Casey Cornelius (00:03):
Hey everyone. This is Casey Cornelius. Thank you for joining the latest episode of the ForCollegeForLife podcast. We have had so much fun recording these, introducing you to our speakers and consultants, letting you know, not only more about their topics and the things that they’re interested about, but also their journeys. And as I’ve shared, one of the coolest parts about it for me is that I get to learn new information about folks that I’ve worked with for years and years. And, and today’s actually kind of a cool opportunity because I’m actually speaking with one of our speakers who has been around the longest. In fact, I think they have the longest tenure at, for college for life. So they actually get the opportunity to reflect a little bit in terms of, you know, who we were, who we are now, how we’ve grown in, in our collective journey as well.
Casey Cornelius (00:54):
But before we get to that, let me tell you a little bit about this, this dynamic individual, Dr. Kevin Reynolds is the vice president for institutional advancement at Thomas Moore university in Kentucky. Kevin has worked in higher education in student affairs and university advancement for 10 plus years in a variety of institution, sizes and types. He holds a doctorate in leadership. That’s right. A doctorate in leadership and is passionate about working with teams and organizations on improving culture, combating toxicity and fostering accountability, his work in professional speaking and consulting centers on ending sexual violence through purposeful bystander intervention. It’s a really impactful and important phrase through purposeful by sender intervention without any further ado. Let me go ahead and break to the mic doctor, Dr. Kevin Reynolds.
Kevin Reynolds (01:44):
<Laugh> how are you? My friend?
Casey Cornelius (01:46):
I’m doing well, sir. How are you?
Kevin Reynolds (01:48):
I’m great. It’s it’s the middle of the work day for me and I have taken the tie off and I have brought the microphone out and I’m ready to to talk and and have a good time.
Casey Cornelius (01:59):
There’s something almost metaphorical about that too. Right? Like removing the tie. It’s like, you know, I, I know this is a topic that I wanted to get into today, but, but you sort of balance work in two different, although adjacent spaces, right? Like as a campus based professional and as someone who serves campuses across the country, like how, how do you do that? Like, what’s, that’s not even, was not even my plan, first question, but like how, how do you do that thing?
Kevin Reynolds (02:26):
I that’s a really good question. Some days I, I do it better than others, I think in general. I I’d say this. I took early on in my college career in the early two thousands, I took the Clifton’s strengths quest, the strengths finder assessment, and one of the strengths that came out of that assessment and I’d encourage anyone to do it. It’s a really cool really cool program. But one of the strengths that, that I was assigned via the assessment was significant. And when I got that, I felt like, man, this makes me sound so cocky. Like, you know, it’s a strength, what’s the strength of yours? Well, I am significant. No, that is not, that’s not actually what it means. If you read into it a little bit, what significance means is that I want to be someone who plays a significant role in others’ lives. And so it’s an outwardly facing strength. So when I am at my best, I’m putting my strengths to work in a way that helps other people. And so naturally I found my way towards education. Education is the great equalizer and I wanted to be a part of, of that experience. I wasn’t a great student ever. So I really
Casey Cornelius (03:52):
Actually, actually that part surprises
Kevin Reynolds (03:53):
Me. No, I, I was, I was not a great student. My brain tended to be towards the creative. So I you know, I went to college originally for musical theater and poetry. I ended up in communication and organizational leadership but still had some phenomenal memories of, of my time in, in, as an artist. But are,
Casey Cornelius (04:19):
Are you gonna shout out your your Alma mater there? You
Kevin Reynolds (04:21):
Gonna shout out, oh, at, at Northern Kentucky university, go north. There you go. There you go. And <laugh> but you know, for me, when I got involved in fraternity and sorority life and I got involved in my chapter, alpha taught omega. When I got involved in the leadership societies, when I got engaged in the different offices around campus, I found a real passion for student affairs and that’s what led my career down that trajectory. The, it is not a mistake that my first three jobs were director of a leadership program director of fraternity and sorority life Dean of students. It’s not a, it’s not a mistake that those three jobs were held at Northern Kentucky university by the three most influential and significant people in my life. During my college journey, I wanted to be like them because they had such an impact on me and how could I do that?
Kevin Reynolds (05:18):
Well, I needed to be in those jobs. And so when I got into those positions, I was given opportunities to be in front of students to share stories. I got really engaged in prevention programming because of the amount of time I was spending, talking with students who had dealt with significant challenges in their lives. Right, right. And I wanted to be a part of the prevention because again, I, I, you know, that that level of engagement was important to me. I moved over to development in philanthropy, on college campuses because the president at the time where I worked said, I think you’d be great at this. And we need you to to help. And for someone whose significance is a strength of theirs, the only words that, that you need to say to get me on board is we need you. And I said, okay, no training, no experience.
