Mareko Maumasi: Forged in Folded Steel

He found his calling in the fiery flames of blade smithing and became a master of stunning hand-forged blades. Many years ago, there stood a child on the banks of the Puget Sound, the salty sea breeze fanning his creative embers. Born with the innate desire to craft and build, he made many things from a very young age. As he looked out across the Sound, he didn’t know the kind of Kill Bill ancient blade master and epic artisan he would become. If he did, he would’ve smiled like a knowing Beatrix Kiddo. How Awesome Began Mareko Maumasi grew up in Washington State and, like many other kids, liked to build stuff. He was a budding artist who loved crafting things with his bare hands. It just came naturally to him. By his teen years the creative embers led him to cooking and he opted for a career in the restaurant industry. Some years later, while concentrating on his food craft, he met a man named Bob Kramer who would fan Maumasi’s creative embers into an inferno of metal artistry.

Nonny de la Peña: Immersive Journalist

Storytelling brought to life: Experience the true impact of news and stories by being there through virtual reality. Hunger prowls the streets of Los Angeles like a wolf. Living in LA is a struggle and making ends meet to provide for family is coming up short. Another day is about to pass in hunger, and you are there, a witness to this sad commentary on hunger in America. You’ve just been immersed in a true-life journalistic drama using virtual reality. When you’re done, take off your headset and have a nice day, or better yet, feel compelled to do something to make a difference in our world. It’s one thing to read about something and another thing entirely to live it. Award-winning Mexican-American journalist, documentary filmmaker, and CEO/Founder of Emblematic Group, Nonny de la Peña is spearheading a new tech movement that will help bridge the gap between experience and reality and bring the story to life through virtual reality. De la Peña’s virtual reality projects through the Emblematic Group have won many awards and she has been nicknamed the

Kevin Stone: Hollywood Hypnotist

Ever daydreamed,  realized you’ve driven past your exit,  or been totally engrossed in a movie? You’ve experienced a natural hypnosis! Having hypnotized over 1 million people, internationally acclaimed hypnotist, Kevin Stone, is still going strong helping people overcome their battles with stopping smoking, losing weight, conquering phobias, and managing stress among many other of life’s issues.  Best known as the Hollywood Hypnotist, Stone’s been called upon by celebrities for the past 25 years and is the owner and CEO of two companies Mind Growth Technologies and Deep Sleep Entertainment. He’s known as the only nationally recognized hypnotist for his work with high-profile celebrities, sports figures and politicians.  An Extraordinary Hypnotist Beverly Hills, California is home to Stone’s world-famous hypnotherapy clinic and is where he helps over a hundred clients weekly. He treats clients dealing with past trauma, intrusive thoughts, anxiety, and addiction. As a hypnosis consultant, he has been instrumental in treating TMJ, autism, and eating disorders.  His natural approach helps people make positive and lasting changes in their lives without the use of medication. Law enforcement agencies, doctors, dentists,

Becca Stevens: on the Healing Power of Love

Thistle Farms offers women a second chance at life, but for many being served, it is their first chance at life. Throomers welcomes Becca Stevens and the amazing work she has done bringing hurting women back to life. We thank her for sharing her story with our readers. I began Thistle Farms in 1997 because women on the streets had few, if any, options for long-term, safe housing to recover from the trauma and abuse they had experienced. We started with one home for five women with criminal records of prostitution and addiction. Even though in the community the women were doing amazing healing work, their early childhood trauma, life on the streets, and felonies on their records made it difficult to find a job. In 2001, I started a business, making natural candles and body balms to provide women income. Our guiding principle that love is the strongest force for change in the world, were formed in these early days. On a Mission to Heal The story of Thistle Farms also began for me in 1968 when my parents moved

Changing the World View on Inclusion

Over 1100 races including marathons, triathlons, and Ironmans later, Dick and Rick Hoyt continue to inspire us in living life to the fullest. Crowds cheered and a slight breeze caressed the triathletes’ faces as they squinted their eyes to make out the finish line. I was one of them. The sun was hot that afternoon. The beads of sweat drips from our foreheads and I hurriedly flicked it aside. My triathlon suit was drenched, my heart was beating out of my chest, my left knee was aching, but I persisted. I thought back to my bag of motivational thoughts, clamoring for a second wind. Before every triathlon I watch a video to get inspired. I always turned to one about a father who runs the races pushing his son in a wheelchair. I recall it when I need hope.  Team Hoyt is well known within the triathlon community and competed for years at the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. When the world seems to be against me, team Hoyt reminds me that anything is possible. Witnessing Extraordinary Greatness My shoes

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

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