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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Sep 28, 2016

Shortly after starting at Hodges-Mace, one of the salespeople told Ron Shah that he’s “not the typical CFO” simply because he brought his personality to work with him. In the same way that he does in the office, Ron brings his personality to being the play-by-play announcer at his son’s high school football games. So much so, by his third game, people were noticing how much fun he was having in the booth.

In this episode, we talk about how Ron’s sharing stories about his play-by-play calls or other stories about his family, it humanizes him in such a way that makes him approachable. This allows everyone around him to feel comfortable and develop trust, which is the first key to engagement. By getting others to talk about their passions, it creates an energy in the office that’s infectious. Ron encourages everyone to “rip the band-aid off” and just share a little bit with a client or coworker — you’ll be amazed at the interest level and how others will gravitate toward you.

Ron Shah joined Hodges-Mace in October 2011 as the Chief Financial & Operations Officer.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Babson College and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Virginia.

Sep 21, 2016

At the age of 22, Vinh Giang decided not fulfill the Asian prophecy and become an accountant, so he took a slightly different path and pursued a career as a magician. Since then he’s won multiple awards for magic shows, he’s a successful international keynote speaker and runs a video production company in Australia called Luminary. Being a magician, speaker, and a director all have one thing in common – Storytelling. And that’s his greatest passion in life.

In this episode, we talk about how everyone in the office first found out he did magic and how bringing that to the office brought a breath of fresh air to an otherwise dull environment. And Vinh discusses how he hated work because he realized his "work self" was different than his "real self", so he was so relieved to be able to bring some of that to work and make it more fun. We also talk about how professionals should be more like performers, having opening and closing jokes or stories that break down the barriers professionalism has built.

Vinh Giang is the CEO and Director at Luminary Productions and an International Keynote Speaker, using magic to deliver his message. Prior to that, he worked at a small accounting firm in Adelaide, Australia.

He studied accounting at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Sep 14, 2016

If someone were to ask where Joseph Rugger was right now, you’re best guess would be one of our glorious National Parks. He’s been to almost all of them, from Acadia in Maine to the White Sands in New Mexico –driving his Prius all over the country. He created a bucket list of places he’d like to visit all over the world and is quickly checking them off as he does his CFO work virtually.

In this episode, we talked about how we get most of our enjoyment from non-work time, so talking about those things in the office only enhances our jobs. We also talked about how leaders should take the time to genuinely get to know their staff. Using forced programs as the only time to do so is not authentic and doesn’t develop any connections. A good rule Joseph uses is to double the question to statement ratio to open a dialogue and build those relationships.

Joseph Rugger is the CFO of Jonesboro Prosthetic and Orthotic Laboratory and a Continuing Education Instructor with the AICPA. He was the 2011 Arkansas Outstanding Emerging CPA Award Winner and a member of the 2013 AICPA Leadership Academy.

He graduated from Lyon College with a BS Accounting, BS Finance, and BA Economics while being an active member of the baseball team. He later received his Master’s of Professional Accounting from IUPUI.

Sep 6, 2016

Greg Papineau takes service to a whole new level, especially now that he’s a Deacon in the Catholic Church. He was first called to this in 2000 as a chaperone on his son’s World Youth Day visit to the Vatican. Since then, he’s been ordained and in his words, can “marry, bury and baptize”. And, oh yeah, he also happens to be the 1989 Colorado State Champion Cyclist.

In this episode, we talk about how the word “Deacon” is derived from a Greek word meaning “servant”. Greg is always thinking how he can be even more service oriented and also develop a personal interest in clients and coworkers. This leads to a cycling group that meets in the warmer months and team meetings starting where the new staff members tell everyone a little bit about their life outside of work.

Greg Papineau works as the Director of Audit & Assurance for BiggsKofford, PC. He’s also the lead for the Firm’s Physician Group Services and Non-profit Services. Prior to joining BiggsKofford, he was a Controller in the banking industry after spending a few years at a different public accounting firm.

He has a Bachelor of Science, Accounting from Central Washington University.

Sep 1, 2016

Amy Cooper loves Auburn football. And she loves teaching accounting at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Combining the two has let her give the most important lesson — professionals can be successful while also sharing their passions at work. There isn’t a student in her Fall Semester classes that doesn’t know who Auburn is playing the next weekend.

In this episode, we talk about the public perception of accounting versus reality and how that skews people’s behavior, including that of accountants. When Amy sees these college students, they are all unique with different hobbies and passions. Amy is working hard to encourage this from her students even after they begin working full-time and “professionalism” creeps in.

Amy Cooper is an Accounting Instructor at the Universit of Alaska Fairbanks. Prior to that, she worked at a few public accounting firms in Washington and Alaska.

