Featured Episode

Featured Episode

Learning Life with Jon Tota

Each week Learning Life strives to teach you something new, deliver interesting stories and share best practices to take your learning to the next level.

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Latest Episodes

Cassie Polhemus

This week, Jon sits down with Cassie Polhemus, CEO of the Vermont Economic Development Authority. VEDA helps provide financing solutions to Vermont businesses in order to keep companies running and growing, and support the vitality of Vermont’s economy.

In this week’s episode, Cassie talks about her journey to Vermont, how VEDA works daily to help Vermont businesses reach their goals and the unique challenges and advantages to being a Vermont entrepreneur.

Learn more about VEDA at www.veda.org

Dr. Rob Williams

In this week’s episode, we have Vermont serial entrepreneur, Professor, and friend of the show Dr. Rob Williams. Whether you know him from the Yak it to Me Burger stand, teaching at University of Vermont and Champlain College, or as a major voice on Vermont Independent Radio, Dr. Rob always shares something new and interesting.

Rob sits down with Jon to discuss Peak Flow, a course to teach the Wim Hof Method, a breathing, cold exposure, and focus technique designed to help you live a better life.

Adam Hergenrother

This week Jon sits down with Adam Hergenrother to discuss how business can be a conduit for personal growth. Adam is the founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies, which became a $1 billion organization in 2019 and has been a five-time winner of the Vermont Best Places to Work. In this episode, Adam shares his journey to acquire the skills that have made him a great leader and offers advice for young entrepreneurs.

Listen in to learn how health, wealth, spirituality, and leadership can be understood to achieve sustainable self-improvements within your professional and personal life, and discover how incorporating spirituality into business can further self-growth and business development.

Jenna Sereni

This week, Jon sits down with Jenna Sereni, a pioneer in influencer marketing as the VP of Marketing and Creative Services at WHOSAY, the first ever influencer marketing agency.  Today, Jenna is the visionary co-founder and CEO of HandsDown, the social commerce platform that allows users to share what they “hands down” can’t live without and discover what they’ve been missing, from the people they trust most — their inner circle.

Jeff Weaber

This week, Jon sits down with Jeff Weaber, founder and CEO of the famed Kombucha brewery Aqua ViTea, based in Middlebury Vermont.

Jeff started as a brewer at Lucky Labrador in Portland Oregon, before discovering the health benefits of Kombucha. He moved to Salisbury VT in 2005 with the goal of helping people sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Listen to hear the story of an entrepreneur who moved to Vermont and built one of the most well-known sustainable farm-based businesses on the east coast.

Duane Peterson

This week, Jon sits down with Duane Peterson, co-founder and co-president of SunCommon, a benefit corporation powering Vermont and Hudson Valley homes, schools, and businesses with solar. Duane is also a member of the board for both VBSR and VPIRG, organizations pushing for social responsibility and environmental protection across the green mountain state.

Duane’s commitment to using businesses for positive change has continued since then. SunCommon is a certified B-Corp, with rigorous standards for social and environmental performance, as well as public transparency and legal accountability. SunCommon goes far beyond a profit-driven model, and has helped over 10,000 homes, farms, and businesses go solar!

Kai Cook

This week on Learning Life, Jon talked with Kai Cook about Deep End Fitness. Kai Cook is a lifelong swimmer and when she discovered Deep End fitness in California, she felt it was important enough to bring back to Vermont and became one of the founders of the Vermont branch.

Deep End fitness was originally developed by Don Tran and Prime Hall after they started water survival training for marine raiders. Join in and listen to Kai explain how this military survival training, has become a fun but high intensity workout.

Riley Seith

This week Jon sits down with Riley Seith, co-founder of the Laces App, and student entrepreneur. Laces is a platform for runners to find and share safe running routes when traveling or moving to a new city. After you’re done running, you can report incidents or obstacles. Think Waze for runners.

