ForCollegeForLife Podcast Ep. 11: Billy Boulden


Casey J. Cornelius (00:02):

Hey, everyone. Welcome to the latest episode of the ForCollegeForLife podcast. My name is Casey Cornelius. I’m the founder and president at ForCollegeForLife. And I also get the pleasure of hosting this podcast and getting to talk with the members of our team, our speakers and our consultants, the people who make us who we are and introducing them to you. Maybe they’re someone that you’ve never heard from before. Maybe they’re someone that’s you’ve known for years and years, but always the most awesome part of this. Always we learn something new about each guest, uh, along the way. And that to me has been like the, the most thrilling part of this. And today I’m sure will be no exception. This is someone that I’ve known for years and years, and we’ve got a lot of things in common, but my guess is probably gonna learn some new facts in, in the process.

Casey J. Cornelius (00:51):

So hang with us. Let me go ahead and introduce him though. Billy Boulden is fueled by caffeine. I love that phrase fueled by caffeine with a dabble in corporate America in more than 15 years experience in higher education, Billy brings a fun, energetic, positive spin to every encounter. He believes that leadership works best when the heart and the mind are on the same team. When not developing a new idea or program, you can find him playing with his beagle, Finnigan, great name, coaching CrossFit classes, or volunteering for his fraternity Pi Kappa Phi, without any further ado. Let me go ahead and bring to the mic. None other than Billy Boulden, Billy. Thanks for joining today.

Billy Boulden (01:33):

What’s up Casey,

Casey J. Cornelius (01:35):

Man. I’d love getting the opportunity. Not only like recorded or not recorded. I love getting to chat with you because one of the things that it says in your bio, anyone who knows you knows that this is true, fun, energetic, positive, spend every encounter. Absolutely. Where does that come from? Where does that come from?

Billy Boulden (01:55):

You know, I, I, I think we have an opportunity to, to choose who we show up as every day, right? There’s a lot of things about our identity that we don’t get to say about, but how we present ourselves is a choice that we make. And I’ve known too many people that I think go through life with a bad attitude. Mm. And I don’t wanna be that person. I want to be somebody that enjoys life, even the challenges, even the hard parts. Um, and I, I think that if I bring that positive attitude to that, that I can help make not only my life better, but other people’s life better as well.

Casey J. Cornelius (02:37):

Let’s if we can unpack that just a little bit. I, I, I think you’re right. I’m a, I’m a big believer in, in choices. I often say like choices reflect priorities, but I also recognize the fact that being fun and energetic and positive, you know, sometimes comes with some degree of fatigue. So you have outlets for that fatigue though, right? Like you have things that completely distract you from your day job or from speaking and consulting. Like you’ve got things that are, that are priorities in your world that a lot of people might not even know about.

Billy Boulden (03:07):

Oh, without a doubt. I think that ES I, and absolutely, you know, we talk about introversion extroversion. We talk about where do you get your energy from? And even though I show up as this energetic person to other people, I get my energy from being alone, being away from people, having that downtime to self reflect, to do my own thing, to not bother, you know, other people in that way. So one of, one of my favorite ways to, to kind of recharge and refuel is to watch reality television

Casey J. Cornelius (03:51):


Billy Boulden (03:52):

Um, I’m a, I’m a big fan of survivor of big brother, you know, survivor just finished season 42. Um, I’ve seen every season, um, don’t add up the hours of TV. That is, it’s too many hours of TV,

Casey J. Cornelius (04:06):


Billy Boulden (04:06):

I I’ve seen all episodes of all 42 seasons. Um, and I I’ve, I’ve missed a little bit of big brother here and there in the middle, but I’ve seen most the episodes of big brother as well.

Casey J. Cornelius (04:18):

Okay. So, so now we’re, you know what, a few minutes into this episode, and I could chalk up two things that I didn’t know about Billy bold first, Billy bold and the introvert. I think people who know you, like, that’s sort of a surprising, a surprising idea, right. Because you’re always like, like the center, the center of the conversation. And, and, and for those of you who don’t know Billy, like Billy’s big in stature, but also like people gravitate to him. Uh, but then also Billy bold the reality TV junkie. I, I would, I would not have guessed that one.

Billy Boulden (04:50):

Yeah. That’s awesome,

Casey J. Cornelius (04:51):

Man. That’s

Billy Boulden (04:52):

Awesome. I think to me, I don’t have to think about it. Right. And if I, if I forget what happened in an episode, it doesn’t matter because somebody else is getting kicked off this week.

Casey J. Cornelius (05:00):


Billy Boulden (05:01):

So it just, it kinda changes. It changes that for me, where I don’t have to focus anymore, I can relax when I do that.

Casey J. Cornelius (05:08):

Yeah. One of the, one of the other things in your bio that I imagined is, is a distraction, or is a way to check out from, um, from the hard stuff that you do. Not that it’s not hard, I’m not, I’m not implying otherwise. Uh, is, is your connection to CrossFit? You want to, you wanna talk a little bit about that?

