Crystal is a Business Developer & Stage Performer
Crystal Shin, Director of Business Development at Goldin Peiser & Peiser, talks about her passion for acting and dancing on stage and how it has helped her skills in engaging new clients and improving presentations! She also discusses how Goldin Peiser & Peiser encourages employees to participate in non-profits and share personal experiences!productivity!
• Discovering her talent for acting and dancing
• Engaging an audience on stage or in a presentation
• 25 for 25 program
• Connecting with working parents
• How maturity can play into confidence in being open
• The extended family feel at Goldin Peiser & Peiser
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Welcome to Episode 211 of What’s Your “And”? This is John Garrett. Each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby or a passion outside of work. To put it another way, it’s encouraging people to find their and, the things above and beyond their technical skills, the things that actually differentiates you when you’re in the office.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book is being published in just a few weeks. It will be available on Amazon and a few other websites. So if you want to check it out at whatsyourand.com, all the details will be there. You can even get in on some pre-sale stuff. I can’t say how much it means that everyone is listening to the show and changing the cultures of where they work because of it. It’s just so, so cool. So thank you so much for that. Don’t forget to hit Subscribe to the show right here, so you don’t miss any of the future episodes, because I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This week is no different with my guest, Crystal Shin. She’s the Director of Business Development at Goldin Peiser & Peiser in Dallas, Texas. Now, she’s with me here today.
Crystal, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Crystal: Woo-hoo! Thank you. Thanks for inviting me here. I’m excited.
John: I’m so excited to have you on as well. As you know, before we get into the fun stuff, we have to get to know Crystal on a new level here with my 17 rapid-fire questions. This could be the most intense thing you’ve ever done in your career, so I hope you’re ready.
John: I’m kidding. It’s so easy. Here we go. Chocolate or vanilla?
John: All right. How about when it comes to puzzles, Sudoku or crossword?
Crystal: Hands down, Sudoku.
John: Oh, nice. Okay. How about favorite color?
John: Nice. Okay, how about a least favorite color?
John: All right, fair enough. Cats or dogs?
John: Okay, how about do you have a favorite actor or an actress?
John: Ah, good answer. I like it. Everyone says that answer, by the way. No, I’m just kidding.
Crystal: Of course, right. Yeah.
John: How about when you’re on an airplane, window seat or aisle seat?
John: Aisle. All right. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?
John: None. All right. Fair enough. When it comes to your computer, more PC or Mac?
Crystal: Oh, PC.
John: Yeah, me too. How about on your mouse, left click or right click?
Crystal: Left click.
John: All right. I feel like you looked at your mouse as you answered that.
Crystal: Yeah, exactly.
John: Everyone does. It’s such a silly question. How about a favorite Disney character?
Crystal: So much. I would say Minnie and Mickey Mouse.
John: Oh, yeah, the classics. There you go. How about more diamonds or pearls?
John: All right. And now with your accounting background, I have to ask, balance sheet or income statement?
Crystal: Income statement.
John: Yeah, you’re like either one. I’m glad I’m not there anymore. Do you have a favorite food?
Crystal: Favorite food? That’s a good question. Any kind of Korean or Asian food.
Crystal: Okay. All right. That’s awesome.
John: How about a favorite number?
John: Yeah. And why is that? So popular.
Crystal: Just lucky seven.
John: Okay. Yeah, I know. It’s by far the most favorite number of all the numbers on here. It’s amazing. Two more. Toilet paper, roll over or under?
John: All right, and the last one. The favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?
Crystal: Slip pink dress that I wore in my wedding reception that still fits.
John: That’s fantastic. That’s really cool. Would it still be your favorite even if?
Crystal: No, no, no.
John: No, it would be in the garbage. It would be out.
Crystal: It won’t be with me no more.
John: Very cool. So let’s talk more about this acting and children’s ministry and just volunteering in general. How did you get into this?
Crystal: So I have been with the same church ever since I came from Korea here in Dallas. I’ve been just serving, somehow I got into the children’s ministry and started just as a Sunday school teacher. And then sometimes I’ll be acting here and there, and then somehow I got into the worship dance, so I’ve been dancing every single week. So it kind of got bigger as a —
John: It’s a slippery slope there, huh?
Crystal: It is, it is.