Casey Cornelius (06:24):
Kevin Reynolds (06:24):
<Laugh>. And so I, and, and by the way, when I moved over into the department, no staff. So I, I had to, to build that program from the ground up. And, and we’re now the, the most you know, successful advancement department in the university history in terms of dollars raised and donors achieved. And, and, but that doesn’t, that doesn’t happen just because of me. It happens because we’ve brought in some great people. We have a great culture. We’ve, I’ve put a lot of the things that I believe into practice with this team and we’re finding success, but how do I balance the campus based professional stuff versus the national speaking stuff, versus the consulting stuff? The answer is I go where I believe I can be of, of the most influence and significance. And so when people put their hand up and say, I need help with this, and I believe I can, that’s how I spend my time. So
Casey Cornelius (07:19):
That’s a great answer. I don’t,
Kevin Reynolds (07:20):
I don’t do a great every every day. But you know, today today I’m a little bit better about it than I was yesterday. And I think that was probably true yesterday, too. So,
Casey Cornelius (07:31):
You know, Kevin, one of the things I’ve, I’ve always admired about you and it’s, it’s something I aspire to as well. There’s probably not a great phrase for this, but, but I, I describe it like this. I, I am just profoundly allergic to average and I love that. And, and I get the sense from you that, that you really are allergic to average as well.
Kevin Reynolds (07:52):
Yeah. I there’s a really great phrase that innovation is rewarded, but execution is worshiped. That’s really where, where I’ve tried to, you know, I have that written in several places. I try to remind myself of that all the time. It’s not it’s not just about having the idea, right? You gotta be able to put it into practice. And so on my team, we have core values. One of the core values that we wrote together is that our hustle is palpable, right? Mm, palpable. You walk into this building and I want you as an outsider to be able to look at this team and go, I can see it, I can taste it. I can smell it. This team is working and they’re working for a mission and they’re working for each other. And that is, is E exactly what you said. You’re allergic to average. That is how you get from one space to the other. And a lot of work goes into creating a culture where hustle is PA is palpable. And I’ve got a couple tricks that I’ve, you know, been, been implementing along the way that I’ve learned in my career, but I’ll tell you that is that is a, a great phrase, Casey, I agree a hundred percent.
Casey Cornelius (09:13):
It, it, and, and I think, again, people who spend more than five minutes with you get it, right? Like when, when people are, when people are talking about like, I don’t wanna say like basic things, but like average things. I, I, I have seen you, I’m not hope I’m not putting you a blast here, but like, I’ve seen you sort of tune out because you’re like, I’m not, I’m not really interested in this, but when they start talking about things that are really important, significant high level, I see you lean into the conversation and contribute and all those other kind of things. And so, so when your bio says, you know, that, that your work centers on ending sexual violence, it that’s a, that’s a high level thought. Like that sounds like that it’s something that is not just a passing idea to you. That, that that’s really a really a driving force. Do you, you wanna talk a little bit about that?
Kevin Reynolds (10:05):
Sure. my whole idea is that awareness isn’t enough anymore. You know, you talk about April is sexual assault, sexual violence awareness month. And that’s been around for a long time. You know, the violence against women act has been around for a long time. College and college campuses have been required by the government to hold trainings in title IX and, and prevention programming for a long time. And all of that is great and all of that is important. And I think that it is time that we move from a, an awareness focused education program to an action focused education program. What can our college students actually do to prevent sexual violence on their campuses right now? And that’s where I think the bystander intervention model is the most interesting. There are really wonderful programs out there where people share really important stories that let other people know that, that if they have experienced these kinds of tragedies in their life, that they, they are not alone, right.
Kevin Reynolds (11:18):
The me, the me too movement is important. And, and don’t ever, I don’t want anyone to ever think that I’m not saying or that I am saying that those programs are not important and critical, cuz our young people need to know if this has happened. And then that there’s a space for them to talk about it. They need to know that they are not alone and, and all of that is incredibly important. But what is also important is the idea of, of it’s on us feels too passive. I want people to feel it’s on me. If I feel a sense of responsibility to the physical environment that I’m in, then that people around me should feel safer. Right. Then I really believe we can affect change. Now. I, I use the example Casey, if you, if you give me a minute, the the first car I ever had was a, a Chrysler LeBaron and not like the cool convertible kind.
Kevin Reynolds (12:24):
It was a, a late eighties hard top model. It had the wood grain, the bench seat it, it had this cool feature where it could have AC or FM radio, but not at the same time. It was a, it was an old first car that I drove around like a boat. And one of the things that’s true is I almost never wore a seatbelt. I really almost never wore a seatbelt. It was just uncomfortable. There weren’t as many laws back when I was learning how to drive. It was a, it was called a secondary violation of the state of Kentucky, which was, we have to pull you over for something else before we can cite you for not wearing a seatbelt. So why wear it? Right. I now drive a GMC canyon. It’s a, it’s a truck. It was made in the year 2017. I now wear a seatbelt every time I’m in the truck. And I talk to college students all over the country about this. I ask them, what do you think is the reason? And I get great answers. You were in a car accident and you learned your lesson. No someone you love was in a car accident. And, and you learned your lesson. No, you were pulled over and cited. No, it’s the law and you don’t wanna be pulled over and cited. No, Casey, I wear a seatbelt because when I don’t, my car goes D
Speaker 3 (13:42):
Kevin Reynolds (13:44):
Dinging, and it is the most annoying thing in the world to me. So I just wear the seatbelt. So I don’t have to hear the stupid noise. Okay. I’m not saying this because I want to encourage people not to wear a seatbelt. You should wear a seatbelt and save. It’s the most important thing, but I’m trying to illustrate the fact that my car realized our car makers realized that if we want to change people’s behaviors around wearing a seatbelt, they didn’t just change our awareness. That seat belts are a way to keep you safe. We knew that it wasn’t that we want our loved ones to wear seat belts. It’ll keep them safe. We knew that what they figured out was if we wanted to change people’s behaviors, we needed to change their environment. My car annoys me into being safer. <Laugh> right. It, it annoys me into being safer.