Billy Boulden (05:25):

Yeah. So, you know, CrossFit has been an incredible community for me. Um, in, in a lot of ways, you know, I, I moved to Iowa, gosh, almost 10 years ago and I didn’t know anybody here. I moved halfway across the country. You know, I had fraternity brothers that welcomed me when I first got here to say hello, but you know, people were busy in their lives. And, and for me, it was kind of hard to interject myself in that right. In the same way that, that I’m an introvert. I’m not, I’m not a really good includer. I want to be a good includer. I want to invite people out. I want invite people to be in spaces, but I’m not really good at it. It’s not natural to me because I, I need that self charge recharge time. And so actually the day that I was moving out from Florida to Iowa, there was a, a sign in the grocery store parking lot that said, do you miss practice? And it had a phone number to call this about. I was a two sport. Um, collegiate athlete was in track team in college, saw that sign. And literally was speaking to me, do you miss practice? Yes, I miss going. And whether you’re whether you ever played sports in your life, right. Whether you did college sports or high school sports, or whether you played the P B T ball team, there’s something about showing up, getting yelled at, by the coach to do certain things.

Casey J. Cornelius (06:51):


Billy Boulden (06:52):

And, and walking away, knowing that somehow you’ve grown and developed as a human, that has always been value and rewarding to me. And so I didn’t know what the sign was about. Didn’t have any information. I just had a phone number. So like, uh, most people would do. I decided to call that number at one o’clock in the morning, in the middle of the night, for

Casey J. Cornelius (07:13):

Sure. See what the machine said. I was great.

Billy Boulden (07:16):

Right. What was it about? I had to figure it out. And it was a CrossFit gym in Florida. And so when I got here to Iowa was one of the things I looked up cause I looked up CrossFit gyms and found a place that I was able to build community in. I was able to develop friendships. My first CrossFit coach, I sometimes I would referred to her as my therapist. I’d go work out in the morning and then sit there and have, you know, coffee and conversation about things that are going on in my life. Things that were bringing me stress or things that was worried about. And, you know, we would work through it and talk through it. Um, and it, it was just really helpful for me. So it just became a place that I found community and connection as an adult. And I think it’s really important that we find that I think sometimes college students in particular don’t realize the ease of the connections they have. Right, right. When you’re centralized on a college campus and there’s limited activities to do. And there’s a set group of people that are kind of always there, it’s easy to pop in and out of groups. But when you graduate, it’s a little bit more difficult. The groups are still there. You just have to work a little bit harder to find them.

Casey J. Cornelius (08:28):

Sometimes I think about that, um, in, in reference to, to young folks as well. Right. Like, so I, I have like you, I know nieces and nephews and so forth. And I Marvel sometimes at how easy it is for a, for a five year old to make friends, they walk up to another five year old and say like, Hey, I wanna play. And they do. And there’s no question, there’s no like assessment whether or not they’re gonna get along. Right. Right. Exactly. They just do it. And, and somewhere along the way we, we, we lose that. Right.

Billy Boulden (08:56):

Absolutely. Absolutely. And, and so I think we’ve, we’ve gotta think strategically about like, what are the things that matter the most to you as a person and where do you find those spaces? Right. And for, for me, I know that I’m my best self when I’m going to the gym regularly, because when I’m going to the gym regularly, I’m actually eating better. Right. As well, getting better nutrition, I’m sleeping better because my body is tired. It tell me I have to sleep. Yep. Um, and so the being a part of the cross community does a lot of that for me. And that would, I would add to that time with family and going to church. Right. That’s what makes me my whole self,

Casey J. Cornelius (09:34):

Uh, a couple of things real quick. Do you, you wanna shout out that Alma mater that you played two sports at

Billy Boulden (09:39):

Yeah. Christopher Newport university home of the 20, 22 national champions in softball.

Casey J. Cornelius (09:47):

Hear that right now. There you go. Christopher Newport. Uh, congratulations for that. I wanna, I want to ask you, um, about another identity that maybe people aren’t as familiar that you occupy. Yeah. Tell us about chef

Billy Boulden (10:04):

<laugh>. So I, I joke with my students that I have ATA account. Um, and if you’re not familiar with the FTA, it’s a fake Instagram and it is, uh, just my culinary creations. So, um, at the chef, Billy B it’s the alternative Instagram account. You can follow if you just wanna see food. Um, but yeah, I like to cook. It’s a passionate project of mine. Um, I thought about it as a career path at one point. Uh, but it is, it is grueling work and I have mad respect for anybody that works in the restaurant industry, the hours, the time, the commitment. Um, it’s very, it’s very challenging. And so I prefer just to be an at home chef, um, at home baker, a little bit of both. Uh, but I have catered a couple weddings. I’ve hosted some corporate parties, um, and done some of that as well.

Casey J. Cornelius (10:55):

I love it. It, for those of you again, um, go to, to Billy’s fence Instagram, um, Paige it’s, it’s not like he’s doing, uh, ham and cheese sandwiches folks like, like these are dishes and they are meticulously prepared and, and the, even the visuals are, are great. I mean, it’s, it’s clear, it’s obvious that you spend a lot of time getting these things right. And, and looking beautiful too. Uh, I, I don’t, I don’t know that everyone would’ve known that about you, Billy,

Billy Boulden (11:25):

You know, I think what’s, what’s funny too case either. Sometimes I just throw those things together. <laugh> sometimes, maybe, sometimes it’s maybe not as intentional as, as you might think. It’s I, I go home and, um, you know, what’s the fridge, what can I, what can I eat for dinner tonight? And how do I put it together to, to make something that I would enjoy. So, but sometimes they’re a lot more thought out and planned out, but, you know, sometimes it’s, you can’t really tell what’s the, the fridge challenge versus what’s the, a project that spent weeks on trying to put together.

Casey J. Cornelius (11:55):

Sure, sure. And the fact that we can’t tell the difference probably says something about <laugh> your skill and technique as well. That that’s awesome. So these are things that if, if you know, Billy, you might not otherwise know like these, these might be elements of his life that you’re unaware of, but it would be surprising to me for someone to know you Billy and not know the importance that you place on fraternity, uh, not only in your experience, but also in your professional work, uh, full transparency, like to like, to be honest about this, Billy and I share the same affiliation, PII fraternity, um, and, and also the, the, the love for our fraternity. So can you talk a little bit about how central fraternity has been, uh, in your life since your undergraduate days?

Billy Boulden (12:40):

Yeah. I, I, I think the best way to capture that is the first talk about why I joined fraternity. So a lot of people have different opinions about what fraternity or sorority for that matter is about. And at least what, at least when I joined, I, I think fraternity was a place of belonging for me. So one of the challenges of playing two sports in college is that I didn’t really feel like I had a home whatever sport team I was on or what season I was in. You know, I didn’t necessarily feel like the other people on the team fully accepted me as a team member, um, at all times, because I was splitting my time, I was going back and forth, uh, between the, between the different groups. And I was, I was a decent college athlete. Um, I, I wouldn’t say I was the best ever, but, um, I, I was pretty good at both sports. And, you know, I did break a school record in the track team in college, but having that place where I didn’t know, where was my home is a place that I think many college students struggle with. And for me, the answer to that was fraternity. It was PI CAPI, PI factI gave me a place that, that I knew I belonged that I was fully accepted for who I was, and my fraternity brothers were some of the first people to come out and support me and my athletic career as well.

Casey J. Cornelius (14:09):

Wow. Okay. So one of the things of, for, for listeners who, who might not be dialed into this, you know, on a, on a lot of campuses, um, especially larger campuses, athletics and fraternity and sorority don’t often overlap, right. That sometimes, you know, we, we hear things like, oh my, my coach won’t won’t let me, won’t let me join an organization. Um, but it sounds like for you, it was actually in some ways, perfectly meshed to the point where your, your brothers, like I they’re coming to your events and so forth. Um, do, do you, can you imagine a scenario in which that hadn’t been the case for you?

Billy Boulden (14:51):

Yeah, I, I think certainly could that, that can be reality for a lot of people. Um, I, I did not ask my coach for permission

Casey J. Cornelius (15:02):

Join a fraternity.

Billy Boulden (15:03):

Okay. Uh, it was a, it was a personal choice that I made. Right. And I, I didn’t feel like my coach out of like, if my coach had to have a say in that, and I think some coaches may feel otherwise, and I can certainly understand why, um, to me athletics were the priority, right. It was more important for me to be a collegiate athlete. And I always put my time there first, and I was fortunate enough to be a part of a brotherhood that respected that, that understood that. So I missed fraternity events. I didn’t go to everything. Uh, in fact, I, I didn’t, I don’t think I went to, um, a fraternity formal until my senior year. And even for that, I, I went and didn’t stay the night, like everybody else did. I came back home because I had obligations on the track team the next day. And so how I positioned it was always an athletics game first, uh, even though in, in reality fraternity probably came first, but fraternity respected that I had other priorities in life that could allow me to do that.

Casey J. Cornelius (16:13):

I think what’s, what’s interesting hearing you say that Billy is that it was almost like, and, and of course, I, I, I don’t know your athletic teams and so forth, but it was almost like fraternity was more accepting of you being an athlete than being an athlete. Would’ve been accepting of you being a fraternity, man.

Billy Boulden (16:29):

Yeah. For, you know, the fraternity realized that me being an athlete brought value to the fraternity. Right. That, that, that was a unique contribution that I brought. Right. Like some of, some of the guys that joined fraternity bring a 4.0 GPA to the fraternity. That was not me. Right. Um, but

Casey J. Cornelius (16:50):

Me, me either, man, me either,

Billy Boulden (16:52):

Right, sure. I brought this, this public profile. I was, I was very involved as a student involved student RA these other things on campus as well. But the fraternity saw that as me being that engaged student, um, brought value to the fraternity profile. And that’s, that’s how I, how I benefited them. Just the ways that they benefited me from all of their experiences as well.

Casey J. Cornelius (17:19):

So let’s, let’s take it up to 20,000 feet for a second. So outside of your own individual fraternity experience and a lot of the work that you do on a day to day basis, but then also in your speaking and consulting work is around fraternity and sorority. So I, I guess, I guess I want to ask you, um, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna put a number of years on this, but in, in the last couple of decades, how have you seen fraternity by that? I mean, fraternity and sorority, have you seen fraternity evolve?

