Trent is a Strategic Partnerships Manager & Latte Connoisseur
Trent returns to the podcast from episode #90 to talk about how he has been dealing with not being able to travel recently, why Australian coffee is the best in the world, and how his passion for lattes and coffee help establish relationships in the office!
• Dealing with the lock down
• Best countries in the world to get coffee
• “Hipsters Who Drink Coffee” office Slack channel
• Establishing relationships through his love of coffee
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Welcome to Episode 304 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-Up Friday Edition. This is John Garrett, and each Friday I follow up with a guest 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 this message might have impacted them since we last talked.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book is being published next month, and you can pre-order in just a few weeks on Amazon, Indigo, a few other websites, so check out whatsyourand.com for all the details, or sign up for my exclusive list, and I’ll let you know when that pre-order’s happening or when it’s being published.
Please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast, so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week, and this Follow-Up Friday is no different with my guest, Trent McLaren. He’s the Senior Partnerships Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa Region at Practice Ignition, now based in London, and he’s with me here today. Trent, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Trent: John, my friend, it’s so great to see you again.
John: Definitely, man. You know that we do the rapid-fire questions right out of the gate now. These are questions I probably should have asked you before we hung out, a couple of years ago, in San Jose at QuickBooks Connect and went to that weird diner at random hours. Anyway, here we go. If you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones.
Trent: Harry Potter. You can’t beat the classic. I actually went to the cafe that she wrote the book in, when I was in Edinburgh in New Year’s Eve. It’s called The Elephant Cafe or something like that. I’ll probably get it wrong now. That was the cafe that JK Rowling went and wrote the entire series, out of that cafe.
John: Holy cow! That’s awesome, man. Very cool. Okay, so then going onto books, are you more Kindle or real books?
Trent: Real books because you’ve got to feel the knowledge, not just see the knowledge. You’ve got to feel the knowledge.
John: There you go. You know what? I think I need that blurb for my book cover.
Trent: Don’t buy it on Kindle. Buy both.
John: Buy both. You’re my new sales manager. I like this. How about a favorite sports team?
Trent: The Brooklyn Nets.
John: All right, just making sure you didn’t switch.
Trent: That’s very likely that that could happen to someone, not me, but someone.
John: Right, right. Okay, okay. How about a good hamburger or good pizza?
Trent: Well, hamburger, yeah, cheeseburger, to be specific.
John: Cheeseburger, okay, next level, okay, with bacon on top, if you want. Okay, all right. This is an easy one, suit and tie or jeans and a t-shirt.
Trent: Jeans and a t-shirt every day of the week. Even when I have to wear a suit and tie, I’m still wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
John: I should have made the question, regular jeans or ripped jeans.
Trent: Definitely ripped jeans. Why would you not want to wear ripped jeans whenever you please?
John: Right, right. It’s free air conditioning.
Trent: That’s what I was about to say. It’s free flowing. Things are wonderful.
John: There you go. Okay, two more. Do you have a favorite Disney character?
Trent: Does Marvel count as a Disney character these days?
John: Yeah, I’ll count it, whatever. Sure.
Trent: Let’s just go with Iron Man, I guess.
John: Yes, very solid answer.
Trent: He’s got a good moustache.
John: Oh, yeah, he’s got a good moustache, almost as good as yours. You’ll get there, man. You’re getting there. The last one, toilet paper roll, over or under.
Trent: Under, definitely under. I had to think through that. I was like thinking then, yeah.
John: Okay, all right. Interesting. All right, so, Episode 90, wow. You’re a veteran. You’ve been at this.
Trent: You’re making me sound old, John. I’m feeling old while you’re saying that.
John: I had to do the first 89, so that makes me that much older. So, hey, it’s all relative. It’s all relative.
John: We talked hanging out on the beach in Australia, drinking lattes, hanging out with friends, and I know some of those things have changed. Are some still the same?
Trent: Yeah, mostly still the same. I still do a lot of lattes. I think we were saying before, I’ll go on any kind of adventure to get a barista-made coffee into my lips, down my throat. I’ll travel far and wide for that thing, still very, very passionate about consuming lattes.
John: Right. I guess, the last couple of months, not being able to go outside as much or whatever, or maybe you get that Harry Potter cloak, and you’re invisible. I don’t know.
Trent: Yeah, so I had to go on lockdown. I spent the first 10 weeks, cold turkey. I couldn’t actually drink anything, and that was horrible for my sanity. As soon as we started opening back up, I was like, cool. I’m beelining — I’m checking where they’re open. I love a good, independent barista. I can’t go to any chain stores because it’s not the same. It’s disgusting. Yeah, now, I’m, like I said, far and wide, I’ll — there ain’t no river wide enough, mountain high enough. Yeah, that was written about me getting espresso.
John: That’s awesome. What is it about the barista-made versus a homemade version?
