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Business Owner + Candidate for School Board in Albany, CA, Jon Raj Destin

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Today, in honor of election day 2016, I have Jon Raj Destin who is single, gay dad, runs a marketing consulting firm, and on the side, he's running for School Board in his town of Albany, California outside San Francisco.

Jon and I talked about how his passion for education and advocacy and his business and marketing experience led him to consider running for office, how much he’s learned about his community from this experience, how he and his son Sammy campaign together and much more.

SHOW NOTES:

Find out more about Jon's campaign  

Find out more about the town of Albany, CA

  • Jon runs a marketing consultancy, but really considers fatherhood his full-time job.

  • How he has always lived his life “based on passion”, what he finds interesting and most wants to do.

  • Jon was born in communist Hungary, escaped as a little boy with his family and grew up as an immigrant to the United States.

  • His early years led him to be passionate about education, starting with teaching as part of Teach for America after college.

  • Over the years, led to doing marketing, but never really gave up on education and being an advocate.

  • Now as a dad, he is focused on quality education for his son -- which led to his current side project of running for school board in Albany, CA.
  • With a laugh Jon says he “tends to jump into things that I find interesting and feel I could have an impact... maybe even before I really understand everything…”.

  • He jumped into running for school board because he felt like his skill set (business background) really applied, and he thought he could really make an impact as the school district heads into a phase of using bond measure funds to build and re-build a number of local schools.

  • How Jon is really enjoying the campaigning aspect, how he’s learning about the community and it’s needs.

  • As a single, gay dad, he has also really enjoyed getting to know others LGBQ families in the community.

  • Jon is experiencing broad support in the community — new residents like him, as well as 70 year residents.

  • How Jon is integrating the campaign into his family life with his bow tie loving son Sammy

  • Jon says, “frankly it’s never a good time, especially if you’re a parent, but you just have to make the time to do the things you love… because if you can show your child or your kids that you’re doing what you love, I think that’s a really important, great lesson”.

  • Advice for others who might be thinking about running for a community office is that if it’s important to you, just do it.

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Executive Director + Little League Baseball Coach, Bruce Reed

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Today I have Bruce Reed who is a dad of two young kids and runs Compass Education Group, and on the side, he's a little league baseball coach.

Bruce has a really interesting perspective and approach when it comes to coaching kids, and he takes much of the same approach in building and managing teams in his business — in both he looks for 3 types of personalities: The entrepreneurs, The artisans and The pragmatists. I love this way of thinking because it allows people to be recognized for the strengths they bring naturally, rather than being force fit to be something they’re not.

 

SHOW NOTES:

  • Compass Education Group

  • As a kid he had great coaches that influenced him to stay involved in coaching.

  • In college spent a semester abroad in Australia and helped get an American Football team started, later coached high school softball and baseball team in Japan.

  • Bruce has a unique approach to coaching the little league kids:

  1. He thinks a lot about it before he even has a team of kids

  2. His goal is that he wants the kids to be future dads coaching little league versus being a high school all-star or pro player

  3. He thinks about how he wants to be remembered by the kids in the future

  • Value in writing down guiding ethics and guiding principles - become a shared narrative for the team and all this helps the team develop chemistry and success on the field.

  • How he sees sports as such a great vehicle for learning and growth.

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  • Bruce lives by the definition of the word coach, it’s a very selfless role: Meets you where you are and taking you where you want to go.

  • The four rules he works with his teams to live by that he helps the kids break down and they talk about them at the beginning of every practice, and why they are important and what they say… they also recognize each other for embodying these values.

    1. Dress like a ballplayer

    2. Run on and off the field full speed every time

    3. Respect every aspect of the game

    4. No selfish questions

  • How he approaches teams in business is really the same - he borrows and swaps from his coaching role in business.

  • Looks for certain traits and behaviors in hiring; doesn’t matter the industry (or type of team) to him.

    1. The entrepreneur

    2. The artisan

    3. The pragmatists

  • He uses coaching to bring these traits out in his team members.

  • How finds the integration of work and coaching to be invaluable in making it all work together.


Read more on Bruce’s coaching philosophy in sports and in the college preparation world.

Episode 04: Office Manager + Jewelry Designer, Kylie Watts of Watts in Maine

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On today’s episode I’m talking to Kylie Watts of Watts In Maine—her line of jewelry inspired by the fishing and lobstering culture of Maine. We talk a lot about the challenges of balancing a growing business on top of her full time job, how she often needs to move slower than she might like—because she just doesn’t have all the time in the world to run the business.

SHOW NOTES: 

  • Kylie’s website

  • Kylie’s “Fur Baby” Catahoula Leopard Dog keeps her extra busy

  • Her interest in fashion, jewelry led to her first product, a bracelet made from the brass lobster gauge

  • Maine Makers, LL Bean, Seabags, rope bracelets

  • Husband is from Vinalhaven, Maine

  • How Kylie jumped in and started to reach out to stores very early on, starting with K Collete a store she admired in Portland

  • How she’s chosen to focus on the product over trying to make the brand “perfect, and now working to refresh her brand and website and launch ecommerce (in Fall 2016)

  • Launching a lobster gauge style ring in rose gold and silver and a new bracelet—follow Kylie on Instagram to keep updated on her product line

  • On staying close to the way of life in Maine, fishing and lobstering and expanding beyond jewelry into other accessories rooted in the fishing/lobstering industry and Maine aesthetic

  • Kylie’s advice to those who want to start a business on the side is to go with your own gut, and don’t pressure yourself to take on more than you can.  

  • How Kylie’s husband helps her stay centered and grounded when she can’t do everything she might want to be able to do.

  • On how Kylie feels it’s important to be authentic about the effort and challenges that go into the business and how it helps her build close connections with her customers and others in business.

Kylie's Watts in Maine jewelry:

Images: Watts in Maine on Instagram

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Episode 03: Ryan Cochrane / Advertising Copywriter + Winemaker

Episode 03: Ryan Cochrane / Advertising Copywriter + Winemaker

In today’s episode I’m talking to Ryan Cochrane, an advertising copywriter and winemaker on the side. Grab a glass of your favorite vino and settle in for my chat with him about how he got into winemaking, and how he juggles his business selling handcrafted California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir along with his advertising career.