She has a BS in Accounting & French from Birmingham-Southern College and a Master of Professional Accounting in Taxation from the University of Washington.

Aug 24, 2016

Scott Gehman grew up camping in New Jersey but college and starting his career caused him to put that passion on hold for many years. He’s also always been obsessed with loud, fast cars. Now that his son is a Boy Scout, he’s able to combine the two as he loads up his Mustang GT to spend a weekend camping.

In this episode, we talk about how important it is to be willing to share, no matter how small — something on your desk, a picture on your office wall, or computer desktop wallpaper are simple ways to show your hobby or passion. We also discuss how he felt like an outsider since he really isn’t into sports but how he was able to approach co-workers and clients from another angle to create stronger relationships.

Scott Gehman is a Retirement Plan Consultant with Conrad Siegel Actuaries in York, PA. He also handles some marketing and business development for the firm.

He graduated magna cum laude with a BS degree in Marketing from Messiah College.

Aug 17, 2016

Maya really likes chocolate. No, I mean really likes it. It all started when she was in college and a chocolate fudge brownie a la mode sundae made her lose track of time and space as she was in total flow with that moment in time. And now she uses chocolate to start client meetings, which brings everyone together and also puts them in a great mood. She also actively participates in chocolate festivals throughout the country and even hosts chocolate tastings. So it looks like Boston just moved up to the top of my cities to visit next!

In this episode, we talk about how your value to your organization is much more than your intellectual capital -- it's the social capital of all your connections as well. And in this world of virtual teams, it's even important to create these personal connections. And she also offers some really great tips about how to decide which chocolate is actually your favorite.

Maya Townsend is the founder and lead consultant at Partnering Resources. She's also the co-editor of the Handbook for Strategic HR: Best Practices in Organization Development from the OD Network.

She graduated with a BA degree in Community Studies from Oberlin College and later went on to get an MS from American University and a Certificate in Organization Development from Georgetown University.

Aug 11, 2016

Mike says that he isn't good at it but he really enjoys playing the guitar. He finds that concentrating on something other than work allows him to disconnect and gives him a release to come back to the office refreshed. He also likes to be outdoors hiking, which he says is also a fun way to have a business meeting, creating a "remember when" experience with clients or coworkers that creates stronger bonds.

In this episode, we talk about how you, yes you, have permission to talk about your hobbies and passions at work. This gives your coworkers and clients a deeper, pneumatic connection so they'll actually remember you. Mike also adds that the best organizations create a culture that empowers each employee to truly be themself while also being a representative of the organization.

Mike Michalowicz is an entrepreneur and popular keynote speaker on innovative topics. He's also a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is the former MSNBC business make-over expert; and is the author of Surge, Profit First, The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, which BusinessWeek deemed “the entrepreneur’s cult classic.”.

He graduated with degrees in Finance and Management Science from Virginia Tech, where he was a member of the lacrosse team.


Aug 3, 2016

Andrew Tarvin is a funny guy and is well-known nationally within the ComedySportz improv world. He also does stand-up comedy -- his first paid gig was opening for Pauly Shore. A few years ago, he left his Project Manager position with Procter & Gamble to start Humor That Works to show corporations across the world how humor can enhance their bottom line.

In this episode, we talk about how he realized early on in his career that humor helped him be more effective with coworkers. One of his first managers encouraged him to push the boundaries, which he did by creating his own title: P&G Corporate Humorist. He would include jokes, cartoons or videos in his team emails and found that sharing his passion of humor was the single most important thing to benefit his personal brand at work.

Andrew Tarvin is the world's first Humor Engineer. He teaches people how to enjoy their jobs more while doing them better. Prior to running his own company, Humor That Works, Andrew was a Project Engineer with Proctor & Gamble.

He graduated from the Ohio State University, Magna Cum Laude with Honors in Engineering.

Jul 20, 2016

Belicia Cespedes loves tennis. She also happens to be the youngest person to ever pass the CPA Exam (at age 17). Professionalism would tell her that the latter is most important for her career but she has found a great deal of success creating coworker connections through tennis, even teaching some of her PwC co-workers how to play. And her competitive side comes out during the table tennis tournaments (very similar, I mean it’s got “tennis” in the name!) the audit team had during Busy Season. What’s most impressive is all of this is from an intern – the first intern that has been a guest on the show!

In this episode we talk about how playing tennis translates directly to her role as a forensics auditor. Each person is ultimately responsible for their own performance but you can always turn to the rest of the team for support. We also talk about how much professionalism weighs on interns and new hires as they feel the pressure to impress at work, not realizing that sharing your hobbies or passions actually helps more than hurts your career.

Belicia is currently working as a Risk Assurance Intern with the Forensics Team at PwC.

She is attending CSUN and pursuing her MSA.

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