Hobby Jam

What People Do For Fun

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Category: Interview (page 1 of 9)

Colby Lee Burke

Colby Lee Burke is a popular travel writer based in both Charleston, South Carolina and Portland, Oregon. He has a gift for capturing the essence of the culture in the cities he visits. His work is frequently published by both large and niche travel publications. He grew up in Portland and attended the University of Oregon as an English major. His sophisticated writing style appeals to readers from a wide variety of backgrounds. He is also working on a novel to be published in the coming year.

Burke’s favorite travel destinations include Edinburgh, Scotland, and Florence, Italy. He enjoys immersing himself in local culture and daily life around the world. He has also taken fruitful trips to Germany, France, and Japan. He is planning a trip to Antarctica in the coming months, where he plans to spend time with the scientists who are making breakthroughs in their field.

Burke is well-read thanks to his background as an English major. He enjoys works of literary fiction and criticism. His favorite author is Paulo Coelho. Whenever he travels, he takes a few good novels with him to read in case of layovers.

Burke especially enjoys writing about newly opened accommodations. He is able to provide an objective review of new hotels and bed and breakfasts, giving his readers solid information that they can use to plan their own travel experiences. He is also drawn toward writing about local festivals, enjoying the special activities that make each city unique. Colby Lee Burke is a valued member of the travel writers’ community, and his work is much sought-after by publications at all levels.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is swimming.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I’ve always loved to swim. I learned at a very young age thanks to lessons at our local YMCA. My parents felt like swimming was an important life skill that would keep me and my siblings safe in the future as well as giving us a fitness activity that we could enjoy throughout our lives. I was a member of my high school swim team and I never lost my passion for the sport as I grew up.

Tell us what you love about it.

Being in the water is incredibly peaceful. The water is its own special world, and the troubles and concerns of daily life just melt away when I’m swimming. My life is stressful, and it’s good for me to have a centering activity. I also love that it keeps me in good shape. I need to be in good shape for my job, and for its own sake as well.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I don’t belong to any organizations related to swimming. It is a solitary pursuit for me. Swimming is where I find peace when I am by myself. I might consider joining a group if I could find one in either Portland or Charleston. I do belong to private pool clubs in both cities, where I can get in my workouts in a safe setting with a lifeguard.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Thankfully, swimming is a sport that doesn’t require much by way of equipment. A good quality swimsuit and a towel is all you really need. I bought an Apple Watch when they came out with a model that could be submerged and track your swimming workouts. That has helped me integrate my swimming activities into my total fitness plan. I would definitely recommend that anyone who is serious about working out buy a fitness tracker of any kind.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I buy most of my supplies at a specialty website for swimmers. It’s called All American Swim. The site has great prices and easy shipping. I also buy things from Amazon and from local sporting goods stores. I do like to try on my new swimwear, and it’s hard to try things on and then return them if you buy online.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I would recommend that novice swimmers check out Swimming Made Easy by Ace McCloud. It’s a great primer on the basics of swimming and also helps novice swimmers build their skills. I have used this book for hints on how to improve my strokes. The book also helps new swimmers build their confidence in the water.

How has this changed your life?

Swimming has changed my life in so many ways. It is a meditative activity for me. Whenever I am feeling tense, I try to get to the pool and put in some laps. The repetitive rhythm of swimming soothes me when I am feeling anxious. I also enjoy competing with myself to beat my personal bests in the pool.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

It can be intimidating to see experienced swimmers in the other lanes at the pool, but remember that it’s never too late to learn. I would recommend that you take private lessons if possible so you can be supported by a dedicated coach.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I also love to read and hike. I hope to return to Yosemite National Park in the near future.

Loretta Gallagher

Loretta Gallagher is the President and owner of Gallagher Associates, LLC an IT firm located in Wayne, New Jersey that works primarily with healthcare organizations all over the United States implementing electronic medical records. Loretta started her IT firm just over 25 years ago when the wave of technology was just picking up both professionally and personally. Most people were just getting computers in their homes 25-30 years ago, and internet was still dial up, and AOL was widely used for personal email and internet browsing.  How quickly times have changed.  Gallagher Associates, LLC has transformed as the industry has transformed in the past few decades. Loretta and her team of associates work closely with hospital systems to ensure these large scale projects stay on time and stay within budget. Working with health care organizations that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year can be stressful. Therefore finding time or she says “making time” to decompress and do something enjoyable is important. Keeping the balance between home, family, friends, and work is key to continued sustainable long-term success.  Loretta Gallagher has been married almost 30 years, raised three daughters while running her business; making time to disconnect from work and decompress doing something she loves helps her keep this balance.

