The Leadership Under Fire Optimizing Human Performance Podcast provides a platform to prepare performance leaders to navigate the moral, mental, emotional, intellectual and physical rigors in high-risk and ultra-competitive settings by developing strength of mind, body, character and critical thought.
This is the second and final installment in a series dedicated to Remembering FDNY Captain John T. Vigiano. Captain Vigiano passed away on July 8, 2018, after a long battle with cancer—leaving behind an indelible impression on those who knew him best. Captain Vigiano was a resilient leader, dedicated to a life of service. Aside from his impressive professional record, Captain Vigiano was most proud of his family and the paths his two sons chose: John Jr., an FDNY firefighter, and Joe, an NYPD detective. Captain Vigiano and his wife, Jan, lost both their sons on the morning of September 11, 2001. In this episode, we’ll take a closer look at his personal life and the support he and his wife provided our nation’s post-9/11 military veterans. You’ll hear from almost a dozen people who were impacted by his leadership, as well as from Captain Vigiano himself. In 2015, he sat on a panel at a Leadership Under Fire Conference reflecting on risk and resilience which we’ll play for you throughout the episode.
FDNY Captain John T. Vigiano was a resilient leader, dedicated to a life of service. On July 8, 2018, he passed away after a long battle with cancer, but left behind a far-reaching legacy.
Captain Vigiano was a former Sergeant in the US Marine Corps. Prior to his enlistment in the Marines, he enlisted in the New York National Guard at the young age of fifteen. He eventually joined the FDNY in 1962, working his way up to Captain at Ladder Co. 176. He retired one of the Department’s most decorated fire Captains after 36 years on the job.
Aside from his impressive professional record, Captain Vigiano was most proud of his family and the paths his two sons chose: John Jr., an FDNY firefighter, and Joe, an NYPD detective. Captain Vigiano and his wife, Jan, lost both their sons on the morning of September 11, 2001—an unthinkable tragedy which they were able to transform into continued service. To honor their sons, they worked tirelessly donating their time and resources to improving the lives of Gold Star Families and our nation’s post-9/11 military veterans.
In the fall of 2015, Captain Vigiano sat on a Risk and Resilience panel in Bowie, Maryland at a Leadership Under Fire Conference and spent the evening candidly reflecting on risk and resilience. In this first episode of a two-part series, you’ll hear some of that discussion as well as from nearly a dozen people who knew him best and were impacted by his leadership.
This summer, we took a hiatus from publishing new episodes. But thanks to the brief pause, the Leadership Under Fire team accomplished a lot. In this episode, listeners are brought up to speed and get a glimpse of what's to come.
Romeo Okwara currently is a Defensive End for the NFL’s Detroit Lions. Prior to this, he played college football at Notre Dame and signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2016. Born June 17, 1995, Romeo stands 6’4” and weighs 275 pounds. But as we’ll discuss in this episode, when it comes to Okwara, there’s more than meets the eye. He moved to the United States from Nigeria with his family in 2005, and he played organized football for the first time a year later, but his lack of experience resulted in him being cut from the team. During his childhood, Romeo’s parents stressed the importance of education to him and his siblings so much so that during the recruiting process he would not entertain interest from colleges whose academic reputations did not meet his standards. And the one thing he rarely leaves home without is his camera. Off the field, he indulges his creative side and enjoys traveling the world.
Renewable energy offers many benefits to the environment and its workforce. But while these are often great jobs, they can also be dangerous. Renewable energy workers are exposed to hazards that can result in fatalities and serious injuries. Many incidents involving falls, severe burns from electrical shocks and fires, and crushing injuries have been reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Our guest in this episode, Troy Ryan, is the Director of Operations for Leeward Renewable Energy—an industry leader in North America. Prior to joining the private sector, Ryan served in the US Marine Corps. His experience in these two seemingly different, yet similarly high-risk industries is the impetus of this interview.
Stacy Shilling has dedicated the last 21 years to educating patients and families about health and wellness as a Registered Nurse. After obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from West Virginia Wesleyan College, Stacy was awarded a grant from Stevenson University for her Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in Population Based Care Coordination. Stacy’s career has included caring for patients in Neuroscience Critical Care, Medical Oncology Critical Care, Interventional Radiology, and as an Organ Procurement Coordinator for transplant. In her current role, as the Coordinator for Nursing Clinical Standards at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Stacy assures that nursing policy and practice implement current evidence-based practice for all 3,800 nurses.