Trent: I think you can taste the love, the sweat out of the barista, into every pour. No, I don’t know. There’s a blend of the correct waiting. It’s been brewed for the right amount of time. It’s roasted for the right amount of time. It’s all single origin so just tastes a lot better than your mixed to your other bean. Then there’s that blend of the milk froth with the right temperature into a cup and, yeah, I don’t know. I’m going to have to get one after this, I think, just talking about it.
John: Right. It’s just they know what they’re doing, basically.
John: They do it all the time. It’s just easier. You just do it. There you go.
Trent: Yeah, it’s a classic, I pay you, you — like that, a smooth transaction.
John: Right. Do you find that there’s a difference in London from Australia?
Trent: Oh, 100%, yeah. Australia is like the pinnacle of good coffee.
Trent: South Africa is close second. And then London, generally you find good ones, but they’re made by Australian baristas.
John: Oh, nice. That’s it. I feel like there’s a blog website or something that’s australianbaristasinlondon.com/org or whatever.
Trent: You can simply drink — so, you can walk and you’re like, yeah, this is probably an Australian barista. You’ll know. You’ll taste it. You’ll see it. You can experience it. Yeah, you’ll know.
John: That’s awesome. Very cool, very cool. Is this something that coworkers know about you there in London?
Trent: 100%, yeah. They’re very aware because I get very upset and angry when I can’t drink a coffee. Or they’re like, “Hey, are you okay? Have you had your coffee today? Are you on cold turkey right now?” I love to be in between shots, if you know what I’m saying.
John: Right. That’s funny. Have you met any colleagues that are equally sourced, I guess, if you will?
Trent: Typically, it is always most Australians or New Zealanders that are into it because it’s a two-before-10 kind of situation. I’ll have an espresso when I wake up. I’ll have another one before 10 am. The trouble with London is most coffee shops don’t open until 10. In Australia, all the coffee shops open at 6 am in Australia, so you get this real different dynamic of all these Australians wandering in London at 6:30 am, going, “Where’s the… Where’s the…”
Trent: It just doesn’t exist. So when you do find one, you hold onto it.
John: That’s unbelievable. 10:00, that’s when they’re closing, typically. I mean, it’s like, what?
Trent: Yeah. I would have already spent £6 at this point. That’s the thing. I’m paying more as well. I pay $3, Australian, for coffee. Here, I pay £2.50, which is like five Australian dollars. So, if I’ve got to get coffee for me, coffee for my wife, next thing, I’ve spent £7.50. I’ve nearly spent 15 Australian dollars on two coffee, and it’s still not that good.
John: Right. Maybe Practice Ignition should open a coffee shop in London.
Trent: We have a Slack channel in our group called “Hipsters Who Drink Coffee.” There’s a few connoisseurs like myself, mostly Australians. There are a few Americans and Canadians as well. They’ll post a shot of the cafe they’ve walked into, and they rank it out of 10. They also rank just based on the beanie that the barista is wearing. If the beanie is above the ear, if it’s above the ear, that determines how liberal hipster they are, and therefore add to the quality of the coffee as well.
John: That’s hysterical. That’s so fantastic. It’s so cool that it’s something that you guys gather around. It’s like a rallying item, if you will, to talk not about work. It’s getting to know each other.
Trent: The easiest way to get out of the office. You only go for a walk and have a chat about something. Yeah, let’s go get a coffee. We’ll go get coffee. We’ll walk for 10, 15. You come back to sitting down at your desk for like eight hours straight, I think. You get your coffees made but then, it’s funny, you’re still not going that far. So, it’s like, cool, let’s get outside, get some fresh air, walk and talk, come back in and then get back to whatever we were doing.
John: That’s an excellent point because it just gets you out of your chair, gets you out of that scene, then people can just relax more and be more themselves or whatever. Also, through the Slack channel, you’re able to connect with people that you’re not even seeing, face-to-face.
Trent: Totally, yeah. It’s a great way for us to connect and chat, Australia, America, London. Because London here is locked down a bit more, we had one guy sharing a pre-made iced coffee from the supermarket. He’s like, “I don’t know if I can post this here.” We’re like, “We’re going to have to fix the new guidelines on what’s applicable because this is not appropriate.”
John: It’s like, not only are you not allowed on the Slack channel, but you’re fired. You don’t even have a job now.
Trent: Yeah. I think we’ve contemplated, if you had to scale your love of coffee from one to, don’t bother answering if you don’t like coffee, kind of thing, then let’s just do an interview now because that’s all we’re going to talk about.
John: So funny, and it’s so good to catch up. Do you have any words of encouragement for people listening that have a passion or a hobby that they think has nothing to do with their job?
