The Green Apple Podcast: don't let professionalism suffocate your personality

“Recovering CPA” John Garrett talks with professionals who are shattering the stereotype by being known at work for a hobby or passion. Accountants, consultants, lawyers and other professionals are doing some really cool things after they leave the office. We discuss how these passions continue to impact their career in surprising ways.
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The Green Apple Podcast: don't let professionalism suffocate your personality



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Jun 22, 2016

When Edie Gardner turned 40, she set a goal to have an experience in all 50 states over the next ten years. Mission accomplished! The stories she shares from driving through the snowy mountains in Colorado, to visiting Cracker Barrel in Tennessee, to Mount Rushmore, all helped her create stronger relationships with her clients.

In this episode, we talk about how important bucket lists are and how it gave her a sense of purpose -- while also remembering to enjoy the journey. She talks about how the best employees are those that have passions they use to enrich their jobs. This makes work more enjoyable and gives you something to look forward to.

Edie Gardner is a CPA and counselor who can audit your financials and then ask you how you feel about the numbers. She's had careers in public and private accounting and social work but is now a stay-at-home mom with a new business of storybookkeeping which is part accounting, part counseling, part organization of papers, and part creation of bucket lists for living a truly happy life. .

Edie graduated from the University of Santa Clara with a BS in Accounting. She later received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California.

Jun 15, 2016

Jen started juggling in middle school and hasn’t stopped since, now teaching corporate audiences to be more balanced and productive. She took the balancing act literally as she spent several years performing juggling shows at night while working as a structural engineer in New York City.

You can catch Jen as she tours nationally as a speaker, educator and host that has been on The Late Show with David Letterman, ABC News, Fox, Huffington Post Live, Good Day Sacramento, Good Day Philadelphia, Off-Broadway and TEDx stages — and now, the Green Apple Podcast.

Jen Slaw worked as a structural engineer in NYC for 6 years until she quit to become a professional juggler. She serves as the director of Juggling Life, a non-profit with a mission to engage, inspire & emotionally heal ill & disadvantaged youth through interactive juggling and performing arts programs.

She was valedictorian of her high school class and graduated from Swarthmore College with degrees in Art & Engineering.

Jun 8, 2016

Ruth Ross learned how to play poker at age 10 from her father. Little did she realize that it would give her the skills to develop into a Human Resources executive. Combined with her love of travel, she’s played poker all over the world — from Las Vegas to Monte Carlo.

In this episode, Ruth talks about how poker gives her the ability to work on her “gut instinct” to read others, which is often very useful in dealing with office issues. She parallels employee engagement with poker, saying that we’re each dealt a hand at work and we need to decide whether to fold or go “all in”.

Ruth is an engagement evangelist, speaker, and author at R Squared Resources. She wrote the book “Coming Alive: The Journey to Reengage Your Life and Career”. Prior to this, Ruth spent 30 years as a Human Resources professional, working her way up to Executive Vice President.

She graduated from Syracuse University with a BS in Human Development and Business. She later went on to get her MS in Counseling from Northeastern University.

Jun 1, 2016

Kelly Richmond Pope is on a mission to show what an accountant is not. She’s shattering the stereotype of an accounting professor by continuously looking for new ways to keep students engaged by learning with different media. Her latest project is a feature documentary All the Queens Horses about the largest municipal fraud in U.S. history.

In this episode we talk about how important it is to tell stories to make your point stick with the listener, whether that’s accounting students or audit clients. Kelly also brings up how important it is to always bring your best self to work, which means not hiding your hobbies or passions. Be sure to stay to the end because we have a lot of laughs during the “Get to know Kelly” rapid fire questions.

Kelly Richmond Pope currently teaches forensic accounting at DePaul University in Chicago and is the founder of Helios Digital Learning. She is also a fraud filmmaker, entrepreneur, and self-proclaimed educational evangelist.

She received her Ph.D. in accounting from Virginia Tech University.

May 25, 2016

Rebecca Berneck likes to go fast. Really fast. Land speed record holder fast. All on a vintage motorcycle. And when she’s not doing that, Rebecca road races competitively throughout the country.

In this episode, we talk about how she’s incorporated this into her business at Officeheads — from her website pictures to the quotes on her office walls. When talking with clients, she parallels their companies to her motorcycle racing team (pit crew, coach, mechanic, etc.) to show that it’s best not to do it all yourself.

Rebecca is the founder and “Big Head” of Officeheads, providing financial management and strategic coaching to small creative and professional service companies. Prior to starting her business, she spent 15 years as the business manager at RNW Consulting, a boutique strategic management consulting firm in Chicago.

She enrolled at Mankato State University but only put in one year. In lieu of getting a formal higher education, Rebecca jumped in to learn on the job.

