81. Open Mic: The Special Olympics

“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.””

~Mahatma Gandhi

I could not be more excited to have this conversation about The Special Olympics- there is SO much to the organization that we don’t know and it’s unbelievably positive! They are truly an incredible, thriving example of diversity and inclusion. Today I welcome Megan Scremin, President & CEO of Special Olympics Colorado, and Mackenzie Beauvais- Nikl, Special Olympics Colorado’s Female Athlete of the Year for 2020. Megan and Mackenzie breakdown the ALL of the opportunity with the organization of The Colorado Special Olympics. They share their personal experiences from the business/management perspective and from the leader/athlete perspective. I had no idea you could be a lifelong athlete with the Special Olympics and the incredible community the organization creates not only for the athletes, but for their families alike. The Special Olympics organization work to be as full service as possible- offering events, health screenings, other lifestyle guidance, and even social events. They run amazing fundraisers year-round, so be sure to check out one of the links below for further details. They heavily rely on the surrounding communities’ support! Do what you can, we need more organizations like this on our world, especially right now.

Megan Scremin:
President & CEO of Special Olympics Colorado 

Megan joined the Special Olympics movement seven years ago as the Director of Events and began serving as Vice President of Development in 2014, where she successfully managed them organization’s fundraising efforts leading to a 60% increase in overall revenue, and the growth and development of several programs including Athlete Leadership. In her role, Scremin is responsible for leading a team of 40 professionals to implement Special Olympics Colorado’s programs and mission. She will oversee the development and advancement of the organization’s strategic plan to best serve individuals with intellectual disabilities, giving them opportunities to participate, compete, grow as leaders and lead healthier lives. 

The New York State native earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Kentucky, Master’s Degree from Arizona State University and serves on the Board of Trustees for Emma Willard School, an independent all-girls high school in Troy, New York. Megan enjoys spending time with her husband, Marc, and children, Grayson and Maddie.

Mackenzie Beauvais- Nikl, SOCO Athlete:

Mackenzie is an athlete leader with Special Olympics Colorado. She currently serves as the Chair of their state AIC (Athlete Input Council) and is a member of SOCO’s Board of Directors along with being in the government major tract in ALPs U. Mackenzie also represented SO Colorado in Abu Dhabi at the global youth summit in 2019. 

The sports Mackenzie participates in are soccer, basketball, track and field, softball, flag football, snowboarding, and volleyball. She has been an athlete for 12 years. Most recently, Mackenzie received the incredible honor of being selected as Special Olympics Colorado’s Female Athlete of the Year for 2020. 

Mackenzie came into her family by adoption at two weeks old and lived in the mountains with her mom, dad and brother until she was six when they moved to the city. Mackenzie’s interest in sports began with wanting to be like her big brother who loved sports. She had difficulty being included on her school teams but then she found Special Olympics Colorado where she was not only included but celebrated. The confidence she gained from this has translated into all aspects of her life. 

Photography, animals, and advocacy have also been a big part of her life. Mackenzie received a certificate in disability advocacy from Colorado Cross Disability Coalition after taking their class conducted jointly with DU. She has had two of her photographs featured in a show at the Denver Art Museum and enjoys having people see her world through her eyes. She trained her own service dog, Mickey, in conjunction with Domino Service Dogs, is training her mom’s new puppy in basic obedience, and volunteered at the Denver Dumb Friends League until her school schedule became too heavy. 

After successfully completing Denver Public School’s Transitions program, Mackenzie enrolled in, and completed, the Inclusive Higher Education Certificated Program at Metropolitan University of Denver with a certificate in Parks and Recreation and photography. 

While Mackenzie learned to navigate both the bus system and light rail to get anywhere in the metro area, she had a dream of learning to drive. Master Drive offered her the opportunity to see if this was a possibility given her cognitive disability. In March of 2019 she received her driver’s license and the freedom that that entails. 

Each one of these successes builds on the previous one and leads to more. They all began with Special Olympics and the opportunity to realize her skills and talents. 

Mackenzie loves spending time with her family and friends, especially her unified partners Enzo Ewari, Lilie Stoolmen, and Emi Carlson with whom she has a special connection. These relationships push her out of her comfort zone. She also loves being a leader in all of the communities she is involved in, especially Special Olympics. 

TEXT TO DONATE- for podcast Text INCLUSION to 77321 




80. Core Values + Business

“The Kaizen Philosophy assumes that our way of life – be it our working life, our social life, or our home life – deserves to be constantly improved.”

