a Mason podcast
UpFront is a monthly podcast that features conversations with Connecticut-based top performers and how they are making an impact in their industry and here at home in Connecticut. The show takes a deep dive into how our guests achieved success, the business lessons learned, and more insights into the person. Hosted by Derek Beere (Director of Public Relations, Mason), new episodes are added on the second Tuesday of each month.
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President, Connecticut Sun
Mention the University of Connecticut or UConn and the first thing most people think of is basketball. UConn basketball – championship after championship, legendary players, and legendary coaches. The school has a proud tradition of winning basketball championships and Connecticut is passionate about it. It’s almost like a fairytale, except this, is very real.
Playing a starting role in the story of UConn women’s basketball is Jennifer Rizzotti. She was there at the beginning of it all, winning the school’s first NCAA championship in 1995. Today, Jennifer is the President of the Connecticut Sun women’s professional basketball team that is affiliated with the Women’s National Basketball Association.
From her days on the court as a Husky and later playing pro women’s basketball, to coaching teams and being a Women’s Basketball Hall-of-Famer, Jennifer shares her inspiring story of perseverance, how being competitive can lead to success, and the lessons she’s learned on and off the court that have helped shape her into the person she is today.
Live Nation (CT, Upstate New York)
The power of music. It brings people together and makes us feel happy. It can make us feel sad and it has the ability to heal. More importantly, music brings people together and adds some joy into our lives. It’s something we can all relate to.
Jim Koplik is the president of Connecticut and the Upstate New York Region for Live Nation. A legendary concert promoter, Jim is responsible for thousands of shows that include legends such as The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney, and Frank Sinatra to name a few. His story is the thing that dreams are made of. It’s about following your passion. In this case, Jim’s passion is music and he turned that first show at Ohio State University back in 1968 into a thriving business. And make no mistake, music is a business and it is hard work.
Jim shares his incredible story - where he came from, the triumphs, the challenges, where the live music business is going and a few stories from backstage. Let’s dive into a little bit of rock and roll history with Jim Koplik on UpFront!
St. Stephens AME Zion Church
A life-changing experience set Reverend Dr. Leroy Perry on his path in life. Originally from Roanoke, Virginia, he earned his BA from Livingstone College, his MDiv from Yale Divinity, STM, and a doctoral degree from New York Theological Seminary in New York City.
Having pastored in Harlem and his home church, Mt. Olive AME Zion, he presently serves as senior pastor to the St. Stephens Church, Branford CT. In addition to his work as a pastor, Dr. Perry presently serves as the Director of the Fatherhood Initiative program at New Opportunities Inc, Waterbury, CT, and as a Yale Center for Clinical Investigation Cultural Ambassador for the past ten years.
He is devoted to improving the lives of anyone he meets and is committed to the improvement of the community. We talk about his time of growing up in Roanoke as a child, why family is so important, what makes great leaders, some personal hard lessons learned, and why you can’t achieve success without sacrifice.
There's nothing more American than a good old-fashioned hot dog! We love them. Especially Hummel Bros. hot dogs. The Hummel Bros. story begins in 1933 when German immigrants William and Robert Hummel scraped together $1,000 to purchase a bankrupt sausage kitchen. They both were "wurstmachers" - sausage makers - back in Germany, so they knew a thing or two about making quality products.
Fast forward to today and Hummel Bros. is a thriving family business that extends far beyond Connecticut. People love their food, especially their hot dogs. There are online groups dedicated to Hummel Bros. and fans from around the world who will have them shipped as far away as Hawaii and Alaska. Eric Hummel is one of the third-generation owners and he took the time to share some insightful advice on the importance of giving back to the community, why employees are truly like family, and the best way to enjoy a Hummel Bros. hot dog.
If you’re from Connecticut, you’ve probably heard of Lyman Orchards. They’re famous for their apple pies, but if you make your way to Middlefield, you’ll be amazed at the sprawling property that is more than 1,100 acres of scenic farmland. And it’s much more than their delicious pies. There’s the Apple Barrel farm market, three world-class golf courses, pick your own in the orchards, the 1741 Pub and Grill, and much more.
Founded in 1741, Lyman Orchards is one of Connecticut’s and the country’s oldest continually run family businesses. John Lyman the 3rd is the executive vice president of Lyman Orchards and is a member of the eighth generation of the Lyman family that has been farming in Middlefield since 1741. Join us for an UpFront conversation on leadership, the importance of planning, and the wholesome family values his parents instilled in him.
If you love golf, then chances are you probably know the Travelers Championship. The tournament attracts an incredible player field with some of the biggest names in the game and it gives back millions to charitable causes throughout Connecticut. There's the on-course action with the best players in the world. And then there's the off-course fun in the fan zone with all kinds of activities for families and kids. So what does it take to put on a PGA Tour event? And who's the team behind it? Meet Nathan Grube. He's been the Tournament Director of the Travelers Championship since 2005. During this time the tournament has generated more than $20 million for charity and has been recognized by the PGA TOUR for numerous awards, including being named "Tournament of the Year" in 2017.
In this episode, we talk about playing baseball in San Diego, his time as a professional golfer, why he has no regrets, and where the tournament is headed. Tee up and let's get UpFront with Nathan Grube.
If you enjoy tea, then chances are you know the Bigelow Tea name. Cindi Bigelow is the third-generation president and CEO of family-owned Bigelow Tea, the U.S. market leader of specialty teas that produces more than 2 billion tea bags annually. In this episode, Cindi shares her childhood memories of tea tasting in the family kitchen, her ambition to one day run the company, and memories of her grandmother Ruth Bigelow who founded the business in her New York City apartment.
Cindi’s inspiring story gives us an inside view of what it’s like to run a family business, the challenging lessons learned throughout her career, and why fluidity makes great leaders. Sit back, brew your favorite cup of Bigelow Tea and enjoy an UpFront conversation with Cindi Bigelow.
Max Restaurant Group
The name Max is synonymous with restaurant excellence in Connecticut. The food, service and overall experience is exceptional and it's what keeps people coming back time and time again. From his first restaurant job at McDonald's to getting an education in the kitchens of Connecticut, New York City and Newport, Richard opened his first restaurant "Max on Main" in 1986 in Hartford, Connecticut and hasn't looked back since.
Today the Max Restaurant Group has 10 successful independent restaurants, as well as a respected catering company, all based in the Greater Hartford area. Richard shares his inspiring story of what he learned in the New York City restaurant scene instead of the classrooms, why great leaders build incredible teams and how the restaurant industry will survive the pandemic.
FoodShare, Connecticut Food Bank
From his childhood aspirations of wanting to become a lawyer to now running the largest food bank in Connecticut, Jason shares his story of growing up in New Britain, lessons he's learned from baseball and what makes a great leader. Above all else, we talk about the important work and challenges of solving hunger in Connecticut.
UpFront is a monthly podcast that features Connecticut-based top performers in their respective field and how they are making a positive impact in their industry and community. Hosted by Derek Beere from Mason, the show takes a deep dive into how our guests achieved success and more insights into the person.
UpFront is Copyright © 2021. Mason. All rights reserved.