Kevin Reynolds (14:35):
The fact that the dingy noise exists means my behaviors change. And I believe that that is an example that illustrates that environments influence actions. And I think that there are things that we can teach our young people that they could do in the classroom walking to and from the residence halls at 2:00 AM, at the party at, you know, at the club, there are things that they can learn to do that will allow them now to change their environments. Because I really believe that if we change the environments in which acts of sexual violence are perpetrated, then the perpetrators of such acts of violence will have to change. Their actions will have to change. And if we change those environments enough, I believe that we can end those acts of violence because those perpetrators will have to go somewhere else. And if we teach enough people enough ways to look and listen and see, and intervene in ways that are safe, but opportunistic and realistic for the college student, who’s out at a party, who’s had a couple drinks who wants to have a good time, but cares about the lives of those around them, and wants to just spend a little bit of time each night looking around and seeing what they can, you know, if there’s a place where they need to intervene or something, they need to say, I really believe if we can do enough of that today, tomorrow is significantly safer.
Kevin Reynolds (16:03):
And that is what I’m most passionate about.
Casey Cornelius (16:07):
I, I think, I think folks can hear this right. So if this is the first time you’re hearing Kevin’s voice, I, I, I think you can hear just, even in that explanation and in that answer, that this is not just a thought for him or, or something of interest. This truly is something that he’s passionate about. Kevin, I wanna, I want to go a little, a little deeper. Okay. There’s an example that I’ve heard you use before that I, that I hope that you could articulate a little bit here as well. Sure. As it relates to bystander intervention I’ve heard you describe that you always want the exit seat on an airplane.
Kevin Reynolds (16:42):
Casey Cornelius (16:43):
Can, can you describe, and, and by the way, head fake, it’s not just about the leg room. What is it? It’s
Kevin Reynolds (16:49):
Not just about the leg room.
Casey Cornelius (16:51):
Although the leg room is, is a, is a, is a, is a pleasant <laugh> is a pleasant element of it as well. But what is it? Connect the dots for me please about always wanting the exit seats on a plane and purposeful bystander intervention.
Kevin Reynolds (17:05):
So I I think for me, it’s the idea of if something were to happen, I want to be prepared mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so when I go in a room, no matter what room I’m in, I know how many exits there are in that room. And it’s not because I’m a paranoid person. It’s not because I’m, I’ve been trained to do that. A lot of folks who are serving the armed forces, that’s something that they’re often trained to do. That’s not my experience. It’s not my lived experience, but I want to know that if something were to happen, that I have control over the safety of myself and others. Right. That’s that, that’s that significance coming back. And I don’t, I’m never going to have full control, but what, what is something small that I can control? Well, I’m the guy by the seat, right?
Kevin Reynolds (17:56):
Mm-Hmm, <affirmative>, I’m the guy in the seat by the door. That’s one thing that I can control so that it’s not somebody who just wanted the leg room, but is gonna have four drinks as they’re flying across the country. Right. Right. And then they wouldn’t see, seen, seen that before, too. Yeah. Yeah. For sure. Right. For sure. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And so you know, when it comes to, to bystander intervention I want, I want to empower young people with things that they can actually do and they would actually do in order to help I’ve I’ve used this other example. When I speak with young women about sexual violence prevention, because oftentimes you know, when I talk to college students, they’re, they’re a little bit annoyed that the training for men is don’t rape anybody. Yes. And the training for women is here’s self defense.
Kevin Reynolds (18:53):
Here’s how to avoid walking alone. Don’t leave your drink. These are all defensive things. Yes. But there’s not really an offensive thing. Right. There’s not something they can do to help the situation. If, if they or someone else are, are, are getting that gut feeling like something might go south. And so you know, one of the examples I use with young young women and not to be putting any sort of, of unfair gender stereotype here, because I don’t, I don’t know that there is a fair one, but in, in many cases with young women, if I ask them if one of your female friends comes up to you at a restaurant or a bar or a party and says, I have to go to the bathroom, what are they telling you? And in most cases, many women, young women will tell me, or all women will tell me that what their friend is saying is please come with me to the bathroom, right.
Kevin Reynolds (19:47):
It’s not, it’s not aggressive. And it’s not, Hey, I think you’ve had too much to drink. And this guy looks like he’s ready to ask you if you want to go home. And I want to check in with you to see if this is a good idea or not. So will you come with me to the bathroom because they’re never going to save that, right? That’s we can’t train them to act like safety patrol officers, right. At the fraternity party or at the sports team party or where wherever they are at the club, we have to train them with tangible things that they could actually do. And they would actually do. And that is not too much to ask to say, I have to go to the bathroom so you can get your friend away from the person that they’re with that you’re worried might take advantage of the fact that they are inebriated and therefore incapacitated.
