Monthly Archives

June 2023

Russell Dickerson

By Music, Personal Growth No Comments

The journey of Russell Dickerson is one that’s full of unexpected twists and turns. From facing challenges in the industry to learning the intricacies of songwriting, Russell’s determination and passion have helped him overcome every hurdle. But just when he thought he had it all figured out, an unexpected twist came his way, forcing him to rethink his approach. What was this twist? How did he navigate it? Join us as we dive deeper into Russell’s life and uncover the secrets to his success.

This episode is sponsored by:

Winchester Western Wear is offering 20% off for the GST community! Be sure to tell them Gary sent you.

In this episode you’ll be able to:

  • Unravel the complex world of composing music and the many hurdles encountered by artists.
  • Comprehend the necessity of forming alliances and upholding one’s creative principles in cooperative endeavors.
  • Decrypt the challenging journey of establishing a bond with the audience via art.
  • Recognize the importance of audience engagement in the overall reception and appreciation of a song.
  • Delve into the captivating story of Dickerson’s musical evolution and the enchanting role of instruments in live concerts.

00:00:00 – Introduction,
Gary Scott Thomas introduces the guest, Russell Dickerson, and expresses his admiration for his music.

00:01:17 – Underrated Artists,
Russell Dickerson and Gary Scott Thomas discuss underrated artists and mention Bozzi, Bill Withers, BJ Thomas, and Mavis Staples.

00:06:21 – 40-Year Plan,
Russell Dickerson shares his plan to keep crushing it and be ingrained in country music for the next 40 years.

00:09:07 – Fan Connection,
Russell Dickerson talks about the importance of making a meaningful connection with fans through honest songwriting and putting on the best performance possible.

00:13:37 – Industry Giants,
Gary Scott Thomas asks Russell Dickerson who is more intimidating to work with, Ashley Goreley, Lori McKenna, or Dan Huff.

00:16:05 – The Creative Process,
Russell talks about the creative process of songwriting and how it can be messy. He explains how his opinion as the singer is essential in deciding what makes a good song and what excites him to perform.

00:18:02 – Gauging Audience Reaction,
Russell discusses the importance of gauging audience reactions during live performances. He explains how a song he loved fell flat with the crowd and how he uses fans’ reactions to determine which songs to play during tours.

00:19:46 – Marching Band Memories,
Russell reminisces about his time in the marching band and discusses how it helped shape him as a musician. He talks about the discipline and hard work required to be a drummer in a marching band and how it prepared him for the music industry.

00:21:09 – The Alpha Predator of the Band,
Russell and Gary discuss the sex appeal of different instruments in a band. They agree that drummers are the alpha predators when it comes to sexy in a band. Russell shares how he incorporates marching snare in his live performances.

00:25:22 – Wrapping up,
Gary and Russell wrap up the conversation, expressing their gratitude for each other’s time. They express their willingness to do it again and encourage listeners to check out Russell’s music on YouTube.


A Tennessee native from a musical family, there’s no question that Russell Dickerson has made a name for himself in recent years. After graduating from college, Dickerson felt called to take his music on the road, cutting his teeth while playing shows across the US, frequently for small audiences and an even smaller paycheck. That same drive has made Dickerson the first artist to release four consecutive career-starting singles that reached No. One on the Billboard Country Airplay chart since Luke Combs. He also joins Combs as the second solo artist and fourth act overall to have four or more singles reach No. One on the Country Airplay chart since its inception decades ago. Those back-to-back chart-topping singles include “Yours” (3X Platinum), “Blue Tacoma” (2X Platinum), “Every Little Thing” (Platinum), “Love You Like I Used To” (Platinum), and most recently, Dickerson’s current single “She Likes It” ft. Jake Scott has already been certified Gold with 170 million streams to date. This Fall, he will embark on a sold-out tour in the UK and headline a tour throughout the US starting in November. 

Ralph Stokes

By Author, Education, Faith, Personal Growth, Philosophy, Sports No Comments

Growing up in a segregated Alabama, Ralph Stokes never imagined he would play for the University of Alabama. But when his all-black high school closed down, he found himself in a predominantly white school, facing challenges of integration. Through perseverance, teamwork, and respect, Ralph became a trailblazing athlete, carving out a path for future generations. This episode explores the lessons learned from Ralph’s journey and how his experiences prepared him for life beyond football. Join us as we delve into the unexpected twists and turns of Ralph’s story and discover how he transformed adversity into opportunity.