Trent: It’s tough because I feel like, I’ve said this before, is drinking coffee really a passion, or it’s just a thing that I love to do? I don’t know. I think it’s just being a foodie. I enjoy entertainment. It could be cinemas. It’s friends. It’s relationships. It’s all about building that community or gathering that influence of people, the more you hang out and spend time with them and things like that. So, whether it’s coffee or food or whatever, it’s all about bringing people together and just sharing a level of something. It’s also supporting small businesses, which we can do a lot more, for the moment.
John: That’s true. It’s just getting people together and hanging out, and the more that you hang out, the more that oxytocin, norepinephrine type of brain chemical stuff. All of a sudden, the lows aren’t so low, and they really bring people together.
Trent: Totally. We’re a lot happier as a result.
John: For sure, man. Well, it’s only fair that, since I rapid-fire questioned you out at the beginning, that I allow you to rapid-fire question me back. It’s now the Trent McLaren Show. You’re the host and —
John: — and I’m excited to be your first guest. Thank you for having me on.
Trent: Thanks, John. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. If this is your first time listening, let me run you through how this works. I’m going to ask John, ten rapid questions. He’s going to answer them. If he gets them all correct, he’ll win a new car. It’s just as simple as that, ladies and gents. John will also be buying the car, but he wins the purpose of being able to buy…
John: It’s a Matchbox car also. It’s a little toy one.
Trent: Yeah, totally. You get to choose. It’s your money.
Trent: So, I’m going to start the first question up, but I’m going to try anyway because I can only think of one. Do you like Starbucks coffee, or do you just hate yourself for — where do you fit in the, I love coffee, the Starbucks coffee?
John: I knew that this was going to come up and, yeah, I’m definitely a hot chocolate guy. I am a seven-year-old on the inside.
Trent: Wow. You don’t drink caffeine?
John: Not so much. I don’t need it. It’s more of a court order where I’m not allowed, I don’t think.
Trent: You’re not allowed within 50 feet of a caffeine-dispensing place.
John: Caffeine-dispensing place, yeah. Here in Colorado, we do have caffeine dispensaries. I missed the coffee train, but hot chocolates, I will have two of those before 10. That’s for sure. I’ll join you in that. With whipped cream and whole milk.
Trent: You have a high sugar intake.
John: Yeah, definitely. I mean, don’t worry about brown teeth when you have no teeth.
Trent: Yeah. All right, next question, next question. Dark chocolate or normal chocolate.
John: I’m going to go normal chocolate, I think, yeah, unless you’re drinking it. If you’re drinking it, dark chocolate is good, but to eat, I’ll go normal chocolate just because I think that I can have more of it. I feel like dark chocolate, you don’t need as much.
Trent: Johnny Rocket hamburgers or McDonald’s hamburgers.
John: Johnny Rockets, yeah, for sure.
John: Why? I guess because just McDonald’s is so prevalent that they’re just everywhere. So, the Johnny Rockets, when you come across them, it’s a little more special, I guess. I don’t know if that’s the right word part.
Trent: Makes sense.
John: I feel like they’re more prepared, not just like a machine made them or something.
Trent: When was the last time you went to McDonald’s? What are you saying? That they’ve got robots in the background just somewhere?
John: Here in America, we do. No, not really, actually, but you do have to punch in your order yourself now. So, there’s that.
Trent: Yeah, I hate that. I don’t want to do anything for myself. That’s why I don’t use espressos that way.
John: That’s why you don’t make your own coffees.
Trent: I like to typically see someone making it for me. Ridiculous. Ridiculous. Last question, Denver or Brooklyn.
John: Denver, hands down. Brooklyn might be neat to visit but to live is a lot. It’s quiet compared to New York. The sun’s out all the time, and people are pretty chill, so it’s nice. I feel like I missed at least two or if not all of those questions, so it looks like I’m not buying a car.
Trent: Yeah, you didn’t get many of them right. That’s right. I mean, you wasted, I prefer hot chocolate over coffee, you pretty much lost.
John: Right, after that, it was just like, I don’t know why we’re doing the other questions.
Trent: Yeah, if you can’t answer the first one, why are we even here?
John: Right. Exactly. I’m glad we didn’t start the podcast out this way because that would have been awkward. It was so fun catching up with you, Trent. Thanks for being a part of What’s Your “And”?
Trent: No worries. Thanks for having me, as always.
John: Excellent. And everybody listening, if you want to see some pictures of Trent in action or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there, and while you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture.
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 who you are is so much more than what you do.
Ron is an Accountant & Clown
John visits Ron’s office in Denver to follow up on his latest adventures as part of the Distinguished Clown Brigade, taking on the role of Santa Claus, and writing a book on the cannabis industry! He returns to the podcast from episode 26.
• 6th year with the Distinguished Clown Brigade
• Being Santa Claus
• Being questioned about the Distinguished Clown Brigade during cross exams
• Why he feels it is beneficial to include the Distinguished Clown Brigade in his resume
• His book on the cannabis industry
• Picking up guitar again
• Why he enjoys speaking and traveling to conferences
Please take 2 minutes
to do John’s anonymous survey
about Corporate Culture!
