Learning Life with Jon Tota
Take your skills to the next level! Learning Life talks to experts with the newest ideas and valuable insight to help you improve your business and your brain. Elevate your team and your work. Learning is as easy as tuning in.
info_outline #182 A New Wave of Equity in Vermont with Emiliano Void 09/29/2023
#182 A New Wave of Equity in Vermont with Emiliano Void Emiliano Void is the Founder and CEO of nuwave Equity Corporation. He is responsible for the development and implementation of systemic solutions centered around the dismantlement of anti-Black and systemic racism through profitable and innovative approaches. Emiliano grew up in Montreal, Canada and has spent the last decade living and working in the Burlington, Vermont area and serving in several positions for both Dealer.com and Cox Automotive. He visits Learning Life to discuss the challenges in achieving equity in Vermont and shares with us the inspiration behind some of nuwave's most impactful initiatives. At nuwave, Emiliano and the team aspire to drive real, actionable, and sustainable change that creates more opportunities for Black and systemically excluded people, while helping organizations understand the profitability in equity.
info_outline #181: Empowering Wellness with Ashley Reynolds 08/11/2023
#181: Empowering Wellness with Ashley Reynolds Born and raised in Vermont, Ashley Reynolds is the President and Co-Founder of Elmore Mountain Therapeutics. Ashley and her husband Colin founded EMT 2017 after Ashley’s personal struggle with postpartum anxiety. Finding relief through the use of CBD, Ashley saw a need for cannabis advocation to all. With a deep understanding of the science behind it, she dispels misconceptions and educates others on the use of CBD for promoting moisture, reducing wrinkles, and brightening dark spots. Ashley believes in the power of stories to connect with others and is determined to bring CBD skincare into the mainstream. People choose EMT over other CBD brands because it is more than product, it’s a way of life, it’s culture. Learn more about EMT at and try it for yourself today!
info_outline #180: Lake Monsters Go Local with C.J. Knudsen 07/11/2023
#180: Lake Monsters Go Local with C.J. Knudsen This week, Jon speaks with C.J. Knudsen, Senior Vice President for the Vermont Lake Monsters. C.J. graduated from Rice Memorial High School in 1992 and served as the Lake Monsters Assistant General Manager from 1997-1999 and the team's General Manager from 2000-2009. C.J. returned to the Lake Monsters in 2021 as Senior Vice President and has helped the team navigate the transition from MLB's minor league system to the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. By all accounts, it's going well. In 2021, Knudsen was named Executive of the Year following the Lake Monsters' massively successful first season in the league, capped off with them winning the Futures League Championship. The Lake Monsters are having tons of success on and off the field as they deliver a uniquely local Vermont sports experience right here in Burlington. Learn more from C.J. and catch a game at Centennial Field soon. Visit the Lake Monsters online and get your tickets today:
info_outline #179 Part 2: Synchronicity Meditation led by Dr. Rob Williams 06/08/2023
#179 Part 2: Synchronicity Meditation led by Dr. Rob Williams In the previous episode, we delved into the fascinating world of Synchronicity with Dr. Tom Myers and Dr. Rob Williams. Now, in Part 2 of our series, we invite you to embark on a transformative journey through a profound meditation session led by Rob himself, the co-founder of Peak Flow. Prepare yourself by finding a peaceful spot, turning off your devices, and allowing Dr. Rob to guide you into an awakened state, enabling you to discover the magic of Synchronicity in your life today. To learn more about Tom and TriSync Impact, please visit . To learn more about Rob and Peak Flow, please visit .
info_outline #179 Part 1: Find Your Flow with Dr. Tom Myers and Dr. Rob Williams 06/08/2023
#179 Part 1: Find Your Flow with Dr. Tom Myers and Dr. Rob Williams Dr. Tom Myers is a Synchronicity Researcher, Educator, and Coach, dedicated to helping individuals and businesses discover the power of Synchronicity and implement it in their lives. Having had a distinguished career as a professor and faculty chair at Champlain College, Tom now focuses on assisting people in understanding the concept of Synchronicity, recognizing its occurrences, and learning how to activate and operate in synchronistic harmony with those around them. In this episode, we dive deep into the topic of Synchronicity with Tom and Dr. Rob Williams, exploring how a breathwork practice can awaken our senses and guide us into a state of greater synchronicity. After the discussion, we invite you to enjoy a 20-minute exclusive meditation session led by Dr. Rob Williams, Co-Founder of Peak Flow. To learn more about Tom and TriSync Impact, visit . To learn more about Rob and Peak Flow, visit .
