Red Sox, and US Open.
On March 12, 2020, she opened a new Pat LaFrieda restaurant. One day later, New York City went into lockdown due to COVID-19. It was time to pivot and reinvent once again.
For more information about Melanie Landano and Mel's Butcher Box, visit Warrior's Day Off Instagram where you can find links to her Instagram page.
In this Episode, Dr. Dale Bredesen talks about his most recent New York Times bestselling book: The End of Alzheimer’s Program and his protocol for preventing and reversing cognitive decline. He discusses the steps to enhancing cognitive ability at any age. We will also hear an inspiring story from someone who followed Dr. Bredesen’s protocol and experienced life altering results. We have agreed to not use her real name out of respect for her privacy in discussing personal medical information. She will be referred to as Eleanor.
Dale Bredesen laid out the science behind his revolutionary new program to prevent and reverse symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in his first book, the 2017 New York Times bestseller, The End of Alzheimer's. He has shifted the treatment paradigm with his protocol and has provided hope to millions of people who are at risk or who suffer from Alzheimer's disease.
Guests: Dr. Dale Bredesen/Eleanor
Dale Bredesen is a neuroscientist who has researched neurodegenerative diseases for over thirty years.His career has been guided by a simple idea: that Alzheimer’s as we know it is not just preventable, but reversible.
Dr. Bredesen earned his MD from Duke University Medical Center and served as Chief Resident in Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), before joining Nobel laureate Stanley Prusiner’s laboratory at UCSF as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow. He held faculty positions at UCSF, UCLA, and the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Bredesen also directed the Program on Aging at the Burnham Institute before joining the Buck Institute in 1998 as founding President and CEO. He is currently on the faculty in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles and is Chief Science Officer at Apollo Health.
For more information about Dr. Bredesen:
For more information about Apollo Health:
Kindness Over Hatred features a conversation with Holocaust survivor Mark Schonwetter and his daughter Ann Arnold. The strength of a mother's love and the incredible courage of good people during the worst of times inspires hope in kindness over hatred.
Guests: Mark Schonwetter & Ann Arnold
As a young Jewish boy during WWII, Mark Schonwetter, his mother and younger sister survived the Holocaust hiding in the forest of Poland and in the homes of families who were willing to risk their lives to help others.
Mark and his daughters Ann Arnold and Isabella Fiske, have been sharing his story of survival with students. They established the Mark Schonwetter Holocaust Education Foundation to help spread the message of kindness over hatred through education. Ann writes about her family's story in her book: Together A Journey for Survival.
For more information about Ann Arnold's book visit
To learn about the Mark Schonwetter Holocaust Education Foundation visit https://www.mshefoundation.org/
The inspiring story of Chris Nowinski, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization leading the fight against concussions and chronic encephalopathy (CTE) and dedicated to improving the lives of those impacted. He shares his personal story, clarifies the differences between concussions and CTE, and discusses the Concussion Legacy Foundation’s Project Enlist Research Initiative focusing on CTE, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in military Veterans.
Guest: Dr. Chris Nowinski
Chris was an All-Ivy Harvard football player before becoming a WWE professional wrestler. His athletic career ended after a kick to the chin in a WWE match caused Post-Concussion Syndrome.
He is the author of the investigative book, "Head Games: Football's Concussion Crisis" which is also a documentary. Dr. Nowinski earned his doctorate in Behavioral Neuroscience from Boston University School of Medicine and has authored more than 30 scientific publications.
For more information about the Concussion Legacy Foundation visit:
For more information about Project Enlist visit https://projectenlist.org
"A Meaningful Life" features an interview with David Rothenberg. From the glamour of Broadway as a press agent and producer to prison riots, civil rights sit-ins, politics, and criminal justice reform, David has led a multi-faceted, meaningful life.
Guest: David Rothenberg
David has been involved with over 200 Broadway and off- Broadway productions and represented some of the most successful works in theatre including the original production of Hair, Richard Burton’s Hamlet, Beyond the Fringe, Tony and Tina’s Wedding and Blue Man Group. David worked with Alvin Ailey, Bette Davis, Peggy Lee, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and many others. He co-created, wrote, and produced the play The Castle, which has been performed Off-Broadway, on college campuses, and in prisons throughout the country. David is a former member of the New York City Human Rights Commission and was appointed as Advisory Counsel to the New York State Commission on Human Rights in 1984.
