What I Wish I Knew
By Education for Tomorrow Alliance
We are excited to invite you on this journey as we speak with young leaders from Montgomery County, Texas and beyond about their careers, the steps and advice that have helped them along the way and their dreams for their future.
Visit www.efta-us.org to learn more about Education for Tomorrow Alliance.
What I Wish I KnewOct 02, 2023
"Be comfortable with being uncomfortable" with Brian Hanley
In today's episode, Corinne sits down with Brian Hanley, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones. Brian began with Edward Jones because he has a passion for helping people, particularly by striving to provide them with confidence in their financial future by understanding their situation and creating personalized strategies to help achieve their goals. He loves partnering with families to help them build, maintain, and protect their wealth. Brian graduated from Conroe High School and received a Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas. Throughout this episode, you can hear Brian's passion for the work that he is doing for his clients. He also shares some great pieces of advice and wisdom on all of the lessons that he learned while finding his purpose throughout his career.
"You do not need to be anything but exactly who you are" with Emily Calver
In today's episode, Corinne chats with Emily Calver, Business and Community Outreach Specialist at Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital. Emily was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She attended St. John’s School K-12 before moving to Charlottesville, VA where she attended The University of Virginia. She received her Batchelor’s degree (BA) from the UVA in 2009, and Master of Public Health degree (MPH) from Liberty University in 2019. She has worked for Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital for 7+ years and currently works as the Business and Community Outreach Specialist for the Business Development team. She is married to Mark Calver and has 1 year old twins Sheperd and Wyatt Calver. She is passionate about helping others and having a positive influence within her community. In her free time, she likes to relax with her family, cook, play with her dogs, and occasionally travel.
"Keep your options open" with Zach Doninger
In this week's episode, Corinne sits down with Zach Doninger, Associate Attorney at The Strong Firm P.C. Although originally from Kentucky, he now resides in Montgomery County’s The Woodlands, Texas. Zach attained both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Louisville and commenced his legal career in Texas. Before joining The Strong Firm, Zach worked as an associate lawyer handling federal worker’s compensation and personal injury cases for insurance companies. Currently, he concentrates on the firm’s Commercial Litigation, Real Estate, and Business Transactions practice groups. Outside of his profession, Zach enjoys going on hikes with his two German Shepherds at Lake Conroe and playing golf since his baseball days have ended.
"Utilize your resources- It’s okay to ask for help!!" with Kayla Trascher
For our first episode of this season, Corinne sits down with Kayla Trascher. Kayla serves as The Woodlands Arts Council’s Administrative & Event Coordinator. She has been with the Arts Council for almost two years facilitating TWAC’s smaller events and making ART matter in our community! Kayla graduated from Texas Christian University in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies and a General Business minor. Born and raised in The Woodlands, Kayla was ecstatic to return home and start her professional career. Upon graduation, she worked in the wedding industry as the Assistant Coordinator for Weddings by Andrea. In 2022, Kayla started as an intern at The Woodlands Arts Council and was offered a full-time position at the completion of the internship. In her free time, Kayla enjoys cheering on the Horned Frogs, spending time with her friends, and traveling with her family. We hope you enjoy today's episode and the new season!
"Your struggles are worth it" with James Greene
In this week's episode, I sit down with James Greene, Executive Director at the VEL Institute, a local non-profit that is dedicated to the personal and professional development of Veterans. James enlisted in the United States Navy in 2012 where he served two tours of duty for the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) as an Anti-terrorism Specialist. He continued his career as a civilian contractor, working as a Weapons Based Instructor for operational private security forces. In 2020, James founded SwoleConnect, a personal development firm and athletic brand. Clients are introduced to his philosophies METRECON and Potent Masculinity as pillars of their personal wellness. His work has since been featured on NBC, CBS, FOX, and USA Today. Two years later his company acquired Total Warrior Combat, a premiere American Mixed-Martial Arts promotion. He was named President of the league and embarked on the long journey of market expansion while being the first professional sports organization to provide mental health solutions for athletes as the backbone of their strategic vision. We hope you enjoy today's episode!
"Take the opportunity to explore" with Mariana Almanza-Cook
On today's episode, we sit down with Mariana Almanza-Cook, Director of Business Retention and Expansion for The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership. In this role, Mariana is responsible for maintaining existing relationships with businesses in the community, as well as assisting them with their employee recruitment and workforce development, expansion of office space as needed, and creating demographic/labor market profiles in the community. Mariana earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing at Texas A&M University and the University of Texas-San Antonio. She has also obtained a Multimedia Design Certification from Lone Star College. Internships were the most rewarding part of her overall educational experiences.
"Do the internships to gain the experience" with Courtney Budra
Courtney graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She has been married to her husband, Tanner, for five years. They live in Willis, TX with their two fur babies, Lola and Brixly.