John: Once you do one thing, they’re like, I will get her on the other 15 soon enough.
Crystal: That’s how it goes in nonprofit. You put your feet in the door, and you’re just like all in there now.
John: But it’s so cool that you’re able to use those skills and those talents. Are they skills that you thought you had, dancing and singing and acting?
Crystal: You know what? Not so much. I just never knew that I’ll be doing so much of those dancing and acting and so forth. But somehow I think it just kind of grew in me while I was doing more of the children’s ministry. It kind of became more natural to me.
John: Yeah, because I guess it takes a little bit of practice.
Crystal: It did.
John: And then, I guess, with the children’s ministry, is it directing and being the choreographer for their stuff? That has to be a different level of patience and understanding.
Crystal: Yeah, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s like being a kid again, just dancing and singing around with the kids, just joyful. It’s just amazing.
John: And joyful. That’s not often a word that people use when describing their work.
Crystal: Oh, true.
John: Unfortunately, although it’d be pretty amazing if we started, or if we gave people reason to anyway. That would be awesome. Yeah, that’s what we should do is bring in more kids to the firm.
Crystal: I like that idea. We should.
John: Right now some managing partner’s hair on the back of his neck is standing up or her neck and just “Ah!” all the chargeability. But is there a more like a cooler or more rewarding moment that you’ve had from doing this?
Crystal: Most recently, I’ve been part of the Vacation Bible School that we just did a couple of months ago. Part of that we did a short children’s play, and I was the angel with like a cool long purple wig.
John: Oh, wow.
Crystal: So just being able to be somebody else, but really just connecting with the kids. It’s just so rewarding to me.
John: That’s fantastic. That’s really cool. And all the angels with the purple wigs.
Crystal: I know.
John: Yeah, we’re going all out on that. That’s awesome.
Crystal: It was the color and I chose the outfit and everything. So I was not the typical angel that you would think.
John: Why not? I guess it kind of goes parallel with how people think there’s a stereotype of something. And then once you actually think about it, or if you ask, why not, well, then there’s no answer. When people think of an accountant, they think of a certain thing, or a lawyer, they think of a certain thing, or an engineer or whatever. That’s this podcast has shown. It’s never what they think.
Crystal: That’s right.
John: Every once in a while, they put on purple wigs and dress up like angels.
Crystal: Yeah, it could be you, right? Just be yourself.
John: That’s true because what’s the worst thing that could possibly happen? You’re not going to get fired because of that. I mean, that’s crazy.
Crystal: Well, I’m still here. So I guess, that’s a good news.
John: Yes, exactly. Is there one that you prefer more than the other on the acting or the singing or the teaching the kids side of it?
Crystal: Well, I enjoy all of it, but I would say my weekly stuff will be more on the singing and dancing side. But I love the acting. I think it just gives me a different kind of energy when I’m on the stage, actually prepping with our team, just rehearsing until like two o’clock and just that teamwork and the sweat that you put in. And then once you’re on the stage, you’re pulling everything out together, I just love that feeling. So I don’t do that as much as I want, but I would say at least once or twice a year I do, and I love that. Whatever the tick that’s being with that, it just brings me joy.
John: Absolutely. Do you feel like any of that translates to a skill that you’re able to bring to work?
Crystal: Definitely so. As a business developer, I’m out there going about and meeting people, especially I’m meeting a lot of new people. When we’re meeting with new people, you just got to find a common ground, right? So anything you have to do is connecting with them. It feels like when I’m on the stage, when I’m acting, I have to connect and engage with those audiences. I think I’m doing the same thing, just not on the stage with the purple wig but in a different way.
John: Although if you did, that would be pretty awesome for business development. I’m not going to lie. Everyone would know you.
Crystal: Yeah, I should try that.
John: Yeah. But that’s an interesting point of how when you’re on the stage as an actor, an actress, that you need to make that connection with the audience. You’re there live and engage them in the same way one on one or one on a small group you need to do for work. That’s an interesting parallel there.
Crystal: And also, like, for example, when I’m putting out presentations or some kind of short speech introducing our firm, I think that the purple wig comes out again where it’s like, I can’t be just reading off the script and be boring. I have to be engaging with the audiences and kind of connecting with them. My presentation is never one of those like boring presentation. I make it very fun, engaging. I think that’s part of where I got that experience from the stage too.
