Founder & CEO
Dustin Plantholt, CEO & Founder of Life’s Tough Media and LifesTough.com, is an author, entrepreneur, film actor/producer, motivator, zealous life enthusiast, and host of the esteemed Life’s Tough: YOU can be TOUGHER! inspirational podcast. Dustin’s mission is to help transform the lives of as many people as possible. In his upcoming memoir, “Life’s Tough: YOU Can Be TOUGHER!,” Dustin shares his profound story of a most troubling and challenging upbringing—abandoned by both parents at an early age—and how he overcame the multitude of obstacles put before him to become a successful entrepreneur, highly sought-after motivational speaker, loving husband, adoring father and most importantly, a compassionate, empathetic and supportive human being. Dustin declares, “We are going to spark a movement and we are going to change the world, one heart at a time, freeing others from shame, guilt and anger. It’s life … life is tough … but YOU can be tougher!”
Dustin’s inspirational Life’s Tough: YOU can be TOUGHER! podcast explores personal stories of strength and perseverance and is now listened to in over 75 countries around the world! Along with Dustin, guests and listeners share their real and vulnerable life stories of overcoming unique challenges and struggles to inspire and motivate each other towards personal fortitude, healing, growth, and empowerment. Together they share experiences; strategies and skills aimed at building better lives, healthier relationships and a kinder society; as well as inspiring a world of emergent leaders.
Past guests include some of the most inspiring people on the planet: boxing icon Evander Holyfield; entrepreneur, philanthropist and Priceline.com Co-Founder Michael Loeb; actor & bodybuilding legend Lou Ferrigno; renowned religious leader Pat Robertson; celebrated recording artist John Tesh; cryptocurrency trailblazer Roger Ver; renowned music producer Rudy Perez; controversial, ground-breaking host Jerry Springer; the 700 Club; the illustrious Mary Wilson from the Supremes; military legend Colonel ‘Godfather’ Ferrando; WatchMojo Founder Ashkan Karbasfrooshan; celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich; Platinum Recording Artist Wyclef Jean; legendary venture capitalist Tim Draper; author Orson Scott Card; March of Dimes CEO Stacey Stewart. See the podcast’s impressive full guest lineup at. https://www.lifestough.com/podcast/lifes-tough-you-can-be-tougher-podcast/
Dustin is most proud of Life’s Tough Media, a trailblazing film studio that tackles timely, provocative themes—from cryptocurrency to motivational/personal development to explorers and adventurers that are shaping our world. Featured documentaries slated for release this year include, League of Explordinaires—highlighting elite members of the explorers’ community who, through scientific exploration and urgency, share an incredible passion in the furtherance of scientific knowledge in order to help mold a better world for today and for future generations; Cryptonaires—showcasing the front-line players and companies in a fledgling but world-changing phenomenon known as cryptocurrency; Life’s Tough: But Dan Pena is TOUGHER!—the first in a docuseries presenting the leading players in the motivational and personal development space.
Dustin currently lives in Sparks, Maryland with his wife, Anneli, and their two incredible young children. Favorite pastimes include fossil-hunting, stargazing, weightlifting, reading, crypto-trading and playing Uno with his family.
Michael Dotsikas is a technology consultant, writer, publisher and public speaker, best known as the founder and owner of Business Systems Consulting, a leading technology firm that provides premium computer consulting services to small and mid-sized companies in the New York tristate region. Michael earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Information Systems from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.
As President of Life’s Tough Media, Michael directs the organization’s operations and business affairs; spearheads new initiatives; and explores new opportunities, potential partnerships, and collaborations.
In addition to his business endeavors, Michael is an award-winning children’s author with a passion for creating engaging, mindful stories for children. His critically acclaimed, Benjamin Birdie Children’s Picture Book Series, has received several industry awards and has garnered rave reviews from children, parents and educators alike. You can find out more about Michael’s children’s books on his personal website at https://www.michaeldotsikas.com.
Michael is also the co-founder and partner of Porch Time Publishing, Inc., a boutique publishing company whose mission is to help indie authors fulfill their publishing dreams. In sticking to its charitable mission, Porch Time Publishing donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every book to charitable causes—from organizations that bring awareness to the plight of endangered species to foundations that benefit children and their well-being.
