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Swan Dive

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Swan Dive

Ron Rothberg and Stu Sheldon

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Swan Dive features the inspiring stories of people with the clarity and backbone to make massive life pivots, professionally and personally. We capture the oral history behind the transformational moments in these meaningful lives. Career media executive, Ron Rothberg, and his life-long friend and award-winning artist, Stu Sheldon, launched Swan Dive to explore and share these incredible stories. Ron gave notice recently at his illustrious 16-yr media gig. While Stu leapt from Wall Street to ...
 
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Veterinarian Eric Dubbin spent 18 years practicing large animal medicine and evaluating new animal drugs for the Food & Drug Administration. Out of the blue, one day, the FDA invited him to fill the position of a retiring colleague in the field of coaching and organization development within their management ranks. Eric knew virtually nothing about…
 
Mitzi Rapkin is the founder, host, and producer of the long-running podcast, First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing, featuring in-depth conversations with the world's most distinguished literary writers of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and essays. One of the best interviewers in the biz, her archive contains more than 380 interviews accumulated over nin…
 
“I’m not inherently brave. I was very much in a life that, outside of being queer, had checked off all the American dream boxes: job, child, house, partner that loved me. It was a good relationship, we paid our bills, I mowed the yard … had cookouts. And then I met my partner (Bret) at a birthday party. I quit my job without a plan … It was in that…
 
During his nine years as a pro hockey legend from 1972-81, Ron Andruff shared in 3 Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens. He won two Most Valuable Player awards with three major professional hockey leagues. He also won the American Hockey League Scoring Title. During and after his athletic career, Andruff lent his name and support to important c…
 
Beth Black is the Founder of Cherokee Creek Boys School, a therapeutic boarding school for struggling boys 10-15 that offers a safe place to “discover what is real and true about themselves and the world around them.” The school uses indigenous wisdom coupled with modern psychology to help these boys grow and thrive. Beth’s son attended a therapeut…
 
The youngest Latina ever to run a nationally endowed philanthropic foundation, this inspiring daughter of immigrants, Dr. Carmen Rojas, has dedicated her life to bettering the lives of underserved working people across the US. Growing up in a sprawling, multicultural family, surrounded by love and core values, instilled in Carmen a deep sense of pr…
 
Wayne Irwin evolved his electrician trade into a radio broadcast engineer and now, a solar energy entrepreneur. Wayne owns Pure Energy Solar in Gainesville, Florida and his company creates innovative products that help bring solar power to the world. Last year, Wayne followed his passion for music and launched his own radio station, WMBT "The Womba…
 
Steff Florentina grew up in Nova Scotia, the daughter of an excellent tennis player who introduced her to the sport at age 5. “My life was tennis. When we weren't playing tennis, we were watching tennis, or going over areas that I could improve. My typical schedule growing up was wake up at 5, drive 35 minutes to the tennis courts, be on the courts…
 
Swan Dive started in March of 2020 and we recorded our first episodes in a pre-COVID world. In this episode, we look aback at the moment Ron first took his dive. As the year winds down, what small change can you make? What big change is ahead of you? Looking ahead while finding value in examining where we have been, take a leap and join us on Swan …
 
Criminal defense attorney and award-winning novelist, Jon Miller, has tried cases in all but one of New Mexico's far-flung counties. He knows the grit and grind of the criminal mind. Raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a vision of practicing environmental law, Jon studied Urban & Regional planning at Cornell, went to law school and then worked …
 
Welcome to Swan Dive Revive, a reflective pause to look back at where we were to better understand how far we’ve come in our ever-evolving journeys. Today we revisit May 5, 2020, the episode titled, Unfinished. Ron was just about to leave his successful career as the pandemic hit. As the world experienced a collective pivot, we discuss his virtual …
 
The documentary film project, Capetown Legends, described Conrad Hicks as “an artist, self-taught master blacksmith and conservationist that is merging many worlds in his distinctive work.” Based in Capetown, S Africa, Conrad specializes in hand-forged metalwork to produce his sculptures and architectural and interior design projects. His forge is …
 
