Eagle Nation Podcast

Welcome to the Eagle Nation Podcast! We’re excited to bring you a weekly dose of Eagle Fire through compelling discussions with inspiring guests, on topics that you care about. We’ll explore veterans, community, nonprofits, fitness, and leadership. Please be sure to subscribe to podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or however you get your podcasts. We’d also love you to be a part of the show. Please send any ideas, comments, or questions to You can also hit us up on Twitter @TeamRWB by using the hashtag: #EaglePodcast.
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Eagle Nation Podcast


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Nov 14, 2016

Jenifer Smith's military career has been a winding path and has taken many shapes. From an injury at Marine Corps bootcamp, to college at Norwich University, to the National Guard, Active Duty, Reserves, and Contractor - she has experienced the military from almost every angle. 

In this week's podcast, we have a great conversation around the challenges and opportunities in taking a non-traditional route. During the second half of the podcast, we get into some really good stuff like:

  • Finding a community you relate to
  • The perils of over-committing
  • How to identify and manage your true priorities
  • The importance of investing in relationships
Nov 7, 2016

Dr. Jason Dempsey is a lot of things:

  • A Senior Fellow at CNAS
  • An author and prolific writer
  • An entrepreneur
  • A former White House Fellow
  • Former special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • A retired Infantry Officer in the Army

But, luckily, he’s an expert in military demographics and politics, as well.  In this episode, we have a thrilling, and somewhat controversial conversation about politics, and the upcoming election.  We cover topics like:

  • His book, Our Army, and how he was the first person to comprehensively study political views in the Army.  
  • Why it’s dangerous for military leaders to get involved in politics
  • How he believes the best way for civilians to support members of the military is by holding military senior leaders accountable.
  • His role in the podcast Serial
  • His military startup, Millie.

Jason is brilliant, an original thinker, and brave enough to say things that most people won’t - don’t miss this episode.

Oct 31, 2016

Todd Connor is a Navy veteran and the CEO of Bunker Labs, an incredible nonprofit organization that helps veterans to achieve their dreams through entrepreneurship.  Over the past couple of years, Bunker Labs has grown from their original location in Chicago, to having chapters in over 10 cities across the country.  They provide support through mentorship, training, education, peer support, and even funding.


Through an innovative online platform at, veteran entrepreneurs can embark on a 14 mission journey that takes them through the necessarily steps to start their business.


Recently, Team RWB has partnered with Bunker Labs in the development of our very own e-learning platform, (coming soon).


Todd and I have a great conversation about transitioning from the military and how starting a business may be a great option.  We cover topics like:

  • When is it the right time to leave your day job, if at all?
  • How to create minimally viable product to test your business idea
  • Why starting a business-to-business company is a smart move
  • Thinking beyond “tech”
  • …and a whole lot more

Todd is an extremely engaging and inspiring guy, and we hope you enjoy our conversation.

Oct 24, 2016

The first six months of the Eagle Nation Podcast have flown by.  We are 30 episodes into this journey and it has been a blast so far.  We have had some amazing guests and have covered a lot of really interesting topics.  This week, we thought it would be cool to pause and take a look back at what we've learned so far.

In this episode, JJ and I talk about:

  • The best advice we've been given on the podcast
  • Questions we wish we'd asked
  • How we've grown through this process
  • Not letting perfect be the enemy of good
  • The vision for Team RWB's future

A bunch of listeners have asked us for a consolidated list of some of our favorite books and podcasts that we've mentioned on the show.  Here to go!

Our favorite podcasts:

  • TED Radio Hour
  • Freakonomics Radio
  • Tim Ferriss Show
  • Barbell Business

Our favorite books:

  • Contagious
  • Tribe
  • Zero to One
  • Start With Why
  • Daring Greatly
  • Fooled by Randomness
  • Originals
  • Good to Great
Oct 17, 2016

Doug McCormick is a lot of things - an Army Veteran (Infantry), a small business owner, a skilled investment banker, a Veteran advocate, and financial author, just to name a few.  In this podcast, we talk about economic empowerment for the military community, and why the traditional model of investing and asset allocation is imperfect.