In her free time, Courtney enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with friends and family. She attends The Ark Church and volunteers with Christian ministries.
"Take a step out of our comfort zone" with Corrin Barrow
In today's episode, we sit down with Corrin Barrow, Public Affairs Representative at Entergy Texas who aids in building healthy communities through volunteerism, low-income customer service initiatives, and advocacy. Graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in agricultural business with the intent on pursuing farm life. Corrin is a board member of The Power to Care, a nonprofit that provides emergency bill assistance to elderly and disabled customers and is a board member of Community Assistance Center, a nonprofit that provides resources to meet basic needs and improve the quality of life for the community of Montgomery County. Outside of work, Corrin enjoys quality time with family, reading, and volunteering. We hope you enjoy today's episode!
"Do all of the internships" with Jaron Martin
In today's episode, Corinne sits down with Jaron Martin Associate at PBK Architects in Houston, TX. Jaron is originally from Port Gibson, MS. He attended Prairie View A&M University where he received his Master of Architecture degree. He has a passion for sustainable design and has even served in the past as Chair of the AIA Houston Committee on the Environment. Throughout his architecture career, he has helped design and build shopping centers, restaurants, fitness facilities, office buildings, and many other commercial projects. Now, as an employee of PBK Architects, his focus is designing educational facilities that improve how people learn. We hope you enjoy today's episode!
"Do your research" with Jordan Buras
In today's episode, Corinne sits down with Jordan Buras, Director of Economic Development for the City of Oak Ridge North. As the Director of Economic Development, her role is to promote the city and bring in new businesses to generate sales tax revenue. Economic Development is part of the more common term, Community Development. She works closely with the city building officials, public works department, Economic Development Corporation Board, and City Council to keep Oak Ridge North a thriving and vibrant community. Before moving to Texas, Jordan was the Acting Executive Director/Deputy Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board under the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana and the Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. Jordan graduated from Louisiana State University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and has a love for LSU football. GEAUX TIGERS! We hope you enjoy today's episode!
"Don't be afraid to ask questions" with Brenda Banegas
In today's episode, Corinne sits down with Brenda Banegas, Recruitment Counselor at the USTMAX Center in downtown Conroe where she manages the University’s social media accounts and helps market the online degrees and programs we have at the USTMAX Center. Brenda received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Sam Houston State University and is currently working on an MBA at the University of St. Thomas. Her background is in marketing with her first job after college being at Kroger Co. After five years she knew she wanted to work at a non-profit organization. In 2018 she started working at the University of St. Thomas. We hope you enjoy today's episode!
"It doesn't matter what others think of you" with Joshua Jenkins
In today's episode, Corinne sits down with her long-time friend Joshua Jenkins, Wealth- Management Advisor, owner and founder of Jenkins Financial. Josh graduated from Shippensburg University and started his practice in Chambersburg. He and his wife, Kacie, moved north to Mechanicsburg shortly after starting his practice. Josh is an active member of his church LCBC and his community. In his free time, he enjoys lifting, traveling, skiing, collecting bourbon, and spending time with friends, family, and their dogs Cali and Cooper!
"Vision without action is merely a dream" with Adriauna Davis
In today's episode, Corinne sits down with Adriauna Davis, CEO and Founder of The Harmonie Grace Foundation. Adriauna received her BS and BA in Political Science and Criminal Justice with a Minor in International Studies. From there, she matriculated to Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU) in Huntsville, AL where she earned her Masters's Degree in Urban and Regional Planning. Adriauna shares how she went from wanting to be an FBI criminal investigator to running her own foundation non-profit. If you have followed our podcast for a while you know that I ask every guest about the piece of advice they would go back and tell their high school self. I think Adriauna's advice is my favorite so far, "Vision without action is merely a dream, action without vision just passes the time and vision with action can change the world." I hope that you enjoy this episode!
"High school isn't everything" with Randi Morte
In today's episode, Corinne sits down with her good friend Randi Morte, a 1st-grade teacher at The American International School of Muscat in Muscat, Oman. Randi received her Bachelor's in Education from Abilene Christian University and her Masters's in Curriculum and Instruction from Sam Houston State University. After teaching in Montgomery County for 8 years she made the decision to take a risk and embrace her adventurous side to teach internationally. Randi shares why she made the decision to move away from her family and everything that she knew, what challenges she has faced since moving, and the things she has learned about herself along the way. We hope that you enjoy today's episode!
"Get out of your own way" with Jared Pierson
In today's episode, Corinne sits down with Jared Pierson, Director of Photography at Front Pocket Productions here in Montgomery County. Jared has been in the film and photography world for more than 13 years and shares that he fell in love with the camera the first time he picked one up and took a photo. He shares the importance of making connections and finding people to learn from and bounce ideas off of. His advice on getting out of your own way and trying all of the things is so important to sticking with a dream and finding what you are truly good and passionate about. We hope you enjoy today's episode with Jared Pierson!