info_outline #178: Grit Gets It Done with Doug Lewis 04/21/2023
#178: Grit Gets It Done with Doug Lewis Doug Lewis is a 2-time Olympian, 8-year member of the US Ski Team, and in 1985 won the first ever World Championship medal for an American in downhill. And he grew up right here in the Green Mountains, cutting his teeth at Middlebury's Snow Bowl, then honing his skills at the GMVS Ski Academy at Sugarbush. After a great run on the US Ski Team, Doug returned to Vermont to attend UVM and to later co-found ELITEAM, a sports camp hosted at Killington Mountain School, that helps young athletes reach their highest potential. Listen to a great conversation with Doug on his journey through his excellent early career in ski racing, followed by decades of experience as an entrepreneur and performance coach teaching young athletes the value of grit, resilience and becoming a well-rounded competitor. Learn more about Doug and how you can claim one of the last available spots at this summer's
info_outline #177: Ready for Anything with Alex Hernandez 02/24/2023
#177: Ready for Anything with Alex Hernandez In this episode, Jon sits down with Alex Hernandez, President of Champlain College, who was recently inaugurated as just the 10th President in Champlain's long history. Alex's vision for the college is centered on a theme of “readiness,” as he outlines plans to build a better future for students, the college, and Vermont. Jon talks with Alex about how education creates opportunity and what he thinks our institutions must do to get students ready for their future. Learn more about Champlain College here:
info_outline #176: Laughing Matters with Jason Lorber 02/02/2023
#176: Laughing Matters with Jason Lorber In this episode, Jon sits down with Jason Lorber, the Founder and President of Aplomb Consulting, where they help people facilitate change in their lives and businesses. Based in Burlington, VT, Jason is also a standup comedian who served four terms in the Vermont state legislature. We talk about change, how comedy can help through the process, and why everyday citizens should get involved in politics now. Learn more about Jason and Aplomb at
info_outline #175: High Times in Vermont with Bridget Conry 12/06/2022
#175: High Times in Vermont with Bridget Conry In this episode, Jon sits down with Bridget Conry, founder of High Fidelity and host of the new High Fidelity podcast show. Bridget is an herbal practitioner and cannabis industry educator, advocate and entrepreneur based in Burlington, VT. High Fidelity intends to explore the intersection of cannabis, wellness, culture and the arts through insightful conversations with industry experts and thought leaders from all disciplines. Learn more at We discuss the history of cannabis in Vermont and the current events around adult use legalization just this fall. Bridget brings her passion and unique expertise about wellness and its intersection with cannabis and culture to this insightful conversation with one of the leading voices on Vermont cannabis today. Listen to Bridget's new show High Fidelity wherever you get podcasts. Apple: Spotify:
info_outline #174: A Blast from the Past with Beth Hill 10/06/2022
#174: A Blast from the Past with Beth Hill This week, Jon sits down with Beth Hill. Beth is the President and CEO of Fort Ticonderoga, the historic 2,000 acre destination overlooking Lake Champlain and educating visitors since 1909. Beth has a passion for history and a long career in the development and management of historical sites. In this episode, we discuss the importance of learning from our history, why sense of place matters today and how legendary historical sites like Fort Ticonderoga can scale into the digital age. There’s so much we can learn from Beth about our own local history and the value of understanding our past. Find out more about Fort Ticonderoga at
info_outline #173: Uncommon Farming with Will Raap 09/23/2022
#173: Uncommon Farming with Will Raap This week, Jon sits down with Will Raap. Will is a pioneer in sustainable, regenerative farming in Vermont and the entrepreneur who founded Gardener’s Supply Company, spearheaded the start of the Intervale Center and, most recently, is transforming the Nordic Farm in Charlotte into Earthkeep Farmcommon. In this week’s episode, we discuss Will’s entrepreneurial journey as well as his latest innovation in agriculture, Earthkeep Farmcommon — a regenerative agricultural ecosystem that is organic, carbon-negative, sustainable and educational. You can learn more about Will and his work at
info_outline #172: Rev Into Wellness with Sarah DeGray 08/19/2022
#172: Rev Into Wellness with Sarah DeGray This week, Jon sits down with Sarah DeGray, founder of REV Indoor Cycling. REV is a place of community and wellness, and is a no-judgment zone that helps you achieve your fitness goals through supportive coaching and an uplifting environment. Sarah founded REV Indoor Cycling 10 years ago in Burlington, Vermont, and has some excellent advice to offer entrepreneurs. In this week’s episode, Sarah discusses her experience with indoor cycling, and how her passion for music, as well as being an athlete, inspired her creation. She also explains how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted REV, the creative solutions that arose as a result, and how in-person cycling can be reimagined. Her beat-driven indoor cycling studio creates an immersive fitness experience that is truly unique and innovative. Listen in and discover how music, cycling, and community come together to create the unique fitness experiences offered by REV Indoor Cycling. You can learn more about REV at
