Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. It is forced coercion. Exploitation can include prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Left to Right: Elizabeth M. Wheaton, Niki McCuistion, Kristen Richards, Dennis McCuistion, Shawn McGraw and Rebekah

While accurate figures are difficult to access, the International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, including 5.5 million children. Fifty-five percent are women and girls.

There are two primary factors driving the spread of human trafficking: high profits and low risk. This well-hidden, American epidemic involves, from a sex trafficking perspective, at least 100,000 children in the U.S., a $9.8 billion industry. The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 13 years old.

While human trafficking spans all demographics, certain circumstances or vulnerabilities may lead to a higher susceptibility to victimization and human trafficking:

  • Runaways and homeless youth
  • Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war or conflict, or social discrimination
  • Foreign nationals who have paid large recruitment and travel fees to labor recruiters

Texas is a hub, #2 in incidences of human trafficking with California being the highest in incidences (Dept. of Homeland Security). The Department of Justice designated the I-10 corridor, which runs from California to Florida, as the #1 route for human trafficking in the US. One-third of this traffic goes through Texas, 1 in 4 victims are transported along I-10, and Dallas/ Ft. Worth, Houston and San Antonio, which has been designated as the Texas triangle, is one of the most prevalent places for trafficking in the country.

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, are professionals in the awareness and prevention field, including:

  • Elizabeth M. Wheaton, PhD – Economist, Senior Lecturer, Cockrell-McKintosh Faculty -in-residence, Southern Methodist University, who talks about the economics of human trafficking. She asks, “if there is no money to be made from human trafficking, would it exist”? Unfortunately there is not good data.
  • Kristen Richards – The Director of Volunteers for Traffick911, a nonprofit organization committed to a world without slavery. The organization has been recognized by Homeland Security Investigations as a most-valued partner in the battle to save American children from sexual slavery. Traffick911 has trained thousands of first responders across the country, has safe homes and works in both intervention and prevention.
  • Rebekah – A survivor, trafficked for 10 years, who talks about her personal situation and is now an advocate who has dedicated her life to building awareness and prevention of this issue.
  • Shawn McGraw – Supervisory Special agent, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security who conducts investigations regarding this crime. He concentrates on North Texas, receiving leads from various sources. He says it is one of the most unrecorded crimes, with victims seeing themselves part of the crime.

Human trafficking happens in our own country, our own backyards. It is imperative we know more about this growing epidemic. Awareness and involvement on everyone’s part is critical. This is not just a law enforcement problem – it is a people problem.


Join us to see how you personally can help.


Talking about things that matter… with people who care.





Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Consultant and speaker:
On Engaging Employees, Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning


2205 – 11.23.14

How we communicate, conduct business and interact socially has dramatically changed, most especially in the last 10 or so years. Major, new technologies have fundamentally altered with whom, how and where we communicate. The Internet has formed the basis for a new business and social community, manufacturing information for all of us to share.

The Network Revolution has actually changed how value is created and how people connect and make decisions.

Left to Right: Monte Ford, Dennis McCuistion, William J. Ribaudo, Niki McCuistion and Barry Libert

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, to talk about this revolution are key experts in that field:

  • Monte Ford: Director Akamai Technologies, Former Senior VP/ CIO American Airlines
  • William J. Ribaudo: Partner, Deloitte and Touche, LLP
  • Barry Libert: Chairman and Founder, OpenMatters

Our experts advise us to join the revolution and make it work – or be left behind. Technology, across all of its platforms, from the Internet to the Cloud, Facebook, Twitter and others are the “new” way to communicate. With technology accelerating at an increasingly rapid pace, this “new” technology is not only distributing information but making connections – and is the lynchpin of business.

Unlike a limiting, physical world, technology has created a platform that allows us to learn and conduct business in many different ways. Today people learn from cell phones and computers. The pace of change is much more rapid, making control of information more democratized.

Democratization of information means one does not need to rely on a single source especially one that may not be trusted.

From business to education, vast changes are taking place.

Changes in business: Today every business needs to think differently. They need to ask, “what’s the intellectual property that I have created that I can offer a customer that gives them the information they need to make decisions? How might I connect with my customers so they are participants in my business, helping me think about new ideas?”

Changes in culture: Some of the cultural shifts include: sharing economy, collaborative consumption, peer-to-peer exchanges, crowd sourcing, network participation, self- actualization and mastery, and peer based trust. Jobs have changed as a result.

