Welcome to this very special Father’s Day edition of the Mother’s Quest Podcast!

In honor of Father’s Day, I’m so excited to bring you this conversation with a friend, former colleague, mindful father to two children, and a champion for underserved youth in Los Angeles –someone who I admire deeply– Tony Brown.

Tony Brown is the Executive Director of Heart of Los Angeles, also known as HOLA, where he has touched the lives of thousands of children, helping to break the cycle of poverty, and replacing it with opportunity.

We met when we were both just out of college, working together at HOLA, where we instantly became friends and felt we were part of a family. In a nurturing environment that really does feel like family, HOLA provides underserved youth near downtown LA with exceptional programs in academics, arts, and athletics, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education, and strengthen their communities.

Tony has served as the executive director at HOLA since 2007 and has spearheaded incredible growth in the number of youth served, new buildings to house the programs, and relationships with world-class partners.

HOLA collaborates with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to furnish instruments and music instruction, with performances at major venues across California and abroad. Leading museums link HOLA with professional artists and exhibit student works, Bard College graduate students provide academic and music support, and the Los Angeles Lakers partner in sports programs.

For this work, Tony has received tremendous recognition, including a $200,000 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Innovation Award, accolades from the Center for Non-Profit Management and in 2014, he was featured as a TEDx Speaker.

In this episode, Tony shares how growing up in the 70’s, in a community without other black families, shaped his character and helped him develop tremendous patience and understanding.

He tells us how his mother challenged him, pushed him to become independent at an early age, and to become his best. And how he feels he’s on a quest himself to make the world a better place than how he found it, not only through his work at HOLA, but through expanding the understanding and world-view of his two young children.

We also talk about how difficult it is to sustain oneself amid the emotional and challenging work as an Executive Director and youth developer. And, how he learned the importance of literally “jumping back in the pool” to start playing water polo again, to relieve stress and reconnect with an essential part of himself he had begun to lose.

It was so wonderful to get a Dad’s perspective on the podcast and to see how the same E.P.I.C. guideposts resonate for fathers as well.

I left our conversation inspired by how Tony brings a sense of patience, that he’s cultivated his whole life, to give young people at HOLA opportunities, the importance of “jumping back in the pool” to return to our true selves and the things that make us who we are, holding a big vision, and how we can do more together when we work in partnership.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Growing up in the 70’s as the only black family in a white neighborhood

  • Teaching his children philanthropy, being mindful of the environment, and to always think about how to make the world a better place not just for themselves but especially for others

  • How HOLA gives youth opportunities to find their best selves and find their passion and some E.P.I.C. snapshot moments with young people that have come full circle

  • Acknowledging that the work will always be there and the importance of giving yourself the time and outlets to turn it all off

  • Recognizing that as parents we should not be “orbiting” around our children, but guiding them and giving them responsibility and independence while they follow our lead.

  • How we can do so much more when we work toward our big visions together.

  • The power of partnerships and Tony’s challenge to us to reach into the community to create enriching after school opportunities for children who would otherwise not have access.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • Heart of Los Angeles – HOLA provides underserved youth with exceptional programs in academics, arts and athletics within a nurturing environment, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education and strengthen their communities.

  • Tony’s TEDx Talk: Putting Back What We Stripped Out

  • Budget Philanthropist – The blog of 12 and 13 year old brothers Andrew and Jack Greff where they show that all that’s required is a love of humankind and a desire to improve the welfare of others to be a philanthropist.

  • Mother’s Quest Podcast Episode #08 – Empathy, Acts of Kindness and Climbing Mountains with Erika Greff

  • PACE Place – support for individuals and families as they reach their developmental potential.


If you haven’t yet visited the website, head over to www.mothersquest.com to explore some of the ways you can get more connected. At the site, you can sign up for our email list (to get show notes delivered to your inbox and our new “Mothers on a Quest” features), click the link to join the Facebook group and press record to leave a voice message for me.

You can also explore the new coaching offerings, sign up for a complimentary discovery session, and download the FREE Live Your E.P.I.C. Life Planning and Reflection Sheets

Clarity Coaching (1.5 hr): E.P.I.C. Life Reflection and Strategy Session 

I’m particularly excited to invite you to participate in a signature clarity coaching offering called an E.P.I.C. Life Reflection and Strategy Session. If you’ve loved the interviews on the podcast and imagined what your own responses might be to my questions, this offering will give you that opportunity to go deep about the way in which the E.P.I.C. guideposts are showing up in your life, explore what you want more or less of in your life, and commit to key action steps.

We’ll record our conversation for you to listen to again and I’ll follow up by email to provide some accountability so you know you have a coach in your corner paying attention and cheering you on. Visit the work with me page at mothersquest.com to learn more and sign up.


A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

  • Cristin Downs of the Notable Woman Podcast, who provided this week’s dedication

  • Erin Kendall of Fit Mom Go

  • Niko Osoteo

  • Erik Newton

  • Claire Fry

  • Divya Silbermann

  • Rachel Winter

  • Caren and Debbie Lieberman

  • Cameron Miranda

  • Fran and David Lieberman

  • Debbie and Alan Goore

  • Jenise and Marianne of the Sustainable Living Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Two of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution http://mothersquest.com/be-a-supporter/

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/

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Episode #5: Live your E.P.I.C. Life to Help Your Children Thrive