I am Consciously Curious

40 Episodes

By: Victor Chan

I am Consciously Curious is a Chicago based podcast that dissects passionate individuals in various industries. The goal is to share their stories to inspire you to cultivate meaning within your own space. If you are interested in coming on or know someone that would be great for the podcast, please message us on fb/ig: @iamconsciouslycurious

59. Intro to AI ft. Kristopher Kubicki
Last Friday at 4:00 PM

Our next guest is the founder and CEO of Deep.ad which provides brand attribution and market intelligence software for brands, agencies, and market research organizations. They’re able to automate discovery and extraction of brand, product, and advertising data in paid and organic visual media. We barely scratched the surface with machine learning and AI, but I feel it was a good introductory episode. If you’re interested in working with Kris, you can find him at Deep.ad. Please enjoy my conversation with Kristopher Kubicki


59. Running for Alderman ft. Daniel Montes

In this episode, we’re joined by Daniel Montes. He’s currently a firefighter/paramedic for Chicago Fire Department and a candidate for Alderman of the 25th ward. He has a long track record of community service whether it’s advocating and staffing first aid tents at Fiesta del Sol or teaching bilingual CPR classes to the community, this neighborhood raised him and he feels compelled to give back in many ways. We go into what he’s been hearing from the residents of the 25th ward and what he’s focusing on if he becomes Alderman. Please enjoy my convers...

58. Speak Your Mind ft. Tommy Purrazzo

Our next guest is about to release their first original album called, Speak Your Mind. He shares his journey of balancing a day job, being a family man, and pursuing his passion of music. It’s no easy feat, and I think a lot of people can relate to the struggles of achieving success with your passion project. If you liked what you heard, you can preorder the album on vinyl at the link in the description. Please enjoy my conversation with Tom Purrazzo.



57. Choosing Growth ft. Mario

In this episode, we catch up with a friend of ten years. I have admired his ability to navigate a variety of industries. From emergency medicine, law school, driving a bus for the CTA, and eventually anesthesia. He also became a father at an early age which expedited the necessity to find a job that can support his family. Although this episode encompasses many topics, the common thread lies in maturity and fulfilling your dreams. We are incredibly proud of the person you’ve become Mario. I hope you all enjoy this conversation as much as I did.

56. Modeling Without Compromising Integrity and Dignity ft. Marie P. Anderson

Our next guest has over 4 decades of experience in the modeling industry. Her claim to fame is discovering Cindy Crawford. She joins us to share the ugly truth of the modeling industry and how she’s called to change the game from the inside. She’s currently what they call a Mother Agent through her company, Boss Babe Models. She guides models on how to navigate the industry without compromising their dignity and integrity. Please enjoy my conversation with Marie P. Anderson.


This episode was made possible by Chicago Fitness Center. They...

55. Food Photography ft. Nate Crawford (Capturesbytkco)

Our next guest serendipitously fell in love with cooking, baking, and photography. After studying hospitality and gaining experience in marketing for a few years, he launched a full-fledged content creation company with a niche in food and hospitality. Nate is also an advocate for those who stutter and he shares his experiences of navigating his own upbringing. You can find him on instagram @capturesbytkco and on tik tok @capturesbytk Please enjoy my conversation with Nate Crawford. 



54. Cycling in Chicago ft. Eric Tan

In this episode, our next guest is a cycling enthusiast from Chicago. He helped me find my current bike a few years ago at The Bike Lane in Logan Square. He shares his experiences of cycling in the city, the animosity between drivers, getting your bike stolen, and even finding your first bike. You can find him on instagram at tmj96.photo. Please enjoy my conversation with Eric Tan.


53. Violence Interrupters ft. Tio Hardiman

In this episode, our next guest shares their experiences of interrupting violence by sheer presence. Our next guest has been in this industry since 1999 when he joined CeaseFire. The Violence Interrupters have been volunteering their time on the CTA trains to mitigate violence on the front-end. Violence is a learned behavior that can be unlearned. To stop violence, we need to change individual, group, and community behaviors. Please enjoy my conversation with Tio Hardiman.






52. Magic Unites Everybody ft. George Stanton

In this episode, George returns to share how he’s been doing the last two and half years. He’s a close up magician and mentalist. He thrives in intimate settings, but he killed it during the pandemic with the virtual shows. George is someone that will open every possible door and that is one main reason why he’s seeing so much success. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for him. Please enjoy my conversation with George Stanton.


51. Daughter of Immigrants | Deneza Jadol

In this episode, singer and songwriter Deneza shares her experience of gaining traction in the music industry while practicing nursing during the pandemic. As a child of immigrants, we want nothing more than to honor our parents for all their sacrifice. In certain instances, that may look like forgoing our own dreams to make them happy. Deneza shares her perspective of navigating that experience through music. Please enjoy my conversation with Deneza Jadol.



50. Show Up | MK Jilek

In this episode, our next guest is an abstract painter, but the first half of the episode is about her experience as a hairdresser and the salon world. She then shares how she navigates creative entrepreneurship while balancing motherhood. From collaborations with big brands, having her work in galleries, to her current residency at the Ambassador hotel, MK is easily a fan favorite. She’s intentional and tenacious. Please enjoy my conversation with MK Jilek.



49. Take Some Time | Jenn Dieas

In this episode, Jenn Dieas returns for round two. She shares how the pandemic has affected her life personally and professionally. She doubled down on her intuition and it has led her to pursue the “van life.” Through it all, she continues to remain open, question everything, and shine her light. Please enjoy my conversation with Jenn Dieas.   


48. Firearms Instructor | Erik Tweedt

In this episode, we explore the world of firearms with the owner and lead instructor of Archetype of the Gun. An all inclusive training house in Lincolnwood, Illinois from introduction courses to conceal and carry courses as well as medical courses like stop the bleed and CPR. It’s apparently pretty easy to become a firearms instructor, and Erik helps us identify what makes a great one. It’s been very eye opening and empowering learning about firearms, and I’m very glad I did it with Erik. You can find him on his website archetypeofthegun.com as well as on...

47. Emergency Medicine, EMS education, Future of EMS | Oliver Boryszewski

In this episode, we revisit emergency medicine. Our next guest helped build UIC EMS in its infancy and has held a variety of positions in the industry. He is currently the Paramedic Program Director at Loyola University Medical Center as well as a Critical Care Paramedic and a Flight Paramedic. We are incredibly proud of how he overcame his shortcomings and how he continues to establish credibility through humility and integrity. Please enjoy my conversation with Oliver Boryszewski. 

Connect with Oliver: Oliverb.me

46. Chicago Wedding Photographer | Victoria Saint Martin

In this episode, Victoria shares her journey to becoming a wedding photographer. From learning photography in high school and second shooting a few weddings to finally making the leap to becoming a lead shooter, Victoria shares the ins and outs of building a successful wedding photography business. You can find her on instagram @victoriasaintmartin and on her website, victoriasaintmartinphotography.com


45. Social Media Influencer | Maddie Guy (@myboyrudder)

In this episode, Maddie shares her experience gaining influence through social media over the last few years. She is a puppy expert, a canine nutrition and enrichment specialist, and overall a dog nerd. I believe a lot of her success stems from her ability to maintain brand integrity by who she chooses to partner with. I have personally learned so much from Maddie and Rudder. They put a smile on my face when they grace my feed, and more importantly, they help me realize what more I can be doing with my own pups. You can find them on...

44. Finding Success in Dating with Gabby and Miao | Meet Nine

In this episode, Gabby Valdes returns as love and dating coach and Miao Zhang joins us as founder of the Chinese dating app, Meet Nine. The app’s core philosophy strives to shift the focus away from vanity and curate intimacy. It limits you to only meeting nine potential dates per day. We discuss dating psychology as well as what goes into building a dating app for the Chinese segment. We unexpectedly come to the conclusion that a lot of success in dating comes from having an accurate awareness of our own values and past traumas. 


43. Dila Lee | Hospitality and Sake

Our next guest was the beverage manager at Katana and Tao to name a few. Growing up in Turkey, she was fascinated with language at an early age which got her as far as a masters degree in Japanese education. What she originally thought was a sales call from someone she looked up to was actually an interview for a role at vine connections. She shares her experiences within the hospitality industry and some fundamentals of sake. Please enjoy my conversation with Dila Lee

Shoutout to Francis Almeda and the team at Side Practice Coffee for hosting...

42. David McDermott | Not Your Typical Attorney

In this episode, we’re at McDermott Law Group in Homewood, Illinois. We chat about the different areas of law they practice like criminal defense, DUIs, personal injury, and family law. We also learn about what it takes to open a private practice and the importance of being relatable. You can find them on instagram and tik tok @notyourtypicalattorney. Please enjoy my conversation with David McDermott.