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY?

Loretta finds cooking with and for family and friends an enjoyable and rewarding hobby. She also loves some down time disconnecting at the beach.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH THIS HOBBY? WHAT INSPIRED YOU?

Not really sure how I got started with cooking.  My mom always cooked, but I do not think she would say it was a hobby or relaxing to her.  My grandmother when I was very young would often gather the family on summer weekends for barbeques and good meals.  Again I do not recall cooking with my grandmother, but always remember what fun it was to have everyone together and looked forward to those weekend meals with them.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?

Loretta loves the togetherness of working in the kitchen with her family and friends, learning other people’s favorites, and making new traditions. Her family has created a few new holiday weekend traditions to share with family and friends. She has an annual Mardi Gras party in New England where she hosts 30-40 friends. They fly in crawfish from Louisiana, make the largest pot of Jambalaya; using a recipe from a dear friend who taught Loretta his family recipe. Loretta Gallagher explains another traditional event is the annual Friendsgiving. She explains as we all see our families during the holidays, making time for friends is essential too. Friendsgiving is a fall event to gather with friends for great food, good wine, and lots of laughs.

Loretta Gallagher explains how she has always loved being in the kitchen, but when her daughters came along it was something they loved doing with her. From the youngest of ages; her girls would pull a step stool over to the kitchen counter regularly. By the time they were three or four years old all three would help with preparation. Loretta explains it was fun quality time we would spend together. It is time they look forward to as much as I do. Even with my three daughters all grown up we still take a fall weekend to make a dozen or so holiday pies and always enjoy a weekend of Christmas cookie baking.

ARE THERE ANY GROUPS YOU’RE A PART OF OR EVENTS THAT YOU ATTEND RELATED TO YOUR HOBBY?

Often on vacation we will find a chef offering a cooking class and will take it.  The Vermont Culinary Institute was a fun winter weekend away where we took a great cooking class.  Another fun one was in Savannah Georgia at a Marriott property we stayed at; The Mansion.  They had a fun interactive cooking class.

HAVE YOU INVESTED IN ANY GEAR OR EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR HOBBY? IF SO, WHAT?

Loretta laughs when asked have you had to invest in equipment? She explains she has just about every kitchen gadget one can think of. She does have some favorites, her pampered chef’s apple corer is a must for pie making, a good lemon press and you never have enough wooden spoons.

WHERE DO YOU BUY MOST OF YOUR SUPPLIES?

Loretta has found some great buys are the William Sonoma outlet and loves her pampered chef items also.

ARE THERE ANY GOOD BOOKS FOR BEGINNERS?

Yes, there are tons – but I do not follow recipes often.  I like to read a few and then put my own spin on them.  Creating my own flavors, presentations and creations are part of the fun for me.

HOW HAS THIS CHANGED YOUR LIFE?

My hobby has kept both family and friend near and dear.  The quality time we have all spent together either preparing a meal, or if they are not cooks and just enjoy a meal I have prepared are priceless.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS STARTING OUT WITH THIS HOBBY?

For anyone afraid to try things out in the kitchen, Loretta Gallagher suggests you dive in, learn to laugh, and have fun, she says. Cooking should not be stressful and the more hands the better. Whoever said “too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth” was doing it wrong.  Find people you love and enjoy spending time with and make new traditions with them.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER HOBBIES YOU HAVE?

Anything that involves sand and salt water.  Whether it is a walk on the beach or boardwalk, watching the tide roll in, sitting with friends in the sand a catching up or making sand castles with the little kids.  The ocean is my happy place.

To learn more and connect with Loretta:

Juanita Causey

Juanita Causey was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada.  At the age of 8, her father died in an accident and she along with 7 siblings were raised with meager means with their mother having to work 2 or 3 jobs to support a family of 8 children.  When Juanita was 16, she moved with her mother to Corpus Christi, Texas where her mother got a job in nursing at a major hospital.  Juanita got married and had 2 children in Corpus Christi before moving to Houston where she went to work for a bank.  After nearly 6 years in the banking business, she decided to start a new career as a Financial Planner/Advisor.  In 1994, she went to work for John Hancock Financial Group where she received training and support for the first few years of her new career.  In 2000, Juanita Causey decided to start her own company “Houston Financial Center” and became a completely independent financial planner/advisor.  She has grown her practice over the years and currently employs three full time and one part time employee to help her manage over 1,000 clients that she has accumulated over the past 24 plus years.  Juanita has a passion for helping people secure their financial future.  She learned first-hand how difficult life can be on a widow and children when a spouse dies without enough life insurance to keep the family in their own world.  It’s her passion that has helped her build a successful practice where she is ranked among the top 2% of all Insurance & Financial Professionals worldwide as stated by the Million Dollar Roundtable where she consistently qualifies as Top of the Table.  Her passion has also drawn her to constant study to be the best that she can be in her profession.  For this reason, she has 7 significant professional designations, namely, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, AIF®, CAP®, CASL® and LUTCF which places her among very few advisors that have reached this level of professional education.  Although Juanita Causey has achieved many awards and much recognition for her accomplishments, she says her greatest achievement is the close relationships that she has developed with her many clients, most of whom she considers her best friends.

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY?

My favorite hobby is participating in group exercise programs at my gym.  They include Zumba, Kick Boxing, Pilates, Yoga, STEP, Body Works and Power Circuit.  In addition to being involved in group exercise, I like swimming, cycling and going on long walks.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH THIS Hobby? WHAT INSPIRED YOU?

For about 9 years, my mother was in a nursing home with limited physical ability to get around due to a fall and a couple of strokes.  In addition to working long hours in my business, I visited her almost every day and would take her on walks in her wheelchair which she enjoyed.  Over time, the long hours and lack of sleep ran me down to the point of exhaustion.  After she passed away, I decided to start taking better care of myself and used the extra time to start exercising, swimming, etc.  I had a gym membership for many years, but before my mother passed away, I had little time to use it.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT it?

I really enjoy the camaraderie that is developed in group exercise as well as the extra incentive it gives me to give it my all.  It’s much more fun working hard in a group, than on your own.  It also gives me a sense of pride that I am doing something that is good for me.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

Since I have been working out regularly, I have also done volunteer work for a non-profit group that assists with gymnastics scholarships for children with disabilities, both mental and physical, as well as children from poor families that could not otherwise afford gymnastics memberships.  I have since become a board member for this non-profit foundation.

HAVE YOU INVESTED IN ANY GEAR OR EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR HOBBY? IF SO, WHAT?

Other than my gymnasium membership and workout clothes, my investment in equipment has been limited to a bicycle and a few hand weights that I sometimes use when walking.

WHERE DO YOU BUY MOST OF YOUR SUPPLIES?

I don’t buy equipment or supplies at any particular place.  The clothes and shoes are purchases at various stores in the mall.  The bicycle and weights were purchased at a local sporting goods store.

Are There any good books for beginners?

I have not personally read many books on exercise, but there are literally thousands of books on this subject.  I have gained knowledge about the various programs from the gym and from various articles and sties on the internet, but not any one in particular.

HOW HAS THIS CHANGED YOUR LIFE?

This regular exercise has made me feel better, both physically and mentally.  I have more stamina, my blood pressure has gone down, my weight is controlled and I feel proud that I am able to keep up with others in my groups that are much younger than I am.  I know I am healthier as a result.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS STARTING OUT WITH THIS HOBBY?

Start by getting a physical exam and permission from our doctor to start an exercise program.  Then check out the gyms in your area and inquire about their group exercise programs.  Some gyms have very few and others have many.  Some charge extra fees and others do not, so take your time and shop for a good gym that is convenient to your home or work so you will have time to go.  Then try it out before you make a long term commitment or spend too much money on clothes, shoes, gym memberships, etc.

Another hobby is spending time with my grandchildren, taking them to parks, the zoo, museums and places that children like.  I love to do kid stuff with them.  I often keep them overnight to give their parents a break.  I have accumulated a lot of kid stuff at my home so we can play together when they stay over.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER HOBBIES YOU HAVE?

A third hobby that I enjoy is traveling with my husband.  He is a renowned scientist and visits many parts of the world giving lectures and presentations.  By joining him, I have had the opportunity to visit many cities around the world which are too numerous to list at this time.  While he is working, I use my time to walk many miles around the cities, vising points of interest and learning about the various cultures.  I feel that this has given me a vast amount of knowledge, wisdom and understanding that most people are never able to attain.

