combsandco


Feature Friday – Ramon Ray

Host: Sean C O’Rourke

Guest: Ramon Ray

“When things do not go your way, remember that every challenge — every adversity — contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth.” Roy T. Bennett

If you like understatement, then saying 2020 has been (or was, depending on when you’re reading this) a challenging year should make the top of your list.  But among all that has gone wrong, that’s disrupted the norm, or been thrown into the unknown lies opportunity to come out the other end better, stronger, faster.  (Yes, that’s a callout to one of my all-time favorite shows.)

In the latest edition of Did You Know That?, the engaging Ramon Ray talks about how businesses – of all sizes – can identify and take advantage of even the slimmest of opportunity.  There are risks; it’s not for the faint of heart; but there are rewards to be had by you, your employees, and your customers/clients if you take a calculated leap.  This is not about running after anything that catches your eye; this about smartly identifying where your business can fill a new need and moving with purpose in that direction.

If this is your first experience listening to Ramon, then get your pen and paper or keyboard ready, because he’s going to throw a lot of information out there and you’ll want to digest it afterward (or give this multiple watches; your choice). 

You can also check out Ramon’s various works using the links or handles below:

Instagram: @ramonraysmarthustle

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ramonraysmallbiz/

Check out Ramon’s website Smart Hustle or his speaking website HERE!

Music: “J.D. Scavenger” by Randy Sharp via Artlist



Feature Friday – Did You Know That?

We all pretty much know the names and stories of the entrepreneurs who made it big (just check the list of the world’s richest people). But do you know the story of the person who started that dry cleaner’s down the block? How about your favorite non-chain coffee shop? That pub you frequent way too often? The graphic designer for the at-home workout app you’ve been frequenting?

If you think about it, entrepreneurship has been around since that first multi-cellular organism ventured off on its own to find a better source of food. Not much has changed in the intervening few billion years. (OK, maybe a few things.) Being an entrepreneur is still a risky, fulfilling, exhausting, invigorating, difficult, inspiring way of life, and my next guest on Did You Know That? has experienced it more than most.

Adrian Miller has been a successful entrepreneur – many times over – for 30+ years. She’s juggled multiple businesses for more than a decade now, all while being a mom, wife, world traveler, and fount of knowledge. If you’re thinking of taking the leap, or are struggling to keep your fire going, then this is the episode you don’t want to miss.

To learn more about Adrian’s fascinating history, check out her LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amillersalestraining/.

Music: “DuDa” by Ian Post via Artlist



Feature Friday – Did You Know That?

Host: Sean C O’Rourke

Guest: Paul Zambrotta

“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.”  Annie Leonard

I’m not a terribly nostalgic person, but have to admit, this episode took me back to show and tell in grammar school.

Have you ever heard the term wish-cycling?  No, not the practice of wishing for the same thing each time you blow out birthday candles.  This is the practice of throwing an item into a recycling bin in the hopes it can be recycled.  While the intention may be good, in practice, this act of hope has real negative consequences – it can turn good recyclables into trash.

My next guest on Did You Know That? is Paul Zambrotta, Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Hi-Tech Resource Recovery, Inc. & Scholes Street Recycling Corp., and Director of Safety at Mr. T Carting.  Paul’s grandfather, Tom Toscano (aka, Pop), started Mr. T Carting with one truck in 1947 and the family of companies has grown with the city to better address waste and recycling efforts.

The chat with Paul is broken into two segments.  First, we discuss the overall status of the recycling business and market, with an emphasis on where we, the consumers, are falling short on proper recycling.  The real fun begins with part two, where Paul and I go through many common household items to determine what can go into the recycling containers and what should hit the trash.  I think you may be surprised by some of his answers.

To learn more about Paul and his work, check out his LinkedIn profile, CLICK HERE

To learn more about plastic recycling, visit Waste4Change by CLICKING HERE

Music: “Urban Drummers” by Mike Kirin via. Artlist



Rockstars Rocking Podcast

Absolutely thrilled to be featured this week on Eric Silverman‘s Rockstars Rocking podcast!

Thank you so much Eric, for giving me a platform to share about my journey and my passion for the Mizzou Law Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri!

Click below to watch the episode!

Want to see more episodes, make sure you CLICK HERE to subscribe!



Episode 6 – Try and Stop Me Podcast by Colleen Blum with Guest Mike Veny

Episode 6 Mental Health Is An Asset, So Let’s Talk About It

Host: Colleen Blum

Guest: Mike Veny

Mental Health is something society still struggles to talk about or address, the one good thing about COVID is that problem seems to be slowly changing.