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- Read Full TranscriptOpen or Close
Welcome to Episode 268 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 passions outside of work and also to hear how this message might’ve impacted them since we last talked.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book’s being published very, very soon. It’ll 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 and you’ll be the first to know when it’s being published. And please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This Follow-up Friday is going to be no different with my guest, Ron Seigneur. He’s the Managing Partner at Seigneur Gustafson in Denver and I’m visiting his office today. Ron, thanks so much for opening the doors and taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Ron: John, I’m just delighted to be here. It’s amazing. It was four years since we did the first episode.
John: It’s insane, man. It feels like four weeks. It really does. But it was so fun meeting you when I did the AICPA conference many years ago. Yeah. And then having you on the show and then now, coming to your office. It’s a real place.
Ron: And you live here in Denver now. So welcome to Colorado. Yeah.
John: No, I appreciate it, man. Yeah. It’s been awesome. And since then, I’ve moved to rapid-fire questions up to the front now. These are pretty fun. We’ll do seven. If you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones?
Ron: Harry Potter. The train ride from Diagon Alley to Hogwarts at Universal was amazing last year. Yeah.
John: Holy cow, look at this. You’re jumping. That’s like you didn’t just pick one. You knew. Okay.
Ron: Yeah, absolutely.
John: All right. More cats or dogs?
Ron: I’m a dog guy. I’ve got a French Bulldog that’s incredibly spoiled.
John: That’s awesome.
Ron: Yeah. I raise the dog.
John: Exactly. I remember the picture from the first time you were on the show that you sent in.
Ron: Little bulldogs are my world.
John: Exactly. This is a tough one. Brownie or ice cream?
Ron: Oh, God, I love chocolate, but a hot brownie with a little vanilla ice cream on.
John: That’s actually the correct answer. That was a trick one. It’s a combo. Exactly. How about a favorite Disney character?
Ron: Oh god. I have a golf buddy that we call him Goofy. So I’ll go with Goofy because he’s one of my best friends.
John: Goofy is a good answer. Do you prefer more hot or cold?
Ron: I like hot. I like hot, black, strong coffee in the morning that gets me started.
John: Okay. All right. All right. How about a favorite sports team? And sport?
Ron: Michigan Wolverines.
Ron: I’m a Spartan and a Wolverine. They played each other on Saturday. I grew up in Ann Arbor so when you cut me, I bleed more blue than I do green.
John: Wow. Interesting.
Ron: I just dislike the Ohio State Buckeyes.
John: Yeah. So either way, you got that, so that works. All right. All right. And the last one, this might be the most important one. Toilet paper roll, over or under?
Ron: Oh, it’s got to be over. I’ve got a brother in law who’s in the Navy and he’s just over. He goes to our bathroom. He’ll turn it around if it’s wrong. It’s got to be over. I think that’s a military code.
John: Yeah, pretty much. That’s awesome, man. That’s awesome. Yeah. I mean the Episode 26, you were so brave to be on, so early on. I had no clue what I was doing. I still kind of don’t. But we talked about being in the Distinguished Clown Brigade, which was just so cool. And part of — I mean for charity in a parade, give everybody a quick backstory on that.
Ron: I’ll try not to take too long, but I have two thoughts. One, this would be the sixth year that I’ve been involved. It’s part of the Parade of Lights, which is December 6th this year. Unfortunately, this will be the first year I’m going to miss it because I’m going to fulfill a bucket list thing. I’m going to be Santa Claus the next morning at Denver Country Club. And we have our dress rehearsal on the night that I’d be clowning around. So I’m stepping up to be Santa Claus this year. But the Clown Brigade is alive and well. It’s a charitable thing. I’ve got a couple of pictures on my wall. Yeah, it’s a privilege to be invited to do that.
John: And you nail it. I mean it’s just really fun and jovial. You make it into an experience for everybody, which is what you do.
Ron: It’s funny because I have a CV for all the expert witness stuff I do. On there, I say I’m a member of the Denver Distinguished Clown Brigade. And I’ve been in trials where I get asked that question in cross exams. It’s a nice way to avoid dealing with the real numbers and the real issues. It’s like, “Mr. Seigneur, tell me about this clowning around thing you’re doing.” Yeah.
John: Right. Exactly. Do you find that it’s a detriment? Or is it more of an enhancer?
Ron: I think it’s an enhancer. It just shows that I’m a real guy, more than just a number counter type of guy.
John: Yeah, totally. Because I mean there are some recruiters that I’ll run across or people that tell me that their recruiter or their headhunter or whatever is telling them to leave those things off of their resume. And I’m like, “Well, that’s the only thing that differentiates you. I mean why would you?”
