Monthly Archives: July 2019

10 Things You Need to Know About Cuba

UPDATE: On June 4, 2019, the US State Department implemented additional travel restrictions on Cuba travel for US citizens. Group educational and cultural trips are banned alongside cruise ships, yachts, and private planes. Despite this news, please note that commercial airline flights remain unaffected, and Ker & Downey’s Support for the Cuban People programs are still permitted. Ker & Downey has been partnering with travelers to create their own journeys to Cuba since August 2015. Recent policy changes on American travel to the country have stirred up questions about traveling to Cuba and the future of visiting a place that is so close but was once too far out of reach for many. The good news: Cuba is not out of reach with Ker & Downey. What Do the Policy Changes Mean? In short, the style of travel offered by Ker & Downey and our in-country partners is not impacted, for the time being. The changes will impact self-planners, group tours, cruise ship passengers, yacht charters, and private plane travelers the most. Arranging a journey on your own that avoids

Robert Siciliano Q&A

YOU’VE OBVIOUSLY EXPERIENCED A GREAT DEAL OF SUCCESS IN YOUR LIFE. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT, AND WHY? My business revolves around security awareness which is the process of changing peoples behavior in their responses to threats perpetrated by predators and thieves.  What I do is help people take personal responsibility to protect their family, lives, privacy, data and possessions. Greatest accomplishment is preventing harm in people’s lives. LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS SMOOTH. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT A SETBACK OR TRAGEDY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED, HOW YOU DEALT WITH IT, AND THE IMPACT IT HAS HAD ON YOU? As early as the ag of 12 I was a victim of a multiple attack situation. This singular event woke me up to the existence of predators. Shortly afterwards I met a young woman who confided her sexual assault victimization to me which had a profound effect on my life. In my early 20’s my small business was hacked. These significant life changing events shaped my view of the world. DO YOU SET ASIDE “ME-TIME” IN YOUR CALENDAR,

Enjoying Life Without Getting Scammed

Scammers are Lurking Everywhere We live in a miraculous time of unlimited opportunity with technological advantages the previous generations could only have dreamed of. Even a decade ago, we couldn’t have imagined that the ubiquitous smart phone and high speed, globally connected network would so revolutionize our lives. But with every revolution comes its downsides and risks. Such as: opportunities for peace and quiet are growing scant, our privacy has been seriously compromised, and, our personal information (identity) and financial security are under attack. I suspect the following examples will sound familiar. Every day, I receive at least ten calls from numbers and area codes that I do not recognize, some from as far away as Lithuania. On top of that, I receive several more from “unknown callers” or unfamiliar numbers that appear to be from my local region. And, of course, there are the dozen or so emails I receive nearly every week asking for personal information or money in one form or another. I usually ignore the phone calls, assuming legitimate callers will leave a message. On occasion

Robert Siciliano: Fraud & Security

From identity theft to personal safety, surviving in today’s world is a matter of proactive threat protection. Firsthand experience, moral ethics, and acquired knowledge has crafted a message one man calls out to all citizens: Americans must take action to protect themselves from cyber and physical crime. He’s on the frontlines of battling personal and privacy intrusion by educating and empowering his fellow man. He says, “Privacy is an illusion. Privacy doesn’t exist, and it hasn’t existed for quite a long time.” Robert Siciliano is an expert in security awareness, fraud, and personal safety. He carries his message in a unique style, melding boldness and know-how into real-world solutions. Major media outlets, corporate execs, thought leaders, and others have benefited from his insight. These leaders of industry seek his expertise to obtain the blunt truth of his assessment —what they’ve missed in their bubble of perceived safety. His aim is to inform and educate, helping industry leaders as well as the average Joe from becoming a statistic. He says, “There always has been, there is now, and there will always

Kaitlin Roig: Sandy Hook Teacher and Hero

She chose to share her experience with others, in the hope that they too can find light in dark moments. Precipice of Death It was December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, when Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis witnessed the horrors unfolding at her workplace. She was a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That Friday started out normally with students looking forward to the weekend leading up to the holidays. Suddenly, the sound of rapid-fire gunshots, screams, and pleadings emanated from outside her classroom. She took immediate action. Without hesitation, she got up, shut and locked the classroom door, and turned off the lights. She knew time was critical and made the decision to hide her fifteen students in the classroom’s tiny bathroom. As the carnage continued, she managed to keep her students calm and quiet. There they stayed in a huddled mass until the SWAT Team arrived and rescued them. Roig-DeBellis is credited for her act of heroism in saving the lives of her six- and seven-year-old students that day. It wasn’t until later that she learned the full extent of