CONNECT:

Stephen Andrew Stepaniuk

Travel blogger and professional photographer, Stephen Andrew Stepaniuk is a living testimony of what can be achieved through hard work and persistence. The Connecticut born blogger works for a Boston based consulting firm. His work entails traveling and offering insightful reviews about culture, food and the arts. Stepaniuk has traveled extensively in the US and Europe. He speaks English, Germany, Polish and French, and is currently studying elementary Mandarin. Stephen Andrew Stepaniuk holds a Degree in English from the prestigious Northeastern University in Boston. He receives inspiration from family and the audiences who regularly visit his popular blog. Outside of work, Stephen Stepaniuk enjoys reading, participating in team sports and volunteering.

What is your hobby?

It is incidental that I enjoy traveling, blogging and photography as both career and hobby. The visual art form that is photography gives me the opportunity to immortalize the things I care about. The gadgets I use are also fun and addictive, thanks to fast-changing technology and competition.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

Immediately after graduating from Northeastern University in Boston, I took up a travel blogging position offered by a consulting firm based in Boston. Traveling around the world and supporting my stories with photos seemed like a great idea and career for an aspiring young man. To hone my skills in photography, I simply went through the user manual and applied what I had learned.

Tell us what you love about it.

When I was creating the blog, I invested a lot of effort in building a mailing list, which helps me update readers on every development. To track and see the kind of traffic I was attracting, I use Google Analytics. It’s always interesting to see readers from all around the world visit my blog and leave fascinating commentaries. I enjoy blogging about captivating places and places I plan to visit.

Are there any professional groups you’re a part of that are related to your hobby?

Working with other travel bloggers has always been an eye opener since it gives me the opportunity to learn and experience new things. I am a paid up member of the Professional Travel Blogger Association, an entity that formulates guidelines and policies aimed at advancing the trade while encouraging respect for intellectual rights, accountability, and professionalism.

Have you invested in any equipment, if so please share some of the things you’ve bought?

I always have my laptop, notebook, camera, and pen with me. I can recall my first blogging camera was a point-to-shoot, Canon PowerShot G7 capable of shooting 1080p Full HD video. It came with several interesting features like the screen tilt option that allows the user to clearly see the frames. I recently bought a GoPro Hero8 camera, which is highly durable and suited for outdoor adventure. I have also invested in a compact tripod, camera bag and a couple of lenses.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

Most of the stuff I use are purchased at the stationery stores and online retailers. We have a couple of stationeries and departmental stores where I live.

Are there any good books for beginners?

The 3 books I would gladly recommend for beginners are the widely popular “Picture Perfect Social Media” by Jennifer Young and Bill Bryson’s “Never here or there”. The other beginner’s essential is the book titled “Vagabonding” by Rolf Potts. Bryson’s book is an eye-opener to all travel adventure seekers since it offers a plain view of the travel experience. In her book, fiction and romantic novel writer Jennifer offers readers guidelines on ways to improve their social media and photography skills. These skills are crucial for any aspiring travel blogger. Lastly, Rolf’s “Vagabonding” gives insightful information about practical tour planning.

How has this changed your life?

Traveling and photography has changed my life and perception on various issues. I can quickly mention a few. It’s given me the platform to share my world; opened the doors to numerous networking possibilities and a chance to earn a decent living.

What would you tell others starting out in this hobby?

It is very important to create useful contents, beginning with something people close to you like family and friends will appreciate. As the blog grows, you can add interesting stuff like photos and videos to make your blog more fascinating. Once in a while, you can invite a guest to offer a different perspective on issues. When all is said and done, you’re persistence and hard work will pay off.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I enjoy taking part in team sports like lacrosse and baseball as well as volunteering at high impact, communal events.

Dante Michael Anthony Vitoria

Dante Michael Anthony Vitoria is a New York entrepreneur and businessman currently working as owner of The Vitoria Group. Dante credits much of his success and strong work ethic to his parents. His parents were immigrants to the U.S. who taught him the value of hard work, determination, and respect.

After earned a graduate degree from NYU and Columbia, Dante jumped straight into the workforce, quickly making a name for himself on Wall Street and working his way to the top. Dante quickly found himself drawn towards the mergers and acquisitions aspects of finance and put his skills to work.

After a number of successful years working for others, Dante Michael Anthony Vitoria decided to create a business of his own. In 1991, Dante founded The Vitoria Group, a company that offers consulting services, venture capital opportunities, and services in the mergers and acquisitions realm of finance. The Vitoria Group has grown more successful with each passing year and continues to thrive in New York City and around the world.