info_outline #171: Be Your Best with Kimberly DuBrul 08/11/2022
#171: Be Your Best with Kimberly DuBrul This week, Jon sits down with Kimberly DuBrul, a certified business, life and mindset coach who has been coaching for almost 20 years. Kimberly is a Founding Member of the world wide John Maxwell Team of coaches, speakers and trainers and was one of 12 people chosen to make up the very first President's Advisory Council (PAC). She has also received the PCC title through the International Coach Federation (ICF), which is one of the top credentials available in the world of life coaching. In this week’s episode, Kimberly takes listeners along her journey of coaching and how her experiences have led her to helping others be successful. Kimberely helps her clients to identify areas of happiness within their lives, and promotes personal growth, personal development, and mindset as modes to align your life with your values. Listen in to learn about Kimberley’s business planner, The Successful Coach’s Business Development & Planning Calendar: 2022, and pick up some great insights into how shifting your mindset can change your life. You can learn more about her business planner at
info_outline #170: Developing Vermont with Cassie Polhemus 07/22/2022
#170: Developing Vermont with 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. You can learn more about VEDA at
info_outline #169: Get In The Flow with Dr. Rob Williams 07/07/2022
#169: Get In The Flow with 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. You can join an exclusive Peak Flow course in Burlington on Saturday, July 9th at https://www.wimhofmethod.com/instructors/robwilliams Check out Rob's last interview on Learning Life at
info_outline #168 Think Big with Adam Hergenrother 06/28/2022
#168 Think Big with 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. Adam also provides free downloads and trainings that are easily accessible through his website https://adamhergenrother.com/resources/ Visit https://adamhergenrother.com/ to learn more.
info_outline #167: Hands Down the Best with Jenna Sereni 05/20/2022
#167: Hands Down the Best with 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. After WHOSAY was acquired in 2018, Jenna continued to work for her new parent company ViacomCBS as the VP of Branded Programming and Influence at CBS Interactive, When the pandemic hit, Jenna, her husband and young son left their stomping grounds in New York City to move up to the Green Mountains, knowing Burlington from her college years visiting her brother at UVM. Now Jenna is taking her 15 years’ experience in marketing and social campaigns to bring some old-school Vermont trust and humanity to the digital marketing world. HandsDown promotes peer-to-peer discovery, and the platform boasts a “no sponsored content” model that is sure to lend much needed transparency to the commerce space. Visit itshandsdown.com to learn more.
info_outline #166: Mighty AquaViTea with Jeff Weaber 05/06/2022
#166: Mighty AquaViTea with 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. AquaViTea began in a farmhouse in 2007 and is one of the first kombucha brewers in the nation, and the largest on the east coast. The AquaViTea team was the first to introduce of the kombucha-on-tap model to encourage sustainable practices. 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. Visit www.aquavitea.com to learn more.
info_outline #165: A Force for Good with Duane Peterson 04/15/2022
#165: A Force for Good with 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 began his career in politics in California, before moving to Vermont where he spent 12 years as "Chief of Stuff" at Ben and Jerry's, hired directly by Ben Cohen to use the business as a force for social change. 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! Visit https://suncommon.com/ to learn more.
info_outline #164: Diving Deep with Kai Cook 04/01/2022
#164: Diving Deep with 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. Kai shares her story of how she came to be a part of Deep End Fitness, how she brought it to Vermont, and how she is building the community. Check out: The Deep End Fitness Website: The VT Branch’s Instagram:
info_outline #163: Hit the Ground Running with Riley Seith 03/17/2022
#163: Hit the Ground Running with 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. As the Laces App gets ready to launch, Riley shares the difficulties they faced in developing this app without the technical skills to build it herself and building a business while in college. Check out: The Laces App Website: The Laces App Instagram: Sign up to Become a Beta Tester:
info_outline #162: Revitalize Rural with Louisa Schibli 03/03/2022
#162: Revitalize Rural with 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. Louisa has also recently joined RuralWorks Partners as Chief Engagement Officer. RuralWorks Partners is an impact investment firm that supports growth stage and transitioning rural businesses and the communities in which they operate. RuralWorks is currently raising a $100 Million impact fund for these businesses and communities across the Northeast and Upper Midwest. Listen in for Louisa's lessons about raising capital in rural Vermont and being a female entrepreneur in the Green mountain state. Check out: Vermont Women's Investor Network www.nnewin.org Milk Money Investing www.milkmoneyinvesting.com RuralWorks Partners www.ruralworkspartners.com Learn more at https://milkmoneyvt.com/
info_outline #161: Not Necessarily Unnecessary with Matty Benedetto 02/17/2022
