Rupert Holmes – A True Renaissance Man

Today’s podcast guest brings humor and personality that will keep you truly entertained as he illuminates his journey to success. As a “true renaissance man” Rupert Holmes’ list of accomplishments is endless. He is a mystery novelist, playwright, composer, arranger, screen writer, conductor, singer, song writer and as Anthony notes, a gifted leader.

Rupert Holmes is a man of many faculties and many stories.

With over 50 years in show business, Rupert explains how it took him 10 years to become an overnight success. Rupert’s journey started at age 17 when he wanted to become a song writer. He found a quote attributed to Calvin Coolidge and taped it to his daily appointment book. It read, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” To this day, Rupert lives by those words. He explains that you cannot wait for success to come to you. You must apply yourself. It is your responsibility to find out who your audience is and what you have to say to them.

However, with great success also comes great feats that you must overcome. Rupert had the number one record in the US called “Escape”, which many refer to as the Pina Colada song. Three years after the song was number one, he found himself in a shopping mall in West Virginia singing his hit next to an escalator with a high school garage band that he had met minutes before the event. In that moment he thought about how low of a point it was in his career and how he did not want to make this his new life or his new normal. Rupert persisted and an opportunity arose when he was doing a comedic musical act in a nightclub and a guest in the audience happened to be the producer of A Chorus Line. After the show, the legendary producer went backstage and suggested that Rupert write for theater. For the next two years, Rupert spent his time writing his first play, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The play became a hit, and Rupert explains that throughout his career most of his opportunities came from places he least expected them. He also suggests taking every opportunity you can. You never know which project you will be working on that will be ground breaking, so it is imperative to put all of your efforts into making the project the best you possibly can. It is also important to use, as Rupert calls it “the power of negative thinking.” Think about what you would do if something in the project does not go right and make a plan for every outcome.

As a wealth of knowledge and experience, Rupert is always pushing himself to learn and do more. Learning on the job is an important function that has helped him to become so successful. He also knows how important it is to learn from others. Rupert expands this statement by explaining that the work relationships that you form over time are also significant in your success. Never exploit your relationships and continue to form honest and sincere relationships where you want to help others. Never think of other people as stepping stones to boost you. Rupert wants other to know that you should also always maintain the relationships you have created even after you are done working on a particular project. Even though it is difficult to form relationships with everyone you work with, it is your responsibility to find the humanity in everyone. Rupert suggests honesty for those who may be difficult to work with that you feel has armor that cannot be broken. Do not be afraid to tell the truth, but do it kindly.

Rupert Holmes is a man of great wisdom and renowned success and enjoys sharing his secrets for how he got there. To learn more about Rupert and what is coming next, visit his website:



Michelle Sartain – Raising the Profile of Others

This podcast guest has so much wisdom to share that during the course of the discussion, Anthony even finds himself changing perspective. Michelle Sartain knows how to succeed and she uses her skills and knowledge to help others succeed as well. Throughout the podcast, Michelle gives valuable insight on a platform for a true leader.

As the US Sales Leader for Marsh, Michelle is responsible for growth, retention, innovation, client service, and guiding sales strategy across the United States. Although there are a lot of responsibilities that come with being a national sales leader, Michelle feels as though she grew into her roll and that each opportunity she had previously helped her to develop the skills for her current position. Throughout her 21 year career in the insurance industry, she faced numerous challenges. Michelle recalls one specific example of when she was taken out of a role that she thought she was doing well at. The company had decided to hire from outside the company to fill the role and only after she did some soul searching and stepped away from the challenge, that she was able to realize that her ego was really at the root of what caused her to be so shaken by the decision. Now, she looks back at that moment and is thankful because had she let that “defeat” get the best of her, she would not be where she is today.

If you ask Michelle’s children, her work day consists of a lot of meetings. However, to Michelle her work day is filled with opportunities to connect to colleagues and clients. She believes that the key function of her job is to help others do their job more effectively and loves to spend her time finding opportunities to do so. As a working mom with a demanding job, Anthony asks how she is able to balance her personal life with her work life. For Michelle, work fulfills her and she believes that she is a better mom by being a working mom. She has an amazing support system at home and realizes that tradeoffs need to be made on both professional and personal sides to find a balance. Michelle also acknowledges that there are many things that have to be prioritized and that you have to make choices in order to find the balance.

Michelle is a talented and insightful leader and often has large decisions to make. During the decision making process, she gathers information and perspective from others. She then finds a quiet space to do creative thinking and uses her knowledge and experience to come to the core of the decision she is making. Once she has come to the decision, she explains that it is important to be confident in that decision. Michelle clarifies that she is not a perfectionist and encourages others to be confident in the work that they do by doing the best work that they can and by continuously striving to learn more to become better. According to Michelle, the true definition of a leader is to find opportunity to help to raise the profile of others by giving them the opportunity to bring out the best in themselves.

Listen for more with Michelle including her thoughts on inspiration, how to be open and ready for new opportunities, and her idea of personal strategic plans that has Anthony taking coaching from Michelle.

Check out more from Anthony and Michelle in the blog they co-authored:


Eileen Torres – Doing More with Less

As the Executive Director of BronxWorks, Eileen Torres knows how to make the most out of her resources. BronxWorks is a non-for-profit agency whose mission is to help individuals and families improve their economic and social wellbeing. The south Bronx based organization touches the lives of over 45,000 individuals and families a year. Throughout its 38 locations with the hard work and dedication of their 900 employees, the agency feeds, shelters, teaches and supports their neighbors to build a stronger community.

Executive Director is a title that Eileen earned after working for 20 years at BronxWorks. Eileen’s goal for her career was always to “do good”. After going to high school in the Bronx, she became the first person in her immediate family to go to college, and went on to law school. She announced to her family that she wanted to work in public interest, and her father tried to persuade her to become an attorney at a firm and just donate money and volunteer her time. Although she did not listen to her father’s advice, she has made him very proud through her career at BronxWorks. Starting off in an Administrative Services role, she helped the organization grow and found her work to always be changing and challenging. Her advice for young professionals is that promotions, for those who want to lead, take time and to be patient. She also advises all to work hard for what you want because the harder you work the more respect you earn.

Although her days are often long and sometimes difficult, she relies on her support system, just as her organization tries to be a support system and build support systems for those utilizing the BronxWorks services. One of Eileen and the organization’s biggest challenges comes from misunderstandings about non-for-profits. Eileen explains that the future for BronxWorks, and organizations like hers, is anxiety ridden and dependent upon government support.  In order to support the programs and services that BronxWorks provides to the community, the organization needs the capital to have the infrastructure that all other organizations also have. The funding for the organizations technology, human resources, and finances professionals is often overlooked. They partner with other organizations that can complement their services and always try to stay as true to their mission as possible. Eileen and BronxWorks have to do more with less, but walking through the BronxWorks sites inspires Eileen to keep going and gives her a sense of pride.

Eileen explains that her role is essentially to be the team leader to the organizations staff. Her team is very dedicated to the organizations mission and many being from or living in the Bronx, have a huge connection to the borough. The success of the organization also comes in part from having volunteers give their time to those who are in need. Eileen explains that throughout her career, every person who has volunteered has left saying how rewarding the volunteer experience was. Whether it was reading to kids in an afterschool program or playing pool at a senior center, volunteers leave BronxWorks programs with a sense of fulfilment and Anthony explains how helping others can really energize us. Eileen’s staff keeps her informed of events, so that she can stop in and be reminded of the good that she is working for.

Learn more about BronxWorks and how you can give back or volunteer: