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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Mar 1, 2017

Co-hosts Jan Rutherford and Jim Vaselopulos interview Steffan Tubbs. Steffan is best known in Colorado as the co-host of Colorado’s Morning News on KOA NewsRadio in Denver. Overall, Steffan has more than 26 years of news experience and is a four-time winner of the Edward R. Murrow award for national reporting.  In this interview, Jim, Jan and Steffan discuss whether some people are born to be leaders, and then assume leadership responsibilities; or some are thrown into circumstances where leadership is demanded and step up to the occasion.   Also discussed is why some seek leadership positions with no motivation for personal gain.  When Steffan covers people who complain and blame their circumstances, he challenges them that a single individual can still make a difference.


Listen in to learn more about how passion for a cause can inspire others to achieve heroic aspirations..


Key Takeaways

[3:39] Steffan first embedded in Iraq in March 2006, to report to his audience firsthand on conditions. He saw our men and women carrying out orders, and also going beyond to fulfil humanitarian missions.

[6:16] At home, an email informed Steffan that a new friend had lost his life to an IED, in the same Humvee they had shared less than a month earlier. Steffan vowed that his mission would be to remember our troops — men and women — and their sacrifices. This has led to incredible experiences.

[10:34] Filming ACRONYM, Steffan had many opportunities to talk and travel with WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan veterans, who spoke to him about wanting to protect our country, the Constitution, and our democracy, but suffered terribly doing so. This day, more than 20 veterans will take their lives, and 75 more will attempt it. Steffan spreads awareness of this tragedy.

[12:39] Steffan’s life changed on April 19, 1995, when the AP ticker reported an explosion in Oklahoma City, at the Murrah Federal Building. Steffan arrived within six hours, and was on site for a week. That was his first tragedy coverage of many. In the aftermath of tragedy, he saw ordinary people become leaders, as they evacuated buildings and saved people’s lives.

[17:53] Some people are born to be leaders, and find leadership positions. Some are thrown into circumstances where leadership is demanded, and step up to the occasion. Some seek leadership position with no motivation for personal gain. Some people do not seek to lead.

[21:04] When Steffan covers people who complain and blame their circumstances, he challenges them. A person can still make a difference, living in this, the greatest country on earth.

[22:51] WWII veteran Joe LaNier grew up in segregated rural Mississippi, grandson of a slave, and became a Navy Seabee. He always looked at life’s positives After interviewing with Steffan, he became the subject of Steffan’s first book and documentary film, Life, Liberty & Resilience. Taking on the dual project “just about killed” Steffan, but he and Joe had great experiences working together.

[29:29] Steffan tells of his early life, and the resilience of his divorced mother, as she provided for him as well as she could. Steffan knows both poverty and comfort. He rejects keeping the hand you were dealt. He creates opportunities, makes things happen, and believes others can, too. Resiliency helps in any hard circumstance. Steffan is an eternal optimist, in part through the examples of people he meets.

[34:00] You can learn optimism by paying attention around you. There’s always someone who is in a worse situation than you. If you see them coping, and being resilient, take a lesson from it.

[37:40] Steffan tells why he likes to create documentary films. His company trademark is Documentary Films That MatterTM. Everybody has a story, and most people have a compelling story. Steffan’s curiosity drives him to discover, explore, and share these stories in documentary form. 

Books Mentioned in This Episode

Life, Liberty & Resilience: A Man’s War on Three Fronts, by Steffan Tubbs

Adversity Quotient: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities, by Paul G. Stoltz

Steffan has funneled his passion for fair, honest reporting into Mountain Time Media and making Documentary Films That Matter.™ His first 3 films, Life, Liberty & Resilience, Droughtland, and ACRONYM: The Cross-Generational Battle With PTSD, all have been critically acclaimed and created amazing engagement opportunities, including a private screening on Capitol Hill for the House Veteran Affairs Committee.  In addition to his radio experience, Steffan has spent more than six years as a national correspondent with ABC News based in Los Angeles, and nearly two years as a reporter/anchor for Fox5/WNYW-TV in New York City before moving back to Denver in 2005. Steffan hosted Studio 12 on Colorado Public Television for eight years. He has covered the Oklahoma City bombing and subsequent trials, Columbine, 9/11 recovery from Ground Zero, the Virginia Tech and Aurora Theater shootings and every type of natural disaster – from fires to hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, drought, and tornadoes. His sports coverage has included Super Bowls, World Series, NBA, and Stanley Cup Finals. Steffan is a frequent contributor to the Fox News Channel and ABC News. He is a proud supporter of our military and was twice embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq (2006 & 2010.) In both 2010 and 2012, he assisted WWII veterans back to the island of Iwo Jima. He ends his show daily by reminding us to Remember Our Troops.

In 2012, Steffan published his first book Life, Liberty & Resilience – the story of a segregated WWII Iwo Jima veteran who grew up in rural Mississippi. His first film of the same title was released in 2013. In 2014, Steffan’s second film Droughtland was released to critical acclaim. His latest film, ACRONYM: The Cross-Generational Battle With PTSD has garnered overwhelming support in Colorado and Nationally.


Facebook: Mountain Time Media
Facebook: ACRONYM: The Cross-Generational Battle With PTSD
Twitter: @MtnTimeMedia
Twitter: @Acronym_ptsd
Twitter: @KOATubbs

Twitter: @TubbsKOA (This links to a specific Tweet on the Official U.S. Navy page)