Rebecca’s links

May 11, 2016

Christine trains her way to better connections

This year, Christine DeAngelis will complete a half marathon and several obstacle course races, including the Bone Frog Challenge and Spartan Trifecta. Those names alone intimidate me enough to not even want to sign up. But Christine is going to do them all as part of her newfound appreciation for fitness and healthy living after having her daughter a few years ago.

In this episode, we talk about how there are always little points of connection that come up in conversation, you just have to look for them. We also discuss how talking about her races not only provides a point of connection with others but also holds her more accountable to push further.

Christine DeAngelis is the President and CEO of Epiphany Consulting Group, where she helps companies grow by providing outsourced CFO and Controller services. Prior to that, she spent several years in both public accounting and industry. She is a graduate of the AICPA Leadership Academy, was voted one of New Hampshire's Top 10 Young Professionals to Watch and was recognized as one of New Hampshire's 40 Under 40 Young Professionals earlier this year and was even an adjunct professor of Accounting at Southern New Hampshire University.

Christine has a BS in Accounting from the University of New Hampshire and an MSA from Southern New Hampshire University, after which she served as an Adjunct Professor for two years.

May 4, 2016

Kristen views client connections through a different lens

Kristen Rampe is a very busy woman. When she's not running her own consulting firm, she's shuttling her twin boys around and finding free time to pursue her creative side through art of all kinds: photography, painting, drawing, and improv. This provides some balance that she craves after many hours of accounting and consulting work.

We talk about how non-work conversations give depth to relationships, both in the office and with clients. She was reluctant to talk about her art because she didn't feel confident enough to share it at work but turned to other shared experiences like the office co-ed softball team to create stronger connections.

Kristen Rampe is the founder of Kristen Rampe Consulting, where she shows CPA and professional services firms how to use soft skills to get higher profitability.

She graduated from Butler University with a BS in Accounting. While there, she studied abroad at the University of Tasmania.

Apr 27, 2016

Ron clowns his way tobetter business relationships


When he isn’t writing a children’s book, grilling some deliciouspork chops or being a clown in Denver’s Distinguished ClownBrigade, Ron Seigneur is a highly regarded business valuationexpert. In this episode, we talk about how much accounting hasbecome a people-based business, so having hobbies and passionsoutside of work really helps develop those connections.

As Partner, he also looks for people with hobbies and passionsbecause these well-rounded individuals are probably also better atwriting and speaking to clients. Having all the technical knowledgewon’t get you far when you want to generate business.

Ron is a Partner with Seigneur Gustafson LLP in Denver, CO. Heis past chair of the AICPA Accredited in Business Valuationcommittee and NACVA’s Professional Standards Board. He is anadjunct professor at the University of Denver College of Law wherehe teaches leadership and management for law firms.

Ron holds a BA in Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Managementfrom Michigan State University and an MBA in Accounting andCorporate Policy from the University of Michigan.

Apr 21, 2016

Rick is a real court jester


Rick Roberts manages to keep a busy comedy schedule while also being a Partner in a law firm. He’s performed at Caroline’s Comedy Club in New York City as well as Mohegan Sun and several theaters in Connecticut. He regrets not starting sooner because it has been a huge complement to his law career.

In this episode, Rick says that all firms want to have intellectually stimulated staff so why not encourage that? He admits most professional jobs are all-consuming so it’s easy to get into a routine of passive entertainment, like going home and watching television, instead of actively pursuing a passion.


Rick is a partner at Nuzzo & Roberts, a 22 lawyer firm in Cheshire CT, focused on trial work defending people and companies who get sued.

He graduated from Binghamton University and SUNY Buffalo Law School and is now listed in Connecticut and New England Super Lawyers.

John talks with

Rick Roberts




Other pictures of Rick

(click to enlarge)


Rick on stage at a show in Connecticut.


Rick acting out one of his jokes.


Getting some big laughs at a theater.


Rick’s links

Apr 13, 2016

Megan barbecues up some great coworker relationships

In 2010, Megan Varani and her husband Brian began participating in BBQ competitions in several different states. Just six short years later, they opened Mookie’s BBQ Restaurant and also have a catering business in Northern Virginia.

All of this was made possible thanks to EY leadership giving her the flexibility to get the work done with taking many Fridays off to travel to competitions. She talks about how her sharing provided another connection point with clients and coworkers. And by her sharing more about the BBQ competitions and restaurant, it encouraged others to also open up about their passions.

Megan is an Executive Director with EY in the DC Metro office, focusing on Assurance Financial Services clients. She’s spent the last 14 years with EY. Prior to that, she was an Audit Staff with Arthur Andersen prior to being merged into EY.

Megan graduated from Marietta College with a BA in Accounting and a minor in Leadership Studies.

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