Rumbi is a Forensic CPA & Edutainment Advocate
Rumbi Bweinofa-Petrozzello, previously featured on episode 14, returns to update us on what she’s doing outside of work including being a part of the African Film Festival, and promoting diversity and inclusion in the CPA profession, despite having to put her running on hold due to injury.
• Breaking her leg
• Celebrating 25 years of the African Film Festival
• Establishing new relationships with students every semester
• Working with Toastmasters
• Passion hours
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Welcome to Episode 210 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-up Friday edition. This is John Garrett. Each Friday I’m following up with guests who had been on the show a few years ago to hear what’s new with their passions outside of work and also hear how my message might have impacted them since we last talked.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book is going to be published in just a little bit and will be available on Amazon and a few other websites. So check out whatsyourand.com for all the details, or sign up for my exclusive list. You’ll be the first to know. You’ll even get a few tracks from my comedy album for free just for doing so. And please don’t forget to hit Subscribe to the show, so you don’t miss any of the future episodes because every Wednesday, I’m interviewing new guests and then now with the follow-up Friday. It’s going to be no different with the stories this week from Rumbi Bwerinofa-Petrozzello. She’s a principal at Rock forensics in New York City and the Editor of Figuring Financial Forensics. Now, she’s with me here today.
Rumbi, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Rumbi: Hi, John. Thank you for having me back. I’m very excited to be here.
John: I know. In Episode 14, we hung out in New York City and had lunch, I remember, and it was so much fun. Now you’re back. We mixed it up this time. We have the rapid-fire questions up front. So everyone’s about to get to know Rumbi on a new level here. So here we go. If you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones?
Rumbi: Ooh, Game of Thrones.
John: Okay. All right.
Rumbi: Except the ending.
John: Except the ending, right, right, yeah. Do you prefer more hot or cold?
Rumbi: Definitely hot.
John: Definitely, all right. Do you have a favorite sports team?
Rumbi: Well, right now it’s the Brooklyn Nets.
John: Oh, yeah. That’s a hot team.
Rumbi: It is. I’ve been a fan since before they became hotter. So that’s even better.
John: Very cool. How about diamonds or pearls?
Rumbi: Pearls because those are kinder to people.
John: Okay, all right. How about aisle or window seat on an airplane or the train?
Rumbi: Window. I say this, I say window, but I don’t want anyone sitting next to me.
John: Okay, so window seat, but you have the whole row to yourself.
John: There you go. Okay, two more. How about a least favorite vegetable?
Rumbi: I guess a melon is a fruit, but that’s like very low on my ranking. And it’s green sometimes.
John: Right. I’ll take it. And the last one, this is kind of important one. Toilet paper, roll over or under?
Rumbi: Okay, so I used to be a fervent under person. My husband is an over person, and I used to actually change the role. I decided to let that go. In my heart, I’m an under person, but in reality, I’ll take what’s there.
John: Yeah, it’s better than no toilet paper. That’s for sure. So it’s awesome. That’s so funny.
So I remember on Episode 14, we talked about several things. I mean, you’re running, photography was great, and then African Film Festival as well that you were really active with there in New York, and then a little bit of the karaoke from your big Berlin debut. That picture was so cool. But yeah, what’s up with any of that? How are things going?
Rumbi: You mentioned the running. I have to get that out of the way first because a couple of years ago, I fell taking out the trash and I broke my leg. That has made it impossible to run for a bit. So I’ve been going through the physical therapy after surgery and wearing a brace, navigating the subways with a leg that doesn’t work properly. But I think I’m getting to the point where I can start building my distance. So I do have hopes and dreams of running at least close to what I used to. So that’s the running.
The African Film Festival is still coming along. It was very exciting because last year was the 25th anniversary of the New York African Film Festival. What was very exciting for us and a revelation at the festival was Mayor de Blasio came with his wife, Chirlane McCray. It turns out that apparently on their first date, he took her to the first African Film Festival that ever happened.
Rumbi: It was pretty cool.
John: That’s amazing.
Rumbi: I mean, all in all, the film festival just always continues to be better, and the stories are still exciting and interesting. I think maybe with all the different areas where film can be seen, the creativity and how many different types of films are coming out and the different ways that people are telling their stories which is what all of this is about and that’s what gets me excited.
John: Very cool. And the karaoke is always fun. You haven’t signed a new record deal or anything yet, have you?
Rumbi: I might actually give the money back.
John: That’s very cool. That’s so encouraging to hear that things are still going. I mean, I know the injury with the running, that’s big. But the fact that you’re still going back to it just says how much of a passion it really is for you.
Rumbi: If people ask me if I love running, I think about it and most of the time, while I’m doing it, it feels terrible. But when I’m not doing it, I feel even worse.
John: Interesting. Since we had you on the show several years ago, was it 2016, I believe? Have you seen more people sharing hammies or taking notice to when it does come up?
Rumbi: One of the things that I have gotten into since the last time we spoke is being a part of diversity and inclusion in the CPA profession because hardly there are several groups that are underrepresented in the profession for various reasons, and so we sort of work on trying to improve the diversity in people coming into the profession, but beyond that and maybe even more importantly is the retention and advancement of people. So people feel like they’re included, so they feel like they belong. So we get all the innovation and exciting things that happen when you have a wide variety of ideas and input.
One of the things that came out of that was some members asked for Toastmasters, which is public speaking, because they feel that, which I agree with, is communication is key to probably the future of the profession and success in the profession, in general, because machines are doing a lot of the things over these road tests as trusted advisors and trusted professionals. You need to be able to communicate with everyone and we have Toastmasters.