Ron: I was in a trial, a contentious trial several months ago. I was being cross examined and the cross examining attorney had things they’re putting up on the screen and asking about numbers and empirical stuff and flashed a picture of me in my clown outfit. I was up on the stand sworn in. He said, “Mr. Seigneur, is this you?” I said, “Yes.” Then he went on to the next accounting thing. And I said, “Aren’t you going to ask me about…” He goes, “I don’t have time.” And I’m up there and I go, “That’s bullshit.” The judge paused and everything. We had to straighten that out on redirect, which we did. I think I scored points, but it was weird having somebody show a picture of a clown up while I’m in court.
John: And what does that have to do with your ability to be an excellent forensics investigator? I mean it has nothing to do with it.
Ron: Well, it has everything to do with the old line that lawyers say, “If the facts are against you, you argue the law right. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If both the law and the facts are against you, you call the other side names.”
John: Right. There you go.
Ron: I think it fell into that category.
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, but I mean it’s such a cool thing that you do. And now, Santa, I mean that’s next level. That’s legit.
Ron: I have a Santa outfit that I inherited from the guys the last couple of years. I have it at home. I was trying it on last night as a matter of fact. And I need to enhance it with a few things. So I’m going down the street to Disguises, which is a great costume shop just down the road, making sure I have the right glasses and the right beard and the right gloves and everything because you want to be the right Santa.
John: You have to be legit. Yeah. You can’t be mailing it in these days, I mean kids with the internet and everything.
Ron: Yeah. I don’t want to be Bad Santa.
John: Right. That’s awesome. Yeah. So other hobbies, passions? I know that it seems like you’ve expanded some outside of work interests.
Ron: Yeah. I’ve got four grandkids, another one on the way. They all live here in Denver, so that’s cool. We just took my oldest granddaughter who’s 13 to see Phantom of the Opera last night. So that was cool, a little culture for her and myself and my wife and my daughter. I still play golf, still hack away at the golf course just down the street here. I love to travel. I do a lot of speaking as you know, John, around the country.
John: Right. Oh yeah, absolutely.
Ron: One of the things is I become known as the pot guy because I wrote a book called The Cannabis Industry Accounting and Appraisal Guide with my partner and another colleague. Now, I literally have people walking up to me going, “Hey, you’re the pot guy, aren’t you?”
John: It’s like, “Well, it depends on how you define that.”
Ron: If it pays enough, that’s it. If my mother could see me now, do you what I’m saying?
John: Right. Exactly. Yeah, but I mean from having that niche in that industry especially in Colorado but so many other states, that’s becoming a big business opportunity.
Ron: It’s huge. We’re doing a lot of stuff in hemp and CBD right now. As a matter of fact, we’re about ready to issue a big report on a seed genetics firm that’s located here in Denver. But we’ve done cannabis and hemp related work in Oregon. We have stuff in Nevada going on, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Florida, Michigan, Virginia. So we’re finding our way all over the country. Primarily because of the book, the book kind of just all of a sudden, you wrote the book. It’s like you must know something. Yeah.
John: That’s really awesome. With all your travels and talking to people and expanding business and everything, do you find that people are sharing hobbies and passions more now or you’re more keen to it? Or is it, “I still have work to do.”
Ron: I’ve always been a curious people. I’m a people person. So I always like to talk to people, like what you’re doing in a smaller degree, kind of, “What do you like to do? What do you do outside of work? What’s unique about you as an individual?” It’s fun to learn about people and see what other people are into. I always ask people, “Do you really have a hobby?” Because most people, it’s like, “Well, my hobby is running or working out,” versus gardening or woodworking. It seems like nobody has time for legitimate hobbies anymore. They’re all slaves to the internet. “My hobby is doing emails all day long.” It’s like, “Hmm, not so much.”
John: Right. Yeah. That’s why I try to push people. It’s something that has nothing to do with your job at all. Yeah. And why do you think it’s so important that you find out these things when you talk to people?
Ron: I’m curious. I just like to know what they’re about. What do they do besides their job to define themselves? We’re all spinning through this world at a rapid pace. Do you like to travel? Are you finding time for it? Do you like to take photography? Are you really following it? I like to play guitar. I have a guitar in my basement. I just haven’t found enough time to do it. But it’s one of those things I’d like to get back into. I have a couple good friends. I think you know one, Kevin Yeanoplos.
John: Oh, yeah, he’s been a friend of the podcast. Absolutely. Yeah, he’s been on.
Ron: He and his buddy, Harold Martin, have been actually playing their guitars when they — we just did a conference in Virginia. For the afternoon reception, Harold and Kevin broke out their guitars and sang and played. It’s cool to see them do that. They’re willing to get up in front of their peers and, “Let me show you that I’m good enough to stroke a few notes and play some for you.”
John: Right. And now, everyone knows who they are.
