Born in France of Sardinian parents, little Rita emigrated to Toronto where she grew up believing she was American for a while. As a child with a joie de vivre, she found inspiration in others who lived without judgement towards others and who gave for their community. As a young woman starting her career, she found that if she faced barriers head-on and with a smile she could reap great learning. A wildly accomplished media professional, we learn that her success in her profession comes from being awake to what’s around her while she drives at the truth. But we find that the true source of her success comes from her profound passion of what life gives her: people to help, achievements of others to broadcast, dreams to heed and food to share.
Luciano is a founding member of Inspire North and contributes to much of the strategic growth for the organization. He acts as Managing Partner of SLV International which owns and manages food and non-food brands and executes national and international distribution (Latin America, Europe and Asia) at retail and food service. He also lectures at the University of Toronto with a focus on International Business and Marketing. Luciano also remains involved in the community as an active mentor to UofT and York University students in Toronto. A conceptual thinker, Luciano likes to ask questions, find a solution and ask questions again. And again.
Gianni is one of the founding members of Inspire and continues to participate in its efforts to help empower and inspire youth. Gianni currently holds the position of President and CEO of ENVI Network. ENVI Is a municipally owned entity in the Town of Newmarket whose goal is to build a fibre network to help service the local community. Gianni graduated from the University of Toronto Computer Engineering program and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and Engineering.
Chief Client Officer at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP / Founder, The Judy Project
Colleen joins us from Rostock, Ontario where she grew up in a tight – knit community, with farm-work as an outlet for fun and creative exploration. As a young individual her aspirations led her to having an invigorating career in business, whether that be senior corporate life or entrepreneurial adventures. The conversation comes together with us learning about the importance of, safe creative spaces and allowing the mind to thrive.
Former Exec, International Olympic Committee / Lawyer / CPA / Olympian / Author
Richard joins us from the rainforests of British Columbia, where he had begun his journey training as a swimmer. His talents and hard work as a competitive swimmer took him to the Olympic, PanAm and Commonwealth games at a rather young age. Though his accomplishments did not end there, he was also able to make significant changes as the senior member of the IOC. The discussion goes beyond Pound's journey, it's about the beauty in giving back to world and the power in the unity of community. An eloquent conversation.
CEO & Founder of Decentral & Jaxx/Co - Founder of Ethereum
Anthony Dilorio once again joins us for another segment. This time with an invigorating discussion about the journey of the founding of Ethereum – a well known global crypto platform. Anthony really shows us the importance of understanding inter – connectedness and how it inspires true movements. It’s a conversation to help encourage being successful as an entity and vouching for everyone to win.
Orthopedic Surgeon / NDEr / Composer
Dr. Cicoria joins us from Upstate New York, where he grew up and started his life. Dr. Cicoria has a story that’s made for the books, he managed to survive a life-threatening experience that brought a new spark to his life. An experience that instilled him with the gift of music that made him into a new being. Moreover, it was an experience that took him onto a journey of discovery.
Group VP @ NHL / Youth Development & Industry Growth Fund
Rob joins us from Toronto, a senior leader in the NHL. He takes us through his remarkable journey filled with life experiences that made him who he is today. He teaches us the importance of not over – indexing in your work role as well as remaining true to yourself. He brings about a discussion of the necessity of balance in life and living in the now. We’re able to learn how a different mindset allows for the epitome of personal growth with all the regular obstacles of life.
President, Center for Partnership Studies / Author / Speaker
Riane joins us from Southern California, a Holocaust survivor who has spent her life, becoming knowledgeable about Partnership systems as well as sharing her acquired knowledge. We also learn about domination systems, consumerism, weapons of mass distraction, and especially characteristics of the original partnership societies.
Hollywood TV Writer & Producer / Co-Founder, Changeup
Tim joins us from Rural California, where he attended the only non – accredited high School in the state. Despite the obstacles in his way, he was able to use his talents to make a name for himself within the Film Industry. After reaching heights of success, he’s given us the privilege of sharing his knowledge of creating stories and divulging into what he believes the future holds, especially for today’s young leaders.