"Know that you can dream big" with Nick Pinelli
In today's episode, Corinne sits down with Nick Pinelli, Co-founder and Producer at Front Pocket Productions in Montgomery County. Nick has a Bachelor's in Acting and Directing from Stephen F. Austin State University and after college worked and interned with regional theaters across the country. He goes on the share that it wasn't until he worked on a music video with a friend that he began to fall in love with the production side of films and acting. That is when he started Front Pocket Productions and has a dream to make Houston and the surrounding areas a place on the map for filmmaking. We hope you enjoy getting to know Nick Pinelli through this episode!
"Volunteer as soon as you can" with Will Warren
In today's episode Corinne sits down with, Will Warren, Market President at TDECU and co-founder of Sleep in Heavenly Peace Montgomery County, TX Chapter. Will is originally from Southern California. He studied History at the University of California, Irvine and then taught English in Japan for a few years.
Will realized his passion for volunteering while working for a community bank. His mentor and manager at the time encouraged his interest in learning about the needs of local nonprofits. From serving on numerous committees with various nonprofits to serving as the President of his Rotary Club he has developed an appreciation for the importance of having strategic leadership best practices.
He currently serves on four local nonprofit boards of directors. In March 2021 he co-founded a local chapter of a national nonprofit organization called Sleep in Heavenly Peace. He enjoys international travel, snowboarding and trail running. Enjoy today's episode!
"No one is harder on yourself than you are" with Brit Deveau
In today's episode, Corinne sits down with Brit Deveau, wellness entrepreneur and founder and owner of Deveau Wellness Hauss. Brit has a bachelor's and masters in Fine Arts and Dance and shares how she made the transition from dancing for 20+ years of her life (academically and professionally) to owning her own business and finding the things that she is passionate about. Her work and passion to help individuals get back to their whole selves is very evident in this episode and she shares some great nuggets that not only will help young listeners stay on course and believe in them selves but it also was a good reminder for the adults in the room. If you would like to learn more about Brit and the Deveau Wellness Hauss check out her Instagram @deveau.wellness.hauss. Enjoy today's episode!
"Take a deep breath" with Lacey Allemand
In today's episode, Corinne sits down with her good friend, Lacey Allemand. Lacey is a PACU Nurse at Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital with a Bachelor of Nursing from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and a Master's in Nursing Administration and Business Administration from Lamar University. Lacey shares why she chose to enter the healthcare field, how she has expanded her career by finding ways to connect the business world and the nursing world, and what she wishes she could change within her industry if given a magic wand. We hope that you enjoy today's episode!
Majoring in Business and Minoring in Entrpenurshiop and History with Cameron Allen
Join Samantha Sardina this summer for the What I Wish I Knew College Edition podcast! Samantha is a sophomore at the University of Michigan and is the EfTA summer intern. In each episode, she sits down with her current and past classmates to talk about what it's like to be a college student. Today’s guest is Cameron Allen, a rising Sophomore at the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business where he majoring in Business Administration with a double minor in Entrepreneurship and History. Cameron shares about why he chose to attend the Univerity of Michigan after having that be the last school on his list, how he started Beacon Box Books in 2018, and all of the ways he is involved on his campus. His advice to current high school students is to not stress themselves out about which school they plan to attend and to embrace their freshman year because it all goes by way too fast! We hope you enjoy today's episode.
Double Majoring in Opera and French with Mady Tozer
Join Samantha Sardina this summer for the What I Wish I Knew College Edition podcast! Samantha is a sophomore at the University of Michigan and is the EfTA summer intern. In each episode, she sits down with her current and past classmates to talk about what it's like to be a college student. Today’s guest is Mady Tozer, a rising Sophomore at the University of Southern California where she is double majoring in Opera and French with a minor in Italian. Mady shares about growing up in the world of musical theater and how she went through the process of selecting vocal performance as her intended career. She also shares about her recent summer abroad in Italy for a 5 week opera program where she performed in two operas, took Italian classes, and singing lessons, and met people from around the world. Her advice to high school listeners is to be more confident. Every college freshman is going through the same thing and stepping out of your comfort zone and feeling confident will help make that transition easier. We hope you enjoy today's episode.
Majoring in Finance and Getting Involved on Campus
Join Samantha Sardina this summer for the What I Wish I Knew College Edition podcast! Samantha is a sophomore at the University of Michigan and is the EfTA summer intern. In each episode, she sits down with her current and past classmates to talk about what it's like to be a college student. TIn today's episode, Samantha sits down with Jay Suresh, a rising Sophomore at The University of Texas at Austin majoring in Finance at the McCombs School of Business. He is originally from The Woodlands, Texas, but grew up in Singapore for most of his life. They talk about the importance of getting involved on campus and how they helped him adjust to being away from home and finding what makes him happy. Enjoy today's episode!
