Hi, I'm Rick Bernstein “The Voice of DC” and as a voice actor, live event emcee and fundraising auctioneer, I love telling stories.
The Pod of DC is where I share my personal and professional story, and the stories of so many fascinating individuals I have met along the way as a Gen X'er growing up and now raising a family in/around the greater Washington, D.C. area.
With thousands of Twitter followers and over 200 podcast episodes published, the JMU Sports Blog continues to provide fresh and entertaining takes on all things JMU Sports both past and present. On this episode of the pod, JMU alums Rob Abbott and Todd Davis share what led them to establish the blog back in 2009, how the blog and the JMU football program specifically have evolved over the years, some advice for graduating Dukes, and their outlook on this (hopefully one and done) Spring football season for the Dukes in 2021.
One of the bright moments of the last year in the DC region was the crowning of JeanAnne Roberts as Mrs. DC America 2020. On this episode of the pod, JeanAnne shares her life experiences growing up in West Virginia coal country, the impact pageants made on her early in her life, traveling the world as a flight attendant, and her work now supporting the Girl Scouts of America to help build strong female leaders for the future.
Marco Jacobs is a CEO, startup investor, and mentor in the thriving greater Washington, DC IT market. Born, raised, and educated in Jackson, Mississippi Marco knew at an early age he loved building things. His love for building landed him as a computer science major at Jackson State where he received a full scholarship as a sonic boomer in the well known Jackson State band. After serving multiple internships throughout college, Marco set up shop in DC and in 2016 established CodeIntelX servicing IT clients, as well as CodeIntelX Labs, to help provide training, mentorship, and real world opportunities for future software leaders.
The healthcare world is fortunate to have professionals like David Daniel in its ecosystem. On the first episode of The Pod in 2021, David shares his journey to serving mission driven healthcare organizations after hitting a crossroads professionally and choosing to volunteer one summer at a camp for children with life threatening illnesses that proved to be truly transformative. We chat about his small town upbringing in Camden, Arkansas, the world of healthcare philanthropy, early 90's Razorback basketball, and the lessons he has learned as a Dad to never say never, to fully embrace his kids' joy, and the resiliency kids will show when given a little space and time.
Patrick Brown might be a familiar face whether you’ve personally met him or not. He’s been a close friend of mine for 25 years and on this final interview episode of The Pod of DC in 2020, Patrick shares what made growing up in Columbia, MD special, his journey to JMU, how he packed up everything to pursue an acting career in California in 2004 and some fascinating behind-the-scenes details on the casting process for film and tv, his transition into a career in real estate and the impact his parents made on him as a man and now family man. I have been alongside Patrick throughout the years and it’s amazing the new things learned when good friends make time for each other, setting aside all the kidding from over the years, and share their story.
It was a pleasure reconnecting with my friend Tracey Butler-Johnson who has served as a public school educator and counselor in one of the largest school systems in the country over the last two decades. Tracey shares her journey to the DC area and how she found her passion counseling middle schoolers, the evolution of the school counselor position in providing social and emotional support to teens to assist in their pursuit of academic success, and a few very impactful examples of how parents can help their children navigate life's challenges from a foundation of unconditional love, acceptance, and positive self-esteem.
The Fantasy Sports world is getting to know Sia Nejad. Sia is a college bro of mine turned fantasy football and golf writer, podcaster, and contributor to outlets like Win Daily Sports and CBS Fantasy Football Today. On this episode of The Pod, Sia dishes about raising a family in Florida after growing up in the greater DC area, his passion for and evolution within fantasy sports and how he is using his platform to give back. Sia also shares his experience cashing out in the main event at the World Series of Poker in 2018 and how unlucky breaks can be overcome when you surround yourself with the right people.
Jason Scalzo is a fighter, an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Jason discusses with Rick his upbringing in Hamden CT and the impact losing his mother had on his life, the example set by his father, how he strives to live up to his father's model as an individual and doting Dad, the twists and turns his personal and professional life have taken since moving to Charleston SC in 2000, and how he found his life's purpose through the sport of boxing.
Tommy Ross is a boss. Professional drummer, karate black belt, and an elite obstacle course athlete. We dove right into things talking music and his formative upbringing split between California and Saudi Arabia, finding his calling through elite obstacle course training and competition, how he gives back through the sport, and the support and guidance he is giving his son as he pursues excellence in soccer and life.
Cristine Gollayan is a cybersecurity pro, fashionista, and fixture on the DC social scene. On this episode, Cristine shares with Rick how she landed in tech, the changes that have evolved since coding Cobol in the late nineties, her plans as President-elect for the Women in Technology nonprofit organization, her optimism for the young leaders of the future, and how she is putting out those positive vibes in the community in person and online.
Rick reconnects with Rebecca West-Hensinger since her crowning in 2019 as Mrs. Pennsylvania America to reflect on her life growing up in Allentown PA, her journey into pageantry and finalist finishes at Mrs. America and Mrs. World, the inspiration behind her platforms of education equality and substance abuse recovery, her experience summiting Mt. Kilamanjaro and the infiniteness of life when you have someone who believes in you.
Phil Singh is a passionate music lover from the San Francisco Bay area who now calls DC home. On this episode of the pod, Phil shares with Rick the sounds of his childhood, how he listened to new music as a teenager in the late eighties and early nineties, and breaks down with Rick the Beastie Boys' award-winning and critically acclaimed album Check Your Head.
Rick has a conversation with Dr. Mara Monoski, a board-certified urologist turned educator. Mara discusses her upbringing abroad and in the greater DC area, her close friendships formed in high school, the twists and turns in her professional career that inspired her writing and ultimately, the process of publishing her debut novel Downtown Dani.
Rick catches up with his buddy Robert Hofheimer to reflect on meeting in MAFTY, a regional movement of Jewish youth, in the late 80's and early 90's, the journey they shared navigating over 13,000 miles cross country the summer after graduating high school, and the lens they have on friendships made back then in a low fidelity world as Dads of young kids and teenagers today.
Rick reconnects with his friend Dr. Jason Heiserman to discuss his career as a higher ed administrator and educator, the impact of his upbringing in Silver Spring, what brought him to JMU, and his time breaking classic tracks in the golden era of 90's hip hop as a college radio station DJ.
Rick catches up with childhood friend Brad Perry to reminisce about their middle school years in Stafford County, VA, the skateboarding scene in the late 80's, and the musical journey Brad has taken over the years as a working and touring musician.
Rick chats with Top Dawg Brock Leonard, who served as JMU's mascot from 1994-1998. Brock shares what led him to JMU, what it means to wear the costume, and other fun stories from his All-American run as the beloved mascot for the Dukes.