One of the things that happens in Toastmasters is, especially at the beginning, people have an icebreaker speech where they talk about themselves. And during these speeches, we’ve just found out the most exciting things, like we have a member who is an avid rock climber, climbs the sides of sheer rocks.
Rumbi: I think one of his more recent stories, like he’s so calm when he’s talking about climbing the rocks, but on a recent trip, I think he went out to the Grand Canyon, and they were sitting around a campfire and a bear just walked past them.
John: Wow. Suddenly busy season taxes is nothing compared to that stuff.
Rumbi: He was a ballet dancer before he went into finance. He was a ballet dancer and traveled the world.
John: That’s so cool. You’re just sitting around all these people that need to be on the show. This is so fantastic. And then you. This is like the coolest room ever, and they’re all accountants.
Rumbi: If it wasn’t for you sort of shining the lights on these things, people would think that we were all like really boring, stodgy people.
John: Yeah, it’s so true. The people that believe that the most sometimes are ourselves and the people around us where it’s like, ah, well, I’m not supposed to be like that. One thing that I have come across, though, is some people are hesitant to give themselves maybe a label, a runner or as a singer or as a rock climber or a dancer or whatever, because it is just a hobby, I guess, is how people phrase it.
Rumbi: I think for me, usually when I have an argument with people is when they call what I’m doing jogging because jogging is relaxing and fun, I’m running, I’m breaking a sweat, like my body hurts at the end of it. Sometimes I get into an ice bath, like this is running. Okay, I may not be making money but —
John: Yeah, that’s awesome. You’re actually the other way, where if somebody downplays your thing, you’re like, “No, no, do not try and water this down. I am out here doing this for real.” That’s great. I love that. I absolutely love that because why not? What’s the difference? So do you have any words of encouragement to people listening that maybe think that their hobby or their passion has nothing to do with their job?
Rumbi: I just want to tell them that they’re wrong because all of these things that we do outside of, I guess, official work are part of the things that make us better at what we do when we are at work. This thing that I just remembered is just this past Tuesday, a woman was at Toastmasters, and she was speaking and she mentioned that she just started learning how to play tennis because it was a childhood dream of hers. It’s really exciting because I think the more we’re willing to look at new things and explore new things, enjoy our lives and sort of learn new things that aren’t part of our official CPE, I think that makes us better at thinking, better at communicating, better at interacting, better at connecting with people which ultimately makes us better at what we do.
John: Yeah, I love that so much. You’re so right. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there are CPE hours that you have to do for the year, if there were like passion hours that everyone had to have so many hours of doing a hobby or a passion because, as you said, it makes you better at your job?
Rumbi: You make it continuing passion education.
John: Totally. Pick something up, let’s do this. That’d be the only ultimate dream of mine. That’s what it’s all about. That’s really cool and really encouraging to hear that you’re seeing this all around. So before we wrap this up, though, it’s only fair that I turn the tables and let you rapid-fire question me since I came at you right out of the gate.
Rumbi: Yes, absolutely. You’ll probably get a sense of the things that are important to me through my questions. My first question is coffee, hot or cold?
John: You know, I missed the coffee train. So tea, I guess, is a breakfast type of beverage, but yeah, I never got into coffee. I’m just up. I’m ready to go. Orange juice, maybe a tea once in a while. But yeah, I somehow missed all of coffee.
Rumbi: Okay, my next question is beach, yay or nay?
John: Oh, beach for sure, yeah. Three thumbs up if I had three thumbs.
Rumbi: So is that something that you miss now that you’re no longer — I mean, because when you’re in New York City, you’d never think that you’re near a beach anyway.
John: Right, some of the beaches you don’t really want to go to. But further out Long Island and stuff, yeah, definitely some nice beaches. But, luckily, there’s airplanes. So I’ve been able to go to Cancun and Costa Rica and Hawaii. There’s still beaches to be had. That’s for sure.
Rumbi: Okay. Well, fantastic. And then my last thing, because I’m depressed because I wake up in the morning and it’s a little darker, are you a summer or winter person?
John: That’s a great question. I guess winter just because summer can get really hot and gross. You can’t take off more clothes. Eventually, there’s nothing. Where in winter, at least you can like bundle up. So I guess more winter plus now living in Colorado with the mountains, go snowboarding and stuff like that, so I’ll say winter.
Rumbi: Okay. I’m always just like, I think years ago, I was watching Eddie Izzard, and he was talking about snowboarding. He said there are two positions in snowboarding, upright and dead.
John: Yeah, pretty much. It’s pretty scary sometimes. Every time you go around to turn, you’re like, “Am I going make it? Okay, I did. Hoo!” And then as you’re weaving back and forth down the mountain, there’s a brief moment of no control. It’s scary and cool at the same time. I guess, as I do it more, you have more control. But where I’m at now in my snowboarding stage, I am no Shaun White, that’s for sure. But I’m at least not on my butt all the time, so there’s that.
Rumba: There you go.
John: I’m somewhere in between. So coffee, beaches, and summer, I’m guessing, that’s what you’re all about. This was so fun, Rumbi. Thanks so much for being with me on What’s Your “And”?
Rumbi: Thank you, John. It’s always great. I’m looking forward to another at least 200 episodes.
John: If you want to see some pictures of Rumbi outside of work or maybe connect with her on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there. While you’re on the page, please click that big green button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture.
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