Double Majoring on the Pre-Law Track with Gaia
Gaia is a sophomore at Penn State University on the pre-law track majoring in criminology and anthropology. She’s originally from Italy but has moved all over the world, so she hopes to continue traveling in the future, no matter where work takes her. She’s heavily involved at school, particularly in Mock Trial and her student government association on campus, helping to organize funds for students from lower-income houses. Enjoy today's episode!
Double Majoring and Being an Athlete with Davin Hickman-Chow
Join Samantha Sardina this summer for the What I Wish I Knew College Edition podcast! Samantha is a sophomore at the University of Michigan and is the EfTA summer intern. In each episode, she sits down with her current and past classmates to talk about what it's like to be a college student. Today's guest is Davin Hickman-Chow, a D3 soccer player at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a rising sophomore double majoring in biomedical engineering and computer science. He is originally from The Woodlands, Texas, and graduated from the Woodlands High School in 2021. They talk about what it's like balancing being an athlete and double majoring, whilst also getting involved on campus.
How to be a College Athlete with Gavin Young
Join Samantha Sardina this summer for the What I Wish I Knew College Edition podcast! Samantha is a sophomore at the University of Michigan and is the EfTA summer intern. In each episode, she sits down with her current and past classmates to talk about what it's like to be a college student. From how to balance being a college athlete and school to how to get involved on campus Samantha and her guest talk about how high school students can begin preparing for their transition into college, what essentials they need for their dorm room, which meals to stay away from in the dining hall and how to excel in their personal and academics careers.
S3: E6: "You'll never know until you try it"
In today's episode, we sit down the Kristen Bohnet, Field Operations Engineer at Ovintiv. Kristen is a recent graduate from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor's degree in Petroleum Engineering. She has four summers of engineering internship experience in the oil and gas industry in the disciplines of production, reservoir, and completions engineering. As well as global business exposure through a semester-long study abroad program in Milan, Italy.
Kristen shares about how she selected petroleum engineering as her degree, how the internships she has had over the last four years helped her gain confidence and ultimately her current role, and how it is important to apply for every opportunity out there because you never know what you might like or who you will meet. Enjoy today's episode!
S3: Ep. 5 "It's all going to be okay"
Dr. Baruch Williams is a licensed psychologist who specializes in neuropsychological assessment of children and young adults. She has obtained extensive training in the cognitive and behavioral development that takes place throughout childhood and young adulthood. Dr. Williams worked as a research assistant at City University of New York Queens College, in the Laboratory of Developmental Neuropsychology and the Laboratory of Biological Psychopathology. She then returned to her hometown of Houston, Texas where she obtained a Clinical Psychology doctoral degree from the University of Houston, with a specialization in neuropsychology (Child Track). She acquired additional training at Texas Children’s Hospital Blue Bird Clinic for Pediatric Neurology as well as Memorial Hermann Hospital. After completing an internship at Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital, Dr. Williams completed a post-doctoral residency at Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Dr. Williams is experienced in the neuropsychological assessment of children with attention disorders, learning disabilities, behavioral/affective disorders, autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, prematurity, traumatic brain injury, genetic syndromes, and a host of other medical conditions.
S3. Ep. 4: "Grades matter a lot more than you realize"
In today's episode, I sit down with Patrick Steed, IAM Engineer at NOV Corporate. Patrick is a 2010 graduate of Conroe High School. After graduation, he attended Texas Tech University where he was a member of Farmhouse Fraternity and involved in the Student Government Association. In 2015 he graduated from Texas Tech with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems. He has a background in the cyber security, cloud, software, and automation spaces. In his spare time, he enjoys woodworking, golf, and spending time with his wife and labradoodle Allie.
S3: Ep.3: "Quit worrying about what other people think of you"
In today's episode, I sit down with Katie Morton, the Communications Specialist at Conroe ISD. Katie earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Sam Houston State University with a minor in Management. She has 8 years in education, serving all those years in Conroe ISD.
Katie shares how she went into school thinking she wanted to be a teacher but after taking a communications class she liked the variety that it offered and decided to make the switch. Little did she know she would end up working for the school district she grew up in so which means she is still able to work in the education environment that she always loved. Katie also shared that she would love to go back and tell her high school self to quit worrying about what other think of her. Enjoy today's episode!
To learn more about EfTA and our upcoming virtual Distinguished Speaker Series session visit www.efta-us.org.
