Social Impact Heroes: How Vito Pellicano is helping people to live with “Aliveness”

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…acknowledging others and letting them know how they have impacted you, means way more to an individual than just a simple compliment. Make time to show it.

As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Vito Pellicano.

Vito Pellicano (creator, editor, and director of The Search for Aliveness) serves as Tuthill Corporation’s Explorer, Wake the World, where he visually shares the company’s culture through a wide range of creative outlets. Vito is a creative jack-of-all-trades who loves being a part of the brainstorming process. Beginning as a programmer and website designer for Tuthill in 2007, he has spent the last 8 years dedicating his work to the company’s brand. Within this brand, he helped in developing the Wake the World initiative, which is the company’s Purpose and introduces the documentary’s concept of aliveness. While everyone has their own definition of what makes them feel alive, Vito attributes his aliveness to creating, exploring, staying curious, and being sure to never skip out on eating his favorite foods.

The self-described vagabond has lived in a number of places throughout the years, the most recent being Florida. He does much of his exploring with his wife and two kids, who all love travel and be in the outdoors. His favorite places he’s visited include Glacier National Park in Montana, as well as Dingle, Ireland. Vito created the idea for the documentary and is working as the film’s director and editor. He will couple his passions of exploring and filmmaking as he travels around the world in search of the “recipe” for Aliveness. Oh, and did we mention that he has an identical twin?

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’m going to try and answer this from an uncommon perspective. Much like my job title states, my life has always been about exploring. That being said, if I’m not seeking out things that spark my curiosity, I get bored VERY quickly. My career path has never been about a “career”, instead, it has always been about what my heart tells me it wants, at the moment. Also, like most of us, I have a very strong desire to be where I’m needed and, more importantly, wanted.

When I started working at Tuthill, my initial assumption was that I wasn’t going to stay long. I thought my time here would be short-lived, possibly unchallenged, and that I would move on to my next adventure fairly quickly. Instead, the company encouraged me to dream big, be my authentic self, and to constantly grow creatively and as a person. I have been with Tuthill now for more than 12 years and our relationship continues to be one of trust, love, and inspiration.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your project/series?

When I first presented the idea to go out and create a documentary, I was a bit nervous. Why would a manufacturing company support such an initiative like this and worse yet, what if I failed? I voiced my concerns to my boss, Chad Gabriel (also the series host and narrator), CEO, Tom Carmazzi, and the owner, Jay Tuthill. They all reassured me that trying something new that is impactful, courageous, and heartfelt is more than enough reason to reach our goal to Wake the World. Chad Gabriel, asked, “What does success look like to you?” My answer was quick, simple, and I still remind myself of it today. If we could inspire just a few people, who rarely think about their lives in the context of aliveness, to try something new, and start living the life they were meant to live. That would be a sign of success.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

We were in Zambia, Africa filming an interview outdoors. We took a lot of time trying to get the lighting just right and block out the sun as much as we could. We moved around to different areas for what seemed like hours. Once we felt good, we then thought it would be a great idea to light a bonfire for our guests to sit around. The smoke was blowing everywhere and became very distracting. We were pressed for time and just had to start filming. I remember being upset and worried about the footage and if it would be even usable. So, when we got back to our rooms, we started reviewing the video and backing it up on hard drives. That’s when we noticed the smoke was crazy, the sun ended up blowing out our backdrop, and worse yet, some of our files were corrupt. As you could imagine, it was a crazy day jam-packed with emotions. Mistakes, while you’re filming, are not at all funny, but after we released the episode and looked back, we all had a good laugh.

The one big lesson (out of many) from that day was Perfection versus Excellence. When you strive for perfection, it could distract you from your original intention, and you will always remain unsettled. But, when you work towards excellence, you are committed to doing the best job you can do with what you have and most importantly you constantly grow from each of your learnings. That episode, The Extra Mile, still remains one of my favorites today.

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

For the documentary? Simple. Ask yourself, when was the last time you thought about your life? Not just your career, but your entire life. Our series aims at creating that space for you to take some time and think about how you are living today and to inspire you to try new things that can spark or propel you to live into your own unique aliveness.

At Tuthill, we have a dedicated team that creates and provide tools, retreats, and space for each one of our employees to grow and become more aware of their life and goals.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by your cause?

Back in Africa, this time in Livingstone, we met a young girl named Nandila. When she was a baby, Nandila was thrown into a latrine pit and left to die by her mother. Maggots had eaten at her eyes and she was left permanently blind. Her story can be seen here. As we interviewed her and her friend, Blessings, they talked about their dreams of teaching others to overcome their own disabilities and to share the message of hope. Nandila’s story of compassion, strength, forgiveness, and love is one that I will never forget. The individual that was impacted? Me.

Are there three things that community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Just three? I’m going to be an over-achiever and list the 5 categories we feel encompass aliveness and what they mean to me.

  1. Present & Engaged: Being in the moment. Here. Now. Authentically.
  2. Energy: Fueling our body, mind, and soul to achieve your life’s ambitions.
  3. Emotional Awareness: Experience and understand all your emotions and learn from them.
  4. Purpose: Find and live into your passion while being in service to others
  5. Belonging: Surround yourself with people/communities who will support you for being you.

Also, I recently was introduced to two terms that really stood out to me during our yearly meeting where we create our 2020 goals at Tuthill.

Uncommon Trust
Courageous heartfelt vulnerability with no boundaries that can weather any storm!

Uncommon Conflict
A celebration of diverse perspectives that bonds like-hearted teams to serve a mutual purpose.

Imagine if the world would start adding more aliveness into their lives? Imagine if politicians work with Uncommon Trust and Uncommon Conflict? Wow.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leadership to me, is the act of inspiring others to live into their own greatness and talents, while at the same time, providing extreme clarity and understanding of the goal in order to get an “All In, All Heart” attitude and will to succeed.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1 . “We don’t make mistakes. We make happy accidents. Just try it. Don’t get upset if something doesn’t go right. You will learn from mistakes.” ~ Bob Ross. Sometimes I watch videos at night before I head to bed. I enjoy watching people create or even restore things. One day, I was having a hard time with a video edit and kept making mistakes. Feeling beat, frustrated, and ready for bed. I came across this video

Thank you, Bob.

2 . Stepping away from your desk to take a walk and clear your head is still working. I used to feel guilty for taking a break when I get stuck on project that I’m working on. The funny thing is, I usually find my answer in the least expected ways.

3 . Say Yes to things that scare you. I wouldn’t be answering these questions, going on the radio, jumping out of planes if I didn’t face my fears. It’s important to get out of your comfort zone. Who knows what you might learn about yourself.

4 . Show Gratitude. By acknowledging others and letting them know how they have impacted you means way more to an individual than just a simple compliment. Make time to show it.

5 . Leave it up to God! ~ My Mamma. When I need help or guidance. Stop, take a minute, and pray.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Other than sparking Aliveness? Well, how about National “Bring Back the 80’s” Month? I’ll get my parachute pants, bandana, and Metallica t-shirt ready.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth” ~ Mike Tyson.

Two things. For me, it is about having confidence in myself to face and overcome adversity. It also, in a weird way, speaks to the rebel in me to always challenge the status quo.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

@RealDonaldTrump and @SpeakerPelosi together for an all you can eat brunch of the messiest things you can eat (think ribs, corn on the cob, or even crab legs). Why? Because it’s not about Right or Left, it’s about the Heart and Uncommon Conflict. I think they both could use a little time with a person like me.

How can our readers follow you on social media?
The Search for Aliveness Links:





Official Trailer:

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Social Impact Heroes: How Vito Pellicano is helping people to live with “Aliveness” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.