Billy Boulden (17:52):

Yeah, that’s a, that’s a really good question, Casey. I, you know, I think for me, I, I have to go back further, but I have to go back hundreds of years. I have to start with why fraternity began in the first place. Right? So the, the earliest fraternities that existed were literary societies. And what I mean by literary society is essentially a, a modern day debate club. If you ever see the movie dead poet society, I think it gives an accurate description of, of what I imagine a fraternity would’ve looked like back then, there were certain things in the coursework where students didn’t have an opinion. You didn’t have your own interpretation. The faculty had the answer, and if you didn’t have the same answer, did you were wrong? Yep. Well, fraternity provided a space for men at that time to engage in debate and dialogue about what they believed to be true and what they believe to be imported and how those things show up, um, in life for us.

Billy Boulden (18:50):

And so I, I think when we, we take the first evolution of fraternity, we start to see fraternities involved with this space to say, come be a part of this group and share your thoughts and opinions with us, right? Share your beliefs with us. And let’s learn from each other about our, our wide range of beliefs. And I think that’s where belongingness starts to show up in fraternity, right? When men were allowed to show up and be themselves and share their own thoughts and ideals, then we start to shift in the early 19 hundreds into what I would call, um, cause based organizations, right? So the early 1900 starts to see organizations that emerge and grow for a specific purpose, right? Like PI Kappi started on the premise of, of winning a student government election, all the way to identity based organizations. You know, like our historically black fraternities or organizations that were founded on the premise of religious freedom and that any man of any faith could be a part of it, even the development of sororities, right.

Billy Boulden (19:49):

And that women can have these organizations as well. So this cause-based organization still, still has that piece of belongingness, but there’s this higher purpose. This other thing that now becomes a part of fraternity and sorority. And so as we’ve evolved over time, you know, I kind of asked this question of like, what is our higher purpose? What is the thing that we’re working towards? And, you know, I don’t have colleagues that say, oh, it’s about belonging and that’s not our purpose. And I don’t think that belongingness is necessarily the higher purpose that we’re working towards. I think belongingness is this outcome that we get from fraternity or sorority that because you’re a part of this group you belong, then we’ve worked to create that. But I think each individual organization set its own purpose and its own identity for what it hopes to achieve fundamental to that is I think better humans, organization, there’s something organization is doing to help you become a better human. And so I would say that’s really the purpose today of fraternity. Soror is to be a better human and fraternity and soror is the tool to help you do that.

Casey J. Cornelius (21:04):

I, I, I wanna get a little, um, how would the young folks say this, Billy, I wanna get a little meta for a second. I want, I want to dig deeper into the last part of your answer there. So, you know, when we think about recruitment, sorority recruitment, fraternity recruitment, oftentimes, uh, people will identify who they see as an, um, an ideal person to be a member of their organization. As if the person coming to the organization is a finished product, right? Like we really like people who do X or Y or believe X or Y or, and it seems to me that sometimes what’s lost is what we should be thinking of our contribution to that person, to their evolution and growth and so forth. Is that what I’m hearing you say?

Billy Boulden (21:51):

Uh, not, not exactly. I, I think that’s, I think that’s an outcome of it, but, um, I’ll honest at 19 years you couldn’t have told me nothing. Right. I, I thought I had it together, right? Like

Casey J. Cornelius (22:07):

There’s nothing, that’s fair.

Billy Boulden (22:07):

There’s nothing fraternity could have given me at 19 years old right now, at now at my, um, elder age. I’m like, there’s a lot of opportunities. Fraternity really could have helped me. Right. But back then, no, you can, you couldn’t have given me anything. And so I think it’s, it’s what, what are people concerned about today? And so I would say that today’s college student, um, is worried about the job market. Mm today’s. College student wants to be employed when they graduate from college. And so for me, when I, when I try to help frame and help chapters and councils and Kips to do is to think about how are you preparing somebody for the future? A great example of this to use your recruitment example is you can’t show up to recruit somebody wearing tee, you know, a t-shirt or a tank top at some shorts.

Billy Boulden (22:55):

Right, right. It doesn’t look polished. When you show up in a polo shirt in khakis, you’re sending a message that we’re about business. We’re about helping you get to the next step that you can be professional like me. And at the same time, I’m still gonna have a lot of fun. Right, right, right. This isn’t about being, you know, stuffy in that way, but it’s about demonstrating that we’re, we’re gonna be focused on our career and our future because that’s important to all of us. Nobody wants to go to college and spend all this money on this education to be in debt and be unemployed

Casey J. Cornelius (23:30):

For sure. I haven’t met that person. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Right. And, and, and if you are that person, um, that’s awesome. Like, and, and maybe, maybe you can give me a, a, a low interest loan or something like that, that you have the <laugh> the disposable income to, to make that happen. Um,

Billy Boulden (23:46):

And so I think, I think in this pathway though, of helping somebody prepare for the career, right. We learn things, we learned lessons, we learned things that are valuable to us. We learned how to be a better human, you know, I didn’t understand that the importance of people first language until I participated one of high’s national philanthropy programs. And through that program, I learned how capable people of disabilities are. Right. Right. Fraternity taught me that. Right. I didn’t ask for that. You know, it was, it was natural to the fraternity to teach me that through my experience. And so I think that’s where the fraternity adds that value to help you be a better human

Casey J. Cornelius (24:25):

For those of you who aren’t yet familiar, uh, with Billy’s programs, please feel free to visit for college for, uh, his, his not only speaking, but also consulting work information there, Billy one of your programs. And I don’t want you to give away the answer in complete, but one of your programs ask a very poignant question as it relates to fraternity and sorority, and that is, has Greek peaked. So I guess, let me ask you, without giving away the, the entirety of the answer has Greek peaked.