-Masaaki Imai

In 2021 the consumer expects more, thank goodness. We want to know who is behind the company, their why, and what they are doing for the world beyond slanging their product and services. Quick KO ethos (why I’m saying what I’m saying): 18+ years in the marketing and branding space, 12+ years of competitive CrossFit, 5 games appearances, and have worked with every major fit biz, apparel, equipment, CPG, etc. company that is out there from startups to the majors. Many laps run on and off the field:)

I came across Element 26 at CrossFit, my Dad introduced me to the grips and I was super impressed. If you CrossFit you know there is more gear than you’ll ever need… you can do more “outfit changes” before a workout than a high-end fashion model starring in a top designer’s show, showcasing an entire season. There are specific accessories for specific exercises and most of it can be useful- actually necessary is another podcast. CrossFit is a marketer’s dream, we buy EVERYTING! That being said If you are training for life aka for the long term, certain functional training tools and gear can greatly supplement the journey and protect your body for the IRL activities. The Founders of Element 26 lead with their core values, making functional training equipment for functional athletes. They’re not only working to upgrade the training tool options on the markets, they are also working to further build community, connecting with their consumers and fans. They provide a wealth of valuable content and are accessible- they are listening!! For consumers out there looking to learn to be more “picky” and vote with their dollar or business owners looking to further highlight their own core values through their business operations, this is the cast for you! Consumers, consciously spend and business owners, intentionally humanize your brand highlighting your own core values wherever possible. People care… and it inspires long-term, positive change!!


Business and core values. Chasing the dream. Balancing a start up with life. Commitment, dedication, chasing your passions. Being a competitor and consumer in the space you work in. Quality, durable gear in the high intensity training space. Cultivating a community and making business moves with the long game in mind. Graceful disruption.

Element 26:

Element 26 believes physical training is the gateway to a healthier and happier life. Our mission is to end training setbacks due to injuries and limitations of the human body. To do this, we provide functional gear to functional athletes so that they can destroy their PR’s, not their body. 

Element 26 was founded by a Doctor of Physical Therapy and US Army Veteran and is a majority Veteran owned and run company. We serve you, our amazing customers first. If you have any questions or problems with any of our gear, please email us at the email address below and we will do everything we can to ensure your complete satisfaction.

Contact Us: Support@Element26.co

Phil Gauthier:

Received a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Northeastern University in Boston in 2015. Throughout my schooling, I was also doing personal training part time for the general pop. Strength and conditioning is also a passion or mine and I have held several internships in the S&C field: Cressey Sports Performance 2009, UMASS hockey 2009, and Northeastern Basketball 2011. I engaged in competitive powerlifting from 2014-2015. Best comp lift is a deadlift of 550 lbs at BW of 165 lbs. Recently turned to CrossFit shortly after starting Element 26 and have a new passion. I will be doing the Open this Spring and I’m excited! I have been practicing as a full-time outpatient Physical Therapist since 2015 and as of the end of this month (Jan 2021) I will be full time with Element 26. Jason and I started Element 26 in July 2017 and we sold our first belt in September. At E26, my primary role is the brand messenger who maintains and enhances the relationships with our customers and athletes. I do this through email marketing, Instagram content, the private Facebook group, and product development. I truly love to help people succeed whether it’s in the clinic, in the gym, or online. 

 Jason Franciosa:

Originally from East Longmeadow, MA, I graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Bachelors of business administration. From there, I commissioned as an Officer in the US Army and served 4 years, stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. After my service I moved to Colombia and helped run a drone business focusing on government contracts, mapping, and agricultural work. After this I founded a software company focused on drone analytics and went through multiple business incubator programs including Stanford’s Ignite program and MIT’s FUSE program. After many mistakes and a ton of learning, Element 26was formed. As the CEO of Element 26 my primary role has been business direction, strategy, and implementation of our goals.


Element 26 Facebook Group: Team E26: Less Ego, More Iron


Online Store: www.element26.co

79. Open Mic: Sivonnia DeBarros

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

-Harriet Tubman

What a week (/year) in America. The events at the White House on January 6th, regardless of our political affiliation, were horrendous. No one wants to see elicited violence like this, no one. Like many of you, I am still trying to fully unpack what I saw and question how something like this even happens in America in 2021? A T&T Open Mic conversation was in order to say the least. Given the visible (and tangible) differences between the Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year and the domestics terrorism that happened on January 6th, I wanted to gain the perspective of a person of color AND someone close to the law. I knew what I thought, but of course do not see the world through everyone else’s eyes. I messaged Sivonnia DeBarros (lawyer, author, speaker, podcaster, mom), inviting her to come on T&T for a candid conversation about where America is now and she graciously accepted. I have not met Sivonnia in person, but I knew right away she is a varsity human on a mission and she would not hold back in this conversation! The fact that two people that don’t know each other, that don’t look the same, can get together and have a heavy conversation in itself, gives me some ray of hope… but man, do we have a long way to go. Sivonnia and I discuss the events of January 6th, the difference between protesting and terrorism, how she explains the world to the young humans in her life, and what she’s hopeful for as a black woman in America… and so much more. Please check out all the good that Sivonnia is putting into this world, with her family, her practice, books, and all initiatives she working on for 2021! God bless every person out there working to do the right thing every day you are not alone. #keepthefaith