John: So instead of just another forensics person, it’s, “Oh, no, you’re the one that played the guitar.”
Ron: Yeah. You’re the one that has another talent.
John: Exactly. Exactly. I think it’s cool that you’re doing that well before I came along, which is great. You’re creating those deeper connections that actually matter because you care about them as a person, which is awesome.
Ron: Getting around and speaking and teaching at conferences, the best part about it is the relationships that I’ve built over the years, people that I consider close friends that I might only see once or twice a year. We go to the AICPA Valuation Conference and it’s like Old Home Week when we show up there. Yeah.
John: For those people, I’m usually good friends with them because I only see them once or twice a year. If I saw them more, they would be like, “We’re sick of you, John. Leave me alone.”
Ron: Kind of like my relatives.
John: Right. Exactly. I think that’s great. Do you have any words of encouragement to others? I mean clearly, being Santa and then the Distinguished Clown Brigade, it’s not something that’s normal that people would think of as something that makes you better at your job, but it clearly does.
Ron: Well, I said bucket list before and I think we might’ve talked about this back in April of 2016 when we did Episode 26, but have a bucket list. Sit down. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Write out — what is it that’s on your bucket list that you’d like to do. Then every year, revisit it and see if you can check off a couple of things. Maybe add a couple. “See, I want to play guitar.” Okay. Did you do that this next year? That’s like a priority list that you can refer to to see what it is that you want to do in addition to working all day every day and being a slave to the internet.
John: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely, man. That’s such a great thing. It’s just be intentional with it because before you know it, I mean all of a sudden, 20 years have gone by or 40 years have gone by and you’re like, “Well, what now?” That’s crazy.
Ron: Well, I’m 66. You start to think about your mortality and how much — I have people asking me like, “Are you still working? How much longer are you going to work?” It’s like, “I don’t think about it. I feel young.” But then I see my friends that I went to high school with and some of them are retired. So I started thinking, “What else do I want to do while I…”
John: Well, that’s because they’re old.
Ron: I go back to my high school reunion. It’s like half the people are like, “God, they’re old.” The other half are like, “They’re looking pretty good.” It’s like, “Which group am I in?”
John: Right. Exactly. That’s awesome. Well, this has been really fun. And I do now allow people to turn the tables on me now. So if you want to fire away, you have any questions you want to ask me, we can chat.
Ron: Tell me what you like best about being in Colorado.
John: Probably the weather. I mean just no humidity and sunshine all the time. I didn’t realize that — humidity, I know, is bad when it’s warm. It’s makes it gross. But when it’s cold, humidity makes it terrible. That’s the bone-chilling cold. But here, it’ll be 35 or 40 degrees and I’m wearing a windbreaker because the sun is out and it’s not that cold.
Ron: I think statistically, we have more sunshine here than San Diego.
John: Which is crazy.
Ron: About 300 sunny days a year. Yeah.
John: Yeah. No, the weather is just amazing. And not a lot of rain, which I’m not a fan of. I think it’s because I’m made of sugar. I’ll melt.
Ron: One of the questions, what are your hobbies?
John: What are one of my hobbies? I’m huge into college football. Yeah. So your Michigan Wolverines can eat it. But no, no. I’m just teasing.
Ron: Who’s your team?
John: I went to Notre Dame. Yeah.
Ron: Okay. Notre Dame’s okay. Just like don’t be a Buckeye.
John: Yeah. We’re not Ohio State.
Ron: How did we do this year, Notre Dame? I can’t remember.
John: Yeah. That game didn’t happen. It was in the rain so it didn’t happen. We canceled it. No, I’m kidding.
Ron: Never mind.
John: Oh yeah. That was good for Michigan to finally turn it around. So college football, huge into that. Then ice cream, I’m just huge into — local ice cream places when I travel, I’ll make my way to their local establishment. And then of course comedy. I don’t do the clubs anymore but my friends are and my friends have Netflix specials and stuff like that. So it’s fun to see them, but yeah. But definitely college football and ice cream. And if I can combine those at the same time, yeah, that’s heaven.
Ron: Do you get back for game at all?
John: Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I write the Award Show for the football team. Two of them have been nominated for Emmys because they all air on NBCSN. So first year was with Dan Hicks and Hannah Storm. Hannah’s an alum. Then two years ago was with Jerome Bettis. Then last year was with Aaron Taylor. Yeah. So it’s been fun.
Ron: A good friend of mine, Otto Hilbert, the guy that I’m inheriting the Santa outfit from is a Notre Dame grad. He played football for them for a couple years. We always accused him being kind of the Rudy on the team.
John: Right. If he got carried off, then that’d be amazing. Yeah. I mean that’s what I love to do. Yeah. I mean that has nothing to do with work, but I find that there’s a lot of people that can relate to those things.
Ron: There you go.