Mike Veny is one of the Top Mental Health Speakers in the US talking about just that. Listen as he shares his story through his mental own health journey, how is mother helped him find an outlet and how he is using his mental health as an asset to help change lives all across the country.

Curious for a preview of the episode? Take a listen below!

To be able to listen or download the full episode, click below!

Guest Contact Information:

Mike Veny: LinkedIn

Website: https://www.mikeveny.com/

Author of: Transforming Stigma: How to Become a Mental Wellness Superhero

Podcast: MXV Self Employed Momentum

Follow us on the @tryandstopmepodcast Instagram page



Feature Friday – Did You Know That?

Host: Sean C O’Rourke

“Politics is not a game. It is an earnest business.” Winston Churchill

Politics.  Politician.  Want to cause a visceral reaction?  Just drop these words into any conversation and watch the fireworks blaze.  It begs the question – why would anyone want to get into this business?

Well, for those who do, there’s a gauntlet you have to run just to get in front of your welcoming electorate.  The cynic looks at these hurdles as a way for incumbents to stay in power; the optimist looks at the process as a way of pre-validating a candidate.  Either way, it’s no simple matter to find your way onto a ballot and then finance a campaign.

My next guest on Did You Know That? is Rachel Harding, an election/campaign finance law attorney who specializes in New York state.  Rachel knows the ins and outs, tricks and tricksters, and the obstacles a potential candidate must navigate to get on and remain on a New York ballot.  She also knows how much money a candidate can accept and from whom and how often.  Essentially, if you want to run for office in New York, call Rachel first.

In an election year unlike any in recent history, who better than Rachel to discuss how ballots are “made” in New York?

To learn more about Rachel, check out her LinkedIn profile HERE

Be sure to do your civic duty and vote, even if it’s for none of the above.

Music: Big City Lights by Ikoliks via Artlist



Feature Friday – Did You Know That?

Host: Sean C O’Rourke

“It’s about focusing on the fight and not the fright.” Robin Roberts

In 2019, two scientists presented evidence of a malignant tumor in a turtle bone that was 240 million years old.  In 2016, a published paper identified cancer in a hominid – one of our ancestors – toe bone from 1.7 million years ago.  An ancient Egyptian medical text, dating back at least 3,600 years, details cancer and removal procedures for breast tumors. 

So what’s this have to do with anything?  Well, first, it helps explain why cancer remains such an intractable disease, even with $200 billion spent in the last 50 years (in the U.S. alone).  Second, it provides context as to why I think my next guest is such an inspiring badass.

Not to give too much away, but what should have been one of the happiest days of Morgan Mitchell’s life was overshadowed by a lump she found in her breast.  A couple weeks later, at 28, Morgan was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.

If this interview was about Morgan’s work, or our previous exploits on the football field, or a hike she just finished, you’d never know she was being treated for anything other than being too positive.  It’s this strength of character I wanted to bring out during our conversation, in the hopes it might inspire others, and kick off Breast Cancer Awareness month on a positive message.

Morgan’s professional side is highlighted HERE

If you’d like to learn more about the organizations Morgan mentions, visit:

5 Under Forty: https://5under40.org/

American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/

Music “Early Morning” by Borrtx via Artlist

Per Angusta Ad Augusta translates to “Through difficulties to honors.”



Episode 5 – Try and Stop Me Podcast by Colleen Blum

The Life Changing Question: Gratitude & Pasta with Chris Schembra

Host: Colleen M Blum

Have you ever sat back and took a moment to think about all of the experiences you have really been through? Has anyone ever had a serious life altering impact in making who you are today – whether they were good or bad? Have you ever taken the time to be grateful for those moments which lead you to become the person you are today?

Todays episode is ALL ABOUT THAT. Gratitude.

Our next guest is Chris Schembra. Chris is the Founder of the 7:47 Club. He is the Best Selling Author of Gratitude & Pasta: The Secret Sauce For Human Connection. USA Today named him the “Gratitude Guru”.

Chris has gone through his fair share of try and stop me moments, battling depression, suicide, rehab & even jail. But once he was able to see life, experience life – his world shifted. Listen along as he shares his story about how Gratitude and Pasta forever changed his world.

Guest: Find him on LinkedIn Chris Schembra or at www.747club.org

Contact to attend a dinner: David@747club.org

Podcast Instagram: @tryandstopmepodcast

CLICK HERE to see the full episode!



What’s the good news, ladies? Fall, y’all!