Kevin Reynolds (20:37):
They’re incapable of giving consent. And, and so, and to just take the opportunity to pull your friend aside and check, you know, if do you want to go home with this human being tonight? If the answer is no, then let’s go over to this end of the, of the room or leave together, or I can just make sure that I keep my eye on you. Do you want to go home with this person? Yes. Okay. Are, do you have what you need in order to be safe? Can you call me at X hour and let’s put an alarm on your phone so that, you know, to do that, can I go with you all these different things that they can ask follow up? But Casey, when I, when I served in conduct office roles, mm-hmm, <affirmative> at universities and colleges and I meet with young people and they’re sharing stories about nights that change their lives forever.
Kevin Reynolds (21:26):
It, so often they come to my office and they weren’t alone. They came with a friend and they came with a friend who was sitting next to them while they’re sharing the story and they’re holding their hand. And at some point I talked to the friend and I check in with them and how are they doing? And, and the title IX officer is in the room or potentially a counselor. And their friend looks at me and says, I knew that I shouldn’t have let them go home with them. I knew that that, that she, or he had too much to drink. I, I, or I got a feeling or my gut was telling me, or I just didn’t feel right about it. Or I didn’t even think to check in with her or him or whatever, or this person would never do that. But I didn’t check.
Kevin Reynolds (22:10):
These are the kinds of things that I hear over and over and over again. And while it might be, it might feel like victim blaming or, or whatever. It, that’s not what I’m talking about. Right. I’m not talking about the, the, the victim in this situation. I’m talking about. If that friend had, had potentially heard a program like this, that, that had got them to a place where instead of saying, you know, let’s not go to parties and drink and let’s not go you know, let’s not go out late at night or, or if it’s after 10, o’clock, we’re gonna be home or at the library. These are not things that many of our young people are going to choose. Right. Right. So they’re just going to tune us out when we start talking to them about, these are the options to prevent sexual violence.
Kevin Reynolds (23:00):
But if, if, if I can convince enough young people that there are a couple of things like this like, would you go with me to the bathroom? And enough of them start doing it tomorrow, then man, could, could we really have prevented more people from sitting there going, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to help. I, no one had ever shared with me that I should feel a sense of responsibility from my brothers and sisters or my friends and colleagues like that. That to me is where I can help. Right. This is
Casey Cornelius (23:32):
Not, it, it also, it, it seems like you’re trying to help eliminate the, I wish I would have after the fact statement, as opposed to I did and therefore, right. Am I, am I landing correctly on that?
Kevin Reynolds (23:48):
Yeah. yeah. And, and again, this is not the only way in which we can combat sexual violence and, and raise awareness of, of opportunities. Bystand intervention is only part of the solution. Right. But it is, but it is part of the solution and has to be,
Casey Cornelius (24:06):
So I’m, I’m, I’m gonna make this statement. I, I know I know Kevin always <laugh> pauses, whatever I do with zero disrespect to April being sexual assault awareness month I, I, I’ve always felt a particular way. And I sense that you do too, that we shouldn’t be waiting until April to have these conversations, especially as it relates to an academic year, April is the end. Like it’s, it’s the end of the academic year. It feels like very much, these should be conversations that should be had all throughout the year and April two, am I, am I correct? In that assumption,
Kevin Reynolds (24:43):
Casey, it is absolutely too late in the year for college and universities to talk with students about how they can keep themselves and others safe regarding these kinds of situations. Yes. It’s incredibly too late. We, we hear it all the time. The, the disgusting, and I know you speak about healthy masculinity and, and therefore speak about unhealthy masculinity, but, but, so you’re, you’re someone who can help people talk about combating this as well, Casey, but the disgusting things that young men write on the sides of houses when, you know, fathers drop off your daughters here, and these, these are predator statements. Yeah. Right. These are predator statements. And yes, I hope that if you’re interested in booking me to help be a part of your sexual assault awareness week, that might be in April because of that month. I know I can come in and help you and, and affect change on your college campus.
Kevin Reynolds (25:36):
I want to do that. But yes, if your goal is to prevent as many acts of violence, as you can, April is too late. The first night of classes is probably too late. Yeah. Yeah. the, the, you know, not, I can’t remember anything happening negative this evening, but I’ll just say the first thing that happened on my first night of college, my parents dropped me off. I moved in with some friends in, in a residence hall on campus and a bus drove right in front of the residence halls to pick us up and take us to a fraternity party. Right. And it was off campus and they checked IDs and they did everything. Right. but you can still do all of those things.
Casey Cornelius (26:19):
Yep. You sure can. Yep.
Kevin Reynolds (26:20):
And I’m telling you, this is, this is a bit derogatory for, for the podcast. And, but like one of the men who are part of this group that I did not join, stood up and yelled, I want some pussy. And then a bunch of other people on the bus yelled in, in response, I want some pussy. And that was like, that was the purpose of the event was to hook up. And if you walk in and you add alcohol to that situation and you add you know, mob like mentality to that situation, bad things can happen and will happen. And so, yeah, that is probably too late in April. Yeah. No, definitely too late.
Casey Cornelius (27:05):
Yep. Listen, I, I, I do, I do wanna say this, if you’d like to learn more about Kevin, his programming, his consulting work for college, for life.com/kevin. I, I wanna, I wanna switch gears a little bit and I wanna give you kudos for, for something that you know, maybe from the outside, people wouldn’t necessarily know about you, Kevin, and, and that is you have worked not only in your, in your nine to five professional life, but, but also in your speaking and consulting work with colleges of different sizes, different makeups, different different regions, like all across the country, public, private, religiously affiliated everywhere in between. What, what is it about you, do you think, and I’m, I’m asking you to too, your own horn, which I know you’re not very good at, but I’m, I’m gonna do it anyway. What, what is it about you that allows you to go, oh yeah. You know, 800 students in, you know, fill in the blank location, religiously affiliated I’m, I’m, I’m happy to work with them and deliver this message cuz I know they needed to like, what is it about you that, that translates so well across all of these different demographics.
Kevin Reynolds (28:15):
It is it is lived experience and the desire to pay it forward and help, you know, Don Donovan, Nicholas is on our team. He talks about pay it forward. And I love that. I, I, I believe that when I’ve worked at small private institutions I’ve worked at several small private faith based institutions and those groups have very little money to, to spare often and colleges and universities like that, that, that would choose to invest resources to send me to a conference on fraternity and sorority life or conduct or fundraising. And they would spend significant dollars, you know, big percentage points of, of operation operating budgets to send me to a conference. And I would walk into a room and the presenter was from Iowa state and they were talking about the things they did to increase donor retention at Iowa state or the, the programming dollars that they, that they put to good use in Greek life at Ohio state or small
Casey Cornelius (29:24):
Schools. For those of you who aren’t familiar
Kevin Reynolds (29:26):
Just right. Yeah. 40,000 plus schools, right. With all sorts of resources. And, and, and if there are people from the university of Alabama or, or the university of Texas listening to this going, we have our fair share of budget cuts and problems too. I understand. Right. But, but the, the information that’s often shared in these big events is not scalable to schools our size. It’s not scalable. And so, yeah, I I recognize the fact that there are amazing things happening at our large research, one institutions all over the country. But there are really important young people at the private faith based schools that could use some help. And they need to be able to rely on the administrators at those schools. And so they, those administrators need to be poured into as well. And it’s often hard to do that.
Kevin Reynolds (30:21):
Not everybody speaks small school. When I got to Thomas Moore university I was the chief conduct officer, chief housing officer and the person in charge of student activities. At the same time, I was doing all three jobs. Wow. A lot of places, those are, those are divisions right in and of themselves with many staff people. Did my students deserve anything less in their programming experience or their RA training than the, the students at Ohio state or the university of Kentucky an hour away? No, they deserved as much if not more training and pouring into, but man, was it tough to balance those three things at the same time? There’s also an opportunity for privates and, and especially faith based to, to own who they are. I wrote I wrote the student code of conduct here at Thomas Moore university because when I got here, we had a very state school oriented policy manual.
Kevin Reynolds (31:19):
If you do X to X degree or to Y degree, you will get Z punishment. Right. And I really believe in the restorative justice transformational power of talking with students about their choices and the environments that they’re affecting with those choices and, and the conduct process can be educational and not only punitive right. Oftentimes can be aspirational. Right? So so I I’ve rewritten for us and I’ve worked with other campuses on rewriting, their codes of conduct in ways that they are still compliant and still holding students accountable and holding themselves as universities accountable to policy and procedure that protect the students, but also can involve their values. In some case those faith values, if they are private faith based institutions and want to include those in conversations. So I just, I just, I would just answer that question by saying I got in this game because there aren’t a lot of other people in this game who are working with the small private institutions to help them figure out, okay. If I have to do the jobs of three people with just 37 and a half hours a week. And as you know, Casey, you were a student yep. Campus based professional few years. No, one’s doing it 37 and half hours a week. Right. They’re doing 60 hour work weeks. Yep. And they’re
Casey Cornelius (32:42):
Making, taking a lot home.
Kevin Reynolds (32:43):
Yeah. Taking a lot home. Yep. And, and they’re not making enough and they don’t have enough resources. And so okay. If that’s true. And those, those just things I just described are probably the leading causes of burnout and people leaving the profession. So I think if colleges and universities want to help pour into those people I wanted to be someone who had their hand in the air saying, I don’t care. What, what the amount of money is. Right. It’s for me, let’s figure out a way if you need help, I will try to figure out a way to help you. I’m not an expert in everything, but if it’s student affairs related or if it’s fundraising development, alumni engagement related, I I’ve, I’ve learned some things and, and I’ve grown in a way that I do think I can be helpful to some people,
Casey Cornelius (33:35):
I, I think it, it just so clearly comes through, you know, someone who’s known you for all these years. I, I’ve always known these things, you know, to, to be true. But the way that you just described that I, I know is not only words to you, like these are, these are driving values about, about being of service. And, and, and probably back to that idea of significance as well, right. If, if someone needs my assistance and their budget is X, and normally I, you know, I, I would charge Y I’m going to try to make it work. It’s it’s, it’s just so much at the core view. Can, can we do something sort of fun real quick? Sure. So I was thinking about this, you know, recently, and I mentioned, I mentioned in the intro that you are now the I don’t wanna use the term elder statesman <laugh>, but like, you, you are,
Kevin Reynolds (34:24):
I’m 34, so let’s,
Casey Cornelius (34:26):
Well, that’s, that’s true. That’s
Kevin Reynolds (34:27):
True. Don’t feel elder.