Operatic Composer / Author / Professor
Tony joins us from Houston, Texas, taking the time to share his remarkable journey of finding his way through life and the ideologies that he’s learnt. We had the opportunity to understand how he discovered his place in the artistic world, and how one can optimize their creative mind. A scintillating conversation, with access to a truly insightful mind.
President, Covered Bridge Potato Chip Co.
Ryan joins us from rural New Brunswick, in Atlantic Canada. Coming from a line of hard-working potato farmers, a very young Ryan thought about how he could continue the family business, but doing it his own way. Bringing home the point to us that the journey is what matters, we hear about 100lb Christmas tree shearing machines, sleeping in a truck travelling across the US to bring back contracts, exploding chip bags on highways and doctoring conference floor badges to meet key buyers.
Curator, SODA Gallery / Lecturer / Author
Valentino joins us from Manchester, England where he acts as a Curator and Lecturer at of one of Europe’s leading edge Schools of future storytelling: the School of Digital Arts (SODA). Originally from Rome, Valentino lost himself in his formative years after the sudden death of his father, until he started to consume what he left for him: his movie collection.
Grammy Award Winning Record Producer / Composer / Songwriter
Born and bred in Southern California, Troy gives us a glimpse of growing up in a musical family. His father and uncle who formed the duo the “Brothers Johnson” had profound influence on music in the 70s and 80s. Born in the 1980s, Troy also took to musical creation immediately, preferring to spend time even as a small child and pre-teen in a music studio above all.
Founder, Structure & Function Education / Former Head Athletic Trainer, LA Dodgers / Author
Sue was born and bred in Buffalo, New York. She developed a desire for a career in healthcare and pursued studies in NY and North Carolina and when her life took a turn, so did she. Off to Arizona for no reason at all and very little money to her name, she started a journey with a little bit of Billy Joel and whole lot of hustle.
Former CEO, Tennis Canada / Public Speaker
Growing up in Ontario, Canada, Kelly attended 10 different schools as a child until settling in Welland (Niagara region) for highschool. She lived in a chaotic household but lived it the best way she could – with a heightened sense of responsibility, “buttoned-downness” and an acute need for high-achievement in school and sports.
CEO & Founder of Decentral & Jaxx / Co-Founder of Ethereum
As a youngster growing up just outside of Toronto, Anthony lived in an entrepreneurial environment. His father, an inventor, instilled in him the importance of being curious, asking questions and breaking through. With authority never sitting right with him as a boy, he chose to explore his own path as a young man after a brief stint in the family business.
Neuroscientist / Author / President, AAPS
Marjorie joins us from Sedona, Arizona. She grew up in a family where the wonder of music, art and literature defined much of her existence as a young girl. Armed with a natural intellectual curiosity and a profound admiration of both musical expression and scientific exploration, Marjorie embarked on both early on in her studies.
Founder, North Sixth Group / Entrepreneur / Author
Matt grew up in New York in a close-knit family who encouraged him to both dream big and to keep his eye on the pragmatic. We discuss his proactive search for his passion as a young man as he bobbed and weaved through a brief but explosive stint as an aspiring boxer, an early marketing career working in Times Square and with a side-hustle as a sports agent.
Former President, Hudson’s Bay Company
Alison was born and bred in Ontario, Canada. She found her passion in the retail business as a teenager. She dove head first into this journey until she reached the pinnacle of her industry. Undeterred by the fact that she was navigating within a professional world that lacked female mentors, she drew from her experience living in a family where gender didn’t play a part in defining her ambitions.
Evolution Biologist / Futurist / Author
Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris joins us from Honolulu, Hawaii. Elisabet grew up in Athens, New York and as a child was actively encouraged to explore the biological world around her. She went on to attain a Masters in Fine Arts, History & Languages and then a PhD in Evolution Biology.
3x Paralympian / Champion Racer / Speaker / Artist
Joshua Cassidy is a 3 x Paralympian and is preparing for his 4th Paralympic games in Tokyo. He is a 31 x racing champion with world record times at the 2012 Boston Marathon. The oldest of 10 children, he spent his first 5 years in hospital fighting a non-congenital cancer – and won.