Changes in media: Media has especially been hit by the way information is now accessed and consumed. The old way of getting news is now, to the younger generation, Jurassic Park. If you can get up to date information instantly from many sources, why settle for one?

Changes in education: Young people today even decide what classes to take and from which professors, by online ranking. Schools are offering virtualized education.

Friend or foe? The technology revolution is here to stay.

Join us to talk about how it can become your friend.

Regards: Niki

Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Consultant and speaker:
On Engaging Employees, Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning


2209 – 11.16.14

Common Core is the subject of this episode of the McCuistion Program as well as the subject of many conversations happening around the country when discussing education standards.

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, to discuss the controversy over the Common Core are guests:

  • Kathleen Leos: Former Assistant Deputy Director, US Department of Education and
    CEO: Global Institute for Language and Literacy Development
  • Louis Malfaro: Secretary/ Treasurer, Texas American Federation of Teachers

What is Common Core?
State education chiefs and governors in 48 states came together to develop the Common Core, a set of clear, college and career ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Today, 43 states have voluntarily adopted and are working to implement the standards, which are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to take credit bearing introductory courses in two or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.

Common Core was initially created to ensure high standards that are consistent across states and provide clear expectations so all students, regardless of where they live in the US, graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career and life. Its intent was rigorous, aimed at ensuring all students are prepared to compete with their peers and not fall behind their peers in other countries. Common Core provides a framework so more distinct standards are looked at. It’s not about how teachers should teach, but about the information we want used in a classroom environment. Common Core also allows for how and why individuals, events or ideas develop and interact over the course of a learning text.

Additionally the Common Core allows for more collaboration with other states on a wide range of tools and policies including:

  • The development of the necessary tools and other support systems that would help teachers and school systems ensure students are able to learn the new standards
  • The development of digital media, textbooks and other learning tools
  • The development of common comprehensive assessment systems, replacing present testing systems so student performance can be measured annually.

Yet while teachers have been a critical voice in the development of these standards, there is still a strong backlash to the Common Core implementation across the US.

Join us to learn from our guests about the pros and cons of the Common Core and what must happen to raise the standard of US education nationwide.

Thank you for joining us as we continue talking about things that matter with people who care- now in our 25th year of thought provoking topics…


Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Consultant and speaker:
On Engaging Employees, Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning


11.09.14 – 2204

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Wealth of States.  

State wealth is the subject of the second part of the Wealth of States series. Part two provides more insight on the reasons why some US citizens are fleeing their home states, causing these states to lose both much needed revenue and residents.

Joining host Dennis McCuistion to discuss state wealth are:

Left to Right: J. Matthew Wilson and Stephen Moore

There are mass exoduses of US citizens and businesses fleeing states where they are being choked by income taxes and laws that make it difficult to work and operate their businesses. One of the reasons are the policies politicians are implementing that prevent, not encourage, growth. State income tax rates are a big factor stimulating moves from one state to another. Presently there are 9 states which have no personal income tax and they create 3 times more jobs. Another factor: right to work laws – so individuals/ businesses are not forced to join unions. Still another issue is energy- a huge and growing factor in the wealth of states and a politically contentious one.

With the issue of state wealth, a balance is needed, yet are we really willing to tolerate a little more risk to gain a lot economically? Perhaps what is needed is a cost-benefit analysis that looks at facts, not scare factors. For the first time since the Civil War we are also growing more geographically polarized-,with red states getting redder and blue states, bluer and actual secession movements within some states. More and more, people are opposing what is proposed by the other side- regardless.

When looking at state wealth and the reasons certain states are flourishing, census studies are one place to look. Presently census studies show the top 20 cities to move to are: San Antonio, Houston, Pasadena, TX, Laredo, TX, Corpus Christie, TX, Brownsville TX, Boise, Idaho, Austin, TX, Tallahassee, FL, Pocatello, Idaho, Mobile, AL, Ft. Worth, TX, Dallas, Portland, OR, Plano, TX, Garland, TX, St. Petersburg, FL., Irving, TX, Birmingham, AL, Vancouver, WA. An interesting dichotomy is that it appears that in liberal states- the rich are getting richer and the poor, more poor. Another irony is that people come to red states, because taxes are lower as is the cost of living, then they attempt to changes the policies to reflect what they were in the state they vacated!

Are there solutions? Or are some states destined to become “ghost towns”? Tune in and be challenged by what our guests propose- as we continue talking about things that matter with people who care.

Thanks for joining us to talk about state wealth.