2001 Ridge Rd. Homewood IL


41. Derrick Tung | The Black Sheep

In this episode, we chat with the black sheep of his family. He decides to leave medical school midway through to eventually pursue pizza. Although his future path wasn’t always clear, Derrick seems to always be very intentional with his time from moment to moment. Derrick shares his journey of cultivating Paulie Gee’s Logan Square into the local cult hit that it is. If you haven’t already, please get yourself there to try any one of their amazing pizzas. This episode was made possible in part by Sideproject Coffee. Get yourself there to try their gourmet drinks...

40. Side Projects with Francis Almeda

In this episode, we learn about the importance of side projects. Our next guest has gracefully executed many of them. From custom enamel pins to rep what you love to a brick and mortar coffee shop that inspires and houses many other side projects. He is the go-to guy whenever you want to bounce any ideas. Please enjoy my conversation with Francis Almeda. #startsomething



39. Financial Advisor | Eric Yu

In this episode, we learn about what it’s like being a financial advisor. From experiencing a rough start to realizing how he could be helping his clients, Eric recognized the true potential of life insurance for his clients. We close out the episode with how hard it is to strike a balance between family time and working on the business. Please enjoy my conversation with Eric Yu.

Connect with Eric! https://www.linkedin.com/in/60days

38. Rekindling the Human Spirit

Our next guest was on track to becoming a professional golfer. Upon becoming a partner at a large insurance brokerage, he still felt like he wasn't fulfilling his calling. This led him to a spiritual village in Crestone Colorado where he met Ashtanga yoga teacher, Annie Pace. He then went on a journey to India to learn and practice Iyengar yoga. His journey brought him Goa and later Dharamsala where he initially was a patient, but later on, worked for the bone and body clinic. He's back in Chicago and has put a program together to help those that...

37. Physical and Occupational Therapy in the School Setting

In this episode, we dive into physical and occupational therapy in the school setting with mother/ daughter duo, Nancy Crivellone and Catherine Dail. They provide the skills and tools to bring kids with disabilities up to speed as well as educate the public on destigmatizing disabilities. They recently wrote a book called, “what’s wrong with you?”



36. Traditional East Asian Medicine with Dr. Ryan Ruiz

In this episode, Ryan shares his journey into oriental medicine and breaks down the subtleties behind it. It’s an exciting time for the industry as technology is constantly improving and the public perspective is becoming more accepting. He’s recently worked on a patient experiencing phantom limb. He will also be practicing acupuncture as an alternative to anesthesia and analgesics. I’m looking forward to a part 2. Please enjoy my conversation with Dr. Ryan Ruiz.


35. Applying to Medical School

Got a special episode today. Four of my team members share their experiences of applying to medical school. From managing coursework, jobs, research, and a personal life to the MCAT, there's a little of everything in here. I'll see you in the next episode.

Thanks to Amy Delatorre, Ginny Kreckman, Viri Godinez, and Rowanne Murrar.

34. Fighting Dirty with Jason Chan

In this episode, Jason returns to share a side of life outside of the restaurant industry. He shares where he developed his mantra of “fighting dirty.” From being bullied as a child to not taking shit from cancer, Jason never backed down. He also shares his sentiments on the current landscape of the hospitality industry. For those of you listening all the way through, pay attention to how many times Jason says “best friend.” Cheers to surrounding yourself with love and positivity.


33. lil sharp | Amanda Bailey

Our next guest has been playing the violin for 25 years! She’s worked with Yo-Yo Ma, Vic Mensa, Chance the Rapper, and so many more. You can find her performing at clubs around the city as well as teaching kids of all ages. Be on the lookout for her new album hopefully arriving in October and find her on instagram @lilsharpraps
Please enjoy my conversation with Amanda Bailey

32. Flight Medicine | Lifestar

In this episode, we gain insight into the world of flight medicine with part of the team from Lifestar. They share their journeys into emergency medicine as well as their beginnings in flight medicine. We talk about the current state of EMS and what should potentially happen to move the industry forward. They also give great advice for EMT students and new healthcare providers. Please enjoy my conversation with Liesl, Erin, Casey, and Zack.

31. Love/Dating Coach | Gabrielle Valdes

In this episode, we dive into the world of love and dating. Gabby shares how her experiences as a preschool teacher, behavioral therapist, and project manager has led her down the path of life coaching. After realizing she has an insatiable curiosity for anything around relationships, she carved out her niche within the coaching space to focus on love and dating. Hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did. You can find her on instagram @gabriellevaldes 

30. Omakase Sushi | Chef Otto Phan

In this episode, we deep dive into the world of Omakase sushi with chef and owner of Kyoten, Otto Phan. What started out of a food trailer in Austin, Texas is now one of the hottest omakase sushi spots in Chicago. What initially comes off as cockiness is quickly dissolved with Otto’s insatiable appetite for learning and being the best. For any sushi fans out there, Chef Otto will be your sherpa into the world of sushi. From his choice of rice to the relationship with his fish guy in Japan, Otto is uncompromising in nature, and that’s wh...