Although often finding himself working around the clock, Dante still makes time for family and fun. Dante is a season ticket holder to several New York sports teams and enjoys attending games when he can. Outside of sports, Dante always enjoys a trip to the opera or attending a Broadway show.

On top of everything, Dante Michael Anthony Vitoria also owns Links to Legends, a company that specializes in celebrity golf outings and event coordination.

Outside of the business world, Dante is a three-time cancer survivor and the owner of a three-pound Yorkshire Terrier named Chanel.

What is your hobby?

It’s hard to pick just one. While I love cigars and good wine, playing golf and keeping up with soccer are two of my favorite hobbies.

How did you get started with these hobbies?

Well, I’ve been playing golf for years. My father taught me a lot about golf but sometimes the best way to learn is to just go out there and hit a bunch of balls. Sometimes the best thing to do after a hard day is to head to the driving range and grab a bucket of balls to hit.

I watch soccer all the time, too. I was so thankful we had the World Cup this summer because that was a lot of fun to keep up with.

What do you love most about golf?

It’s a great way to blow off some steam and relax. It’s also a great way to make business happen. I can’t tell you how many business connections I’ve made through golf or how many deals I’ve closed. So, it’s great for business but I also find it very relaxing. On a warm summer day there’s nothing better than heading to the golf course with some friends and playing the course.

Do you have any tips for beginners?

Practice, practice, practice! It’s pretty much the most basic advice you’ll ever hear, but there’s a reason for that: it works. The best way to get better at anything is to do it a whole lot. The more time you can spend practicing and playing golf the better you’ll get. It’s not about having the best or the most expensive clubs, it’s about having the most hours of practice under your belt.

How would you say your hobbies have changed your life?

I’m more relaxed, for sure. I think that everybody needs something in life besides work that they can put their minds to. All of my hobbies help to my make my life enjoyable. Playing golf, watching soccer, smoking a good cigar, and drinking a fine glass of wine all bring me happiness. It’s been proven time and time again that over-working can put strain on relationships and your own mental health. I love my hobbies because they allow an outlet for my stress and help me to relax and have fun. Isn’t that what hobbies are all about?

Any additional hobbies you’d like to share?

Spending time with my pup, Chanel. She’s a little fur ball and I love taking her for walks and playing games with her every day.

 

To learn more, follow Dante Michael Anthony Vitoria on social media and read his personal blog:

 

Brandon Oda

With an unusual combination of skills in photography and software engineering, Brandon Oda has become one of the top photographers in the San Francisco Bay area. He is involved in both portrait and landscape photography. Unique among photographers in his field, Oda has created his own photo editing software. With complete control over the creative process, he is able to create stunning works of art.

Brandon Oda is a Los Angeles native. In high school, he was interested in both the arts and the sciences. His parents supported him in pursuing an artistic career. In college, he studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. His time at RISD helped him to come into his own as an artist. He sold his first photographs to galleries while he was still a student.

Oda settled in San Francisco and opened his own photography studio. He is continually inspired by the fantastic beauty of California. With his wife and friends, he takes road trips around the state and photographs its diverse landscapes. He has a special interest in sunset and evening photography.

Portraits are a more recent addition to Oda’s portfolio. He photographs models and ordinary people, creating insightful images that reveal the subject’s personality. In his San Francisco studio, Oda hones his craft while fine-tuning his photo editing software. He has achieved great success in the photography world at a relatively young age.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is mountain biking. I love to get out on the trail.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I enjoy hiking, but I was looking for an outdoor hobby with more adrenaline. A friend got me into mountain biking. There are so many amazing landscapes to explore in California. I feel like I’ll always have new places to go.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love being out in nature most of all. I love the quiet of mountain biking. It’s something I tend to do alone, and I love having the time and space to myself. I love the physical challenge, and I often stop to take photos along the way. I’m not the fastest mountain biker, but I enjoy every mile.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I belong to a local trail riders’ club. We get together for social rides, and we raise money to help preserve the wild places we bike in. I’ve made many friends in this group, and I recommend that every mountain biker join a club in their area.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I’ve invested quite a lot of money in my bike and supplies. It’s not a cheap hobby, but if you take good care of your gear, it will last a long time. I recently purchased a new bike. It has made my rides so much more enjoyable. I also bought a new bike rack for the back of my car. That way, I have room for my bike and my wife’s when we go out together. I am trying to get her into mountain biking, but she is more interested in hiking.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I buy nearly all of my supplies at my local bike shop. I believe in shopping locally, even if some items may be cheaper when you buy them online. A local bike shop is a fixture in a community, and it helps bring riders together while outfitting them for great rides. My favorite thing about shopping at the local bike shop is the knowledgeable staff. No matter what kind of problems you have, the local bike shop can help you. They are also great at maintaining and repairing my bike when necessary.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I recommend The Mountain Biker’s Training Bible by Joe Friel. This book breaks down the process of training and makes it easy for novice riders. Getting fit to ride a mountain bike is uniquely challenging, but it’s worth it when you can ride longer and faster.