Eric Bandholz: The Original Urban Beardsman

Tapping into a neglected niche, he helped transform a stereotype into a formidable community of bearded men. Sometimes, your calling is right under your nose. For one man, this was literal … his beard. It was the first decade of the 21st century and a huge group of individuals still had no real representation or specific products aimed for them. Eric Bandholz would change all that. Yearning to Be Himself It began in a South Carolina elementary school when he started his first venture into business by repacking snacks for classmates. Decades later his business sense evolved into a career as a financial advisor. “I always felt the pressure to conform to a certain look, even though it wasn’t really how I identified as an individual,” he recalls. “When I worked as a financial advisor, I felt like I was living in a shell. Like the real me was hidden away in a cage and could only come out when I was among friends or family.” Little did he know that the facial hair, feeling so natural and “meant to

Matt Rutherford: Because He Can…

A story about dominating dreams. Oh, and cults, sailing, rehabs, oceanography and record-breaking. But mostly,dominating dreams. The frigid arctic sea was choppy and unpredictable. Astonishingly, there was one single soul bearing the storm. Matt Rutherford, the first man to finish a solo circumnavigation of the Americas, held on to the ropes as the elements tossed his 27-foot boat around like a rag doll. On the port side, a 40-foot glacier loomed above him through the fog. He rushed from one rope to another, checking his ship while trying to stay on it. This was a monster of a journey, ten months and 27,077 miles. “I was beating into the wind all day every day, just pounding,” Matt said. “Forty-one days hard on the wind.” The tip of the boat cut through the frost tipped waves as they absconded the ship. He was always self-motivated and headstrong, not even nature would foil his plans. Nevertheless, he was often certain he’d have to turn back and occasionally he almost did. People called this a suicide mission, what was he thinking? On this

Dave Pallone: An Extraordinary Umpire

“Strike!” yells the umpire. Decades ago, this umpire spent his days on the playing field, and his nights living a double life. Today, he is meeting with CEOs, inspiring audiences or receiving recognition for his bravery and cultural importance. He is Dave Pallone, a former Major League Baseball Umpire, and current model of perseverance and self-advocacy. In 2013, Dave Pallone cemented his place in history as one of the inaugural inductees to the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. Pallone’s fellow inductees in that year included Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Greg Louganis, Renee Richards, and Olympic skater, Johnny Weir.  At 67 years of age, he would agree that life is nothing if not a set of events ranging from fabulous to horrific. Getting Off the Sidelines Born in Waltham, Massachusetts, Pallone did not grow up with dreams of becoming an umpire. His dream was to play professional baseball. He knew he did not have the talent to make it to the pros, so his dream was sidelined. In the summer of 1970, as he was watching a baseball game

Gary Player: Master of Life

“Eat less, drink lots of water and exercise like crazy. It’s the only chance we have for good health and longevity.” On Thursday, April 11, 2019, an impressively compact and physical athlete, dressed in black from head-to-toe, launched his drive at the first tee at Augusta National Golf Club. The athlete teeing off was legendary golfer, Gary Player. At age 83, there is an inherent physical prowess about him, a prototypical picture of discipline and seriousness. I blinked twice to confirm that it was Player, rather than Jack LaLanne resurrected and transformed into a world-class golfer. As the ball rocketed down the center of the fairway, the only comment forthcoming from the television announcer was: “Remarkable.” The moment was the ceremonial opening of the 83rd Masters tournament, and he was followed on the tee by fellow legend, Jack Nicklaus. Since 2011, three of the greatest golfers of all time have been opening the revered tournament in this same manner. The third, Arnold Palmer, was lost to the world in September 2016. Player, roundly considered the best international golfer in history, has donned the

Paul Tasner: Environmental Entrepreneur

Sometimes forced retirement is the impetus needed to accomplish great things. Retirement just wasn’t in the cards for Paul Tasner. He spent 40 years working full time making startups and Fortune 100 companies successful, until one day, he was let go. He was 64-years old. His story is similar to that of others looking forward to retiring on their own terms, only to have it short-circuited for one corporate reason or another. What becomes of all those years of experience, all that know-how, and expertise? Do you set it all aside and start looking for that retirement home in Florida, or be the full-time grandpa? Tasner had other ideas. It was Time to Live His Passion He possessed an extensive background in leadership positions in procurement, manufacturing, packaging, and logistics. No longer gainfully employed, he used those skills as a consultant for a couple of years. During this period, he entertained thoughts of starting his own company. Tasner dreamed of a business that he could be passionate about and he was very passionate about the environment. He saw our land