Riley and her co-founder Makenzie started their business from Champlain college. The idea started as a way to help women identifying people, particularly in college, to find a more safe way to run.

Louisa Schibli

This week Jon sits down with Lousia Schibli, co-founder of the Northern New England Women’s Investor network, and co-founder and CEO of Milk Money Vermont. Milk Money is a platform for Vermonters to discover local investment opportunities, get tips on how to evaluate those opportunities, and then make an investment.

Listen in for Louisa’s lessons about raising capital in rural Vermont and being a female entrepreneur in the Green mountain state.

 

Matty Benedetto

Matty Benedetto solves problems that don’t really exist by creating products that no one is asking for. With over 6 million followers across YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, Matty is a full-time content creator making “Unnecessary Inventions” and the satirical product launch videos that have made him an Internet celebrity.

Listen to learn the story behind Vermont’s most notorious inventor and how creativity, passion and a helpful 3D printer have thrust him into the spotlight.

 

Will Read

This week Jon sits down with Will Read, CEO and founder of CannaPlanners, a marketing agency that helps cannabis retailers with their branding, identity, and digital presence.

With Vermont legalizing adult-use cannabis in 2022, many farms and businesses are transitioning from CBD to THC and seeking ways to promote their branding, especially as on-site farm tours and live events are restricted by the ongoing pandemic.

Cairn Cross

This week Jon sits down with Cairn Cross, co-founder of FreshTracks Capital in Shelburne VT.

FreshTracks is a venture capital and private equity firm focused on investments in Vermont-based growth companies. Cross sits on the board of multiple Vermont companies including Native Energy, Faraday, and Vermont Teddy Bear, as well as Mamava (previously on Learning Life,) and a board observer for ThinkMD.

Lindsay DesLauriers

This week we’re excited to have Lindsay DesLauriers, the co-owner and President of Bolton Valley Resort.

A mountain legacy, Lindsay’s father Ralph founded Bolton Valley back in 1966 and the family repurchased the mountain in 2017 aiming to restore and modernize Bolton Valley while maintaining its nostalgic charm.

With its broad terrain, back country connection, night skiing, and tight community, Bolton is a one of a kind world to explore in a small ski resort. Lindsay’s family is also set on bringing Bolton back to a four season operation, with its mountain biking trails, disc golf, and weddings.

Latest Episodes

Dr. Rob Williams

In this week’s episode, we have Vermont serial entrepreneur, Professor, and friend of the show Dr. Rob Williams. Whether you know him from the Yak it to Me Burger stand, teaching at University of Vermont and Champlain College, or as a major voice on Vermont Independent Radio, Dr. Rob always shares something new and interesting.

Rob sits down with Jon to discuss Peak Flow, a course to teach the Wim Hof Method, a breathing, cold exposure, and focus technique designed to help you live a better life.

Adam Hergenrother

This week Jon sits down with Adam Hergenrother to discuss how business can be a conduit for personal growth. Adam is the founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies, which became a $1 billion organization in 2019 and has been a five-time winner of the Vermont Best Places to Work. In this episode, Adam shares his journey to acquire the skills that have made him a great leader and offers advice for young entrepreneurs.

Listen in to learn how health, wealth, spirituality, and leadership can be understood to achieve sustainable self-improvements within your professional and personal life, and discover how incorporating spirituality into business can further self-growth and business development.

Jenna Sereni

This week, Jon sits down with Jenna Sereni, a pioneer in influencer marketing as the VP of Marketing and Creative Services at WHOSAY, the first ever influencer marketing agency.  Today, Jenna is the visionary co-founder and CEO of HandsDown, the social commerce platform that allows users to share what they “hands down” can’t live without and discover what they’ve been missing, from the people they trust most — their inner circle.

Jeff Weaber

This week, Jon sits down with Jeff Weaber, founder and CEO of the famed Kombucha brewery Aqua ViTea, based in Middlebury Vermont.