Entrepreneur / CEO of the Year (2020): Small Businesses
Julie is the owner of I Miss You Vintage and was recently chosen for the front cover of a national business magazine as representative of all small business owners: all dubbed “CEO of the year”. Julie catapulted the scope of her business from local to global as an adaptive response to the pandemic in early 2020.
Former Professional Hockey Player / Manager, NHLPA
We are joined by Rob Zepp. He currently works at the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA). Before this, Rob was a professional hockey player in both Europe and in the NHL, taking the crown as the oldest rookie in the NHL since 1927 to win his debut.
Professional Football Coach / Author
We sit down with Marc today and talk about his journey from his native of Minneapolis to law school and then to living out a professional coaching career in 14 different cities in the US and Canada. We discuss how he viewed himself and his accomplishments until he hit an inflection point at 50. We discuss his thoughts on the importance of humility and self-awareness.
We speak this week with Steve Lichtman in California, a veteran TV series writer and producer. A deep thinker and excellent conversationalist, Steve brings us through his journey and his own philosophies on what really matters. He reminisces with us on his Long Island upbringing and his time as a young academic and lawyer grinding in NYC.
Personal Training Authority / Entrepreneur / Author / Speaker
Gunnar is one of the most highly respected Personal Training & Fitness entrepreneurs in North America, a former Director of Strength & Endurance for the LA Lakers and a “go-to” personal trainer for Hollywood celebs. We discuss his entrepreneurial path - from selling ice in New Orleans to setting up his nerve center in Beverly Hills.
CEO & Co-Founder, MOSHN.fit
Adrian is the CEO and Co-Founder of MOSHN.fit, an on-demand streaming fitness platform that connects trainees with world-class coaches. A long time friend to Inspire, Adrian has worked as a top Digital Marketing and Advertising Exec (and Agency Owner) for the better part of 20 years.
We spent some time with PJ Byrne: a veteran film, TV and voice actor, living in California. In college, he was preparing for a career in high finance. Having already secured a job on Wall St before he graduated, he started to discover (by chance) his thespian talents.
Author of The Art of Creative Rebellion / Senior Product Design Executive / Artist
In this episode, we spend some time with John S. Couch, who lives and works – and plays – in California. He also acts as VP, Product Design at Hulu. We dive immediately into discussing themes of life, work and the creative process. He brings us briefly through his experience in building teams and what philosophy he employs in building positive culture.
Today we sit down and have a camp fire chat with Tyson Yunkaporta. With origins from the Apalech tribe in Northern Australia, Tyson is a Best Selling Author, an Artist and a Senior Lecturer at Deakin University, living in Melbourne Australia. We have an insightful conversation on First People’s philosophy of thinking, perceiving and exploring the world.
CEO/Co-Founder of Matt and Steve's Home Of "The Extreme Bean"
We sit down with Matt Larochelle, an entrepreneur and co-founder of Matt & Steve’s in Toronto. Matt charms us with his down-to-earth approach to life and how his small town roots have been important to him in his path of self-discovery. He brings us through some of his adventures in starting his business with his partner Steve: from jars exploding in his apartment to trying to make ends meet while servicing a growing demand for their products.
Giacomo Gianniotti spends some time on Behind Greatness to discuss and explore his thoughts on driving change and making impact. We learn how a young Giacomo felt the need to fit in and blend in as an “outsider” for years after he moved from his native Italy. But when his parents saw that he had to free himself from this debilitation, they took action. And this is when his real growth began to take hold.
Scratch DJ/Music & Theatre Producer/Film Composer/Visual Artist
Eric San (aka “Kid Koala”) sits down with us to talk about his take on success. He grew up both in the US and in Canada with hard-skilled, no-nonsense immigrant parents who also had an appreciation for music. They started little Eric training as a classical piano player until his piano teacher became annoyed by his experimentation with notes to spin his own musical experience.