John: Yeah, so it’s almost like one side even helps the other.
Crystal: Exactly. Mm-hmm.
John: They should all be not boring, all presentations. The fact that there’s such a small percentage of them that stand out as being like, wow, that was amazing, it’s like, well, it just didn’t put you to sleep. You actually paid attention to the whole thing. They should all be like that.
John: That’s cool that you put the time and the energy and the effort into there because that shows that you care about your audience enough to respect their time to want to give them something that they want to watch.
Crystal: John, how many times you’ve been in the presentation where it’s a technical presentation, so you’re getting CPEs out of it and you’re like bored to death, right?
John: Oh, all of them.
Crystal: All of them, yes. I hate it.
John: It’s so crazy. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. Just because of the material is boring doesn’t mean that you have to be. You can tell stories. You can give your own personal examples, your own experience with this. That makes it all fun and interesting to listen to. It’s funny because sometimes when I speak after the comments that the attendees give on their little evaluation form and sometimes people would be like, “It was silly.” I’m like, “Well, did you listen to the whole thing? Then a check and check.” What do you need? So that’s really cool that you do that. I’m sure that it’s amazing because all that practice and experience. If you were able to weave some dance into that, then I’d be like, all right, now we need to get this on YouTube.
Crystal: I haven’t incorporated the dance side with the presentation, but thanks for the idea, though.
John: Actually, my apologies in advance to you because I feel like I might awoke a dragon there. That’s really neat, though, and an interesting parallel there. Is this something that you talk about at work at all?
Crystal: I don’t talk a ton. It wasn’t intention that way. But actually our firm is celebrating our 25th anniversary. So one of the programs that we’re doing is called 25 for 25. So we’re putting like 25 hours in nonprofit organization, any one that you like, and spend 25 hours, and then we’ll give a donation to that specific organization that you’re wanting to provide the money to. As part of that, whenever we do volunteer work, we kind of have to share it with our team. I think that kind of open up can of worms. So some of the people kind of saw the thing that I was doing and was like, “What was that purple wig about?” It started the conversation there. But it was fun, just to see how people kind of felt about what they saw and so forth. But they were so interested in the fact that, “Oh, that is interesting. What were you doing over there? What was it like?” and so forth. So people were engaged. People liked it.
John: Yeah, and it opens up some really cool conversations, it sounds like.
Crystal: Yeah, yeah, it did.
John: And people that you’ve worked around for a while, I’m sure, and just no one knew that side of you. Were you nervous at all in sharing that?
Crystal: Not really. I wasn’t really nervous about it. I was nervous about the picture that I shared with our marketing team. So when they shared it, blasted it on our social media, I think they filter out the purple wig too, like the Facebook and more like corporate-looking one into the LinkedIn.
John: Okay. Right. Yeah. But that’s the one that people gravitate towards.
John: Because then it’s like, “Wait, what? What’s going on over here?” It’s not judgment. It’s tell me more about this. This looks cool.
Crystal: I know. Yeah.
John: That’s fantastic because that’s the kind of thing that typically people, they’re just reluctant to share historically because I don’t want to be judged, a million of different things. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, no one’s judging. It’s the opposite when you do actually open up. So it’s encouraging to hear that firsthand from you. That’s really neat. I think that’s so huge that you guys are doing the volunteer work, but the real benefit to all that is you have to come back to your group and share with them what you did. That’s where the power is because if everyone just goes off and does their own thing and no one shares or talks about it, well, then it might as well not happened.
Crystal: Yeah, one of the things, once you volunteer, you have to submit a form and then submit the pictures or videos where it shows that you actually did, not to audit it but really to share with our people and say, “Hey, guess what? Crystal did such and such with a purple wig. She was out there doing this.” It’s good for our team to see that yes, we’re not just the normal, boring accountants. We’re actually very special, in a way, every single one of us. And then also, we’re just giving back to the community.
John: I love all of it. That’s such a great idea and such an easy takeaway for everyone listening that they can bring back to their company, even in a small way. It doesn’t have to be 25 hours for some people, but that’s really fantastic. So has this at all benefited your career? I guess, obviously, the skill set is something that helps out. But as far as relationships go, are they different now that people have seen this side of you?