Niki McCuistion

Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Consultant and speaker:
On Engaging Employees, Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Wealth of States.  

State wealth is the topic of this McCuistion Program. Join host, Dennis McCuistion, and guests Stephen Moore and Dr. Bernard Weinstein, for a lively discussion on economics and the increased wealth of some states at the cost of others who are rapidly declining in population and overall growth. What are the contributing factors to state wealth?

State Wealth Panelists Include:

Stephen Moore: Chief Economist at the Heritage Foundation and co-author of An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of States, claims businesses as well as high income individuals migrate to where their economic interests are protected. He believes lowering the state income tax and decreasing tax burdens invite more business and build a state’s economy.

Bernard Weinstein PhD: Economist and Associate Director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University, discusses the issue of natural resources and how this has also contributed to state wealth or the increased migration of residents to those states that have fewer regulations regarding these resources, so they are more readily available.

Arthur B. Laffer, PhD: Stephen Moore’s co-author, joins us via a prior pre-taped interview. He says, “taxes redistribute people not wealth”. The authors’ studies review the last 53 years and examine the 11 states which had introduced income taxes (the first being West Virginia, in 1961, the last, Connecticut in 1991). The authors looked at population, employment rates, and the work force, output and tax revenue, from 3 years prior to the tax being instituted to the last 2-3 years. They found that every single state had declined; after instituting tax, in every single one of the metrics as a share of the US economic picture.

Stephen Moore says, “You can’t balance the budget on the backs of people who immigrated.” Nor can you balance the budget on the backs of those who are unemployed. While each state government thought it was worth raising taxes for more schools, highways and infrastructure, the result was the opposite of what was expected. If a public sector and agency does not perform, we give them more money! In the private sector we cut costs to be more efficient. Yet as Weinstein says, “In Texas, maybe we could spend a little more- we can afford it. We’ve dropped from 34th to 49th in education.”

The outcome of the discussion on state wealth… policies matter. Our guests make a solid case for states themselves to become more competitive or risk population shrinkage and urban dilapidation; before they become ghost towns as several of our cities have- from Detroit to Cleveland, and states mortgage their future as California and New York have.

Thank you for joining us as we continue talking about things that matter… and today, it’s about state wealth.



Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Engaging employees, consultant and
speaker on Organizational Culture,
Governance and Strategic Planning

While crony capitalism has given capitalism a bad name, capitalism itself is the greatest wealth provider ever known.

Conscious capitalism has an even higher purpose, that of inspiring stakeholders with a sense of passion and purpose, a dedication to the organization’s mission and an authenticity that leads to empowered, engaged employees, and loyal customers, which in turn creates even more profit and value.

  • Left to Right: Raj Sisodia, Dennis McCuistion, Scott Miller, Niki McCuistion & Whitney Johns Martin

    Left to Right: Raj Sisodia, Niki McCuistion, Scott Miller, Dennis McCuistion & Whitney Johns Martin

    Raj Sisodia PhD – Co-Founder and Trustee of Conscious Capitalism, Inc., Co-Author of Conscious Capitalism and Firms of Endearment

  • Whitney Johns Martin – Co-Founder/ Managing Director of Texas Women’s Ventures
  • Scott Miller – President of Interstate Batteries

Short interviews are also included with Jack Lowe, retired CEO of TD Industries and Conscious Capitalism co-founder John Mackey of Whole Foods. Mackey says, “Business is the greatest value creator in the world. Everyone has the potential for a higher purpose. We value our employees, customers, vendors and the community and follow the four tenets of conscious capitalism.”

Whitney Johns Martin works with companies and investors who believe in the values of conscious capitalism and want to invest in companies that follow its precepts. Scott Miller of Interstate Batteries, which is now in its 62nd year, assures the principles are followed within their own company. A purpose driven conscious company, they do business by the Golden Rule and firmly believe in the tenets of conscious capitalism.

Kip Tindell and Melissa Reiff of the Container Store, which is consistently ranked in Fortune 500’s best companies to work for, and who join us via a prior interview, state, “We focus on employees first. We feel a moral obligation to make sure they get out of bed in the morning and enjoy their work and are committed to it.”

untitled-0275Raj Sisodia says, conscious capitalism is about building alignments; conscious leaders who inspire a passion for the organization’s mission and purpose and build a culture of trust, love and caring, loyalty, integrity, transparency and empowerment. “Those companies that get this make more profit and keep employees, as well as customers, loyal.”