Former SVP, Sobeys Ontario
We are joined by Mary Dalimonte, a 40-year veteran of food retailing and distribution and a venerated industry trail-blazer in Canada. Recently stepping down from her SVP role at Sobeys – the country’s 2nd largest retailer – Mary shares with us the pivotal lessons she learned throughout her career.
Managing Director, Play4Tomorrow / former Pro-Athlete
We sit down with Brian, currently a Founder and Managing Director of Play4Tomorrow – a leading design academy and tech accelerator for positive youth development. Brian brings us through his own challenges as a youth growing up fascinated by games and fantastical fictional worlds.
Partner, Lawyer at McMillan LLP
As a young boy, Merv and his siblings moved from a comfortable life in sunny, tropical Jamaica to Toronto. We learn about the strongest influences in his life: his polymath father and his fiercely dedicated mother. For them high educational achievement for their kids was a basic expectation.
TV Writer & Producer
Growing up in a loving, hardworking immigrant family in Youngstown, Ohio, Michael was a natural athlete gravitating to competitive team sports at an early age. When an injury put the brakes on a potential career in football he found that one passion never left him: story-telling. Armed with both the love of reading and creating stories and the support of strong mentors, Michael decided to strike out on his own as a writer.
Former Silicon Valley Exec / Author / Truth-Seeker
Mark joins us from Silicon Valley where he served as Partner at his firm until early 2020. A Princeton grad, he worked his way through a career of gruelling and stressful working environments in order to achieve his material goals. Until he didn’t.
Co-Founder & Chief Visionary Officer, Kabuki Strength
Today, we spend some time with Chris Duffin, in Portland, Oregon. During our discussion, we learn about a boy who endured extreme hardships growing up in the remote mountains of California. Barely out of his adolescence, he took custody of his younger siblings while working full-time, running a business on the weekends and completing his engineering degree.
Data Scientist & AI Expert w/ PwC
We join in conversation this week with one of the most influential women in the world of AI & AI Ethics. Dr. Sateli brings us through her journey as a young girl in Tehran to a high-octane phd student, developer and entrepreneur in Montreal to a renowned globe trotting AI Analytics and Ethics specialist.
CEO/Co-Founder, Crave It Restaurant Group
We sit down with our friend Alex Rechichi, another long time Advisor to Inspire and an accomplished, seasoned entrepreneur - and podcaster too. Listen to his thoughts on the importance of “visible leadership” and working shoulder to shoulder with your team.
Film Makers & Documentarians
Speaking with power couple Jennifer and Sudz, we get a glimpse of two different paths - until they fused into one. Facing naysayers all along from an early age, both learned that defining their capabilities for themselves was key in their own pursuit of purpose. Navigating this way by the time they found each other, their passions wove together and only amplified their intensity in mission to spread their unique messages through film.
Hollywood Game Show Executive Producer
Armed with a passion to pursue his authentic self, John provides a glimpse on how he discovered that it was his passion to tell a good story and create a unique experience with his contestants that has enabled him to be great at what he does. Listen to his take on how being “over-prepared” allows him the calm to absorb problems that inevitably surface in life. And what more? That his love for people is indeed the true fuel to his passion.
Managing Partner, Globalive
With his partner Anthony Lacavera, Brice spent many long grinding years building Wind Mobile within a fierce, unforgiving and oligopolistic space. After finally selling the company with his partner for well over $1 billion, Brice began to reflect on his experience on the importance of staying resilient: sticking to the mission and simply putting one foot in front of the other.
Writer, Podcaster, Philosopher, Professor, Martial Artist
Originally from Milan, Italy, Daniele has been calling California home for almost 30 years. In our discussion, Daniele shares his thoughts on working to find your path and being good at something, on committing to being an independent thinker and on pursuing knowledge while not trapping yourself within it.
President of Kisko Products
Engrained with the entrepreneurial spirit, Mark Josephs takes us on his journey of family, perseverance and faith. A man of honesty, transparency, and integrity, Mark tells us how he manages to keep his team’s spirits’ up when succumbing to fear in challenging times would be much easier.