S3. Ep 2: "Breath. Have faith that it will all work out"
In today's episode I sit down with Savannah Martin is the current Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the Dispute Resolution Center of Montgomery County, Inc.. As a native of Montgomery County, Savannah was homeschooled and attended Lone Star College Montgomery for Dual Credit classes before graduating high school, continuing for a year at Lone Star, and then transferred to Texas A&M University as a Junior, graduating in 2019 with a Bachelors in Communication. After interning at the DRC-MC in 2018 through the ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program, she was hired on to the DRC in August of 2019 after graduating in May.
Savannah shares about the importance of being involved in community service projects, holding leadership positions, and working with adults to help prepare you most for your future career. We talk about everything from her love of potatoes to being grateful for where you are now and enjoying the time that you have.
To learn more about EfTA or to register for our upcoming events please visit us at www.efta-us.org.
S3: Ep.1: "Stay open to what's available to you"
On our first episode of Season 3 I sit down with Iker Pimienta, Wealth Advisor at Carson Wealth here in The Woodlands, TX. Iker Pimienta joined Carson Wealth in 2019 as a Wealth Advisor. Iker brings to Carson an acute understanding of the uniqueness in each family’s financial needs. His goal is to understand the values of each client and to match those with the best possible advice and services the Carson team offers.
Iker is passionate about serving the unique financial needs of multigenerational families, encouraging the generations to collaborate on aligning goals and preparing for future events. Additionally, he enjoys working with young professionals, helping them develop long-term thinking and planning so they are well-prepared for their financial goals down the road.
Iker is anchored in Carson Wealth’s office in The Woodlands near where he grew up. Iker’s deep sense of family and roots in the Houston area drew him home after graduating from The University of Texas at Austin. He is involved within the community as the Chairman of the Montgomery County Hispanic Chamber and serves on the Alumni Board of The John Cooper School. Before joining Carson Wealth, Iker was a financial professional with AXA Equitable.
In Iker’s spare time, he enjoys staying active. He can often be found looking for a neighborhood pickup soccer game or even a little American football.
Se. Ep. 13 "It's okay not to have the answers right now"
On our final episode of Season 2, I sit down with Kat Carson, freelance tour, event, and stage manager. Kat Carson is currently residing in Austin, Texas, and working for various theatre companies around town, as well as 9 to 5-ing as an executive assistant. She graduated from Texas State University: San Marcos with a BFA in Production and Performance with an emphasis in Stage Management. Her most recent credits include being the Stage Manager for Atlas Shrugged at Austin Shakespeare, Stage Manager for Champions of Magic: International Tour, and Tour Manager for Dinosaur World Live: U.S Tour.
Kat shares about where her passion for the "live in-person events" came from and how she loves to be able to share the joy in the experiences with complete strangers. She also shares about how COVID and the last year have really changed her industry and how she hopes to be back on the road soon. Her "just say yes" motto has been the main thing that has prepared her for most for her career of traveling around the world, late nights, and working with different teams throughout different shows. Kat's passion for her work is very evident in this episode and I hope to one day be able to attend one of the shows that she is working with when it comes to town!
We hope that you guys enjoyed our Season 2 of the What I Wish I Knew Podcast and will join us next Fall as we kick off Season 3 with new guests, new questions, and new opportunities to learn from our local young professionals!
S2. Ep. 12 "Don't let fear hold you back"
Today we sit down with Christi Shafer, External Relations and Communication Coordinator with REPSOL here in The Woodlands, TX. Christi graduated from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelors's Degree in Mass Communications and a Master's in History. Christi has been with REPSOL for 7 years. REPSOL is a global multi-energy provider that strives to drive the evolution towards a low-emissions energy model.
Christi's interest in writing began at a young age. She grew up loving to read, write and tell stories. In college, she was part of Houstonian News and really found a love for uncovering stories and investigative journalism. Christi shares about the mentors and leaders that have helped push her along the way, how the experience has been the best thing that has prepared her for her career and how she struggled to find her identity when she switched from communications to public relations. I love what she said about "not letting fear hold you back."
Thank you to REPSOL for continuing to support Education for Tomorrow Alliance and our community!
S2. Ep. 11 "Everything you do today is an investment for tomorrow"
On today's episode we chat with Meagan Ellsworth, reporter for The Courier of Montgomery County, Houston Community Newspapers, and the Houston Chronicle Media Group. Meagan covers a range of breaking news, governmental entities, and community events from tragedies to elections and celebrations. Read the stories at yourconroenews.com and chron.com.
Prior to advertising, Meagan served as the administrative assistant at the Global Center for Journalism and Democracy at Sam Houston State University, which served as a journalism training center. She helped coordinate guest speaker events including ATF whistleblowers, a modern-day slavery survivor, and a wrongful conviction panel resulting in not only gain in knowledge and experience for her career in journalism, but a gain in perspective about other industries and issues. She also assisted with trainings led by GCJD and the Samir Kassir Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon; and, in the Philippines for the PH+SocialGood Summit and Forum, co-hosted with Rappler News Agency in Manila and Tacloban.