Jeff started as a brewer at Lucky Labrador in Portland Oregon, before discovering the health benefits of Kombucha. He moved to Salisbury VT in 2005 with the goal of helping people sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Listen to hear the story of an entrepreneur who moved to Vermont and built one of the most well-known sustainable farm-based businesses on the east coast.

Duane Peterson

This week, Jon sits down with Duane Peterson, co-founder and co-president of SunCommon, a benefit corporation powering Vermont and Hudson Valley homes, schools, and businesses with solar. Duane is also a member of the board for both VBSR and VPIRG, organizations pushing for social responsibility and environmental protection across the green mountain state.

Duane’s commitment to using businesses for positive change has continued since then. SunCommon is a certified B-Corp, with rigorous standards for social and environmental performance, as well as public transparency and legal accountability. SunCommon goes far beyond a profit-driven model, and has helped over 10,000 homes, farms, and businesses go solar!

Kai Cook

This week on Learning Life, Jon talked with Kai Cook about Deep End Fitness. Kai Cook is a lifelong swimmer and when she discovered Deep End fitness in California, she felt it was important enough to bring back to Vermont and became one of the founders of the Vermont branch.

Deep End fitness was originally developed by Don Tran and Prime Hall after they started water survival training for marine raiders. Join in and listen to Kai explain how this military survival training, has become a fun but high intensity workout.

Riley Seith

This week Jon sits down with Riley Seith, co-founder of the Laces App, and student entrepreneur. Laces is a platform for runners to find and share safe running routes when traveling or moving to a new city. After you’re done running, you can report incidents or obstacles. Think Waze for runners.

Riley and her co-founder Makenzie started their business from Champlain college. The idea started as a way to help women identifying people, particularly in college, to find a more safe way to run.

Louisa Schibli

This week Jon sits down with Lousia Schibli, co-founder of the Northern New England Women’s Investor network, and co-founder and CEO of Milk Money Vermont. Milk Money is a platform for Vermonters to discover local investment opportunities, get tips on how to evaluate those opportunities, and then make an investment.

Listen in for Louisa’s lessons about raising capital in rural Vermont and being a female entrepreneur in the Green mountain state.

 

Matty Benedetto

Matty Benedetto solves problems that don’t really exist by creating products that no one is asking for. With over 6 million followers across YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, Matty is a full-time content creator making “Unnecessary Inventions” and the satirical product launch videos that have made him an Internet celebrity.

Listen to learn the story behind Vermont’s most notorious inventor and how creativity, passion and a helpful 3D printer have thrust him into the spotlight.

 

Will Read

This week Jon sits down with Will Read, CEO and founder of CannaPlanners, a marketing agency that helps cannabis retailers with their branding, identity, and digital presence.

With Vermont legalizing adult-use cannabis in 2022, many farms and businesses are transitioning from CBD to THC and seeking ways to promote their branding, especially as on-site farm tours and live events are restricted by the ongoing pandemic.

Cairn Cross

This week Jon sits down with Cairn Cross, co-founder of FreshTracks Capital in Shelburne VT.

FreshTracks is a venture capital and private equity firm focused on investments in Vermont-based growth companies. Cross sits on the board of multiple Vermont companies including Native Energy, Faraday, and Vermont Teddy Bear, as well as Mamava (previously on Learning Life,) and a board observer for ThinkMD.

Lindsay DesLauriers

This week we’re excited to have Lindsay DesLauriers, the co-owner and President of Bolton Valley Resort.

A mountain legacy, Lindsay’s father Ralph founded Bolton Valley back in 1966 and the family repurchased the mountain in 2017 aiming to restore and modernize Bolton Valley while maintaining its nostalgic charm.

With its broad terrain, back country connection, night skiing, and tight community, Bolton is a one of a kind world to explore in a small ski resort. Lindsay’s family is also set on bringing Bolton back to a four season operation, with its mountain biking trails, disc golf, and weddings.

Subscribe Now