Dawn is an Executive VP & College Softball Coach
Dawn W. Brolin, is the Executive Vice-President of Business Development and Compliance at Out of the Box Technology, LLC, a Value Added Resellers (VAR) for Microsoft Office 365, TSheets, Karbon, Receipt Bank, SmartVault, and Imprezian360 CRM.
She is back to tell us about her latest venture as the assistant coach and designated motivator for the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team!
• Becoming the new assistant coach
• Recent injuries
• Discovering a passion for teaching
• ‘The Win Board’
• Fun times as the ‘Team Mom’
• Being the designated motivator
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Welcome to Episode 226 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-Up Friday edition. This is John Garrett. Each Friday, I’m following up with a guest who had been on the show a few years ago to hear what’s new with their passion outside of work, and also hear how this message might have impacted them since we last talked.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book is being published. It will be out very, very soon on Amazon and a few other websites. So check out whatsyourand.com for all the details, or sign up for my exclusive list, and you’ll be one of the first to know.
Please don’t forget to hit Subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes every Wednesday and every Follow-Up Friday. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This Follow-Up Friday is no different with my guest, Dawn Brolin. She’s the Executive Vice President of Business Development and Compliance at Out Of The Box Technology. I don’t know how that fits on a business card, but it doesn’t matter. She’s with me here today.
Dawn, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Dawn: Listen, John Garrett, the man, Apple Podcast crushing it. I’m so excited to be here today to catch up with you, of course, because you’re out there killing it and crushing it. I’m just trying to have somebody pick up the bodies I’m leaving behind me.
John: Absolutely. I mean, Episode 57 you were on it. You were such a brave soul to be in that first batch of people that were like, “Yeah, sure. I’ll do it, whatever.”
Dawn: I’m always in.
John: It’s a thing and stuff.
Dawn: It’s a thing and you’re doing stuff. I love it.
John: Yeah. I know. I like to use vague words like that because then people can’t nail me down on it.
Dawn: That’s right.
John: But I do the rapid-fire questions out of the gate now, so why not just get crazy from the beginning. Here we go. If you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones?
Dawn: Game of Thrones.
John: Okay. What’s a typical breakfast?
Dawn: Oh, 100% soft-boiled eggs.
John: Oh, okay. All right, fancy. Would you say more oceans or mountains?
Dawn: Oh, oceans.
John: Oceans. Yeah, yeah. All right. Do you have a favorite Disney character?
Dawn: I do and it is…
John: Okay, okay, that works. Brownie or ice cream?
John: Yes. That is the right answer. Yes. Do you have a favorite sports team? Slam Dunk, I know.
Dawn: Oh, Patriots. I mean, look at his eyes. Look at the steely eyes of that man.
John: Right. It’s because he’s dead inside, because he’s a robot, that’s why. He’s like 87 and still the quarterback. And the last one, this is an important one, toilet paper, roll over or under?
Dawn: Oh, totally over.
John: Totally. And I remember the last time we talked several years ago, we talked softball and how you were on the national championship team and how awesome that was. Is softball still a part of your life today?
Dawn: Oh, it has changed in an entirely, entirely different level of passion.
John: Yeah? How’s that?
Dawn: Well, I decided since tax is so boring and working 18-hour days just gets tiring. Let’s put something else in the middle of that.
John: Oh, good.
Dawn: So I said, yeah, you know what, let’s see how tough you are.
John: Let’s see how not much sleep you can need. That’s awesome. So what do you throw in there.
Dawn: So I threw in there, I had a meeting last fall with the head coach of Eastern Connecticut State University, my alma mater, and former teammate, coach Diana Pepin. I call her Diana Pipen. That’s a whole nother thing. And so we met and she said, “All right, Brolin, it’s time. Come on, why don’t you just come and volunteer.” And so I said, “Volunteer is good for me, then I can’t get fired.” So I ended up being the assistant coach with the Eastern Connecticut Women’s Warriors fastpitch softball team, which means, Johh, you can’t hit the ball. Trust me.
John: No, no, I can’t. That’s the one where they rock back, and then they do the whoop dee doo like with our arm or whatever. And then we all do hold our breath and hope it goes to the catcher’s mitt.
Dawn: Yeah, and hope that you don’t get hit.
John: Right, exactly.
Dawn: I did get hit twice during preseason. One, I was doing just soft toss and I dared one of the strong players to do a slap up the middle. I had no screen in front of me. And she did and she hammered me right in the head. I went down, I go, “I got shot!” So that was the first one. But this is the greatest. I’m in practice. I’m looking at the coach. I’m talking about something, and the kids are hitting off the tees with screens and all this stuff. And then all of a sudden, everything goes black. One of the kids hit the ball off the tee, missed the net and hit me right in the side of the head.
John: Oh, no!
Dawn: Yeah. So down I go and I’m like, “I’m up. I’m up. I’m good. No one worry about me.” I just kept moving on. Maybe a minor concussion. No big deal.