Casey Cornelius (34:29):
Right, right, right, right. But you, you had the longest tenure of, of anyone at, for college for life. And I don’t know, like, I, I thought maybe you and I could just sort of reminisce for a second about how much of changed in the last six years or so, like, like what do you, what, what’s the things that you want to share publicly? Sure. What, what, what do you think are, are some of the changes that you’ve observed?
Kevin Reynolds (34:58):
I will answer that question, but I will start with what, with two things that have not changed. Okay. The two things that have not changed are that the, the, for college, for life unofficial mission statement is good people doing important work. Mm. And that has been true from the beginning. And it is still very true now. And so that is that is one thing that is not changed. And if I could quote one of my all time favorite films remember the Titans, attitude reflect leadership. Okay. And the other thing that hasn’t changed is you Casey, and the direction that you and how you push us and how you are careful with who you add to the team and when you add them to the team. And, and I also think that the if you ha, if, if this happens to be the first for college for life podcast, that you listen to please go back and listen to the others. Yes, I have. I have done so, and I am not the only person with passion on this team. I am like the first couple I mean, forget it, Chris Melina Evan, Austin. I was in tears in my car listening to these. Are you kidding me?
Casey Cornelius (36:13):
Just try being on the other side of the microphone. Yeah.
Kevin Reynolds (36:15):
Right. Oh my gosh. These are passionate human beings who care and are doing important work. And, and so I just, I just have to say, thank you for letting me be a part of this from the beginning. Or right after the beginning, I think. Yeah. And, and for continuing to let me be a part of this company that is just, just, I’m so proud to be associated with these other human beings. What I will say that has changed is in, in an entirely exciting way I’ve watched, as we have sort of grown up as an agency and we’ve started doing some things that have allowed for a group of speakers who you might, other, other agencies might be like this, I don’t know. I’ve never worked at one. And, and, and folks in campus based professionals might see us as competitors, right. Competitive for campus dollars, which are few and far between, or or whatever. But what’s great about the way that this team has been structured over the years is Casey has been intentional about putting us together in a way that continually makes ourselves better. We meet every month as a, as a company we’re, we’re represented in what, like at least 15 states maybe before. Oh, yeah, yeah. And we meet every month via zoom. And we started that because we needed, I think we needed it during the pandemic. Yes,
Casey Cornelius (37:42):
We sure did. We sure did.
Kevin Reynolds (37:43):
Yeah. Yeah. But those, those evolved from just getting together to check in and talk a little bit of business and how are we switching to virtual, but it became professional development and that has been excellent. And then we’ve also, I think for four years now had the lab. We just did the fourth year, and this is a time where the speakers come together. Whoever can make it in different cities every time to, just to again, do some professional development. This year, we talked a ton about mission and values. But we also pour into each other in a way that I know my program got better in, in that two days. And I think we affected some significant change in one another. And I don’t know that every company has that culture because it, it doesn’t matter to me. That the way in which I’m helping a college campus is being the human being there.
Kevin Reynolds (38:40):
If, if you wanna talk about healthy masculinity and, you know, they should talk to you, Casey, and then you should talk to, to other people on, on our roster. I, I don’t know how, how far away these get published, but I’ll just pull the curtain back a little bit. Sure. Yesterday was Memorial day. And the and the amount of posts that I saw online, thanking those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom in our country was breathtaking and moving. I, I did not serve in the armed forces as many friends and family who have, and when I when I see, you know, those friends, fraternity brothers, you know, I would always say, thank you for your service. It is not until meeting Chris Molina, who you brought onto this roster this last year who just won our rookie speaker of the year. Right. Right. And not until meeting him that I think that there, there should be, there should be words after thank you for your service. Right. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. And when we started, we were solving a couple of campus problems. Right. We were talking recruitment for fraternities and sororities. We were talking about leadership. We were talking about title IX. We were solving what I would think are the basics. Yeah.
Casey Cornelius (39:55):
But we weren’t doing first layer first layer.
Kevin Reynolds (39:57):
Yeah. Yeah. We weren’t doing programming. That is that deep for how to, how to lift up your veterans. That’s incredible. And man, is it moving and, and exciting? And I, you know, I wish I could. I genuinely if I still made the decisions about, about which speakers talk to our incoming class, I would try to book the roster. Like I would really try to book the roster, you know, cause it’s, cuz there’s not one where I’m like, well this is the guy, you know, or, or, or, you know, Jessica Lundy is a, a phenomenal human being and she just won speaker of the year. And she’s so she’s obviously the best speaker on the roster yet. Well, she was last year mm-hmm <affirmative> but man is she incredible, but there are 10 other incredible people that, that I could recommend just as highly. And that’s awesome. And so I, I really, I’ve just been so excited. And it’s been so cool to watch how this team has evolved from something important to something equally important, but maybe a little more unique and special.