Tune in to learn more of how the tenets of conscious capitalism can be applied in your own workplace – to build performance and profitability and keep employees excited about their work contribution.

Niki Nicastro McCuistion, CSP
Executive Producer/ Producer
Management Analyst, Speaker, Consultant
Google+ Profile

In response to the greed associated by many to  “capitalism at all costs”, Whole Foods Market co-founder, John Mackey, and professor and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. co-founder, Raj Sisodia, argue for the inherent good of both business and capitalism. They make a sound argument for a new way of doing business that is more ethically conscious and humane.

Joining host Dennis McCuistion are:

  • Raj Sisodia, PhD – Co-founder of Conscious Capitalism, Inc., and the co-author of Firms of Endearment and Conscious Capitalism
  • Doug Levy – Conscious capitalism “practitioner”, Founder and CEO of MePlusYou
  • Rand Stagen – Conscious capitalism “practitioner”, Managing Partner at the Stagen Leadership Academy
Left to Right: Doug Levy, Dennis McCuistion, Rand Stagen, Niki McCuistion, and Raj Sisodia

Their book features some of the best companies to work for in the United States including: The Container Store, Google, Southwest Airlines, among others who practice the tenets of conscious capitalism. Dr. Sisodia was in Dallas for a University of Texas Dallas: Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance (IECG) conference. He shared how conscious capitalism works to create value for all stakeholders: employees, customers, suppliers, investors, society, and the environment and why aspiring leaders and businesses need to build on this path of transformation-for the good of both business and society as a whole. Doug Levy and Rand Stagen, active participants in what is gaining traction as the Conscious Capitalism movement, discuss how they apply the tenets of conscious capitalism in their own business and in working with their clients. They use the four tenets of conscious capitalism:

  1. Higher purpose
  2. Stakeholder integration
  3. Conscious leadership
  4. Conscious culture and management

Doug Levy, Rand Stagen and their colleagues have built strong businesses that advance capitalism further toward realizing its highest potential – for the good of both business and society as a whole. As our guests tell us:

“Business can do more than just make money. Business needs to be conducted with a higher consciousness to create value, financial, emotional, physical, ecological, spiritual as well as cultural and intellectual win wins. Business is good because it creates value. It is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange. It is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty.”

As a result of business in the last century not only are we healthier, eating better, more educated and living longer, but we are also using work to make a difference… More and more CEO’s and employees are asking “How can I bring my full self to my job? How can I do well and do good?”

Join us to learn from business people who are changing the face of business and building great places to work in.

Niki Nicastro McCuistion, CSP
Executive Producer/ Producer
Management Analyst, Speaker, Consultant
Google+ Profile

2115 – 12.29.2013

Innovative research on brain health makes an incredible difference in lives. In the second part of a two part series, experts talk about brain health.  During this episode, Dennis McCuistion is joined by three experts:

  • Lori Cook, PhD, CCC-SLP: Head of Pediatric Brain Injury Programs, Center for BrainHealth, University of Texas- Dallas
  • Jacque Gamino, PhD: Director, BrainHealth Teen Reasoning Initiative
  • Sergeant Mike Rials: Brain Performance Institute, Warrior Training Team, Purple Heat Recipient

Join us as we talk about brain health and the innovative research that makes a critical difference in many lives. Its insights might impact you or a loved one.

To read more about this episode visit the original blog post here: Make Your Brain Smarter – Part Two.

Brain health plays an important role in life satisfaction and overall health and success. Thankfully, there are ways to improve your brain health! In this episode the McCuistion program is joined by these brain health experts.

Brain Health Experts

  • Sina Aslan, PhD: Imaging Specialist, Center for Brain Health, UT – Dallas
  • Sandra Chapman, PhD: Chief Director and Founder, Center for Brain Health, UT – Dallas
  • Eric Bennett, CPA: Executive Director, Brain Performance Institute at the Center for Brain Health

To learn more about this episode, visit the original blog: Make Your Brain Smarter – Part One or watch the episode below.

Sonja Ezell and Hank Moore join Dennis McCuistion for Sunday’s episode addressing the impact of television on the children of today.  Sonja Ezell is a reading specialist at Dallas Independent School District. Hank Moore is a corporate strategist and the author of The Business Tree and The Classic Television Reference.

Join our experts as we look into statistics and information regarding this important issue affecting our society today. For more details about this episode, visit the original blog post by clicking this link: TV and Its Impact on Society and Our Kids.

As always, we are talking about things that matter… with people who care.