Tiffany Manning was cruising along with a satisfying job in the art department of an ad agency when the layoff happened. She looked at the change of career as a gift and quickly changed gears, making moves as a commercial photographer. But with Tiffany, it’s all about movement and there was one more move she needed to make - a fine artist. When she…
 
Artist, Julie Miller Torres, specializes in printmaking. Trained as a lawyer, from a family of lawyers, Torres practiced law for seven years. She was good at her job and enjoyed her clients. But something was missing. At 34, she left her law career to start over in fine art at the prestigious, Savannah College of Art and Design ("SCAD"), where she …
 
Hank Willis Thomas is one of the most consequential artists of this moment. Clear and incisive, his work is exhilarating to stand in front of and proves, time and again, that he has accessed his better angels. "Throughout his career, Hank Willis Thomas has addressed the visual systems that perpetuate inequality and bias in bold, skillfully crafted …
 
Cierra Britton (b.1996, Baltimore, MD) is an independent curator and art consultant living and working in New York City. Cierra Britton Gallery is the first NYC-based art gallery dedicated to representing woman artists of color. Share your Swan Dive at www.swandive.usBy Ron Rothberg and Stu Sheldon
 
Born Nov. 1923 in Key West, long-time Miamian, Ruth Wolkowsky Greenfield is an American concert pianist, composer and teacher who, through music, broke racial barriers and brought together black and white students, taught by black and white teachers. She moved to Paris in 1949 to study piano and there experienced a society far more racially integra…
 
As a fertility doctor, Michael Freeman is responsible for helping his patients bring new life into the world. Which makes his second bout with cancer all the more ironic. Yet, Michael's humor and optimism remain fully activated. "I'm still flossing," he told us when asked how he's changed his life to face the disease. Optimism abounds. This loving …
 
Ken Russell had a dream job, traveling the world kite-surfing and paddle boarding with is watersports company, when he got involved with the cleanup of the city park across the street from his Miami home. That civic engagement resulted in a run for office and a hard pivot from entrepreneur to his current position as Vice-Chairman of the Miami City …
 
Robert Arleigh White’s life forever changed when at 14 years old, his lifelong friend, Lenny, handed him a flyer and said, "Come on, we're gonna audition for the school play." In that moment, as Bob now recalls, Lenny handed him is life. Bob shares his winding but deliberate path, from high school teacher (11 yrs) to running Theater Jacksonville (1…
 
Bhakti Baxter (born in Miami FL, 1979) lives and works in Topanga, CA. At 38, having never lived anywhere but his hometown, Bhakti outfitted an old Sprinter and made his way to the west coast, immersing himself in the deep solitudes of Southern Utah and other singular landscapes along the way. Exploring the relationship between science and spiritua…
 
In the late 1990s Richard Bowsher co-founded the conference company, StreamMedia.com which pioneered the nascent space devoted to the delivery of audio and video over this new thing called the Internet. He sold that thriving company to NYSE publisher Penton Media. In 2007, Richard founded Klipopmekaar and started farming rooibos tea high in the Nor…
 
Award-winning journalist Gloria Riviera spent 20+ years as an ABC News producer and correspondent based around the world covering breaking, investigative and feature stories for the network's flagship broadcasts and social media platforms, including Good Morning America, World News Tonight & Nightline. She has a very exciting New Project as host of…
 
Jay Sweet runs some of America’s most iconic music festivals: the Newport Folk Festival & Newport Jazz Festival. During his tenure as Executive Director of the non-profit Newport Festivals Foundation, his Folk Festival has won five Pollstar awards for Music Festival Of The Year … and America's original music festivals have regained their stature am…
 