29. Operating Engineer | Anthony Barbara

Our next guest is one of the most down to earth human beings I know. We met as fresh EMTs on the ambulance back in 2012. We talk about his journey through emergency medicine and how his attention to detail and no BS attitude led him to a foreman role at the Stockyard Materials facility. He also shares the benefits of being part of Local 150, a very strong international union for operating engineers. Please enjoy my conversation with Anthony Barbara.

28. Professor Pizza | Tony Scardino

In this episode, Tony Scardino shares his journey to becoming Professor Pizza. From going to Columbia for music business to working alongside his dad in commercial real estate, Tony had many pivots in life before fully realizing his love for pizza. We also talk about his favorite mentors like Scott Manley from Table, Donkey, and Stick and Tony Gemignani who’s the Michael Jordan of the Pizza World. Be on the lookout this late spring/early summer for a pizzeria concept at the wells street market by Tony and Jimmy Bannos Jr. You can find him on instagram as @pr...

27. Leveraging Past Trauma to Create Music | AUSTiN AUTHENTiC

In this episode, AUSTiN AUTHENTiC shares his experiences of using his past trauma as a source of inspiration in making music. Although he’s only 19, I was impressed by his level of humility and perspective that I didn’t cultivate until I was in my mid 20’s. To give you an idea of who he sounds like, he’s a combination of Post Malone and twenty one pilots. He has two singles dropping on valentine’s day. Please enjoy my conversation with AUSTiN AUTHENTiC.

Instagram: @austinauthentic

26. Wedding Planner/ Coordinator | MK Andersen

In this episode, we explore the world of planning and coordinating weddings. She created her business immediately after graduating from Notre Dame and has been thriving ever since. We talk about identifying your target segment and how to say no to certain clients. She loves the freedom of being an entrepreneur, but emphasizes the importance of collaborating within the wedding industry. You can find more about her services and her blog on yourdaybymk.com

Please enjoy my conversation with MK Andersen.

25. Private Chef | Tyler Nickson

In this episode, we learn a little more about the life of a line cook, but our next guest had a yearning for more. He’s worked for a handful of fine dining restaurants, but he’s quickly getting notoriety in the private dining space offering experiences with and without cannabis. On top of all that, he finds the time to provide a meal prep service. You can find him on Instagram as @cheffydahmer. He’s actually leaving for LA soon to see how far he can take the private dining experience. We wish him well on this next phase...

24. ESQ CLOTHING | Ge Wang

In this episode, we head to ESQ Clothing to learn about what it takes to truly make a handcrafted bespoke suit. Our next guest turned his passion project from within his apartment to a storefront in the loop. His team has made garments for Chance the Rapper, Mitch Trubisky, Peanut Tillman, Matt Forte, Jimmy O. Yang, and so many more. Please enjoy my conversation with the Founder of ESQ Clothing, Ge Wang. Be on the lookout for their new location at 180 N Lasalle!


23. Gender Dysphoria FTM | Mason Merida

In this very candid episode, we explore the journey of gender dysphoria and transitioning from female to male. The initial thoughts, bringing it up to the parents, and surgeries. We discuss thoughts on the transgender community within pop culture, bathrooms, sports, and religion. Please enjoy my conversation with Mason Merida. Oh and one more thing. Stop asking him about his weiner. Mason is so much more than a "trans" person, but we are grateful for his courage to come on and share his experiences.

IG: @kamikazepapii

22. Flight Attendant | Kris King

In this episode, Kris King shares her experiences as a flight attendant. She recently completed the EMT class, and she managed to do it while maintaining a full-time workload. She shares what made her a good candidate and how difficult the training was. She absolutely loves living out of a suitcase and shares some travel hacks. She also shares some memorable experiences with passengers. We wrap the episode up with what she hopes to accomplish in the industry especially with her new knowledge of emergency medicine. Please enjoy my conversation with Kris King


21. Paramedic/ Teacher | Marty Walsh

In this episode, we jam with Marty Walsh. He’s a paramedic by trade, and I have the pleasure of teaching the EMT class with him. I owe a lot of who I am personally and professionally to Marty. We talk about his journey into Emergency medicine, what he enjoys about it the most, and how he prioritizes life. He’s a first-time dad and still manages to hold down six jobs. Please enjoy my conversation with Marty Walsh
IG: @martinwalsh23