The letter David wrote to his mother on being gay was so beautiful that it was included in Andrew Carroll’s NY TIMES Bestseller, Letters of a Nation, a collection of extraordinary American letters spanning more than 350 years.
In this Episode I ask David about many topics including his production of John Herbert’s prison drama called Fortune and Men’s Eyes that led to his life's work with the non-profit advocacy and re-entry organization called The Fortune Society. For more than 50 years, Fortune has helped tens of thousands of formerly incarcerated people through a wide range of holistic services for successful reentry into the community.
Now in his late-80s, David continues to highlight the issues and needs of the formerly incarcerated and social injustice. He has two radio shows on WBAI and volunteers at Fortune. His memoir, "Fortune in My Eyes," was published in 2012.
Elizabeth Taylor, once said of him, “David can lift the chains from your soul.”
"Inspiring Wellness" features two of the visionaries behind the NAMI-Miraval groundbreaking new partnership. Katrina Gay, NAMI’s Chief Development Officer for Strategic Alliances and Development and Dina Fenili, Director of Brand and Marketing for Miraval Resorts talk about the genesis of their alliance, the new videos curated by Miraval's award winning specialists and other complimentary tools available for the first time online.
Together in 2021, the Miraval and NAMI teams will be launching a series of events and programs to promote the intersection of mindfulness and mental wellbeing. In this Episode, we discuss coping during unpredictable times, healing from recent unprecedented events, and where to go for additional support and resources.
Guests: Katrina Gay & Dina Fenili
Katrina Gay, Chief Development Officer for Strategic Alliances & Development,
provides leadership to identify, evaluate, champion and execute opportunities to drive awareness, increase resources and facilitate strategic partnerships. She works to build a mental health movement and to ensure successful cross-sector corporate partnerships, influencer ambassador initiatives and cause-marketing efforts. Since 1997, Katrina has represented NAMI in various capacities, including National Director of Communications & Public Affairs. Katrina has participated in the White House Conference on Mental Health and has served on multiple international collaboratives, committees, coalitions and advisory boards. She has received peer acknowledgements, including national awards, for her work in strategic communications.
Dina Fenili Niekamp, Director of Brand & Marketing, brings over 15 years of hospitality experience to her role as Director of Brand & Marketing at Miraval Resorts. In this position, Dina is responsible for driving consumer awareness for the growing Miraval brand and spearheading the marketing and communications efforts for Miraval properties across the country. She most recently served as the Director of Sales and Marketing at the Kimpton Gray Hotel in Chicago, Ill. Prior to this role, from 2008 to 2015, Dina served in various sales and marketing roles for brands such as Virgin Hotels, Park Hyatt and the Elysian Hotel. She started her hospitality career in 2006, when she served as the Corporate Sales Coordinator for Four Seasons Hotel Chicago + Ritz-Carlton Hotel Chicago. In her leisure time, Dina enjoys bringing wellness into her life to balance her busy lifestyle, as well as giving back to her local community through professional mentorship programs and community service.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. The organization provides advocacy and public awareness, no-cost support and education programs online and in more than 650 communities across the country.
Miraval pioneered the destination wellness spa resort category more than 25 years ago with its comprehensive program of mindfulness activities, destination-inspired experiences, spa treatments and modalities from around the globe. It’s where I went on my road to healing. Miraval Resorts, part of Hyatt’s portfolio of brands, support individuals on their journey to creating a life in balance. As a leading mission in 2021, Miraval Resorts are committed to offering guests the necessary tools to re-center their minds and souls, ground them in nature, and elevate their spirits.
For more information about NAMI visit, https://www.nami.org/home
Call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-6264 M-F, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., ET
Or in a crisis, text "NAMI" to 741741 for 24/7, confidential, free crisis counseling
For more information about Miraval Resorts visit https://www.miravalresorts.com/
Sensory Journeys Video Series: https://www.miravalresorts.com/sensory-journeys/
Miraval's Youtube Channel
Miraval on Instagram:
Miraval on Facebook:
In this Episode, I "peak behind the curtain" to learn more about how the inspiring wellness experiences at Miraval come to light and interview two members of the Miraval team who are responsible for curating their award-winning experiences and services. Simon Marxer and Luke Bloom bring imagination, authenticity, and meaning to wellness.