Billy Boulden (24:54):

I think in some cases it has to be honest, uh, you know, we, we have to be intentional about what we are doing in fraternity and sport. So a way that way that I would explain this is I, I love Brad, right? I have not met up Brad that I dislike at this point in time in my life.

Casey J. Cornelius (25:22):

I love

Billy Boulden (25:23):

Bread. I gotta eat in moderation, but I love bread, particularly sourdough bread, right. When it gets extra crusty, but it’s still kind of chewy on the inside, put a little butter on it, right.

Casey J. Cornelius (25:34):

My language. Yep. Yep.

Billy Boulden (25:36):

I don’t think there’s anything worse than going to the pantry to get some bread and reaching in the bag and it’s moldy.

Casey J. Cornelius (25:44):


Billy Boulden (25:46):

So I think about that when I think about fraternity and sorority, because I didn’t mean for my bag of bread to get moldy, but it happens. And I think I have to investigate what was it about the conditions that allowed that bread to get mold? And I think we have to ask the same question in fraternity. What is it about the environment in which fraternity exists? That sometimes it doesn’t go well,

Casey J. Cornelius (26:15):

That’s a, we be fantastic question. Yeah. Yeah.

Billy Boulden (26:19):

We very intentional. And so what are we doing? How are we properly caring for this thing that has so much value to us? And in some cases, I think people have exhausted the best that fraternity could be, and it doesn’t need to be there anymore. That’s not what I hope for. Right. My hope and my dream. And my ambition is that fraternity is the life changing thing for so many people just as it was for me. But if we’re not gonna put in the work, if we’re not gonna be intentional, if we’re not gonna think about what our desired outcomes and what we want fraternity to actually be, yeah. Then maybe it has seen its best days

Casey J. Cornelius (26:59):

To take your analogy to the next, right. So the, the sourdough bread, um, can, can go bad because of lack of attention or lack of care, lack of appropriate climate, so forth. So is the next evolution then of sorority and fraternity a return to that core purpose? Like you, you mentioned people first, uh, language and understanding the, the capacity of people with disabilities, um, as a, as a philanthropic, um, um, mindset, is it, is it going back to a, a purpose or evolving to a greater purpose so that, um, that there is more attention to those things?

Billy Boulden (27:40):

Well, yeah, I think part of it, I think part of it is, is being mindful of the environment, right? So let’s say that on, on my campus that I exist on that I’m a part of a fraternity or sorority. And my fraternity is the ideal organization, right? We’re, we’re rocking out in grades, we’re raising all the money for philanthropy. We’re actively engaged in our community, doing community service. We’re doing some activism work for things that we really care about. Uh, we’re always helping out. We’re the first ones to volunteer for everything we’re super athletic. Um, we have a great social scene, right? Like anything that you think of positive, right? Associate that with my organization

Casey J. Cornelius (28:19):


Billy Boulden (28:21):

Now on the same campus, imagine that all the other organizations in my community are not that, that I’m, I’m astutely aware of things that are going bad in all of those organizations. My organization cannot thrive in that environment.

Casey J. Cornelius (28:40):


Billy Boulden (28:42):

I have not reached my potential as an organization because of everybody else. And I think that’s a little bit about what makes fraternity and sorority unique. It’s not just about making sure that your organization is a good fit for you, that it matters for you, and that you’re having a positive experience, but you have to clean up the neighborhood. You have to hold the other organizations in your community accountable. You have to help them live up to the promises that they made as well, or it’s only gonna deteriorate your environment. Right. How does moisture get in the bag of bread? I didn’t put the water there.

Casey J. Cornelius (29:19):

<laugh> yep. Yep. I hear you. And, and, and this really comes down to, yeah. I think about some of the work that I do as well. And so I’m, I’m, I’m asking this question, cuz I, I think I know where you’re going and that is really healthy competition as well.

Billy Boulden (29:35):

Absolutely. Absolutely. Uh, you know, I’m not afraid of another organization to join my campus community. If another organization is gonna come onto this campus and recruit members and be an active fraternity and do things that they believe are right. And who they should be. And that threatens one of my current organizations, then one of my current organizations doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

Casey J. Cornelius (30:02):

Yeah, no, I, I hear you. Yeah.