Crystal: I think people are more willing to be open, want me to share more of myself, like really be authentic and just be vulnerable and just say, “Hey, this is who I am. This is what I do on the side. Once in a while, you’ll see me like dancing around on the stage with the kiddos. That’s just me.” I have two young ones. I have a seven-year-old and four-year-old. I talk a lot about my kids at work because we connect at a different level, like working parents, we connect at a different level. Whenever somebody has a baby, I feel so sorry for them. No, I’m just kidding.
John: Right. You’re tired all the time.
Crystal: Yes. So it’s like I’ve been there, done that. If you need any help as a working mom or working dad, if you need any advice, I’ve been there, let’s talk. So just connecting at a different level. It’s more than just your work itself. It’s really connecting the life. It’s really brought great friendships with even my business contacts because I’m more open now than before, actually.
John: Oh, that’s fantastic. I loved how you said that. It’s more than work. It’s connecting new life, because there are so many more dimensions to you than just the accounting business development side.
Crystal: Yeah, very true.
John: So many more dimensions and percentage wise, the work side is such a small percentage of who you are as a whole. So once you get to know other people like that, then really cool things happen. If someone else is a dancer or a choreographer or an actor, a little bit of singing, whatever, now you have something to talk about, where before it was like, I forgot your name. Sorry. Well, not in your case, but I would do that.
Crystal: Yeah. If I show you the dance move, you’ll probably recognize me, right?
John: Oh, totally. I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget it. I think it is easy for people — easier, I guess, for people to share about their children. I don’t know why it is, but for some reason, that leap from sharing about your children versus sharing about what you actually love to do as an individual. For some reason, there’s a huge leap there that’s hard for people to do.
Crystal: That’s an interesting point of view. I never thought of it that way, but I guess, kids regard as more natural part of your life, I guess, where hobby could be all different. Your hobby might be a little crazy like mine, or maybe it has different spectrums. I don’t know. Maybe that’s why people are not willing to share so much about their hobby. I’m just guessing.
John: Right. Because I guess they think that, well, everyone’s going to have kids, or they were a child at some point. Well, not everyone was an actor. Not everyone wore a purple wig. So there’s not that common ground. But the thing that I found, for me myself anyway, when I was at PwC and a comedian, clearly there’s no one else doing that, especially in my office. But what I found is that the more individual it is, the stronger it’s gravitated towards by everyone else, because I’m sure everyone knows about you and your acting because of that picture.
Crystal: Yeah, they started to recognize that and they’re like, “What were you doing over there?”
John: Yeah, yeah. Where if you’re like a golfer, it’s like, well, we got another 30 of those over here, whatever. I just think it’s so cool to hear that such a positive feedback happened when you did share, and it’s encouraging for not only you to be more open, like you said, but for others listening.
John: I think it’s great too that the firm is encouraging that. How much do you feel like it’s on an organization to create that culture where, hey, we’re real people, and share the other sides of you versus how much is it on the individual to open up and be a part of that or just create their own little small circle in a place that maybe frowned upon?
Crystal: I would think really the corporate culture dictates a lot of this where could you be really vulnerable and be yourself be authentic and show up as who you are in the workplace, or do you have to conform to this specific corporate culture that we’ve created in order to fit in here, right? So I think it’s more of a cultural thing within the corporate. So that being said, on the corporate culture side, I think a lot is coming from the one on the top. But at the same time, I don’t think you would have to always conform to that stereotypical thinking like, oh, accountant should be like this, because I used to be that way. I don’t think I made any friends during that time. I had colleagues, but I didn’t have any friends that I hang out during that time because I really haven’t been connecting.
John: That’s interesting. Sadly, probably people that you don’t necessarily remember because there wasn’t that connection. That’s really interesting that you experienced that. Now, is it something that happens with more confidence as you get on in your career?
Crystal: I think that too. I think the maturity kind of plays in too as I got deeper into the career path and so forth. I think that helps too. But for whatever reason, I started at Deloitte. They have a great culture. But for whatever reason, I just felt like, maybe it was just me coming from Korea, thinking like, uh, professional has to be like this and more strict about myself and putting my own guards when really the culture wasn’t mandating or dictating any of those. It was just really me saying like, oh, no, I have to be like this in order to be a professional. Once I got that guard off, it was so much easier to make friends and just open up and say, “Hey, I don’t get this. Help me out.”
