Achieving Peak Performance


Even though it happened when I was just 12 years old, I still count this moment as one of my greatest life accomplishments to date:

I won an Alex Rodriguez autographed Yankees bat (!!!)

To win, I had to compete against 200+ other kids in my youth baseball league. Even though it felt like a huge challenge, I surpassed my own expectations and raised $6,000+ dollars within two months. 

My secret formula?

  1. Being relentlessly determined 
  2. Figuring out how to sell B2B for greater transaction amounts
  3. Dragging my mother through 8 different neighborhoods and banging down the doors of thousands of houses.**

**(Unlike Alex Rodriguez, I had this stamina steroid-free)

From this early of an age, I learned that “No” is one step away from “Not Yet”.

As I’ve entered adulthood, my ability to break down doors has now shifted from the physical world to the virtual world where I use the social platforms in front of me as a portal to get through to the people I admire.

Catherine Kushan: Newsletter 7 Featured Mission

Speaking of door banging … that’s exactly how I met Catherine Kushan, who has designed this entire newsletter project end-to-end as we’ve worked alongside each other from day one. 

(Editorial Note: She feels way awkward editing her own feature, but she’s honestly just super flattered to be here)

During our first meeting, she was trying to figure out the next steps to take in her career. I suggested a few different ideas …

Within two weeks, she joined the Board of Directors of a mental health nonprofit and signed up to audit a Design Thinking bootcamp at her alma mater, George Washington University. I never knew one conversation could be such a catalyst, but it was the spark she needed!

When I learned she had a writing-focused M.A. in Literature with a concentration in Disability Studies and a job at a tech company, I knew her skills and passion for social good-aligned perfectly with our concept for BW Missions. I thought to myself … why don’t I see if she wants to work on this newsletter project idea with me? (Spoiler alert: she did!) 

Catherine took on every aspect of this initiative from curation and writing and UX design, audience analysis, distribution, and analytics. We’ve worked side-by-side on every iteration this newsletter has gone through, and we both hope it becomes better every time.

GROWTH: Newsletter 7

What I’ve Learned: Strengths Distilled from Highly Effective People

I’ve carefully distilled down the most valuable insights I’ve gained from notable people I’ve crossed paths with over the past six years. Based on my key takeaways that have stuck with me, I wrote this article to highlight and archive what makes them so special.

I aggregated every grain of wisdom I could to make this piece as valuable as possible for readers like you on topics such as marketing, coaching, brand-building, content development, leadership, and more. I want you to learn the lessons I have from these people so you can apply the value from their skillsets to your own life. 

Think of it as a professional tool belt and how much further you would go with these skills in your back pocket.



Spira replaces harmful petroleum and animal compounds in products by selling microalgae ingredients to food companies. They use proprietary CRISPR techniques to make and leverage a network of farms across the developing world to scale supply for an overwhelming demand. Their team is growing – they’re currently hiring for a Food Scientist, Quality Engineer and Bioengineer. Reach out to Elliot at elliot@livespira.com for more info.


Tom Worcester, Founder of Lunchbox, is raising investment. They remind me of a company like Apple, with a product and mission that inspires people to be themselves. In the past 6 months, they’ve generated $200k in revenue and actively taking the musical festival and hiking industry by storm. 

If interested, email tom@itsmylunchbox.com for his snazzy deck. Reddit Founder, Alex Ohanian, recently shared this Video about Tom.


Capsource helps universities innovate by incorporating companies into the education process through experiential learning engagements like Capstone Projects and Live Business Cases. They have built a lean, highly effective EdTech platform to help schools coordinate these hands-on real-world learning engagements. 

The company is currently looking to hire a CTO and a Director of Academic Partnerships (a sales role). Check out CapSource’s website to learn more or feel free to email their Executive Director Jordan Levy at jordan@capstonesource.com

RESOURCES: Newsletter 7

Rick Smith x Ryan Hawk Leadership Podcast – Episode 320

One of our most notable Featured Mission alumni, Rick Smith, speaks to a key consideration many entrepreneurs run into along their journey in this edifying Mindful Monday with Ryan Hawk.

Watch this notable highlight of the Learning Leader series to learn How to Take Initiative & Solve Problems. In his own words, leaders who sustain excellence “[d]on’t wait for people to tell you what to do. [They h]ighlight it and fix it.” And if you really get to know Ryan (which I recommend) he has an awesome event coming up.

Starting the Branding Process:  Episode 1, Building a Brand

Thanks to my brand wizard colleague Zac Oransky for sharing this series. These step-by-step videos break down the often-overwhelming effort of developing your own brand guidelines and identity into a set of actionable steps and pragmatic concepts.

Ask yourself these four critical questions as you follow along, and find your own answers on the way:

  1. How do you rebrand a company?
  2. How do you grow a business?
  3. How do you stand out in the market?
  4. What role do designers play in all of this? [More than you think]

(If you gain any unique or insights, we always love hearing from you; send them our way by replying to this email!)

This Is Water: David Foster Wallace

DFW’s most famous commencement speech is a personal favorite of mine.

TL;DW —  Here’s the gist:

“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?

”This story is about awareness — awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: 

“This is water. This is water.” 

My favorite quote: “The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being to care about other people, and sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad little unsexy ways, every day.”


Inbound 2019

Back when I barely understood the difference between Squarespace versus WordPress, what a landing page meant, and when the term “cost-per-conversion” sounded like it was from a foreign language, I attended my first Inbound Conference. It was one of the best educational marketing events for my early growth. Special thank you to Michael Gargiulo, featured in the article above who pushed me to go.

I searched every panel for the best topics at the best times and rushed around Boston to soak up all the knowledge I could. If you’re looking to learn, I highly recommend checking out this event. They do a great job for such a massive event.

The Pathfinder
Catherine Kushan

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