John: You pulled a Gronk. You gronked out. You just were like, “I don’t care how many concussions I have. I’m coming back.” That’s amazing.
Dawn: So that was awesome. So the passion to play is like one thing, but the passion to teach and to mentor these kids, there’s nothing like it in sports, at least the sports that I’ve been involved in. I’ve had some successes in sports, I’ve had some failures in sports, and realized that it’s more than sports. It’s about, getting to know your teammates. They end up being your maid of honor in your wedding. But these kids, I knew I said to Pepin the first couple weeks when I met these kids, I’m like, these kids have it. They’ve got the talent. If they can pull it together and work together and buy into what we’re teaching them, which is what is important now, we call it the wind board, dumb people think it means we want to win, but what it really means is what’s important now.
So the kids bought in. We were never ranked. We crushed the little East tournament, the regional tournament, the super regional tournament, and then we went to the national tournament, and end up third in the country.
John: Wow! That’s awesome.
Dawn: Yeah, everyone’s like, “Who’s this team?” I’m like, “It’s our team and watch out because we’re coming back and we’re going to get some (bleep).”
John: Really cool. So what exactly was your role besides tackling dummy for softball?
Dawn: Yes, I definitely was dumb. So they gave me my — I’m looking at it right now — they gave me my tags that I had my status. What was I? And it literally said on it “volunteer.” I go, “Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.” So I came back to my office and I said, I’m going to make my own tag for myself. So I am the assistant head coach, not assistant to the head coach. Sometimes I call myself the co-head coach. And then the other thing that I realized, my role, my primary role, was the designated motivator.
John: Oh, there you go.
Dawn: I was the team mom, and I was the one who was going to pick them up, shake them when they were freaking out over striking out. I say, “That doesn’t belong in this dugout.” When we were in Texas, my job was to make sure the kids were cool down. I made them drink Pedialyte. They hated that. I was in charge of bed check on travel game. So one day I wore my 1990 uniform.
John: Oh, nice.
Dawn: Oh, yeah, it’s just so awesome. They would open the door and have no idea what I was going to be in, a medical outfit, was I going to be in a game outfit. And of course, at the national tournament, the other teams were also in the same hotel, so I’d be walking around with a cart with the cases of water on it, with a medical mask on like I’m a doctor. And I’m like, “Don’t worry about it. It’s Eastern bed check.”
John: That’s so great. You mix things up. If anything, I think you’re more productive when you’re loose and able to have a little bit of fun with it. Where if you’re uptight and all serious all the time, then I think you burn out and then you’re not able to focus as much.
Dawn: Right, exactly. Because the key is that — I say this all the time — like whoever made the Monday through Friday 9-to-5 five job requirement, I would love to find that person and beat the crap out of them because to me, the way I look at work is productivity. It’s not how much time you’re sitting at a desk. It’s how productive can you be while you’re there. Anyone considered a desk from nine to five and get nothing done.
John: Oh, totally. I was a master at it.
Dawn: I was so good at that. So now I knew I had to get out of my office seven or eight o’clock during tax season. I get out there early, get your returns done because I get to go to recess at 3:00. I get to go play softball at 3:00 and be with this amazing group of young ladies and athletes and the other coaches and stuff. I was just so excited, something to look forward to as opposed to “Oh, am I going to 30 returns done today? Oh, crap, I only got 10 done.” Oh, back to to bed and then back to the office. I’m not living that life. I’m not 50 yet, just so you know, but I decided the second half of my life, I thought I would bring some joy.
John: Yeah, I know that’s great. That’s such a great example of having something to look forward to. And it’s not the work usually on a day-to-day basis that you’re going to be looking forward to. Now, on occasion, there might be a work thing that you do look forward to, but for the most part, they’re looking forward to is something outside of work, which is huge.
Dawn: People say, they’re like, “Oh, I love what I do.” Well, I do too. I love what I do. I love doing tax resolution, fraud case work and trying to help people who have gotten themselves in a bad situation or have been taken advantage of or whatever. I love that, like I get fired up about that. But at the same time, I want to have something that I enjoy as well outside of that. So when people say, “I love what I do, and that’s all I ever want to do,” it’s like, okay, yeah, all right, I’m buying into that 50%. I think that you can love what you do, but you got to find something outside of that.
I mean, think about it. You spend more hours with your work buddies in whatever capacity that is than you do with your family. By the time you get home and you hang out for two hours and then you sleep, and then you get up and everybody leaves again. It’s like you spend more time with those people, but how can you reverse that to be you know what, I’m going to work at night when the kids are in bed. I’m going to split my day up so I can — I’ll work while they’re in school. My kids are in college now. I’ll work while they’re in school. When they come home, I’m with them from 3:00 to 6:00 or 3:00 to 7:00, then I’m going to work from 7:00 to midnight, whatever it is for you. I mean, play golf in the morning or go to yoga or whatever your passion is, you got to find one, and you deserve that.