How has this changed your life?

Getting outdoors feeds my soul. I spend a lot of my time indoors editing photos, and when the week is over, I just want to get outside. Mountain biking has brought me a lot of joy. It also brings me a feeling of inner peace after I finish a ride. The “biker’s high” is strong and keeps me coming back for more. I love to get out on the trail at sunrise and enjoy the whole day in the woods.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Make friends at your local bike shop. You can be properly fitted for a bike as well as ask any questions you might have. Bikes need regular tune-ups, so you will need to take your bike into the shop a few times a year. When you become a regular at the local bike shop, you’ll make lasting connections.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I also love to swim. I swim several times a week as a means of keeping fit.

Paul Kaulesar

Paul Kaulesar was born in Queens, New York. He remained in Queens for most of his adolescence. Paul grew up in a hardworking family, his parents renovated and sold houses throughout Queens, New York. These family investments were Paul’s first exposure to the real estate market. He joined his parents on the search for the ideal property, he helped his father renovate the property and lastly he assisted in showing of the properties. At the age of 15 Paul’s family decided to move to Florida. They initially moved to Orlando but ultimately ended up residing in Palm Beach. In Palm Beach, Paul Kaulesar attended Royal Palm Beach High School and then Palm Beach State College for Entrepreneurship. During his college years Paul obtained his Florida real estate license.

When Paul was young, the Kaulesar family took many trips to Europe, South America, and the various parts of the Caribbean. This is where his love for architecture was realized. It was obvious to Paul that buildings told the story of the past. This exposure to great architecture fueled his interest in real estate. Paul Kaulesar further found interest in the building process, the artistry and unique designs of buildings and the provenance of the buildings. Ultimately, his interest in Victorian and Modern architecture turned real estate into a lifelong passion.

What is your hobby?

I am a person that has many interests and hobbies; I believe in keeping my mind and body busy. Most recently, I have found a great interest in the martial art Judo.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

My interest in Judo was first realized while watching the Olympics. I was inspired and impressed by the technique of the Olympic Judokas. Many Judo players are not muscular but they are very strong, this is a martial art that anyone can practice.  Also, I had a few friends that attended Judo classes in college and they loved it, this intrigued me.

What inspired you?

My interest in Judo was first realized while watching the Olympics. I was inspired and impressed by the technique of the Olympic Judokas. Many Judo players are not muscular but they are very strong, this is a martial art that anyone can practice. Also, I had a few friends that attended Judo classes in college and they loved it, this intrigued me.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love the control of Judo. A good Judoka can balance a person on their hips without using their arms. Additionally, a smaller and weaker person can be very effective in Judo once they understand the principles.

Are there any groups you’re part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I am part of the International Judo Federation (IJF). Since I have only been training for a few months I have not competed as of yet, but I expect to compete very soon.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

For judo I bought a gi, shin pads, knee pads and books about Judo.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I bought most of my supplies online. Judo originated in Japan so many of the supplies I have bought ship from there.

Are there any good books for beginners?

The book I would recommend for a beginners in Judo is “Kodokan Judo: The Essential Guide to Judo by Its Founder Jigoro Kano”.

How has this changed your life?

Judo has changed my life because it makes me feel great, physically and mentally. Judo challenges me every day; I have learned to speak a bit of Japanese, how to fall and some great self-defense techniques.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

The advice I give to others starting Judo is to be a blank slate. Know that you know nothing about this sport. There will be many smaller and weaker people that will throw you, put your ego on the shelf. Lastly, get ready to do activities you have not done since you were a child, such as, cart wheel, flips, and rolls.

Are there any other hobbies you have? 

Another hobby of mine is reading. I aim to read one great book a week. There are many extraordinary stories and lessons that have not been publicized.

You can learn more and follow Paul Kaulesar at:

Ronnie Brown Mansfield

Ronnie Brown Mansfield is an agent for change in the school administration of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the course of his work as a middle school vice principal, he has been responsible for creating a safe school environment for all students. He has also been involved with teacher training, making sure that each educator has the resources to help students succeed in school and in life.