This episode is sponsored by:

In this episode you’ll be able to:

  • Discover valuable lessons from a pioneering football player’s journey
  • Understand the crucial role of respect in fostering successful team dynamics
  • Learn how to rise above discrimination and setbacks through respectful dialogue
  • Uncover how to apply football-derived strategies to excel in business and entrepreneurship
  • Gain insight into effective goal setting and teamwork inspired by collegiate athletics

Key Moments:

00:03:12 – Ralph Stokes’ Career,
Ralph Stokes talks about his current role as Vice President of Diversity Partnerships and Community Relations at the PGA Tour Tour Superstore, and his upcoming role as President of the Georgia State Golf Association.

00:06:16 – Ralph Stokes’ Experience with Integration,
Ralph Stokes shares his experience with integration, starting from when he had to move to a different high school after his all-black high school was shut down, to playing football at a predominantly white school and leading integration his way.

00:11:15 – Football at Robert E. Lee High School,
Ralph Stokes talks about his first day at Robert E. Lee High School, where he and other black players were outnumbered by white players and faced a giant Confederate flag in the gym. He shares how they were able to bring the team together and succeed in football.

00:15:28 – The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion,
Ralph Stokes emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion, and how it benefits everyone, whether it’s in sports, business, or society. He shares his hope for a better future where people are judged by their character, not their skin color.

00:16:50 – Learning Respect for Each Other,
Ralph Stokes shares a story about how he learned respect for his white teammates during his high school football career. He explains how this respect helped them build a strong team and emphasizes the importance of respect in any organization.

00:19:07 – Ralph’s College Recruitment,
Ralph talks about his college recruitment process and the numerous scholarship offers he received from various schools, including Notre Dame, Southern Cal, and Alabama. He explains how he never wanted to play for Alabama due to their lack of black players and how his mother influenced his decision-making process.

00:25:13 – Meeting Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant,
Ralph’s mother initially refused to let him play for Alabama due to Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s racist remarks. However, Coach Bryant went to Montgomery to meet Ralph’s family and apologize for his statements. Ralph’s mother asked tough questions, but ultimately allowed Ralph to play for Alabama.

00:32:27 – Coach Bryant’s Promise,
Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant promised Ralph and his family that he would treat Ralph fairly and be like a father to him while he was away at college. Ralph emphasizes the importance of having someone to look up to and how Coach Bryant fulfilled his promise to him.

00:34:39 – Priorities Beyond Football,
Ralph Stokes shares how his mother’s priority wasn’t just about football, but about her son’s future. She asked legitimate questions and allowed Coach Paul Bear Bryant to answer. They found common ground with respect and had a conversation.

00:36:51 – Coach Bryant’s Response,
Coach Bryant responded positively to every issue that addressed the four questions Ralph Stokes had. He was an outstanding coach, but an even greater man.

00:39:46 – Business School,
Ralph Stokes wanted to go to business school but was denied. He insisted he wanted to go, and they told him he had to talk to Coach Bryant. Coach Bryant allowed him to go to business school after listening to his reasons. Stokes graduated in four years and later served on the board of directors and was honored as one of the outstanding alums.

00:44:23 – Blessed with a Brain,
Ralph Stokes felt blessed to have a brain and wanted to challenge himself to use it to do the best he could. His mother instilled the importance of education, and he and his siblings were driven by a set of parents that valued education.

00:48:16 – Responsibility of Results,
Ralph Stokes talks about the importance of taking responsibility for the results of your actions. He uses golf and the stock market as examples of places where results are based on actions and not discrimination. His mom instilled the value of education, which she believed was the road to their future.

00:50:49 – Background and Decision Making,
Ralph Stokes talks about his decision not to accept the scholarship offered to him by legendary coach Paul Bear Bryant and his reasons for taking a break from school. He also talks about his friends’ decisions to go to law school and play football.

00:52:49 – Paul Bear Bryant’s Legacy,
Ralph shares his memories of the day of Paul Bear Bryant’s passing, the huge impact the coach had on the state of Alabama and the outpouring of support from former players and fans. He also talks about attending Bryant’s funeral.

00:54:11 – The Procession,
Ralph describes the procession from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham for Paul Bear Bryant’s burial. He talks about the incredible turnout of people and how it felt like the passing of a president.