#161: Not Necessarily Unnecessary with Matty Benedetto Matty Benedetto solves problems that don’t really exist by creating products that no one is asking for. Benedetto is the inventor, serial entrepreneur and evil genius behind the wildly popular Unnecessary Inventions based right here in Burlington, Vermont. Matty grew up outside New York City, got his marketing degree at St. Michael’s then settled here in the Green Mountains funneling his passions into product development and startup businesses along the way. Now 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. Learn more at
info_outline #160: Planning for Cannabis with Will Read 02/10/2022
#160: Planning for Cannabis with 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. After graduating college, Will moved to Burlington with his band as a musician before moving down to New York City to work for sales at Apple. As many Vermonters will understand, he felt the Green Mountain State calling him back and he returned a few years later to work in digital marketing. 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. Read decided to hone in on the Cannabis Industry and now seeks to normalize and elevate these new businesses through beautiful branding, thoughtful websites, and data-driven digital marketing strategies. Learn more at
info_outline #159: Invest in Vermont with Cairn Cross 02/03/2022
#159: Invest in Vermont with 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. Cross is also a lecturer at UVM, teaching at the cutting-edge Sustainable Innovation MBA program. Listen to learn about opportunities abound in the Green Mountain State and the capital behind many of the great businesses you see in Vermont every day. Learn more at https://www.freshtrackscap.com/
info_outline #158: Back to Bolton with Lindsay DesLauriers 01/27/2022
#158: Back to Bolton with 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 developed it into an iconic indie ski mountain in the Northeast. In 1997, her family had to sell the resort, but recently bought it back in 2017 with a group of local investors 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. Listen to Lindsay's journey from her childhood on the slopes to the public and non-profit sector, and how that experience brought her right back to her "mountain island." Learn more at www.boltonvalley.com
info_outline #157: Raising the Bar with Kevin Pellon 01/21/2022
#157: Raising the Bar with Kevin Pellon Our guest this week is Kevin Pellon, the founder and CEO of raisedVT, live in our studio! Listen in as Kevin Pellon explains what it means to him to be raisedVT and what it means to be a proud Vermonter, even if you weren't born in the Green Mountain State. This retail clothing brand focuses on what makes Vermont, Vermont, with unique imagery from ski to farm culture, and from the Champlain valley to the top of Mount Mansfield. Listen to learn about a great local entrepreneur building a brand for anyone who's proud of where they were raised, regardless of where they live. Learn more at www.raisedVT.com
info_outline #156: Will Power with Byron Batres 01/13/2022
#156: Will Power with Byron Batres Our guest this week is Byron Batres, a wealth management advisor and financial planner in the Burlington area who is the founder and CEO of EZ-Probate. After realizing the trials and tribulations of dealing with the court system for the probate process of wills and estates for families, he set out to build a turbo-tax like system to avoid the hassle during an already emotional time. Now EZ-Probate helps families prepare legal documents themselves and get through the process quicker. Listen to learn about a great Vermont entrepreneur, the importance of estate planning before you need it and starting your own business in the Green Mountain State. Learn more at
info_outline #155: Getting Moms on the Go with Sascha Mayer 01/06/2022
#155: Getting Moms on the Go with Sascha Mayer Happy New Year! This week, Learning Life is talking innovation for moms with Mamava co-founder Sascha Mayer. A certified B corp, Mamava was founded in 2013 by Mayer and Christine Dodson, now COO. Mamava has over 2000 lactation pods across the country, providing mothers privacy and security while breastfeeding or pumping, as well as digital resources, community, and advocacy. Sascha began her career as a staffer for then-congressman Bernie Sanders after graduating from UVM. Moving on to working for a design firm, Sascha, a new mother at the time, frequently traveled to meet clients or go to conventions and realized there were no places to pump privately. The first Mamava pod was launched in the Burlington Airport in 2013, built with design in mind, a product to solve a real-world problem and bring the conversation out in the open. Listen in to learn how Mamava is disrupting the status quo and scaling up their business in Vermont. Learn more at and
info_outline #154: The Art of Skis with Jason Levinthal 12/16/2021
#154: The Art of Skis with Jason Levinthal This week Jon gets down with Jason Levinthal, who founded LINE in his parents' garage back in 1995 and is known for creating some of the first twin tip skis. After selling LINE to K2 sports, Jason was longing to get back into the industry, with the lessons he learned about scaling and the new prospects of online selling. In 2013, he founded J Skis with a direct-to-consumer business model with limited edition runs and a community focus. On top of all that, Jason medaled in the first-ever Winter X Games slopestyle skiing event in 1998. Today, J Skis is known for its limited run ski designs, gear and clothing with frequent Vermont collaborations, including Stowe Cider Apres All Day skis and Ski the East Ice Lightning skis. Learn more at https://jskis.com