Original Post: BenefitsPro Broker Innovation Lab

Susan L. Combs | September 21, 2020 at 07:47 AM

I cannot believe that 4th Quarter is days away!  That means that open enrollment is on the horizon and oof … how it’s going to be different this year?  Hope you all have your virtual toolkit ready to go; I know we have been busy planning and gearing up for this in our office to make the process as easy and smooth as possible. But we’re all in insurance, right?  So we look at worst case scenario.  If you’re like me, you lay awake in bed thinking “What’s the worst than can happen?” And then you lay awake longer.  Gah!  Good luck, ladies.  Feel free to share the best idea or tool you are using; I’m sure many would love to hear about them.

We had such a blast at the virtual BenefitsPRO Broker Expo this year and got to meet some incredible women that way!  I’m really excited to introduces you to these fine women this month who are keeping it real in the world of COVID, home schooling and just being rockstars in our industry.  Please welcome Sarah, Robin and Sarah to the fold!

Sarah Wilson, Compass Benefit Advisors

“Interesting? Challenging? Uncertain?  I’m not quite sure how to describe the last 12 months.  For me, it has involved creating a new role for myself within a new firm while learning to be a teacher overnight to my 8 and 9 year olds.  Juggling and adapting have become my forte.

One thing I’ve learned is we’re not meant to do this thing called life alone and that it’s OK, even good, to put ourselves out there and lean on others.  Connecting has become my mission, even if only by Zoom.  I’ve pushed myself to make connections with mom friends and other female colleagues a priority, carving out time to share and encourage each another.  In an effort to connect with others, I’ve started a think tank for clients and prospective clients to discuss their good, bad, and ugly and to encourage one another when it comes to topics like COVID, compliance, leadership and employee morale.  It’s served as a great sounding board for human resource leaders.

When you make life a party, not a competition, and give yourself and others an opportunity to connect, it allows everyone to thrive together.  Here’s to ducking, diving and keeping our heads above water!”

Robin Wahby, CLU, Wahby Financial Group, LLC

“I am proud to say I recently conquered a goal that had always eluded me. This goal was to move families from managing money and financial advice to working towards the achievement of life’s purpose and leaving a legacy.  During the pandemic, I have been helping clients feel less anxious and more in control of their finances but am also now beginning to talk about the people and organizations that are important to them.  And talk they did!

Our client families are acting now to preserve their values and goals for future generations.  As a result, estate and charitable planning in my firm has increased significantly.  We have helped more clients than ever before design settlement letters and ethical wills.  An ethical will is a love letter to your family and bequeaths values. It can be as simple as a handwritten letter or a selfie video message.”

Sarah Gottheim, Savoy Associates

“Last month marked my 13-year anniversary in the dynamic health insurance industry. This year has been the most challenging, as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the nation. Adapting to a new virtual world, companies are expected to conform to an online-driven work environment, including benefits administration. To accomplish this, business owners are relying on trusted brokers.

Working at a leading general agency, it is my job to work hand in hand with my broker partners to provide top-notch benefits consulting for the most sought-after benefits. I have consulted with hundreds of clients and brokers at companies of all sizes and industries to help them keep up to speed on benefits trends and legislative changes.

Relationships are key, and pairing with a strong team with deep knowledge and expertise drives new levels of success. I’m excited for the opportunities to work with dedicated partners to support business growth and boost client satisfaction.”

Know of a rockstar woman in our industry who’s doing things better than the rest?  If so, I’d love to connect!  You can just shoot me over an email with their information or feel free to make a virtual introduction to me at scombs@combsandco.com   Stay safe, sane and mask up, my friends.



Episode 4 – Try and Stop Me Podcast by Colleen Blum

Host: Colleen M Blum

Guest: Sebastian Rusk

Have You Ever Wanted To Start A Podcast?! All Of The Who/What/Why I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Podcast! check out what the Expert himself, Sebastian Rusk has to say about it!

Have you ever dreamed about starting YOUR OWN podcast but you have used ANY & EVERY excuse under the sun to just push it to the “one day” plan?? Well then THIS EPISODE is all for YOU!!

Sebastian Rusk is the go to man for all of the how to when creating a podcast from idea to inception. Sebastian is the Founder of the Podcast Launch Lab, he is also a kick ass Social Media Speaker, Author and Digital Story Teller. – guys if I knew Sebastian before I started this all I could have saved a good 3 weeks of my life from the countless YouTube clips I watched. Listen along to today conversation about all the questions I had when debating whether to start this show or not.

BTW: Secret for you! For 2 years I pushed down this idea of actually getting my show started because I just didn’t even know where to start. It’s time to put your fears aside & just make the jump! You can do this, I believe in YOU!

Guest Instagram: @podcastlaunchguy

Host: @tryandstopmepodcast