UK Actor-turned-Vehicle-Builder for Hollywood
He’s not an engineer, nor an architect, nor a mechanic - and yet he organizes builds of custom vehicles for many Hollywood blockbuster films. How? Listen to how his fascination and passion (for vehicles) became an inspirational source for a renewed dedication to creative thinking, problem-solving, and learning from his fellow human beings.
Actor / Stunt Professional / Writer
Today we listen to a captivating story about a fiercely independent professional who grew up toughened by circumstances out of his control. Fern discusses how his personal adversity taught him an early perspective on the meaning of sacrifice and the importance of carving out his own path.
Former Nestle CEO
Today’s guest is one of North America’s most successful corporate leaders. From a modest upbringing in the country-side to head the Canadian HQ of one of the world’s largest food companies, Shelley describes that commitment to learning is important – but learning how to listen is next level.
Co-Founder and CEO of Bloomreach
Raj povides insight into risk taking, whether you are ready to be an entrepreneur or not, and how to accumulate your personal insurance. His message and guidance is truly inspiring and will excite many to take the leap to entrepreneurship - if you are ready!
Scientist & Researcher Working in the EU
She's lived in Antarctica for a year. She practices martial arts. She has a passion for improv comedy. And, she’s barely over 30. You will be enchanted by Dr. Meganne Christian's take on problem solving and her own exploration of the unknown.
Listen in on our talk with Frank Ferragine aka “Frankie Flowers” – North America’s favourite TV gardening specialist. He describes growing up in a “can-do” family atmosphere, with roots in humble beginnings. We learn how this - including a tragedy in the family - helped him explore his own path to personal and professional growth.
Private Equity Partner
Listen in as we chat with Ashish Shastry, Co-Head of Private Equity for KKR Asia Pacific & Southeast Asia as he describes his journey growing up in Bombay and Indonesia and then traveling to various parts of the world for school and work. Being of Indian descent, Ashish shares with us some stories of trying to blend in on Wall Street in the early 90s.
We sit down with Alexandra Orlando, an Olympian and National Champion in Rhythmic Gymnastics who details a youth-story full of sacrifice and determination. Growing up with understanding parents, Alexandra had the opportunity to explore her passion in motion and pushing herself to her limits - on the world stage.
Team Lead for European Space Agency Program
Behind Greatness sits down with tech specialist Max Catricala in Rome, Italy, after returning from a year-long assignment in the middle of the Antarctic (at Concordia Base). Although the details of the ESA project are classified, Max shares his experience living in the coldest and most desolate part of the globe while captaining a select team of European scientists.
Listen in on a very intense story of a young man growing up in a troubled environment in Detroit that was out of his control. Being blessed with the support of his mentors – one being his father – Matt embarked on a path of discovery. At 30 years old, he continues on his quest to discover himself while kicking ass and never forgetting where he came from.
AI Data Scientist
Behind Greatness plays host to Denis Molin, a Paris-based scientific scholar, practitioner, inventor and polymath. Denis describes his early fascination with maths and science and how it has played a part in his path to work with large corporations and AI frameworks. His unique thirst to understand the human condition brings us to an interesting ending to the conversation and Denis’ wish to know more about our how we are who we are.
TV Media Maven
Sit back and listen in on our interview with one of Canada’s top interviewers. Equipped with the drive her immigrant parents instilled in her, Melissa illustrates what determination, preparation and courage can achieve. Listen in on a story of sheer will, excellence and creative exploration.
Explore our conversation with veteran actor Enrico Colantoni as he describes his humble origins and pursuit to achieving what he wanted most despite facing a steep, uphill and unfamiliar path. Spending his time living in LA, New York City and his native city, Toronto, Enrico never lost sight of what mattered to him most: his commitment to the creative.
Welcome to our podcast channel! Behind Greatness aims to walk listeners through the journey of some of today’s leaders around the globe and how they are finding success. Gathering firsthand accounts from these leaders, our goal is for this channel to become a source of wisdom and inspiration as you continue to carve and live your own path.