John: Cool. Well, thanks, Ron. This has been really awesome.
Ron: Thank you, John.
John: Everyone listening, if you want to see some pictures of Ron in action or maybe connect with him 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 button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture.
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 who you are is so much more than what you do.
Belicia is a CPA & Snowboarder
Belicia returns to the podcast from episode 37 to update us on her latest hobbies including snowboarding, travelling, and going to the shooting range! She also talks about how she has noticed a change in co-workers making a point to bring their full selves into the office!
• Less tennis, more of everything else
• How her co-workers got her into snowboarding
• Close call at the shooting range
• How her hobbies make establishing relational connections easier
• More people are bringing their full selves into the office
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- Read Full TranscriptOpen or Close
Welcome to Episode 254 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 passions 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 very soon. It’ll 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 when it’s coming out. And don’t forget to hit subscribe on the podcast, so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This Follow-up Friday is no different with my guest, Belicia Cespedes. She’s a Senior Associate in the Forensics Services at PwC. Now, she’s with me here today. Belicia, thank you so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Belicia: Of course, happy to be here.
John: No, this is awesome. I remember the Episode 37. It’s so long ago. It doesn’t even seem like it. But anyway, I’m glad to have you back. I’d do the rapid-fire questions up front now. So I’m going to start you out. Here we go. If you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones?
Belicia: Harry Potter, even though I’ve never watched it.
John: Right. It just seems less scary. How about cats or dogs?
Belicia: Oh, don’t even ask about cats.
John: There we go. All right. How about a favorite place you’ve been on vacation?
Belicia: I just got back from Utah. That was gorgeous. I highly recommend to everyone.
John: Yeah. Okay. I live in Denver, so it’s the Utah junior.
Belicia: Pretty close.
John: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. But beautiful rock formations in the mountains. It’s amazing. How about hamburger or pizza?
Belicia: Ooh, hamburger.
John: Oh, okay.
Belicia: Especially if it’s a buffalo hamburger.
John: Ah, there you go. How about more diamonds or pearls?
Belicia: Let’s go diamonds.
John: Okay. Okay. How about what’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Belicia: I’m going to go cookies and cream.
John: Nice. Solid answer. Yeah. This is an important one. Last one, toilet paper, roll over or under?
Belicia: Ooh, wow. Over.
John: Okay. All right. Sometimes, people say under and I guess those are the cats people.
Belicia: They’re weird.
John: They’re the cat people. But when we chatted Episode 37, we talked tennis. Is that still something that you’re playing regularly?
Belicia: It is. It is. Unfortunately, a couple of my other hobbies have started to inhibit it a little bit. Snowboarding would be of them.
Belicia: And I took a bad fall. So my serves haven’t been prime lately. Tennis is still up there for sure.
John: That’s great. These other hobbies, so snowboarding being one?
Belicia: Yeah. I do it actually a lot with people from PwC that I work with.
John: Oh, that’s even cooler. Where do you like to go? I mean I know you’re in California, right?
Belicia: Yeah. Mammoth Mountain, it is unbeatable.
John: Yeah. There you go.
Belicia: Even for some of the mountains in Colorado. Sorry to say but it’s true.
John: Exactly. You know what? I’ve seen Mammoth Mountain, but I haven’t been for snowboarding. So next time I’m out there, I’ll bring my board and then we’ll go. We’ll see what happens. So what made you want to pick up snowboarding?
Belicia: It was actually some of the people at PwC that couple of them own spots up there. So we just go up as a big group and have a ton of fun together. So really, it was them that got me into it.
John: That’s great. So it’s getting out of the office. It’s hanging out. They invited you and they’re like, “Yeah. We want you to come along and be a part of this.” Then you’re like, “Well, if I’m going to go, I have to do it.”
Belicia: Exactly. And got to be good at it.
John: So how many years have you been doing this?
Belicia: Last season was my first dedicated season. I’d really probably just say a year at this point.
John: Yeah. And you’re good or are you doing half pipes and all these jumps and stuff?
Belicia: I’ve gotten up to black diamonds, but I wouldn’t say I’m great yet.
John: Right. No, no. I’m the same. I just started two years ago. Yeah. I just want to just do a small jump and not die. I take a picture in the air. Then I guess it doesn’t matter if I landed properly because you got the picture in the air.
Belicia: Get the photo evidence. That’s right.
John: Right. Exactly. And the thing that’s so crazy to me about snowboarding versus skiing is that the board doesn’t have to be perpendicular to the mountain because you’ll probably run into somebody. You’ll be going way too fast. You can almost go sideways and it’s just as good, which is weird. That’s really cool. So what were some of the other hobbies that you picked up?
Belicia: Now that I actually have a little bit of money, I can actually spend it on things.
John: Right. Exactly.
Belicia: So traveling and — yeah, it’s been very nice. I did a little bit of boating and got a handgun recently. So those have been things that I added to the list as well.