John: I love that. You definitely do deserve it because the other thing is that people that say that they love what they do and that’s all they want to do, well, what’s going to happen when you’re 65 or whatever and need to retire? That’s the scary thing to me is talking to some people and they’re like, “I don’t know what I’m going to go do.” And I’m like, whoa, that’s really scary to me.
Dawn: It is scary.
John: Forget the now. I mean, that’s one part of it. But what are you going to do in the future? There’s more parts to who you are than just the work. I think that that makes you better at your job. I mean, it really does. You being the designated motivator for the softball team had to increase your designated motivator at your team in the office, for sure.
Dawn: Absolutely, 100%. And not everybody is a designated motivator, right? And so that’s where for me, there’s a little preview, that’s the book that I’m writing, The Designated Motivator.
John: Nice. Very cool.
Dawn: Yeah. Well, the reason is because people need to know that if you don’t have one, that might be your next hire, because you can’t make someone. This is not something you go to school for. This lives within your soul. I believe that person that can help people understand their worth and their value and that every little thing, whether you’re sharpening the pencil, loading the copier with paper, putting together tax returns, or if you’re gathering bank statements, it doesn’t even matter what you’re doing in your profession. Whatever little piece that is, it’s important because without that, you can’t get to this point. Without that, you can’t get to the next point.
So I think that if every organization had the opportunity to locate their designated motivator and they implemented them and utilized them in a manner that you would probably not do with other employees but understand the mentality of a designated motivator and how to identify one and then what do you do with them? If you have an office, walking around, be like, what’s up? Are you ready for today? What can we do to help you? What are you having anxiety over today that you know you need to get done, and maybe you’re just not ready?
John: Here’s a Pedialyte. Drink this.
Dawn: Here’s a Ped. Drink this. It’s not that bad. It’s like a shot.
John: It’s such a huge thing. But traditionally, there isn’t a charge code for that, or we don’t get paid for that, or goofing around and it’s not because it’s greasing the wheels of business.
Dawn: I’ll tell you something right now. You don’t come third place in the nation by just playing games and doing routine, catch the ball, throw the ball. It’s not that. You’ve got to have a cohesive unit to be successful where everyone’s on the same page. Everyone is playing for each other, not themselves. They got to buy into that. So you need someone on your team that can get everyone to buy into whatever the vision is. It may be different for each person on how they can wrap their arms around that. And that’s the thing. What’s good for one person isn’t always good for the other. But if you can make it be good for each of them but with the same end game, then you’re winning.
John: No, totally, literally and figuratively.
John: That’s so cool. And congratulations, number three in the country. That’s huge.
Dawn: Yeah. Oh, yeah, we’re going back again next year. We’re going to look out — because I’m going to run right through a wall for these kids, and they know that, literally.
John: That’s going to be the next bed check is I’m not even knocking. I’m just running right through the door.
Dawn: Oh, and, John, this is so great. So all summer, I’ve been gathering outfits and uniforms and everywhere I go, I see something. I’ve got more material for the next season and it’s all new. They’re so excited for bed.
John: Which is so rare because now it’s like, oh, I guess we have to be in a room so we can see what Brolin is wearing.
Dawn: I know. It’s so funny because like at the nationals, the team wound up winning it, which is irrelevant. He was really effective at being a jerk to his players, and they were able to perform with that type of motivation. So maybe that worked for him, which is fine. So he’s doing laundry, and I come walking around and he was “What are you doing?” And I’m like, “Bed check.” He goes, “I don’t do bed check anymore. I don’t this and that whatever.” And I’m like, “You’re missing out on all the fun. What do you mean you don’t do bed check?” He goes, “My kids are responsible.” I said nothing about making sure my kids were in their room. I’m talking about having fun with the kids.
John: It’s a non-creepy way for me to still hang out with them after hours.
John: Exactly. That’s really great. Really great. This is so inspiring for everyone listening in such great takeaways for everyone to hear. So this is awesome, Dawn.
Before I wrap this up, it’s only fair that I offer to let you rapid-fire question me if you would like.
Dawn: Oh, yeah, absolutely.
John: Two or three. This might be the most nervous I’ve been for any of these. So here we go.
Dawn: Well, you should probably. Are you left handed or right handed?
John: Right handed.
Dawn: Good. Okay, check. We can stay friends that way. All right, next one, Jeep Wrangler or little Subaru?
John: Jeep Wrangler. The way you described it, I didn’t think I had a choice.
Dawn: I know, right? Jeep Wrangler. Okay, so then I would like to know, Red Sox or Yankees?
John: Oh, wow. I guess if I had to choose between those two, I would pick Red Sox.
Dawn: Okay, we will remain friends, and I will come back.
John: Very good. Well, thanks, Dawn. This has been so much fun. Thanks for being with me on What’s Your “And”?
Dawn: It’s been my pleasure and my honor. As always, John, you’re so fun and fantastic. Let’s keep crushing the universe out there and keep people laughing and keep people motivated as best we can. You’re doing a great job, and I’m thankful for your work.
John: Well, thanks, Dawn. Ditto. Just trying to keep up with you.
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