For years, Miraval has received awards such as Best of the Best for Wellness Retreat, Best Wellness Resort, Best Wellness Program, Best All-Inclusive Resorts, Best Spa Destinations Around the World from publications like Conde Nast Traveler, Virtuoso, World Spa Awards, US. News and World Report, Travel & Leisure, The Robb Report and more. Simon and Luke share their thoughts about what differentiates Miraval from other spas and resorts and how they responded to the mental health fallout from the pandemic to help more people.
Guests: Simon Marxer & Luke Bloom
Simon Marxer joined Miraval Group as Director of Spa and Wellbeing. In this position, he oversees all spas and creates new and innovative treatments and services that uphold Miraval’s longstanding position as a pioneer in the spa space. In his previous position as Spa Director at Miraval Arizona, Simon conceptualized the design and launch of over 40 signature Miraval-branded services. He has more than 20 years of experience in the spa and wellbeing. He has served as the Spa Director at other places as well including The Boulders Waldorf Astoria Collection, The Cornelia Day Resort and Canyon Ranch. Prior to his homecoming to Miraval, Simon was the Vice President of Business Development at Red Flower. He has a Bachelor of Arts from University of Vermont.
Luke Bloom is the Director of Integrated Wellness at Miraval Berkshires Resort & Spa in Lenox, Massachusetts where he helps guests find their authentic path to achieve holistic health, wellness, and a life in balance. He uses nature immersion and principles of experiential education to help guests find their individual peak experiences. Luke grew up in the Berkshire hills of Massachusetts and lives in Lenox with his wife and two children where they raise a variety of animals and crops on their small farm and can be found enjoying everything outdoors.
Simon and Luke talk about so many interesting topics in this Episode including "Post Traumatic Growth" and "Kintsugi: The Beauty of Imperfection."
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For more information about Miraval Resorts visit:
Miraval Arizona on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/miraval.arizona
Miraval Austin on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/miravalaustin/?hl=en
Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjMRF2IH6Vnx-Wt7q7HsgcQ
Joining us for S2 E8 is Mitch Gordon, Founder of Verto Education and college student Mariana Steiner. Verto is a first semester (or year) abroad program founded on the premise that not all students need to take the same linear path to earning their college degree. Verto courses earn transferable college credits, keeping students on their original 4-year graduation timeline. Admission to Verto includes a guaranteed acceptance to at least one of their 60+ partner universities.
Guests: Mitch Gordon & Mariana Steiner
Mitch Gordon is the former Entrepreneur in Residence at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. He has started a number of companies in the fields of travel and education including Go Overseas which has been described as the most trusted resource for researching international education programs around the world.
Mariana Steiner is rising sophomore who just completed her first year of college with Verto and will be piloting their second-year program in Costa Rica this fall. She shares stories from her Verto experience in Hawaii and transformative year including connecting to the land, swimming with sharks, and learning about herself. On Verto's Student Blog, Mariana wrote, "As I spend more time learning about Hawaiian culture and values, I become more passionate about carrying the values of aloha (love), kuleana (respect) and malama (care) wherever I go, even after I leave Hawaii."
To learn more about Verto Education:
Verto Trailblazers: The Blog
Vienna Waits for You written by Mariana Steiner https://trailblazers.squarespace.com/blog/vienna-waits-for-you
S2 Episode 9 features The Lantern Network, a nonprofit organization assisting underrepresented, high-potential youth of color as they pursue their career goals. Students are coached academically and professionally, with access to a dedicated team of trainers, mentors, and recruiters, all of whom are there to connect the student with their greatest tools for success. Their vision is a bold and strong America where all people are valued by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.
Tracy Davis, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Lantern Network shares her personal journey and talks about the inspiration drawn from The Underground Railroad. Tracy describes the significance of their logo design, reminiscent of the quilts used to convey paths to freedom and the light from the lanterns that led slaves toward safe houses. She talks about the parallels and how today, The Lantern Network provides virtual safe houses that inspire, develop and propel Black youth toward economic freedom.
Guest: Tracy Davis
Tracy is an accomplished trainer, coach, speaker, and consultant with more than 20 years of experience driving change and performance improvement across multiple industries. She holds an incredible catalogue of experience, certifications and degrees. Collaborating with start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, she has worked with a number of household names such as Chevrolet, Ernst & Young, GE, McDonald’s, Toyota and more.
Links referencing the Underground Railroad secret code of quilts discussed on S2E9: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DECD/Arts_Culture/Directory-of-Teaching-Artists/TLevyThe-Underground-Railroad-Quilt-Codes--2pp.pdf?la=en
The Lantern Network website::
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