Prior to GCJD Meagan, freelanced for Nonstop Tuning during Formula Drift and the Xtreme Drift Circuit Championship for automotive photography experience and also gained experiences as a sales consultant at CarMax in North Austin.
Meagan shares about her process of becoming a reporter, the stories she has covered, and the lessons she has learned along the way. Her big focus throughout this episode and her life is that "everything you do today is an investment for tomorrow." Grab a piece of paper and write that down! This statement is one that can applied to any field of work and should be written down and kept with you along your journey! Enjoy this episode.
S2. Ep 10 "You are good enough, smart, strong and you are not alone"
On today's episode I talk with James H. Stilwell, Managing Partner and one of the Founders of Stilwell, Earl and Apostolakis, LLP, and a leader in our community. He has been practicing in Montgomery County, Texas for 26 years. He handles a wide-range of litigation matters, regularly prepares estate planning documents, and also helps clients with business transactions. He has been awarded the top rating for ability and ethics given by Martindale-Hubbel, a lawyer rating organization, and has received numerous other legal honors and recognitions. James also has an extensive background of service to our community, including having served as the Chairman of Leadership Montgomery County, the Chairman of the Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Vice President (and soon to be President) of The Woodlands Arts Council, as well as having served numerous other non-profits in and around Montgomery County, Texas. James regularly volunteers with Education for Tomorrow Alliance and always has interesting stories to tell from his life and career.
James and I talk about why he decided to go to law school and pursue a career of helping people in both big and small firms. He shares that his greatest accomplishment has been representing a wide range of clients but specifically how he was able to represent a client in the Texas Supreme Court. If you are listening and have an interest in going to law school and becoming an attorney I highly recommend that you listen to this entire episode. James share some amazing stories about his cases and clients that I truly believe shares his passion for his work and some great examples of cases that local attorney's face each day. Enjoy today's episode!
S2. Ep. 9 "Look for those around you that are successful and learn from them"
Today I am joined by Matt Corley, Customer Service and Compliance Manager for the San Jacinto River Authority’s (SJRA) Utility Enterprise. Matt and I met last fall when we both were accepted and became part of the Leadership Montgomery Class of 2021.
Since 2010, his leadership, innovation, and environmental stewardship has supported SJRA’s public works services, essential to the welfare and quality of life of its customers. Matt’s career with SJRA has afforded him the ability to serve his hometown of Conroe, Texas, and surrounding areas. Matt holds a BBA and an MBA from Sam Houston State University. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing golf, watching documentaries, and serving at his church. Matt is a husband and father to two active girls and a member of First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in Conroe, where he and his wife serve as Sunday School Teachers. Matt also serves on the Board of Stewards at FUMC.
Today Matt shares about how he made the decision to step away from college and the fire fighters academy to pursue the work that he love doing at the SJRA. Matt also shares about how he went back to school after working for a couple of years and completed his BBA and MBA while being a full-time employee, husband and new dad. Throughout this episode you can hear the passion behind the work that Matt does and I am excited to share it with you. Enjoy!
Anyone wanting to take a tour or learn more about the San Jacinto River Authority can visit, https://www.sjra.net.
S2. Ep 8 "Have confidence in your ability"
On today's episode I sit down with Josie Lewis, Director of Sales for Visit The Woodlands. After finally arriving in Texas to attend university, Josie is happy to call The Woodlands area her home of nearly 5 years. As Director of Sales, Josie focuses on working closely with meeting and event planners to ensure they have a seamless experience booking business in The Woodlands. Josie attends national and state tradeshows to represent Visit The Woodlands, develops sales FAM Events, coordinates engaging site tours, and organizes local partner educational events. Some of her favorite things about The Woodland is the amazing shopping, dining, and outdoor activities all within walking distance from our major hotels. Her favorite outdoor activity so far is setting up a picnic blanket in Town Green Park during a Pavilion concert to catch some date night worthy tunes.
Get your pen and pad out for this one! Josie and I talk about how growing up abroad helped her decide to enter into the hospitality industry. She shares about how her education and certifications have helped her not only get her current and past jobs but also how they continue to be drivers for her to work hard. I love her advice to her high school self, "have confidence in your ability, you can do some much more than you think you can." This was good for me to hear as an adult so I hope that it resonates with you. Enjoy this episode.
S2. Ep. 7 "Be willing to learn along the way"
Angela Storseth-Cooper is the Senior Manager of Government Relations & Public Policy for The US Oncology Network/Mckesson where she represents community oncology practices throughout the United States by direct advocacy, political engagement, and policy analysis. Angela’s background consists of working for the business community at two Houston Area Chambers of Commerce as their Director of Government Relations, and the Texas House of Representatives as a Policy Advisor.