Casey Cornelius (41:04):
Well, you, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m gonna say this publicly to, to those who are listening and, and I would say it to you privately as well. I, I think with your long tenure, you, you, you become very much a center of gravity for folks. They see how you act and interact and they see how you, how you pour into other people and how you celebrate the wins and, you know, and are genuinely grieving for losses. And, and we’re, we’re not only talking professionally, like we’ve, we’ve been together and, and up and down the road through good times, bad times, hard times. Yeah. Individually, collectively. And I, I think, you know, it reflects your leadership as well that this is, this is who we are. This is how we treat one another. And like you mentioned, you mentioned the lab, people ask me sometimes like, oh, what’s, what’s, what’s that like or, oh, you just get together and have fun together or something like that. And what I describe is by the end of it, I am physically and mentally and psychologically and emotionally exhausted. Yeah. Because you can’t get that many good quality high level people around a table that are, that are actively working for one another and not be tired by the end of it.
Kevin Reynolds (42:17):
Yeah. I was pretty, I was pretty exhausted this year.
Casey Cornelius (42:20):
Right, right. But it also like, but wouldn’t any other way, you
Kevin Reynolds (42:23):
Know? Yeah. Yep. Yeah, absolutely. Yep.
Casey Cornelius (42:26):
Kevin, we’ve come to that part where I get you out here on a, on a few questions. Are you ready for these rapid fire questions?
Kevin Reynolds (42:33):
Let’s do it.
Casey Cornelius (42:34):
All right. So I, I know again, pulling back the curtain a little bit, you’ve got a little one at home, so this question is very hypothetical <laugh>, but let’s yeah. Let’s imagine, imagine that you have an entire day to binge watch anything. What do you choose?
Kevin Reynolds (42:49):
That’s, that’s really funny. Yeah. It’s the answer is not spy and his amazing friends. I’ll tell you that.
Casey Cornelius (42:55):
<Laugh> what do you choose? What do you
Kevin Reynolds (42:59):
Honestly, I’m a I’m a huge fan of anything written by Aaron Sorkin. But I fell in love with Aaron Sorkin through the west wing. I remember my parents used to watch it and I, I would stay up a little past my bedtime. I think it was Wednesdays at nine. When I was growing up and I, I was able to watch the west wing and I, and you know, it’s one that I tell people I don’t care of your political affiliation. I would really recommend just watching it cuz it’s really smart writing. That’s the thing I love about Aaron Sorkin is it’s informed, smart writing. And, and it’s good. It’s really, really good. The, if you watch the west wing, watch the first five seasons and then turn it off. Cuz after that he stopped,
Casey Cornelius (43:47):
It’s a little strange.
Kevin Reynolds (43:48):
He wrote it. Yep. And then wasn’t as good. But but it’s great stuff. So the west wing would be that for sure. I will say that I am really looking forward to the moment when my son becomes of age to which he, I and his mother, my wife, Kristen agree that it is time for him to watch the Marvel cinematic universe movies and, and go beyond the cartoon spy and his amazing friends introduction of super heroes because I’m a huge comic book nerd for sure. So that would be my other caveat is I could pretty much sit down and watch Marvel movies all day.
Casey Cornelius (44:28):
See, this is what I didn’t know. I, I always say I learned something new and this is not the only thing I’ve learned about you today, but I never knew that that was a, that was a go-to
Kevin Reynolds (44:36):
For you. Oh yeah. I rarely miss a premier. I’m I’m real big in it. Yep.
Casey Cornelius (44:40):
There you go. All right, Kevin, what is the most used app on your phone?
Kevin Reynolds (44:46):
<Laugh> oh, I forgot. This is one of the questions I obviously I’m balancing quite a bit. So calendar is probably it.
Casey Cornelius (44:54):
That is the nerdiest answer I’ve ever heard.
Kevin Reynolds (44:56):
My, no, actually it’s not cuz here’s what I was gonna say next, Jason, <laugh> the actual most use app on my phone is the chess.com app.
Casey Cornelius (45:06):
Kevin Reynolds (45:07):
I, I love playing chess. I am not great at it. I’m I know that because I’m friends with people who are but I grew up playing my dad. It was one of the things that, that, that he did early on to connect with me and and he beat me. I mean he never let me win. He beat me my whole life
Casey Cornelius (45:29):
Kevin Reynolds (45:30):
And I watched like many people I watched the Queens gambit on Netflix
Casey Cornelius (45:35):
Was like, great show. Great show.
Kevin Reynolds (45:37):
Excellent. Excellent. The only thing I would say about it is it could have used more chess.
Casey Cornelius (45:41):
Kevin Reynolds (45:42):
And, and I was, I was like, you know I, I would like to start playing this again. I found a couple friends who played online on chess.com the app. And it’s great because to sit there and play a full game, I don’t know that I have time for, but you can play a three day game, which is everybody has three days to make their move. And so I make, I make more than one move every three days, but, but it wouldn’t, I would not lose my turn unless it was, it’d been three days and my dad and I have time for that. Right, right, right. We don’t live in the same city, but for over a year now we’ve been playing chess every day together every single day.
Casey Cornelius (46:21):
Oh, that’s awesome. That’s fantastic. Yeah. It’s
Kevin Reynolds (46:24):
So cool. Right. And I’ve won 74 outta 78 games. Ah <laugh> okay. Cause I’ve learned some things. All right. <Laugh> okay. But
Casey Cornelius (46:35):
Mr. Reynolds, if you’re listening to this, I, I apologize. Oh no,
Kevin Reynolds (46:38):
No, no. Casey, excuse me. He’s the original Dr. Reynolds.