Sivonnia DeBarros:

The Protector of Athletes – is a first-generation lawyer and law business owner, woman in business and a former track and field Division-I College athlete. DeBarros has represented pro athletes from the NFL, MLS, and Pro-Table Tennis sports by helping them to properly set up businesses, put proper agreements in place and create legacies that will pay dividends in the future.

DeBarros’s practice areas are Business, Employment, Sports, and Entertainment. DeBarros is passionate about helping athletes, women, and first-generation business owners because she understands the peculiar struggle many have faced by not having the necessary support and guidance to be successful.

Additionally, DeBarros is a public speaker, entrepreneur, and a bestselling published author of What Are You Sporting About?

DeBarros previously authored The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act: the Roadblocks to Recovery law article, published in Chicago-Kent College Of Law’s Seventh Circuit’s Review Law Journal, and published the new Children’s Book, JoJo Learns About Credibility, which is the first book of her new Children Series, JoJo’s Legal Adventures, and recently, JoJo Learns About Voting in November 2020.

To learn more about Attorney DeBarros, her firm or her publications, please visit www.sldebarros.com or buy her book on Amazon. To Learn more about her podcast and webinars, visit www.prosportlawyer.com.



78. Life Is A Game Of Reps: Personal Responsibility

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”

-Dolly Parton 

We often get wrapped up in the grand gesture… the end game, the goal, the title, the result. Really, it’s about all the in-between: the reps, the work, the extra work, all the unrecognized additional effort that really gets you to that end game that matters most. Today it is just you and I and I discuss the importance of personal responsibility, especially in 2021- learn to rely on yourself!! I talk about measurables vs. non-measurables, acknowledged effort and all the goal stars you should have been awarded. I talk about accountability, integrity, character aka who you are when no one else is watching. The only thing we have at the end of the day is our usefulness, are we in service to others and ourselves? Are taking advantage of opportunity to be better so we are prepared for THE opportunity when it comes? This is a great time to check in and recalibrate regardless if you are dialed in or not. We are the only ones that know our true- truths, who we actually are, and what we actually stand for… pay, resume, awards aside, you either lay down at night knowing you’re doing your best or you’re not. Let the checks and balances happened and get back behind your own wheel to steer towards your best self. Cheers:)


Personal responsibility. Personal accountability. No gold stars. Heart, hustle, leadership, and all the non-measurables are the pay off. Reps, work, and all the non-glamorous plays that get you to the long-term, end game/goal. Continuous self-awareness, breakdowns and breakthroughs. Failure and all the winning lessons that it provides. Changing your perspective on the journey. Seeing all opportunity every day to get and stay ready for THE opportunity. 

Kristen M. Olson


Experienced and innovative marketing professional with 18+ years’ experience in brand development and management and particular expertise with integrated marketing strategies, strategic territory management and relationship building. Broad based background encompasses strong work ethic and commitment to organizational objectives within highly competitive athletic apparel market. Tactical planner and team builder with ability to attract key players and develop lasting business relationships. Recognized for decisive leadership and proven ability to execute sound decisions while directing product development and launches.

Founder, KO Alliance, LLC,  @koalliance

Founder, Colorado Rising Stars Lacrosse, LLC, @crslax

Founder, Turmeric & Tequila™ (Podcast), @turmerictequila

Athletic Experience:

George Mason University, D1 Lacrosse 2x Capt.

CrossFit level 1 Certified

CrosFit Accomplishments:

2009, Rocky Mountain Regionals, 2nd

2009, CrossFit Games, Team, 9th

2010, North Central Regionals, 18th 

2010, CrossFit Games, Team, 10th

2011 South West Regionals, 4th

2011, CrossFit Games, Team,  2nd

2012, South West Regionals, 11th
2012, CrossFit Games, Team, 11th

2013 Southwest Regional, Team 2nd

2014 CrossFit Open, 7th

2014 Southwest Regional, 24th

2015 Colorado Open 2nd

2015 Do More Charity Challenge, Team, 3rd

2016 Colorado Open 2nd

2016 Do More Charity Challenge, Team, 3rd