We cover a ton of great content, including:

Oct 10, 2016

In this podcast, we talk to the COO of one of the world’s premier shopping center companies, the Westfield Corporation - Bill Hecht.  We discuss what it takes to bring the community together in a physical space, being part of rebuilding their World Trade Center location after 9/11, why supporting veterans is important to Westfield (and him personally), and the Old Glory Relay.   

We cover a ton of content in this podcast, to include:

Oct 3, 2016

The Eagle Nation Podcast is the official podcast of Team Red, White, and Blue and this week, we have a very special guest.  Host, Blayne Smith, is joined by Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Honorable Robert McDonald…or as he prefers, Bob.

Bob was nice enough to invite us into his office during a recent trip to D.C., and we had a great conversation.  During this episode, we address a number of topics that are on the front of Veterans’ minds.  Of course, we touch on leadership.  Bob tells us how he has managed to recruit some amazing people into VA and how building a values-based culture is the only way to ensure excellent service.

We also talk about the role of Veteran in managing his/her transition from military life and the need for Veterans to assume a mantle of leadership in our communities and country.

Finally, we dive into healthcare.  Bob provides his thoughts on recent calls for privatization of the VA and discusses the importance of having a healthcare system that addresses the whole person and focuses on preventative care.

Team RWB and VA have a strong and growing relationship in our collective effort to serve Veterans and build strong communities.  You won’t want to miss this episode!

Sep 26, 2016

In this podcast, we talk to best selling author and professor at the Wharton School, Dr. Jonah Berger.  He’s a thought leader on the academic side of what causes certain content to go viral, how influence plays a part in all of our lives, and we discuss how this relates to life and Team RWB.   

We cover a ton of content in this podcast, to include:

Sep 19, 2016

Eric Garcia has been lost.  After an impressive military career that included assignments with the 75th Ranger Regiment and the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (Old Guard), his life took a turn for the worst.  In 2010, Eric found himself homeless, addicted, and on the way to rehab.  Just 7 months later, he started a small nonprofit to support Veterans through fitness and fellowship.  He soon found Team RWB and in the time since has been one of our very best volunteer leaders.

Today, Eric serves other Veterans as a case manager at the Salvation Army in Tampa, Florida.  He is working on a Mission Continues fellowship and will complete his degree in psychology next spring.  Eric spends his time in trenches, meeting Veterans where they are at, everyday.  His perspective is absolutely priceless.

This episode is a very raw and honest conversation that speaks to all of us.  Please take it to heart and share with your friends.

Sep 12, 2016

In this episode, we talk to one of the best paratriathletes in world, Patricia Walsh. She is currently representing the USA at the Paralympics in Rio, and is an all-around amazing person.

We talk about a lot of great stuff including:

  • Para-triathlon
  • Her TED Talk
  • Getting a STEM degree as a blind person
  • Her competitive fire and how it drives her accomplish whatever she sets her mind to
Sep 5, 2016

To say that Ben Bunn is interesting would be a massive understatement.  The guy is a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, has served as a Green Beret and Infantry officer, and has a tattoo of Chuck Norris on his left arm.  More importantly, Ben is a smart and thoughtful guy that is in a middle of making what I'm sure will be an excellent transition from active duty.  He and his partner own Cigar City CrossFit in Tampa and are building a really strong community.

In this episode, we dive into some deep stuff, including:

  • Taking a proactive approach to transition
  • Why starting a business is scary and thrilling
  • Quiet moments and why they are so hard
  • Reconciling a violent past
  • Committing to a life helping others

This is a really honest conversation and we hope that you'll take a lot from it.  

Aug 29, 2016

In this episode,we talk with one of the greatest rock climbers to ever live, Tommy Caldwell. We talk about his long-time involvement in Team RWB, rock climbing as a post counter-culture sport, and how being a family man has changed his outlook on life.

We cover a ton a really exciting topics including:

Aug 22, 2016

Brian Stann is the CEO of Hire Heroes USA, an organization that has helped thousands of Veterans find high-quality careers. He is also one of the toughest and most accomplished people you'll ever meet. Brian played football at the US Naval Academy before being commissioned in the United States Marine Corps, where he would earn the Silver Star during one of his tours in Iraq. Never one to slow down, Brian became a professional fighter, eventually becoming the heavy-middleweight champion of the World Extreme Cage Fighting Championship and a top middleweight contender in the Ultimate Fighter Championship. In addition to all of this, he holds down one of the world's hardest jobs as the father of three young daughters.