Danny Báez immigrated at 20 from the Dominican Republic to the US and worked for one week in a factory before realizing he had to find another route. Odd jobs paid the bills the next 5 years, until serendipity changed the entire trajectory of his life. A friend who worked for renowned Thai artist, Rirkrit Tiravanija, needed help for a 3-day gig. Da…
 
“This kid was a bit of a unicorn … very much a life force. He had this big energy, super kind, great humor ... this kid was loved ... when you met Sam, you didn’t forget it, even if you met him for only five minutes on a chairlift," says Ron Jackenthal of his son Sam. Ron left a very successful career as a senior telecom executive to found the Live…
 
Christa Niven and her Journey Schools have made vast strides in creating a utopian template for learning, focusing as much on emotional intelligence as academic excellence. She began her career in education at the Institute of Child Development researching infancy, risk and resiliency in early childhood. She then directed a program supporting homel…
 
“I think of myself as a real-life advocate who argues in the court of public opinion rather than a courtroom.," says Sue Ariza, an Argentinian-Dominican Human Rights expert and producer based in New York City. With a BA in political science and law from the University of Zurich and an MA in International Law, Sue began her career as an internationa…
 
Tanya Selvaratnam’s new book, Assume Nothing: A Story of Intimate Violence, speaks truth to power by exploring her journey through an abusive relationship with the very powerful politician, former NY Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, who was forced to resign based on Tanya's revelations. Covered extensively in Time Magazine, The New Yorker and b…
 
Laetitia Deweer is the founder and development director of CEPIA (Culture, Education and Psychology for Infants and Adolescents), an internationally recognized, award-winning nonprofit that serves over 1000 at-risk children, teenagers, their families and adults in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. CEPIA provides a wide array of education programs, psychologi…
 
As a mother of two bright and healthy children, writer and professor, Sarah Clarke Stuart, never imagined she’d hear the words, “your child will either end up in prison or dead” from the ravages of drug addiction. It's a trauma no parent can ever prepare for, yet she and her young adult daughter have faced the fire together for 5 yrs now, and “toda…
 
Joshua Deitch changed the game in residential real estate in tony Marin County, CA, setting sales records and amassing a legion of ecstatic clients. Josh started as a professional basketball player in Israel and brings an athlete’s passion and competitive spirit to work each day, setting him apart in what can be a cookie-cutter profession. He then …
 
In the late 70s, Scot Nicol, was a young hippie living on the coast in Mendocino County (CA), when an article appeared about this new “Clunker Bike” movement happening in Marin County, CA and Crested Butte. A handful of guys were essentially retrofitting old Scwhinn bikes to ride on the dirt. Scot reached out to these kindred spirits (now cycling l…
 
In 1960, Rodney Lawrence Hurst, Sr., the 16-yr-old president of his local NAACP Youth Council, led a sit-in at a local segregated lunch counter. All this young black leader desired was basic respect and dignity. In no time, a mob of 200 angry whites showed up with axe handles, spitting and shouting epithets, in what came to be infamously known as "…
 
A descendant of slave owners, former museum director, Hope McMath, spent 23 years at Jacksonville's venerable Cummer Museum of Art. Her abrupt exit five years ago resulted from "push back" against the 2016 exhibit “LIFT: Contemporary Expressions of the African American Experience,” consisting of work by 10 local artists inspired by the song “Lift E…
 
As a chid, Khalil Osiris's most treasured gift was the Encyclopedia Britannica set he kept at the end of his bed and read cover to cover. Education was the highest priority in the home of this self-described "happy-go-lucky" country boy. So, it's not surprising that, at age 13, when the local chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense open…
 
Internet pioneer and early stage investor, Josh Felser, was co-founder and president of Spinner, the first multi-channel Internet radio service, acquired by AOL for $320mm in 1999. He next co-founded and was CEO of Grouper/Crackle - one of the first user-powered Internet video networks, acquired by Sony for $65mm in 2006. While we would’ve next dis…
 