Billy Boulden (30:04):

There wouldn’t be an opportunity for another group to come and be a part of it. If we were doing what we said we would do and what we promised we would do to these people that should be members of our organization, they wouldn’t be interested in others organization if we were doing things we needed to. And so I think that that competition not necessarily in a, on compete mode. Right. But uh, just a supportive role, right? Like I, I worked with a student one time who was a recruitment chair and he was recruiting this guy who he thought was like, the bees needs, this is the best kid ever he ever recruited. And he, he asked the guy, you know, if I were to offer you member membership, my fraternity today, would you join? And the, the potential new member, he kind of hesitated for a moment. And he said, you know, I’m, I’m not really sure I’m between fraternity and this other fraternity, you know, that recruitment chair did. He took that guy, drove him to the other fraternity house, walked up to the house with him, rang the doorbell and said, y’all should talk to this kid. He’s really interested in your fraternity. I think he’s awesome. I love to have him in mind, but he’s really interested in you all too. And he’s too good to not let him join a fraternity in our C

Casey J. Cornelius (31:14):


Billy Boulden (31:16):

You know what that kid did. He joined the fraternity of, of the guy that, that took him to that house. And he came back to him and he said for you to care about me so much that you put my interest about me being a part of the fraternity that I best fit in over just signing another guy to your fraternity. That’s what lets me know that you are the right fraternity for me, because you care about me enough that I’m more important than you

Casey J. Cornelius (31:47):

That’s a character move. Like that’s, that’s a high integrity move.

Billy Boulden (31:51):

Absolutely. Absolutely. And he, he, 100% could have lost that guy also.

Casey J. Cornelius (31:56):

Right. Right, right.

Billy Boulden (31:58):

So it’s that to choose your term, that, that high character move doesn’t come without risk. But the, I think the risk is worth it because if we truly care about people, we truly care about making better humans. Then we want people to part of the organizations that they’re best fit to. Part of,

Casey J. Cornelius (32:18):

I love, I, I wanna spend a little time on, on another topic that I know you, you do a lot of work with and it’s, it’s adjacent and it’s, you know, some somewhat argue UN unfortunately, uh, adjacent. Uh, and that is your work related to alcohol education. Um, your program 99 problems takes a, takes a different perspective, a different starting point in the conversation around alcohol education. Would you like to, to talk about sort of the evolution of that program, but then also where you land on this whole conversation of, you know, talking about alcohol use for college students.

Billy Boulden (32:59):

Yeah. You know, I, I think for me, when we talk about alcohol, um, abstinence is a great strategy for managing alcohol. It’s also not necessarily realistic. And I, I think that that’s the place I have to, to frame this conversation first because that, I think a lot of people, they wanna talk about alcohol and college students. The, the first answer is like, well, they can’t, they can’t

Billy Boulden (33:29):

Some ways we’re right. The law, you know, there’s a minimum, there’s a minimum in order to drink, but reality tells us something different reality tells us people that are drinking a lot earlier. Um, I’ve heard reports recently that even, uh, middle school is starting to show cases of alcohol and students just drinking as early as middle school. I think the question that I try to ask at this program is why, why are we drinking? What is alcohol bringing to the experience? Uh, and in, in some cases, alcohol is celebratory, right? I have the opportunity to, to visit, uh, a major beer distillery. Distillery is not the right word brewery. Yeah. I think is the right word. Um, and as you go through the tour of this, this, this major, major beer company, the everything you see along the way is around a social experience. It’s celebrating after your favorite soccer team wins the championship.

Billy Boulden (34:29):

Right? Right. It’s playing video games, you know, with the boys, it’s being in the club scene in ordering this beer, you go through this whole experience through the tour, and that’s what they’re trying to sell. You, it’s selling you an experience. And so I think in many ways, people associate alcohol with a good time. And just recently was talking to a student who, um, is working full time. A former student is working full time. And they said that they come home every day from working. They have to drink a beer just to wind down from the day because working 40 hours a week is hard, you know? And so it’s also a coping mechanism, right. For some people. And so the conversation that, that I, that I want to talk about with 99 problems is what are we going through in life? What are we experiencing?

Billy Boulden (35:18):

What are we navigating? What are, uh, our realities and why are we choosing alcohol as a vessel or a tool for all of those things? So that’s the first part of the conversation. The second part of the conversation is if I’m gonna choose to use alcohol as the tool of the vessel for those things, how can I do that responsibly? What are strategies that I can utilize to self-care what are strategies I can use to help my friends? Uh self-care um, how can we navigate that together? How can we support each other through decisions that we make as adults?

Casey J. Cornelius (35:57):

I, I go back to one of the fundamental points that you were just making, and that’s a, along this idea of abstinence, and, and as you were answering, I, I started kind of going through my mind about, can I think of any abstinence program initiative drive at any level that has ever worked. And, and I can’t, I can’t think of one, right? Like, I mean, you, you work on a college campus, uh, how, how are quiet hours going, right? Like what what’s <laugh> what, what abstinence program, uh, abstaining from anything, not, not typically we use that in reference to sex, but like what abstinence program on anything is actually effective, other than driving people to do the thing that we’re telling them not to do to begin with.