Angela is extremely passionate about her community, with a strong focus on women leadership and serves on several Boards: Leadership Montgomery County, Outstanding Women Networking Inspiring and Taking Charge- OWNIT, and the Montgomery Independent School District Education Foundation Board of Trustees. In 2019, Angela was recognized as a Trailblazer for the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Angela graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2011. She and her husband, Grant, live in Montgomery, Texas where he is a teacher and football coach.
Angela and I discuss the importance of getting involved in things outside of the classroom, not being intimidated, and not being so hard on yourself. Enjoy this episode!
S2: Episode 6: "Life is just getting started"
Russell Carter is a paramedic who has been with Montgomery County Hospital District for almost 4 years. In that time he has been involved in EMS recruiting, teaching and precepting, clinical competitions, tactical EMS, designing ambulances, and various other work projects. He is almost done with a bachelor's of science in emergency health sciences through the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and holds several specialty board certifications. He is passionate about out-of-hospital clinical practice, professional development, and general advancement of the EMS profession. On top of being a self-proclaimed (and peer supported) EMS nerd, he is a lucky husband and proud father of 2.
Russell shares about how he had always wanted to go into the military but due to an issue on his medical records he was unable to join right out of high school. It was his father's health problems that helped him make the decision to go to EMT school and eventually become a paramedic. Russell shares stories about his experience as a paramedic, the things he has learned while on the job and how you have to be resilient in the journey. Thank you to the Montgomery County Hospital District for all that they do to serve our community!
S2: Ep. 5: "You only live once"
Before we jump into episode 5 of the What I Wish I Knew Podcast we wanted to acknowledge that over the last week our community has been through another trying time and that if we at EfTA can help with anything please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are so grateful to be part of a community that supports and helps others no matter what the circumstances are.
Now, into the episode! This week I sit down with Emefa Arnaout, Director of Patient Care at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center overseeing three departments (Pre-Anesthesia Clinic, Post-Surgery Department, and Joint Center).. Emefa was born in New York and raised in New Jersey. She completed her Bachelors of Science in Nursing in 2007 at Bloomfield College in NJ and relocated to Houston, Texas to work at Memorial Hermann, The Woodlands in 2008. Emefa went on to completed Masters in Nursing and Healthcare Administration in 2011 with University of Phoenix. She has two energetic sons, loves to travel and food. In her free time is used to spend time with family, adventures with the boys, or relaxing at home with a good movie, book, and sleep.
Emefa shares about her experience being a nurse and how she has worked her way up to different leadership positions. As many of us know many nurses and other medical professionals have a heart for service and you tell that that is present in Emefa. We also discuss the importance of having mentors along the way, developing professional skills to help you in difficult situations and to experience every moment given to you. "You only live once," is her advice to our listeners and I hope that you enjoy this episode.
S2: Ep: 4 “Always look out for adventure"
If you are a note taker, get your pen and paper ready for this episode! On today’s episode I chat with Lucy Gomez, Vice President of Programs and Operations at Interfaith of The Woodlands. Lucy has worked at Interfaith since 2005 in Family Services and most recently held the position of Director of Programs and Services. Lucy has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a Master’s degree in International Relations from The University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.
Lucy shares about her education decisions, her experience and advice for living and studying abroad and what it means to her to be continuing the legacy of service while at Interfaith. If you are listening and have a desire to study abroad or work in an area of service towards other this is another episode I encourage you to listen to all of the way through. I love Lucy's three hashtags that she shares towards the end of the episode. #servantleader #inspire #excellence
Interfaith of The Woodlands is a non-profit social service agency providing numerous programs and services to meet the needs of The Woodlands and the surrounding area.
S2: E3: "No one will love you less if you are not perfect"
EfTA President, Monica Bomkamp Enia here! Today's episode is a fun one! I have the chance to sit down with the What I Wish I Knew podcast host, Corinne Coulter, Program Director at Education for Tomorrow Alliance! Corinne is typically the facilitator of this podcast and our career panels so having her on this side of the mic is a special treat! Corinne graduated from Conroe High School in 2008 and went on to earn her Bachelors degree from Abilene Christian University. Corinne has spent the last three years with EfTA creating meaningful opportunities for students just like you. In today's session you will hear about how she has figured out where she is supposed to be and where she feels like she is contributing and can shine. She talks about the importance of finding the people who will encourage you and support you along the way. As a recovering people pleaser she shares the important message on how no one will love you less if you are not perfect.
We hope that you enjoy this episode and hearing from the person behind the podcast!
S2: Episode 2: "Push yourself out of your comfort zone."