We cover a lot of ground in this podcast, including:

  • Finding a passion outside of work
  • How to promote your abilities without being arrogant
  • The importance of a great attitude
  • Who he'd like to fight again
  • And so much more!

Brian is an incredibly inspiring guy and we guarantee that this episode will leave you ready to run through a brick wall.

Aug 15, 2016

In this episode, we talk with best-selling author and leadership expert, Simon Sinek.  We have a great conversation about ideas like: applying the "Circle of Safety" in the virtual world, why digital relationships will never replace actual relationships, and how 3/4 of an answer is better than an answer and a half.

Simon was a pleasure to talk with and he's been a long-time supporter of Team RWB.

We cover a ton of content in this podcast, including:

  • Leading in a virtual/distributed environment
  • The "Circle of Safety"
  • How knowing your personal "why" is critical to effective leadership
  • Why in-person meetings are vital, and often overlooked
Aug 8, 2016

Theresa Larson is a woman with many titles and one inspiring story.  She's played college and professional softball, served as a US Marine, and is now a doctor of physical therapy in San Diego.  In her recent memoir, Warrior, Theresa bravely shares her story of being platoon commander in Iraq and battling some inner demons.

We have a very raw and honest conversation about:

  • The issues that come with being a perfectionist
  • The challenges of being a female Marine officer
  • How movement and exercise helps us overcome trauma
  • The importance of owning and sharing our stories
Aug 1, 2016

In this episode, we talk with Nate Boyer - relief worker, Green Beret, Texas Longhorn football player, and all-around great guy.  He is a pleasure to talk to and we are thrilled to have him as both a long-time member of Team RWB and a guest on the show!

We cover a ton of ground of this one, including:

  • Lifelong learning and having a growth mindset
  • Texas Longhorn football
  • Breaking the 10,000 hour rule
  • Bringing Veterans to Hollywood
Jul 28, 2016

Major General (Retired) Chris Cortez served in the United States Marine Corps for 33 years. As an Infantry officer, he led Marines at every level, from platoon to division. After leaving the military, Chris took on a new mission at Microsoft and has committed himself to supporting Veterans that are interesting in moving into the tech industry. Through the Microsoft Software & Systems Academy, Veterans are getting incredible training and certifications that put them on the path to jobs, not only at Microsoft, but with companies across the tech sector.

In this conversation, we talk with MG (ret) Cortez about:

  • His transition from the military and how he found his new mission
  • Why Veterans are great employees for the tech sector
  • The power of Old Glory Relay and how it brings communities together
  • How Veterans can get training that leads to high-paying job
  • Why Microsoft is "all-in" on supporting Team RWB
Jul 25, 2016

Kelly Starrett is a doctor of physical therapy that has become the authority on human movement.  He's been closely involved with CrossFit since the early days.  His gym San Francisco CrossFit was one of the first 50 affiliates, and he was head judge at the first ever CrossFit Games.  Kelly's book, Becoming a Supple Leopard has helped thousands of people to perform basic maintenance on their bodies and unlock their physical potential.  In his new book, Deskbound he highlights the ways that we can counter a lifestyle that has us sitting far too much.  Along with his wife, Juliet, they have formed a amazing nonprofit organization called Standup Kids whose mission is combat sedentary lifestyle and obesity by providing standup desks to school children.

In this episode, we cover a lot of ground, including:

  • The challenges of being a parent in today's world
  • How to recover a body that has been abused for years
  • Why you should walk a mile barefoot
  • How to add one cookie a day to your diet
  • And much, much, more
Jul 18, 2016

In this podcast we have a hugely interesting discussion with Tim Kennedy.  Tim is a true renaissance man - he's a world-class fighter in the UFC, and Army Green Beret, hosts a TV show on the History Channel, and much, much, more.  We cover a ton of content in this podcast, including:

  • The importance of personal accountability, especially for Veterans.
  • What it is like to be a public figure while serving on active duty.
  • His show on the History Channel - Hunting Hitler
  • Range 15 - The movie that is taking the Veteran world by storm.
Jul 11, 2016

Joe De Sena understands grit and hard work.  He's been hustling since he was a young boy growing up around organized crime in New York City.  Joe also understands the importance of a healthy, purpose-driven life.  In this wide ranging episode we cover:

  • The origins of Spartan Race
  • Raising kids to value hard work
  • The importance of camaraderie and community
  • The value or shared hardship
  • Why he moved his family to Singapore, and much, much more...

