Hi, I'm Rick Bernstein “The Voice of DC." As a voice actor, live event emcee & fundraising auctioneer, I love telling stories.
The Pod of DC is where I share my personal & professional story as a Gen X'er coming up in the Washington, D.C. area and interview friends I've met along the way.
Thanks for listening & sharing!
Top Dawg Brock Leonard, who wore the paws as JMU's beloved 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 nineties, her plans as President elect for the Women in Technology nonprofit organization, her optimism for the tech leaders of the future, and how she is putting out those positive vibes in the community in person and online.
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.
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.
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 fantasy sports, cashing out in the main event of the World Series of Poker and how he is using his platform to give back.
Tracey Butler-Johnson 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, how she found her passion counseling middle schoolers, and some 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.
Patrick Brown might be a familiar face. On this final episode of The Pod in 2020, Patrick shares his upbringing in Columbia, MD, 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.
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 and sonic boomer at Jackson State University. Marco shares those experiences and his passion to mentor and train the next generation of software engineer leaders.
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.
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 personal journey to a career of service to healthcare organizations, growing up in a small tight knit community in rural Arkansas, the world of healthcare philanthropy, early 90's Razorback basketball, and the lessons he's learned as a Dad to never say never and to embrace his kids' joy.
With thousands of Twitter followers and over 200 podcast episodes published, the JMU Sports Blog provides fresh and entertaining takes on all things JMU Sports both past and present. On this episode, JMU alums Rob Abbott and Todd Davis share what led them to establish the blog back in 2009, how their blog has evolved over the years, some fun advice for graduating Dukes, and their outlook on the Spring football season for the Dukes in 2021.
From the time he learned to read, Steve Trout was following box scores and idolizing his local DC sports teams and sportscaster George Michael as a sports obsessed kid growing up in Reston, VA. On this episode of The Pod, Steve shares how he cultivated his passion for all things sports all the way to Senior Director at NFL Films where he has taken home 4 sports Emmys for the sports documentary series Hard Knocks and All or Nothing.
Music is truly a gift, one that gives us comfort and inspiration and helps create memories that last a lifetime. One fun and special way to draw on the magic of music is honoring your child through song. On this episode of The Pod, the Rossman Family share how their love of music inspired them to self publish their new book "Sing Your Child's Story, Parents as Modern Bards," the simple ways parents and children can begin structuring ideas and experiences into song, how these songs can evolve over time, and a few stories and performances from the Rossman kids that are sure to motivate and inspire.
Kicking off the first of three episodes of our spotlight series on the Behavioral Health program at Mary’s Center in Washington, DC, we have a conversation with Georgette Saad, a licensed therapist and Senior Early Childhood Manager at Mary’s Center. Georgette shares the importance of being in tune with your child, that parenting is not a one size fits all and what works today with your child might not tomorrow, and how she is alongside parents in their journey to build fluency and toolsets that will resonate with their child moving forward.
On this second of three episodes of our spotlight series on the Behavioral Health program at Mary's Center in Washington, DC, we have a conversation with Tiffani Boykin, a licensed therapist within the school-based mental health program at Mary's Center. Tiffani shares her approach to her practice working with teens in schools, how the program and her practice has evolved over the course of the pandemic, and how she discovered her calling to help people from a young age growing up in the nation's capital.
Rounding out the third episode of our three part spotlight series on the Behavioral Health program at Mary’s Center in Washington, DC, we have a conversation with Spencer Northey and Daniel Veiga, licensed therapists within the Couples & Family Therapy program at Mary’s Center. Spencer and Daniel share practices and anecdotes around relationship therapy, the role of genograms and what family histories could mean for individuals and their relationships, the terms emotional cut-offs, differentiation, and enmeshment – feelings and actions that we all can identify with but maybe not know the terminology for, and how technology during the pandemic period has offered some surprising benefits in practice.