Brown attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He majored in Elementary Education and took his first professional job as a fourth- and fifth-grade math and science teacher. While he found being an educator rewarding, he gained an interest in joining the administration. Studying at night and on the weekends, he was able to receive a vice principal certification. His strong work ethic enabled him to attend night school while working a full day at school.

In addition to his work as an assistant principal, Brown coaches football, softball, and basketball. He believes strongly that athletic pursuits enhance a student’s experience and teach lessons that can only be learned on the field. He has also been an assistant football coach on the college level, working with wide receivers.

In his career as an educator and as a principal, Ronnie Brown Mansfield has upheld strong principles of hard work, respect, and communication. The teachers and staff members at his school respect him and look up to his example.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is photography. I love to capture new ways of looking at the world around me.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I got started with photography when I was a teenager. I used to take pictures for my high school newspaper. I learned to develop photos in the darkroom, and I took several art classes to develop my eye for composition. My newspaper advisor recommended that I take photography classes in college, but I wasn’t able to do so due to the demands of my Education degree. I am largely self-taught as a result.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love capturing special memories of the places I’ve been. I love RV travel with my family, and I take many photos of the landscapes in the places we visit. I also enjoy portrait photography with my family and pets. I especially love to capture majestic landscapes like those in our National Parks.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I attend a local photographer’s club. A few times a year, we get together to share a meal and enjoy looking at slideshows of each other’s work. It’s nice to have a place to share photos, other than online. I feel like I post so many scenic photos to Facebook, my friends and family are overwhelmed with them. My photography friends truly appreciate each shot.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I have a lot of specialized photography equipment. Photography can be an expensive hobby. Since I’m an educator, I don’t have a lot of extra money to spend on these things. I do as much research as I can to make sure I am getting the most value for my dollar. Recently I bought a new tripod which has enhanced my ability to take landscape shots.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I buy most of my supplies online through Amazon. I like the deals and I like the Prime shipping. I also visit a local photography store from time to time.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I recommend Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson to all of my friends who are thinking about trying photography. It can be a little bit technical, but it walks novice photographers through the inner workings of their cameras. It’s a great book for when you are ready to graduate from taking photos with your smartphone to using a proper digital camera.

How has this changed your life?

Photography gives me something calming to focus on. Life as an assistant principal is stressful. There are always various conflicts that need to be managed. When I look at one of my photographs on the wall of my office, I’m reminded of the serenity I felt when I captured the images. This helps to ground me on the most difficult days.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I would advise that anyone who wants to start photography should take a beginner’s class through their local art school or adult education center. There’s no substitute for an expert’s guidance. I am largely self-taught myself, but I wish I had had the benefit of a teacher’s knowledge when I was starting out.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

Travel is my other major hobby. I love to take my wife and four kids on the road in our RV. Six people in an RV is a little bit of a squeeze, especially now that two of my children are grown. Even though we live in close quarters on the road, we enjoy spending time together. I usually plan our trips around the best photo opportunities, while my daughters suggest that we stop in cities with music festivals.

Brian Setencich

Brian Setencich is a General Manager with First Service Residential, a property management company in San Francisco. He has a background in public service, beginning on the Fresno city council. He was elected to the California State Assembly where he spent time working on issues that are important to all Californians. He then went on to work for the 911 Emergency Response Project for the City and County of San Francisco, ensuring that all citizens had safe and effective access to emergency services. After working in public service, Setencich made a move into the private sector. He managed Market Square, a major development in San Francisco.

Brian Setencich played professional basketball, developing his knack for teamwork. He has been involved with fundraising for Valley Children’s Hospital as the Donor Research Coordinator. Another charitable project includes volunteering for animal rescue organizations.

Setencich is a seasoned businessman and deeply connected to California. His business experience and charitable endeavors enhance the San Francisco community.

What is your hobby?

My hobbies include exercise, reading and cooking, albeit simple cooking.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I taught myself to cook. I have always been interested in simple healthy food.  My palate is very simple so I wanted to make simple healthy dishes that were still tastey.  Since I’ve been cooking for several years now, I feel like I can a variety of dishes that are simple, healthy and still taste good for others who try them.

Tell us what you love about it.

Cooking is a great way to relax. When I’m in the kitchen, I stop worrying about work and other obligations. I love putting a great meal on the table for friends and family.  Whenever I eat out, I take note of ideas to try in my own kitchen.