We did it, this year 2020 is drawing to a close. What did it teach us? What did we learn? This Swan Dive journey launched on March 26th, 2020. Stu and Ron started this collaborative art project that turned into a most needed distraction for a most unique year. In this episode, we take time to reflect on the year that was, talk about the guests and …
 
When John Spence was sixteen, his father, a famous attorney, came home and told his second youngest child, "You’re a complete disappoint as a son. I wish you’d never been born. Get out of my house." Mind you, at that moment, John was a straight-A student, captain of the football team and homecoming king. By 26, John Spence was the CEO of an interna…
 
Bob Wiltfong is an Emmy award winning journalist, actor and dad. His recent book, “The BS Dictionary: uncovering the origins and true meaning of business speak”, takes a humorous jab at the numbing language that is BS (Business Speak). His love for BS was fostered through 20+ years of working as a consultant in presentation skills for several Fortu…
 
Josué Rivas (Mexica and Otomi) is an Indigenous Futurist, creative director, visual storyteller and educator working at the intersection of art, journalism, and social justice. "My mission, I think, is to come and show us the light. Like, what does that look like. How can you do it with storytelling that is compelling and is beautiful and is also r…
 
Crime rates around the world have declined, but the global prison population is rising. The US is worlds greatest jailor with 5% of the world population and 25% of its prison population. This is clearly not logical, and Dr. Baz Dreisinger's life is dedicated to solving this inhumane problem. Heralded by the New York Times and named a notable book o…
 
"We make the compass that points to the future we want to live in," says Amplifier.org founder and celebrated National Geographic photographer, Aaron Huey. Aaron's deep photographic storytelling captures and honors his subjects — from war victims to rock climbers to indigenous peoples — with elegance and fearless sensitivity. At 27, Aaron walked ac…
 
Miami entrepreneur, art collector and philanthropist, Dennis Scholl, made his first documentary film at age 50. Fifteen years and thirty films later, this former attorney and CPA now has thirteen regional Emmys to show for his humble excellence as an artist. Films celebrating creative titans Tracy Emin, Theaster Gates, Wynton Marsalis and Frank Geh…
 
This legendary Buddhist bon vivant, restauranteur, hotelier and serial entrepreneur’s only conscious memory of his mother is watching her grab her head and die of a brain aneurysm when he was five. Nevertheless, nearly 50 years later, Tracey Ryans' wondrous self-made empire of business, personal and spiritual success, has transformed this gregariou…
 
Imagine starting an Internet company amidst the wreckage of the first Dotcom crash, then growing that company to 250 people and selling for nearly $200 million. Next, a bit of "healthy stalking and serendipity" got Chrysi Philalithes to RED, Bono's AIDS organization, where, as Chief Digital Officer, she mixed technology and altruism to creatively r…
 
Michelle Woo is Wide Awake, but that was not always the case. This incredibly humble yet fabulously accomplished behind-the-scenes leader at For Freedoms and the Wide Awakes shares how she remembers little of her life up to a few years ago due to being distracted for most of it. Motherhood changed that, and Michelle now actively practices mindfulne…
 
Imagine knowing virtually nothing of a father who disappeared, then getting a text at 42 from an unknown cousin saying, "We might be related." Immediately, the generous warmth of a large, loving family replaces the cold emptiness of a son abandoned. For over a decade, visual artist Yashua Klos has employed a unique process of paper construction and…
 
Gina Belafonte has excelled at many things. An accomplished actress, director and activist and the youngest child of Julie and Harry Belafonte, Gina produced HBO’s internationally acclaimed documentary, SING YOUR SONG, exploring the extraordinary life and legacy of her father; the film was selected to open the Sundance Film Festival in 2011. As Exe…
 
Africa's first black, female neurosurgeon, Dr. J. Nozipo Maraire received her undergraduate degree from Harvard and her neurosurgery training at Yale. During residency, she wrote the novel, Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter, a 1996 New York Times "Notable Book of the Year." In 2010, her vision for cutting-edge, affordable health care in Southern Af…
 
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