John: So just go into the range and target practice, things like that?
Belicia: Yeah. Exactly. Actually, the first time I took my gun out to shoot it, I could’ve potentially blown it up. But good thing I had a friend there who stopped me before shooting again. What happened was that the bullet got stuck in my barrel because it had been wrongly loaded. Yeah. Good thing he was there to say, “Hey, let me just check that before you blow your face up.” Yeah. That was a good save.
John: Yeah. For sure. Safety first. Then the boating, what kind of boat?
Belicia: Oh, it was a little speedboat. I just took it out on a couple of the lakes.
John: That’s really cool. And that’s got to be a fun release, just getting away from work.
Belicia: It is, especially with all the water there. You can just dive in and swim in between your boating with nice day jams going on.
John: There you go. Okay. Okay. I see what’s up. That’s very cool. Do you feel like any of these new hobbies give you a skillset that you use at work or a mindset or any way it helps I guess with the release. With the boating, that’s certainly a mindfulness thing, but any of the other things?
Belicia: Yeah. I think there’s a lot of conversation and relational connection that you can just make a lot simpler when there’s a wide variety of things and stories that you can glean from. So whether it be relationships with the people that I’m doing that with — for example, the snowboarding — we go with directors to staff that just started. So that’s always good to be able to easily connect with anyone. But then on the trip to have analogies and stories to share just makes relational connection a lot easier.
John: Definitely. Because I mean you could only talk about work so much before we’re done talking. And I imagine that the people that you share those hobbies with, you have a different relationship with those people than just everyone else in the PwC office?
Belicia: So true. Yes, 100%.
John: That’s really cool. Do you find that other people are sharing more or that you’re more in tune with what people’s hobbies are since being on the show?
Belicia: Yeah. I think so. I think there’s been a really good maturity that’s happened in people’s lives, a little bit more of just wanting to bring their full self to work. So I find those conversations a lot more common. Maybe it’s because I’m also getting more comfortable with them, just breaking down all the stereotypes of being in the business office and being professional and only talking about things that are applicable to your project. It’s been really cool and has really contributed a lot to even just the daily enjoyment of my job.
John: Yeah. Because I mean I was the same way. When you start out, you model behavior or you act the way you think you’re supposed to act. Then you realize — like for you pretty quickly, which is great. It’s just, “I don’t have to be that way. I can just be me,” because that’s the best version of you anyway. It’s that. So I think that’s cool that that’s happened. Do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that might think that, “Hey, my hobby or my passion has nothing to do with my job.”
Belicia: I even would just take the financial freedom piece of it and say — encourage people that, “Hey, you’ve worked to get to this point and now have hopefully more financial freedom. And it’s really fun to be able to enjoy that without constantly thinking about how you need to spend every single dollar on certain things. So I think taking just a little bit of risks even there and enjoying that would be fun.”
I think last time, I shared a quote from G. K. Chesterton saying, “An inconvenience is just an adventure wrongly considered.” And there’s been a bunch of things that even with the boating day or with hiking days or travel days, there’s been a bunch of little things along the road that’s like, “Wow. this could be really annoying right now.” But then it just becomes a really fun story later, like almost missing that last tram or running into something, getting caught in the narrow part or the shallow part of lake. It just becomes really fun, stuff you can laugh about later.
John: Yeah. Definitely. Because I mean other people have probably done it too.
John: Exactly. Right. Or they’re lying. But that’s such great advice. Don’t be worried about every six minute block. There’s always more hours to be worked, always, always. But you’ve worked hard to get to this point and enjoy it. Before we wrap this up, it’s only fair that I allow you to question me if you’d like, so we’ll have a little bit of fun.
Belicia: Here we go. All right. Do you say caramel or caramel?
John: Wow. That’s a really good question. I think it’s caramel. That’s how I say it. Yeah.
Belicia: Caramel? Good choice.
John: Okay, good. I was worried that this interview was going to be over.
Belicia: Oh, it’s done. Goodbye. Taco tasting or wine tasting?
John: Wine tasting all day.
Belicia: Okay. And what about the favorite thing about yourself?
John: I get to talk to Belicia. Does that count?
John: I won. I just won. I just won everything. The favorite thing about myself, oh wow. That’s a really hard question. I guess I’m 6’3” so I’m just tall enough to get things off the top shelf but not too tall to sit in an airplane.
Belicia: There you go.
John: I don’t know. That’s kind of handy. I can spot people in a crowd pretty quickly, but I’m not freakishly tall where everyone’s like, “Oh, you must play basketball.”
Belicia: There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. It takes three.
John: That was super fun. Thank you so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Belicia: Oh, absolutely.
John: Yeah. Everyone listening, if you want to see some pictures of Belicia in action or connect with her on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. While you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture. 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 who you are is so much more than what you do.