Are there any groups that you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I enjoy attending some cultural food festivals.  Not only is the food good but it’s a good way to learn more about different cultures and have fun at the same time.

Have you had to invest in any equipment? If so, please share the things you have purchased.

Well, not too much but when I do,I try to avoid buying things that have only one purpose.  For example, instead of specialty cutters and slicers, I have invested in a good quality set of chef’s knives.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I’ve bought supplies at and Williams Sonoma.  They always have a creative assortment of products, and the higher price is worth it in terms of quality.  I have also purchased some things at the local hardware store, which has a surprisingly good assortment of things.

How has this changed your life?

Cooking is a fantastic hobby because I can use it every day.  It’s brought me a lot of confidence and has also taught me a lot about the world through various cuisines. Sharing food with my friends is so satisfying.  Cooking also teaches patience and the ability to follow directions. Baking is more precise than cooking. When you’re cooking, you have the ability to improvise a little more, but with baking, you really have to follow the base recipe or you’ll come up with something strange.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Don’t be intimidated. Start small, using basic recipes, and work your way up. Before long, you’ll be cooking big meals for everyone to enjoy. I do have a piece of cooking-specific advice.  Clean as you go along. If you clean as you go along, you won’t be left with a messy kitchen at the end.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I enjoy reading and staying fit.  I played basketball professionally when I was younger but now I just like to shoot baskets by myself if I have a little time.

Grant Lawson

Grant Lawson is a marketer, consultant, and coach with his current focus being the lead crowdfunding strategist at InventureX .

He attended California State University, Northridge where he acquired a B.S. in Computer Science. His expertise lies in product development and crowdfunding.

What is your hobby?
I like to perform different writing exercises to encourage the free flow of thoughts and ideas. I can put the best ideas to work. It helps me to pinpoint exactly what I want to execute.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?
I drew the conclusion that some of the most successful people in the world are authors, readers, or both. It’s less of a hobby and more of a way of life. The combination of being a writer and an avid reader is one of the ways that I can ensure my continued success. I’d like to think of myself as a machine that acquires and disseminates knowledge. I got started with this hobby because I needed a way to churn out ideas that solve problems. To validate that a product development idea is good, I take the best ideas I’ve written and discuss them with potential customers.

What inspired you?
I’m inspired by the work of some of the world’s greatest thinkers and writers. I also get inspired by the products that I’m grateful to have. I think “What is it that makes me grateful for this?”, and “How can I create products that other people are grateful for?”

Tell us what you love about it.
I love writing as a creative expression because I can have fun while being productive. That’s the sweet spot-working without making it feel like work. Writing allows me to access the imaginative part of my brain. I can take a break from being technical and logical. Also, there is something therapeutic and relaxing about it. I feel like a more balanced person once I’ve written that day or delivered some of my creative material to my video team at StudioX.

Are there any groups you’re part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?
Yes, Toastmasters. Being that I’m in product development, I often have to relay thoughts and concepts to other people. I’m a member of this speaking group to keep my communication and presentation skills refined.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.
I mainly invest in tools that augment my current marketing stack of tools. I have benefited from using tools like Clickfunnels, Crazy Egg, and wireframing tools. I use Aha! For product roadmapping and IdeaScale to gather opinions and gain feedback.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?
The vast majority of the tools I need to complete my work are online. Primarily, crowdsourcing occurs online. Therefore, the things that I need to get the job done can be found there as well.

Are there any good books for beginners?
Absolutely. You should be reading no matter what your level of acuity is. For marketers, I recommend Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk. I also recommend The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

How has this changed your life?
These books have taught me the crucial steps to take in order to build a thriving personal brand and maintain the motivation to achieve.Is far too easy to be thrown off of your path in life, even with an established direction and approaching goal. These books help me maintain the right state of mind to continue being a standout leader.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?
If you want to write or be a marketer, just do it. You can study something forever, you can have a mentor for years, but it all comes down to the moment doing. Set a clear goal and start going for it 100 miles per hour. No matter what your skill level is, as you continue to “Do”, you will get better. If you’re having trouble getting started, simply do something today and you’ve already begun. Approach each day with the mindset that you’re going to do 1% better than you did yesterday.

Are there any other hobbies you have?
I enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes along with working out. I’m not much of a runner, I prefer bodybuilding. I like to push myself to physical limits and lift as much as I can. It’s extremely encouraging. No matter what activity I do after I workout, I feel like I can dominate and conquer it.