Michael was born in Agrinio, Greece and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was four. He currently lives in Manorville, New York with his wife, Dina, and their two youngest of five amazing children, along with their two precarious little pups. Traveling and spending time with family and friends are favorite pastimes.
As Marketing Director for Life’s Tough Media, Alyssa specializes in branding, content creation and social media strategy—using her passion for writing to reach and inspire others.
Alyssa began working on her family’s hobby farm as a young girl and gained a wide variety of unique skills and life experience by the time she graduated high school. This strong work ethic, coupled with a complicated injury that left her facing chronic pain at the tender age of 8, has developed a resiliency and determination that fuels her relentless drive and makes her unstoppable.
After a painful betrayal in her marriage, she had to navigate the transition from being a stay-at-home mom, to a working, single mom, while being the primary caretaker of her 5 young children. Alyssa’s desire to help other moms find joy and meaning, despite life's trials and hardships, grew stronger as she did her own difficult work to heal after divorce. Through blogging, coaching and public speaking, she has helped dozens of fellow moms step up and find new and better ways to face the challenges in their own lives.
Alyssa currently lives in Indianapolis, Indiana close to her supportive parents. In addition to her fervent commitment to Life’s Tough Media’s mission to inspire and help others, she has big plans to expand her real estate investments and publish her first book. However, despite her entrepreneurial spirit, she considers being a mom her number one priority. When she’s not writing you can find her gardening, exploring local parks, or in an intense chess tournament with her kids.
Luis brings over 20 years of experience in the field of information technology and has a diverse background in corporate IT settings, with extensive proficiency in programming, databases, networking, enterprise computing, project management, as well as telecommunications.
As the IT Director for Life’s Tough Media, Luis finds it rewarding to utilize his technology and software engineering skills to further our mission of changing lives and connecting people.
Luis lives in Upstate New York with his wife and amazing son. When not in work-mode, he enjoys spending time with his family and experiencing new restaurants in New York and New Jersey. He also loves travelling with his family—exploring new countries and cultures.
Producer - Podcast
John is a digital creative focusing on photography, videography, and podcasting. He is known for his calm demeanor, comfortable presence, and confident “Get It Done” attitude. One of his favorite compliments is being described as an “Old Shoe”.
After spending many years in healthcare operations, John has focused his attention on helping individuals and businesses to get their message out. Through his creative company, Alston Carlisle llc, he removes barriers to success. Do you have something to say? John can help.
John currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife, 2 kids, and a dog.
Producer - Films
My journey has been one of trial and error. For the last fifteen years I've been involved in every aspect of video content production. I've done sales, pre- and post-production, and of course, directing. I have also shot a lot of the work myself, before putting together bigger teams with dedicated professionals such as gaffers and cinematographers.
It's very important to me that the people involved in a project are happy with both the process as well as the results. Some things will take more time than others, but with the right attitude and determination, we will surely achieve great things.
Some of the brands I have worked with directly or through an agency are Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein Jeans, Palladium Boots, Mexx Eyewear, HUB Footwear, Spinnin' Records, Musical Freedom, Dr. Hauschla, Red Bull, Patta and Karl Lagerfield.
Gregory Plotkin is well known in the video production industry for his hand-held camera work. His specialty is running AV for corporate events and live streaming. In his earlier career, Gregory worked in Los Angeles on films, commercials, TV shows and music videos. Some recognizable names Gregory worked with are Arnold Schwarteneggar, Alyssa Milano, Jonathan Silverman and Jane Seymour. We think Gregory developed his stealthy camera set-up and filming techniques from working on Candid Camera and Totally Hidden Video.
Gregory (aka Ninja Shadow) joined the Life's Tough team in October of 2019 as the camera operator for Cryptonaires. Ninja's compact camera, lighting and sound gear makes for a good travel companion for Life's Tough heavy travel and documentary schedule. Since Vegas, Ninja and Dustin have been busy filming documentaries traveling to San Francisco several times, London, Scotland and Liechtenstein. More travel is planned when things open back up.