Team RWB is proud to work with Spartan Race and it has been amazing to see the two communities come together.  Please enjoy this very special episode with a guy that is changing the world for the better.  

Jul 4, 2016

Patrick Murphy has accomplished a ton in the first 42 years of his life.  He was the captain of the hockey team in college, deployed to combat as an Army officer, taught law at West Point, was the first Iraq/Afghanistan veteran to be elected to Congress, became a partner at a law firm, hosted a TV show on MSNBC, and now serves as the Undersecretary of the Army.

In this episode, we cover a ton of material including:

  • Why functional fitness is a huge part of his life
  • How his youth affects the way he leads the Army
  • Using social media as a leadership tool
  • The most important lesson that his father ever taught him
Jun 27, 2016

Tim O'Donnell (TO as he's affectionately known) is currently America's top male long-course triathlete and has been a leader at Team RWB since our earliest days.  He has served on our advisory board and has coached at our triathlon camp since 2013.  Tim is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and is a six time champion of the Armed Forces Triathlon.  

We have a great conversation that includes:

  • What it feels like to be on the podium at IRONMAN world championships
  • Why it is important to bet on yourself
  • How he got involved in Team RWB
  • The importance of learning and growing after disappointments

Tim has been such an amazing ambassador for Team RWB and for veterans in general.  We are incredibly proud to have him on our team and we are excited to bring you this awesome interview!



Jun 20, 2016

Matthew "Griff" Griffin is a co-founder of Combat Flip Flops in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Combat Flip Flops is a service minded, dynamic company that creates cool stuff in dangerous places around the world - advancing their belief in "business, not bullets" to end global conflicts.  He served in the 75th Ranger Regiment with three tours to Afghanistan and one to Iraq, and is now spending his time to make the world a better place - his company uses some of their profits to send Afghan girls to school, and to clear land mines.

In this episode, we cover a ton of important topics including:

  • How he crashed and burned post-military, and how he pulled out of it
  • How giving to others can save your life
  • How he and his partners started Combat Flip Flops
  • His TED Talk on persistence, creativity, and respect
  • Being a Veteran entrepreneur on Shark Tank (go to 33:25 on video)
Jun 13, 2016

Annie Okerlin is an amazing woman who has committed herself to supporting Veterans and their families through yoga.  Her organization, Exalted Warrior Foundation provides adaptive yoga in the military setting and trains yoga teachers to best serve military members.  She's a great friend to Team RWB and has coached at multiple Leadership and Athletic Camps.

We have a very enlightening discussion around:

  • Why yoga is a great tool for Vets (and all of us)
  • How to authentically connect
  • Dealing with your "stuff"
  • Why the opposite of love is fear

This episode is full of great information and tools to help you and your loved ones live a richer, happier life.

Jun 9, 2016

Sebastian Junger is a best-selling author and oscar-nominated film maker.  He's been a war correspondent in places like Bosnia and Afghanistan and is very familiar with both combat and soldiers.  His latest book, Tribe, contrasts modern society with the more communal social environments of our past.  In doing so, Junger illuminates how many of the challenges that Veterans face, including PTSD, may have more to do with life at home than they do with combat.

In this very candid interview, we cover some provocative topics like:

  • Why disability claims for PTSD are so high in the US
  • The importance of Veterans telling their stories
  • How affluence may be leading to emotional strain
  • Why we should stop defending harmful narratives
  • The benefits of mandatory national service

Sebastian's work, and our discussion, highlight the need for organizations like Team RWB.  The human need for connection, belonging, and purpose are deeply coded into our DNA.  Unfortunately, many in today's society feel more isolated than ever.  By coming together, in our communities, through positive activities, we're building a very important tribe that just may remind America how great it feels to work together.

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