John: Right. Was there something that helped take your guard down, or was it just that time and confidence, like you said?
Crystal: I think it’s more of the time and confidence that was built throughout that time period. Once I started being more myself, I noticed that, huh, people actually enjoy being around me. I guess I could be more of me. And then I think that kind of got just more natural to me.
John: Oh, man, I love that. That’s so great, because it is scary. I remember when I started, I’m like, wow, I’m getting paid way too much money than I’ve ever made in my life. I’m supposed to be all this and whatever you think you’re supposed to be. And come to find out, you’re just supposed to be you. I mean, that’s it. The one thing that I always found interesting, though, was just that I started modeling behavior of people ahead of me, so kind of like the manager level, director level. But then I found out later that they were modeling behavior of someone ahead of them going back, I don’t know, 100 years. No one’s actually just bringing themselves. It’s just we’re all modeling behavior after something else that we saw on TV or what we think in our head. It’s so refreshing to hear that once you go out on that limb just a little bit, you’re like, wow, people actually like me for me. That’s neat.
John: Then it’s a lot less exhausting, I have to imagine.
Crystal: Yeah, having all the guards and shields and everything, armor, it’s hard. It drags you down.
John: That’s for sure. Is there anything else that you guys do there at the firm or that you’ve experienced that helps encourage that?
Crystal: One of the interesting part of our culture within Goldin Peiser & Peiser, it’s really the extended family feel. So as you know, family members, they sometimes get into argument. Sometimes they would get into a place where like, “No, I’m right, you’re wrong,” and so forth. But what does family do, they kind of all agree and move on, right? So having that safe family feel, being able to express your opinion, but really once we made a decision going together as a team and pursuing it, I think that’s been fabulous within our firm, to really be yourself and you know how to voice out, but at the same time, once we decide on something we’re going as a team, we’ve decided on this, and we’re all in it.
John: That’s great, because great ideas come from all the levels, intern all the way up to managing partner and everything in between. That’s really neat that there’s that culture, that it’s safe for people to just say, “Hey!” But it’s also cool that everyone’s like, “All right, we picked the thing, we’re going to go with that. Great.” No harm, no foul and no grudges like all that. That’s awesome. Very cool. So do you have any words of encouragement for anyone listening before I wrap this up? They’re like, “Well, my hobby or passion has nothing to do with my work, so I shouldn’t share it.”
Crystal: I would say you will be amazed by how many people around you, once you start opening up, they’ll be more drawn to you just because you’re being authentic, just being yourself. Sometimes we fail. Everyone fall at some point, but if we could just say like, “Oh, I fell this time, but I’m going to get up.” So if you just be yourself and be vulnerable to others, you’ll be amazed by the fact how much people will be drawn to you.
John: That’s so great. I mean, you lived it. You’re an excellent example of that.
Crystal: Oh, thank you.
John: That’s fantastic. So it’s only fair, since I started out rapid-fire questioning you, that I turn the table and allow you to put me in the hot seat. So if you have some rapid-fire questions, I’m all ready here.
Crystal: I’ll give a few. Okay, stand-up comedian or emcee?
John: Oh, man, there are so many layers to that answer. I guess, stand-up comedian but emcees get treated nicer at corporate events? I don’t know. But the comedian, I love that too. So yeah, probably stand-up comedian. Totally different skill sets as well.
Crystal: Do you enjoy reading book or writing book?
John: Reading. Writing a book has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and preferably a short book, micro chapters, the kind. Basically, I’m writing the book that I would want to read.
John: I don’t want this big, giant, heavy book that I’m not going to finish.
Crystal: Amen to that. Yes, I will read your book.
John: Great. Yeah, absolutely.
Crystal: That’s it.
John: Thank you so much, Crystal. That’d be great if I have one buyer already. One person is going to read my book, and my mom, so we have two readers. That’s awesome. So thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Crystal: Thank you. I appreciate it. This was fun.
John: If you’d like to see some pictures of Crystal, probably with her purple wig, or connect with her on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com, and all the links are there and also all the information about the book that’s coming out very soon. While you’re on the page, please click that big green button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture. It’ll really help for when I’m doing my presentations.
Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends, so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that no matter our job or technical expertise, there’s always a human side to all of us.