00:55:30 – Future Episodes,
Gary asks Ralph to come back for future episodes to talk about his business life and college football. Ralph agrees and teases stories about his experiences in insurance sales and presenting to the Klu Klux Klan.

00:56:38 – Closing Remarks,
Gary and Ralph thank each other for the conversation and Ralph expresses his gratitude for the opportunity to share his story. They look forward to future episodes together.


Ralph Stokes, a former University of Alabama running back who made history as part of the first black recruiting class. His incredible personal journey serves as a testament to the power of determination, integrity, and the unwavering drive to succeed against all odds. From his early days playing football at Booker T. Washington High School in Montgomery, Alabama, to joining the historically white Robert E. Lee High School, Ralph’s story showcases the lessons learned on and off the field that continue to inspire countless others. As a respected executive in the golf industry, Ralph demonstrates that with resilience and dedication, anything is possible.

Check out Ralph Stokes’ book One of the First and consider sharing it with others.

Jotham Stein

By Personal Growth No Comments

In this episode of Here’s What We Know, negotiation strategist Jotham Stein shares valuable insights on how preparation and empathy can lead to improved negotiation outcomes for CEOs and high-level executives in Silicon Valley. But what happens when negotiations take an unexpected turn? Tune in to find out.

This episode is sponsored by:

In this episode:

  • Discover valuable negotiation techniques applicable in Silicon Valley and beyond.
  • Learn essential strategies for safeguarding your interests as a startup founder.
  • Uncover the diverse motivations of investors and founders in the fast-paced world of tech startups.
  • Dive into negotiation approaches unique to the competitive sports industry.
  • Grasp the significance of both preparation and empathy in successful negotiations.

Key Moments:

00:00:48 – The Name “Jotham”

00:04:08 – Jotham’s Career

00:06:03 – Running for Office

00:09:23 – Silicon Valley

00:14:03 – Themes in Negotiation

00:17:18 – Steve Jobs as an Example

00:19:07 – Negotiating for Oneself

00:24:13 – Maximizing Personal Return

00:25:46 – Nervousness vs. Fea

00:27:38 – Negotiating Executive Contracts

00:29:13 – Protection for Football Coaches

00:34:16 – The Importance of Protecting Yourself

00:35:52 – Determining Your Value

00:39:48 – Navigating the Job Market

00:40:39 – Venture Capitalist Loyalty

00:42:00 – The Powerless Story

00:44:11 – Willful Ignorance

00:47:29 – Metaphorical Babies

00:50:08 – Football Fodder

00:53:32 – College Football and Player Transfers

00:54:10 – Ivy League Football

00:55:04 – Alabama Football and Racism

01:00:11 – Negotiating with Clients

01:03:56 – Vacation Negotiations


“People under-negotiate for themselves.” ~Jotham Stein

“The biggest mistake they make is they don’t protect themselves on day one.” ~Jotham Stein

“Negotiate like a CEO.” ~Jotham Stein


Jotham S. Stein is the principal of the Law Offices of Jotham S. Stein P.C. ( Mr. Stein has more than twenty-five years of experience representing entrepreneurs, C-Suite executives, board members, venture capitalists, private equity principals, investment bankers, as well as employees of companies of all types and sizes. Mr. Stein has negotiated numerous employment agreements, separation agreements, M & A agreements, change-in-control agreements, stock option agreements, restricted stock agreements, management carve-out agreements, non-compete agreements, and much more.

Mr. Stein is also a litigator. He has represented individuals and corporate clients in state and federal courts and in multidistrict litigation, before state and federal agencies, and in arbitration, including before JAMS, the American Arbitration Association, and FINRA. Mr. Stein has also served as part-time General Counsel of a high-technology Silicon Valley company.

Mr. Stein is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Princeton University. He is admitted to practice in California, Illinois, New York, Colorado, and the District of Columbia as well as the United States Supreme Court, United States Courts of Appeals for the Seventh, Ninth, and District of Columbia Circuits, and several United States District Courts. He is also a member of multiple bar associations, including the American Bar Association.

Mr. Stein’s new book, Negotiate Like a CEO, is an engaging look at how top entrepreneurs and executives protect themselves and how you can too.

Mr. Stein is also the author of the professional guide for attorneys: Executive Employment Law: Protecting Executives, Entrepreneurs and Employees (first published by Oxford University Press, and now its ninth edition, published by Mathew Bender/LexisNexis).

Beck’s Shoes

By Sponsor

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