Billy Boulden (36:39):

Yeah. You know, I think, I think abstinence works when it’s, uh, intrinsic motivation. Right. So when, when you yourself chooses to not do something, it works great. Right? Right. Uh, I think that like,

Casey J. Cornelius (36:55):

Like if I, if I, if I choose not to eat that bread, that’s a, that’s a choice that I’m making for me. But if someone tells me, Hey, you can’t eat bread. The only thing I want to do is eat bread

Billy Boulden (37:05):

Is eat bread. Correct. Exactly, exactly. And because when you make your choice, you know, you can change your choice, right. When you want to change your choice. Right. And so it’s the same thing for me with alcohol is that, you know, I support access. I support people not drinking. We should absolutely not drink. If, if that is a choice you wanna make, we should celebrate that. And particularly for our college students, if you have friends that don’t drink, don’t pressure them to drink, right. Let them hundred drink that’s. That is a great choice that they’re making for themselves. And when, when and how they choose to change that great. Be there ready for them. Be there, ready to help them, support them, teach them, educate them. Don’t let them make the same mistakes. You did give them some tips for, um, how to manage your alcohol responsibly.

Casey J. Cornelius (37:51):

I think for, for listeners who are, who are listening to, to Billy’s answers on these things, one of the things that strikes me probably has struck you so far is that there there’s sort of a next level thought to the way that Billy approaches conversations around sorority and fraternity or drinking. Like these are, these are really tough topics for many people and ones that, um, you know, that they, they create problems that, that are still yet to be solved. And I think, you know, shameless plug, if you would like to talk to Billy more about those things, uh, hit, hit up the website for couch, for the, the work that he does. Um, not only in his, uh, I think we would describe it this way, not only in his nine to five, but also in his five to nine, uh, are, is just really, really impressive. And, um, I don’t know when he sleeps be between, between the work that he does and, and CrossFit and, and, and, uh, Finnigan and, and all this other, I, I don’t know when he sleeps, but thank goodness he does. I, I think he also has a slight addiction to caffeine. Uh we’ll we’ll talk about that some other times. So Billy, can I, can I get you outta here on some, uh, some rapid fire questions?

Billy Boulden (38:59):

Yeah, absolutely.

Casey J. Cornelius (39:01):

Okay. And, and in full transparency, I asked Billy, before we hit record, do you want to know the questions? And he said, no. So we’re gonna be like, these are the unvarnished answers to these questions. Um,

Billy Boulden (39:12):

Yeah. So they might not be rapid fire. They might be medium fire

Casey J. Cornelius (39:15):

<laugh>, which is fine, which is fine. Okay. So Billy let’s, I, this is a purely hypothetical thing for you. I know, but let’s imagine that you have an entire day to binge watch anything. What do you choose

Billy Boulden (39:29):

A day to watch anything? So this, this is really hard for me because, um, I actually don’t watch things twice.

Casey J. Cornelius (39:41):

Oh, wow. Okay.

Billy Boulden (39:43):

So like, if, if it’s a TV series or something like that, that I’ve, I’ve seen already, like I’m not gonna go back and re-watch it, I’ve already seen it. Right. So I’ll tell you the, I’ll tell you the show that I, um, have really, really enjoyed, and I can’t wait for the next season to come out. Um, it is Ted lasso, um, over on apple TV. Um, it’s, it’s a sports show, which anytime it’s a sports show, I’m already halfway addicted. Uh, but I’m, I’m really ready for the next season of Ted lasso to come out. So when it does, that is probably what I will binge all day.

Casey J. Cornelius (40:19):

I am prepared for your judgment in three to, I have never watched an episode of Ted lasso.

Billy Boulden (40:27):

That’s okay. I get it. It’s you have to have an apple TV subscription. It’s different. Right.

Casey J. Cornelius (40:31):

But every, everyone tells me that. It’s fantastic.

Billy Boulden (40:34):

Yeah. I, I think you would enjoy it a lot actually.

Casey J. Cornelius (40:37):

Okay. All right. I’m putting it on the list. Okay. But also fun fact, Billy Bolton doesn’t re-watch things. Right. So like the, the whole phenomenon and people talk about this in this answer, like going back and watching the office again and again and again, bill Billy does not do that.

Billy Boulden (40:51):

Yeah. I also don’t like the office, but

Casey J. Cornelius (40:54):

It’s. Oh, wow. Well, I was gonna say we can do a whole nother episode just on that. That’s that’s all right. Second one. Uh, what is the most used app on your phone?

Billy Boulden (41:04):

The Starbucks app,

Casey J. Cornelius (41:06):

Back to that coffee addiction. So, okay. Let’s let’s, let’s, let’s get into it. Tell us a little bit about it.

Billy Boulden (41:12):

Yeah. So my, my, uh, my teammates fun of me because I have a, I have an iPhone and the iPhone allows you to put four apps on the bottom that are like, just constantly there. So for me, it’s, it’s the safari browser, my, uh, email account, my calendar and the Starbucks app are the four that are there. Um, so there’s a, there’s a Starbucks that’s actually directly across my office as well. And mobile ordering has truly, um, not been a blessing, um, because it’s so easy to order. And at this point, Starbucks knows like my whole team and me, then it’ll be by name. If somebody from my team comes in, they’re like, are we pick up for you or for Billy? Right. So I love

Casey J. Cornelius (41:57):

It. I love it. I, I I’m, I’m gonna share a story. This is a true story. Um, I visited Billy’s campus, Billy. I don’t think we’ve ever referenced this. Billy Billy works at Iowa state university. And I, I, uh, I visited Billy’s campus one time to do a program. And, and he said to me, would you like me to, to get some coffee, get some Starbucks and, and being the, the guest and you know, service mindset. Oh, no, no, no. That’s okay. And you looked at me as clear as saying like, this, the sun is shining. You said it’s not a problem at all. <laugh> right. I think, I think you were just using, like, I think it was the pipeline for you to get back to Starbucks. I, I love, I love knowing that that’s one of your four apps at the bottom of your screen, too. That that’s hilarious and appropriate all at the same time. Yeah. RA chef Billy B third question. Who would you most like to have dinner with?

