political satirist

Mark Russell- “Retirement Was Boring.”

by Bernie Swain
As an American political satirist, Mark Russell is best known for his parody music. He wears his signature bowtie and incorporates political happenings into his music. ______________________________________________________ When people ask me how I got my start, I tell them I was born on August 23, 1932, which means that on the previous Thanksgiving my parents jumped into bed to get warm. It makes sense – they lived in Buffalo, New York. My given name is Marcus Joseph Ruslander, Jr. My … Continue reading "Mark Russell- “Retirement Was Boring.”"

public service

Leon Panetta – “Dodging Nuts and Greatest Influences”

by Bernie Swain
As an American statesman, Leon Panetta has served in various public service roles—Secretary of Defense, Director of the CIA and White House Chief of Staff to name a few. Here he explains how his Italian immigrant parents, and a few other factors, had an everlasting influence on his life. I’m the son of Italian immigrants who, like millions of others, made their way to the United States in the early 1930s. My parents, who came from Calabria, Italy. They spoke … Continue reading "Leon Panetta – “Dodging Nuts and Greatest Influences”"

red rubber ball

Kevin Carroll – Priceless Discipline

by Bernie Swain
Kevin has been an inspiration to everyone from CEOs and employees of Fortune 500 companies to schoolchildren. His life and the lessons he learned teach us to embrace the spirit of play and creativity. The year was 1964. The place was my first-grade classroom in Philadelphia. I was sitting at my desk when the teacher was called out of the room. After a couple of minutes, she came back in and walked over to me, leaned down, and told me … Continue reading "Kevin Carroll – Priceless Discipline"

paralympic skier

Bonnie St.John – If I Can Do this, I Can Do Anything.

by Bernie Swain
The sports world is liberally represented on the lecture circuit. Competition in sports creates clear winners and losers. And the world loves winners. But sometimes, the competition in sports is intertwined with a greater competition in life. When that happens, you get lessons that are far deeper than those learned from winning or losing a game or contest. That is what we found in amputee, silver medal-winning Olympic skier, and Rhodes Scholar Bonnie St. John. Here’s what she’s lived and … Continue reading "Bonnie St.John – If I Can Do this, I Can Do Anything."

fighter-jet-fighter-aircraft-f-16-falcon-aircraft-76971

Charles Plumb – Vietnam POW

by Bernie Swain
The Vietnam War was a divisive war in many ways and characterized by large protests and violent riots. I remember walking out of my room as a student at George Washington University in Washington D.C. and seeing cars turned over and on fire and the National Guard standing 4 deep three blocks away ready sweep the campus and arrest anyone standing out in the open. It was not a war fought by the 1% as wars are today. The draft … Continue reading "Charles Plumb – Vietnam POW"