Casey Cornelius (46:41):
Okay. Oh, pardon? Pardon me, Dr. Sorry. Pardon me?
Kevin Reynolds (46:43):
Pardon me? He’s he’s Dr. Reynolds. Senior.
Casey Cornelius (46:45):
Kevin Reynolds (46:46):
So, and I’ve, I have come for him. And, and the apprentice has become the master area of chess. So, well,
Casey Cornelius (46:55):
Kevin Reynolds (46:56):
That’s most use app my phone.
Casey Cornelius (46:57):
I like it. Let’s mix this up a little bit. So who would you most want to have dinner with
Kevin Reynolds (47:02):
Casey Cornelius (47:03):
Right. <Laugh> right.
Kevin Reynolds (47:05):
Absolutely. Paralympian gold medalist Evan Austin would be my choice, but I don’t, it doesn’t have to be anymore. I had dinner with him a couple weeks ago with you. Yeah. Because he’s an awesome speaker on our team. So and Jasmine stole my Beyonce answer.
Casey Cornelius (47:23):
Mm-Hmm <affirmative> <affirmative> so I D know that
Kevin Reynolds (47:24):
I’m gonna go there. So the actual answer is head coach, Robert Salla of the New York jets. I am unfortunately my father among a love of chess, passed down a love of the New York jets to me,
Casey Cornelius (47:39):
Long suffering, long
Kevin Reynolds (47:41):
Suffering, long suffering, New York jets fan. But I am, I am, if you know me, you know, it is, is among my top three or four passions. I love the game. I love the team. But we make some decisions that I have thoughts on. And I would like to share those decisions with, with Robert Salla.
Casey Cornelius (47:58):
<Laugh> let’s see if we can make that happen. We’ll tag him in this Hey Jay, Harris his podcast. Lots. Jay, can we make it happen? Help me out, Jay. Exactly. Kevin, what do you do to wind down? Do you have any rituals or do you have any things that signal to you? Like, okay, I I’ve been going, going, going, now’s my time to relax. What do you do to wind down?
Kevin Reynolds (48:18):
This is going to sound counterproductive, but I have gotten really into being a lawn care guy. I, I like my lawn to be pristine. And I’ve gotten really into that. I’m not much on the TikTok, but when I do log in, I am on lawn talk. I am watching people, you know, Stripe their lines and just get really into it. Kristen makes fun of me, you know, about how we’re in the bluegrass state, but I, I have a a passion more for, for SCU. But I’ve, I’ve become pretty into lawn care. As it just clears my head. I, I did not make it more than a semester as a musical theater major in college, but I did not lose my love for musical theater. So you will, you will see me with the AirPods in jamming out to some Rogers and Hammerstein, just going to town on my lawn.
Kevin Reynolds (49:23):
Every weekend it is something I have grown to, to really love even on those really hot days. <Laugh> yeah. It’s relaxing and, and I get outta my head, I stop working. I’m like KC, I, I almost never stop working. So my mind is constantly going and, and, you know, you get the late night text from me about, okay, what if we called it this right? Yep. And, and that that never happens when I’m mowing a lawn or weed eating or gardening or whatever that that’s not, I love good for me. Yep.
Casey Cornelius (49:55):
That’s a great answer. That’s a very old soul answer, man. It doesn’t, it doesn’t, it doesn’t surprise me like knowing you had that, that actually doesn’t surprise me at all. Listen, one more shameless plug before we go. Sure. Please check out ForCollegeForLife.com/kevin. If you wanna learn more about Kevin its programs, his consulting work all that kind of stuff and whether or not he can be of service to your campus or organization. Final question, Kevin, how can listeners best connect with you?
Kevin Reynolds (50:19):
Yeah, Google plus <laugh> for the other three people on Google plus still I am, I am here for you.
Casey Cornelius (50:30):
And you’re all connected. What, what are you gonna do? That’s
Kevin Reynolds (50:32):
Right. But if you must you can email me at for college, for life, Kevin gmail.com. You can also connect with me on Twitter or Instagram at Reynolds, Kevin. I’m on LinkedIn as well. I’m, I’m pretty much everywhere. I think my MySpace page is still active, but I don’t, I don’t know how to get to it, so, yeah. But yeah, I would love to connect if I can help in any way, you know, I, I hope it was clear, but genuinely if I can help in any way, just let me know. And, and I’m there.
Casey Cornelius (51:05):
Well, I say this every time and, and I mean, it, I, I, I have absolutely loved this, this interview. I’ve learned things I’ve, I’ve laughed you know, gotten the chills a couple of times too. Like I said, you know, Kevin and I have have gone up and down the road a few times together and to still learn things about him and his journey and his mission and his, his calling is, is is really profound. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. Please do all the things that you’re supposed to do with podcast. It really, really helps please like it and share and subscribe and leave a review and all that other kind of stuff. And, and by the way, if you’re looking for this on a platform that, that we’re not on, please let us know. We’re trying to be everywhere. Search for college for life podcasts, listen to the past episodes as Kevin mentioned. And we really look forward to bringing you more of these episodes. If there’s anything specific that you would like us to talk about, or maybe even some combinations of folks that you would like us to bring together for these chats, be happy to do it until then. Appreciate you, appreciate you, Kevin, and look forward to our next opportunity to chat. Thanks everybody.