Season 2: Episode 1: "Be the best that you can be"
Happy New Year and welcome to Season 2 on the What I Wish I Knew Podcast! On today's episode I sit down with Lt. Col. Chris McMartin or Col. Mac as his cadets call him. Lt. Col. McMArtin is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and currently a Junior ROTC Instructor at The Woodlands High School. While on active duty, Chris completed tours of duty as a navigator on C-141 and C-130 aircraft, an instructor at the navigator training school, an Operations Director for mobility operations at a US base in the Middle East, and an assistant professor at the US Army Command and General Staff College. Chris grew up in Oklahoma but has called Texas his home since 1997.
This is a great episode for anyone out there that thinks that they want to enter into military service. While Lt. Col. McMartin spent 20 years in the Air Force he speaks about the different branches of military, the different steps and ways to enter into service, what it is like while on active duty and much more. We hope that you enjoy this episode.
We would love your feedback on who you would like to hear from this season. If you have a specific career or young professional that we can share with you please submit an email to email@example.com with you interests.
Episode 11: "Don't let people tell you you can't do something”
On today’s episode I chat with Sydney Walker. Sydney is a recent Doctorate of Chiropractic graduate from the Texas Chiropractic College and newest member of Spinal Care Chiropractic Center in The Woodlands, TX. Sydney gradated from Texas A & M University in 2016 where she went on to the Texas Chiropractic College in Pasadena, Texas. Sydney talks about the importance of not letting people tell you that you can't do something and why she chose to switch her major during her Junior year of college. She also shares about how she was consumed by getting good grades and lost site of what she truly wanted which was to be able to take care of people. Sydney is a great example of someone choosing to follow their passion and I hope that you are able to hear that in our conversation!
We will be taking a short break for the holiday season and will resume with Season 2 on January 11! We wish you a happy and safe holiday season!
Episode 10: "Don't hold on so tightly"
Today I sit down with Ellie Pfahl. Ellie is the Marketing Manager at Strike, a leading provider of energy infrastructure solutions across the United States. Ellie is responsible for the day-to-day marketing activities for Strike and its family of six companies including creating collateral, building and maintaining websites, capturing photography and shooting video. Her favorite projects include storytelling complex projects and showcasing employees.
Ellie and I talk not only about her journey to where she is now but we also discuss the importance of adding to your skill set, learning how to negotiate and her advice to not hold on so tightly was something that everyone needs to hear! At the end of the podcast Ellie and I talk about social media and how it ever changing with a lot of aspects that we don't fully understand. So if you are listening and are an expert on all things social media send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your tips and tricks and maybe you will be featured on an upcoming episode to help out us "old folks!"
Episode 9: "Stay humble and ask for help"
We hope our United States listeners had a wonderful Thanksgiving break! On today's episode of the What I Wish I Knew Podcast I sit down with Jeff Livarchik, Cyclohexane Product Manager at Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LP. Jeff graduated from Purdue University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, and began his career at Chevron Phillips Chemical Company as a Process Engineer at the Pasadena Plastics Complex. After 5 years in Pasadena, Jeff moved to The Woodlands to work as an Engineering Polymers Business Analyst at their headquarters.
In 2015, Jeff received his Masters of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business. In his current role as Cyclohexane Product Manager, he is responsible for maintaining relationships with customers, negotiating contracts, coordinating production rates at the plant and managing the logistics that deliver the product to the customer.
Jeff and I talk about the importance of internships, having perseverance and taking every opportunity that is presented to you.
Episode 8: "Take advantage of every opportunity"
Britni and I not only reminisce about "the good old days" but we talk about the importance of embracing moments, trusting in God's plan, and getting out of your comfort zone.
Episode 7: "Don't forget to dream"
On today's episode I sent down with Jillian Diffee. Jillian is an interior designer with DLR Group, a global integrated design firm. She focuses primarily on K-12 education design. As someone who is passionate about the connection between humans and their environment, she designs to the fact that the physical environment has a massive effect on mental and emotional well-being. Jillian’s goal on each project is to tailor unique solutions in the built environment that support the total well-being of all inhabitants and translate her client’s passions and visions into reality.
This episode was so inspiring to record! Jillian has a huge heart to serve others and the way she is doing that through her career was so encouraging to hear. She talks about the importance of find mentors to pour into your life and to not stop dreaming. Jillian shares a great story about her greatest challenge was to have confidence and to believe that she has "something to bring to table despite her age."
Episode 6: "Don't let others decide your path for you"
Today in the EfTA What I Wish I Knew podcast, I sit down with Cameron Cruise from 5Point Credit Union in Montgomery County. Cameron is the Community Development Coordinator for 5Point Credit Union and focuses on providing financial literacy programs for local Junior and Senior High School Students. Cameron shares about she has found a love for working with students on financial literacy, how she managed playing ports and do other extracurriculars in college and that you should never let other decide your path for you.