The Senior Firefighter is one of the most significant roles in the fire service. A member who carries this informal position can be a valuable source of experience, knowledge and leadership. Often their actions dictate the level of success that members of a company will achieve both individually and as a whole. James McNamara is a dedicated member of the FDNY who embodies the true characteristics of a senior firefighter. Jim joined the FDNY in 1994 and eventually was assigned to Engine 37. He currently serves in Ladder Co. 26 in Harlem. Jim is a long-standing member of the Division 3 Safety Committee and a Company and Battalion Delegate for the Uniformed Firefighters Association. He serves on the strategic committee for the FDNY's Mental Performance Initiative and has developed the operational research component in partnership with Columbia University. He attended Thomas College in Waterville, Maine where he played basketball.
Colonel Michael Wyly was a principal author of the FMFM 1 – Warfighting manual, a seminal doctrinal publication that cemented the USMC’s adoption of maneuver warfare under the leadership of Commandant Al Gray. Following his retirement in 1992, Colonel Wyly founded the Bossov Ballet Theatre in Maine. He has continued to actively publish in professional journals on modern war and lead intellectual efforts designed to improve the US military’s operational and strategic capability set.
James Lopez joined the FDNY in 1997 and currently is assigned to Rescue Company 2 in Brooklyn. He also serves as a tactical fitness advisor for both Leadership Under Fire and the FDNY’s Mental Performance Initiative.
In the fall of 2018, the Cubs named Anthony Iapoce as the team’s Hitting Coach. Iapoce began his coaching career in 2006, but prior to that he spent eleven seasons playing in the minor leagues with the Brewers and Marlins organizations. Just as Cubs fans always remained steadfast, so has Iapoce.
In 2014, the Leadership Under Fire team hosted the 3rd Annual Making Yourself Hard to Kill Conference. During this event, a Navy SEAL Commander with extensive operational experience shared his thoughts on navigating risk, mutual trust, decision-making among SEAL teams and more. This conversation was moderated by the LUF team’s Leadership Director, Eric Nurnberg, who joins us in this episode. Nurnberg is a Deputy Chief with the Iowa City Fire Department and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
Sebastian Junger is an American journalist, author and filmmaker whose work demands contemplation regarding what history, science and experience tells us about the ability to endure hardship and how to navigate our current cultural terrain. Junger’s work includes the books: Tribe and The Perfect Storm as well as the Academy Award-nominated film: Restrepo, which he co-directed with Tim Hetherington.
Brendan Fowler was a two-time NCAA Champion during his days of playing lacrosse at Duke, the NCAA Championship most outstanding player in 2013, and the single-season leader all-time in face-offs won in the same year. Also on the football team at Duke, Fowler was a part of the Blue Devils squad that made its first bowl since 1994. After graduating, Fowler spent half a season with the Charlotte Hounds of Major League Lacrosse. Fowler then made his way onto the wrestling mat for a final season of NCAA eligibility. His professional lacrosse career has been spent with the Vancouver Stealth and New York Lizards. Danny Fowler was named an Under Armor All American in 2013 as the Chaminade High School star lacrosse goalie. That year he also helped pin down the Catholic State Championship in wrestling. He followed his older brother’s footsteps to Duke where he too played on the lacrosse and football teams.
Jason Brezler is the Founder and President of Leadership Under Fire (or LUF). In this episode, we’ll get to share how Leadership Under Fire came to be and how the LUF endeavor has evolved over time. We’ll also learn how Jason’s personal experiences have influenced his views on how to develop leaders and optimize human performance.
In this episode, Dr. Belisa Vranich will tell us some surprising information about breathing and walk us through the simple, revolutionary program she developed to improve mental and physical heath through breath work.
In 2018, the FDNY’s highest honor for the most outstanding act of heroism was awarded to Lieutenant Mickey Conboy. Lt. Conboy has more than 30 years with the FDNY. External recognition aside, he's also experienced quiet moments of accomplishment and fulfillment in the fire service and in his personal life.
Our guest in this episode has spent two decades traveling to some of the most dangerous and remote areas of the world. Lynsey Addario is an American photojournalist whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, National Geographic and Time magazine. Patti Murphy hosts.