Billy Boulden (42:46):

Oh, that’s such a, how’s that a rapid fire question, Casey.

Casey J. Cornelius (42:52):

Uh, I mean, maybe you have someone in mind. Maybe not. I don’t know.

Billy Boulden (42:56):

I D yeah. Um, I, I don’t know that I have a, a quick who I should, I should have thought about this before. I can, I can be, um, living or past.

Casey J. Cornelius (43:08):

Yeah. However you’d like to take it. Some people have done that by the way. Some, some people have referenced someone who maybe is in the PA a past historical figure or someone from their past.

Billy Boulden (43:26):

Okay. I’m gonna, I’m, I’m gonna choose two people. Maybe that’s cheating, but I’m gonna choose to, I’m gonna, I’m gonna choose both my grandfathers. Uh, there’s so many lessons in life, uh, that I’ve learned from both of them during my time and things that I, I cherish and memories, and two men that are highly influe of me. My, my mom’s mom was a career Marine. He was a two time drill instructor in the Marine course, and it was his favorite job. And my other, my other grandfather has, has worked his entire life, uh, and multiple jobs and is just, just very profound and carries a lot of wisdom. He’s also retired military from the army, but, uh, just two men that have had such a great influence on me that I cherish the time that I’ve had and would love to have more time with both of us.

Casey J. Cornelius (44:23):

That’s a beautiful answer, man. That’s that’s, uh, even, even breaking the, uh, the unwritten rule of just choosing one person. I, I think, um, I think that one wins. It’s a great answer.

Billy Boulden (44:35):


Casey J. Cornelius (44:36):

All right, Billy, what do you do to wind down? Do you have any rituals or do you have any things that you do that go, okay, now I’m moving from busy, busy, busy mode to, to relaxing. What do you do to wind down?

Billy Boulden (44:51):

This is so that’s it a great question? Um, I, for me, honestly, this, maybe this is weird. This is like a weird quirk possibly, um, brushing my teeth.

Casey J. Cornelius (45:02):


Billy Boulden (45:03):

Brushing my teeth. Like to me, something about brushing my teeth says the day is done. Right? You have, you have done today. What you needed to do. You can sleep well,

Casey J. Cornelius (45:17):

I guess, I guess it’s also hard to do anything else while you’re brushing your teeth. Right. It’s not like you can multitask while you’re brushing your teeth.

Billy Boulden (45:25):

Yeah. Maybe, maybe you can hum a song or right. I don’t look at yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror. I don’t know. But it’s just something about brushing your teeth that it’s just like, it’s calming. It’s relaxing. It’s good for you. Please brush your teeth.

Casey J. Cornelius (45:37):

Yes, please. Yes, yes, yes.

Billy Boulden (45:39):

Yeah. Something about brushing your teeth every day to wind down. Just kind of, it’s a good signal. Sometimes you gotta do it twice, right? Maybe you do, you brush your teeth and then you decide to eat ice cream. You gotta go back and brush your teeth again. You can wind down twice too,

Casey J. Cornelius (45:52):

And you gotta be careful with that choice, right. Because if you choose the wrong flavor of ice cream, that that can not mix well with, with exactly the mintiness of the, with the toothpaste, right? Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s great. Uh, again, last shameless blog. I, I promise, Billy, if you wanna learn more about Billy’s programs as consulting work so forth, last question, Billy, how can listeners best connect with you?

Billy Boulden (46:17):

Yeah, so, um, Instagram account is really easy to connect with me. Just my name. That’s easiest, most direct, fastest way, um, to get a hold of me, slide into the DMS, like a message, comments on a message, uh, be friends let’s connect. Uh, yeah,

Casey J. Cornelius (46:41):

I love it. I love it, Billy. This was, this was a lot of fun. And, and as I hypothesized, when we started this interview, even knowing you for as long as we’ve known each other, I still learn stuff today. Like this was, this was a lot of fun getting to know you getting to pick your brain about topics that are of interest to you also of interest. I know to our, our listeners as well. Uh, I, I want to sincerely thank you for giving some of your time today to listen to this episode and to listen to all of our episodes. Um, again, it’s, it’s just such a thrill from my perspective, to be able to deliver these to you. I, I only ask that you do the things that you’re supposed to do with podcasts. So if you would like, and share and subscribe and leave or reviewed, but also if you would let us know other things you would like to hear. So would you like more interviews as this? Would you like to get more topic specific? Would you like an interview with a couple of our speakers at a time? Um, we, we want to get creative, but we also wanna deliver content that you like and enjoy and, and get something out of as well. So, Billy, thank you so much for being here today and until next time folks be well, we can’t wait to hear from you again and we’ll talk to you soon. Thanks everyone.

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