Episode 248 – Michael Kelley

Mike is a CPA & a Hockey Player

Mike returns from episode 11 to tell us why he switched from baseball to hockey, how his co-workers and clients react to his new passion, and gives us a background on his charity organization “Hand to Hold”!

Episode Highlights

Why he switched to hockey from baseball
His 2 only injuries from playing hockey so far
How his co-workers and clients respond when he talks about playing hockey
Hand to Hold charity and talking about it at work
Having lunch together at the office
If you put it off, it will get by you

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Pictures of Michael Playing Ice Hockey

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  • Read Full TranscriptOpen or Close

    Welcome to Episode 248 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-up Friday edition. This is John Garrett. 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 has impacted them since we last talked.

    I’m so excited to let everyone know my book’s 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 comes out. 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 Wednesday and now with the follow-up Fridays. And this follow-up Friday is no different with my guest, Mike Kelley. He’s a partner with Wheeler Fairman and Kelley in Austin, Texas. And now, he’s with me here today. Mike, thank you so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Mike: Well, thank you for having me.

    John: Oh, I’m so excited to have you back on and talk through. I mean Episode 11, God bless you, man, for jumping in and being a part of that early on where no one knew what was going on. But yeah, it was a blast. This is going to be great, but I switched it up. Rapid-fire questions up front now, so here we go. If you had to choose Harry Potter or Game of Thrones?

    Mike: Star Wars.

    John: Star Wars? That’s actually the appropriate answer. How about cats or dogs?

    Mike: Oh, dogs.

    John: Dogs. There you go. How about a favorite TV show of all time?

    Mike: All Time? Breaking Bad.

    John: Ah, really good show. Yeah. Good answer, good answer. How about this one, planes, trains or automobiles?

    Mike: Planes.

    John: Planes. Nice. Okay. This is a tricky one. Brownie or ice cream?

    Mike: Ice cream.

    John: Okay. All right. More suit and tie or jeans and a t-shirt?

    Mike: Jeans and t-shirt all the way.

    John: Okay. All right. And the last one, toilet paper roll, over or under?

    Mike: Over if you want to be correct.

    John: There you go. All right. Fair enough. I remember when we talked, I mean, golly, four years ago, you’re playing baseball, which was super awesome and then the Hand to Hold charity. Are those still things that are happening?

    Mike: Yes and no. The Hand to Hold charity is still alive and well. They’re entering their tenth year of existence and planning and a very amazing gala coming up here pretty soon in 2020.

    John: That’s awesome.

    Mike: The baseball got a little too dangerous. So I turned in my baseball glove and exchanged them for hockey skates. I’m not playing hockey.

    John: That’s hilarious.

    Mike: Yeah. I was getting too injured in baseball. So I went back to hockey.

    John: Oh, yeah. Then you get injured in hockey. The ice is right there. I mean you don’t even need to ice it up. You just lay down.

    Mike: Yeah. I’ve only had two injuries in hockey in my whole life. And I’ve been playing since I was in third grade. One of the injuries, I was in my basement, so it wasn’t even really a sanction game. The other one was when I first went back on the ice to come back to play hockey after being off for 20 plus years. I stepped on the ice. Within five minutes, I had had a concussion.

    John: Oh my goodness.

    Mike: Yeah. I slipped and fell back, slammed my head on the ice and of course, continued to play for an hour, which was not very smart. It took me about a month to recover from that. But since then, I’ve been —

    John: Yeah. That’s awesome that you’re back though. And it’s something that you’ve been playing since you were a kid growing up in Michigan?

    Mike: Mm-hmm.

    John: That’s cool, man. Is it an Adult Rec League or are we in more intense level here?

    Mike: No. No, no. After being off that long, when you come back, you want to come back at a less competitive league. Although that being said, there’s competition at every level. So it’s just a matter of skillset. And I went with the second from the lowest from the skillset point of view. But there’s all sorts of subs that come in and play. And a lot of the subs that come in and play are ringers. So you’re out there with some pretty good hockey players, but it’s not like it was in baseball. In baseball, leagues that I was playing in were highly competitive and highly skilled. And it just got to be too much. So this is much more fun.

    John: Are there any more fun stories from the past season or cool games or anything?

    Mike: Well, hockey, I just got back into. I’ve been playing for about two or three months. And I will tell you that my kids got a big kick out of the fact that our team name is the Puck Bunnies, which I will have you look up because we have some girls on our team and they’re in charge. So they named us the Puck Bunnies. And they ordered us pink jerseys. I’m skating around on the pink jersey out there. And my kids think it’s hilarious.

    John: That’s super funny. That’s great. Yeah. But I mean it just shows you you’re having fun and you’re just doing what you love.

    Mike: Yes, good people. And it’s a great exercise, which is the main reason I’m doing it. So if I can get on and off the ice without getting hurt, that’s a win for me.

    John: Yeah. Which is almost exactly like doing a tax season.

    Mike: Tax seasons are brutal.

    John: Yeah. Totally. I know that you talked baseball at work. As a matter of fact, I think it came up in the interview when you first started there. Is hockey a thing that you’re talking about as well?

    Mike: Well, I talk about it but I’ve had to limit it because I get some of these looks from people like, “You’re doing what?” So I’m not sure that they fully approve of what I’m doing.

    John: Or maybe they just can’t relate being in Texas.

    Mike: Maybe. Well, here’s the thing. I noticed that hockey was viewed differently down here. They call it ice hockey down here. I’m just like, “Is there any other kind of hockey?”

    John: Right. Field hockey so popular.

    Mike: I guess. I guess they have to differentiate. I don’t know.

    John: That’s hilarious. Oh, my goodness gracious. But that’s cool though. I mean you never know who you’re going to come across that’s a client or potential client or co-worker that also is involved in hockey. Yeah.

    Mike: I find my clients are a little more open to the idea of me playing hockey than my co-workers are.

    John: That’s interesting. But then again, maybe if they knew that you were wearing a pink jersey.

    Mike: Yeah. I haven’t told everybody that. Maybe they’ll know now.

    John: Exactly. But that’s cool. Then the Hand to Hold, I think it’s such a cool charity. And if you just want to give everyone a quick synopsis of that so they can understand what you guys are doing.

    Mike: My kids were both born prematurely. My son was what’s called a micro preemie. He was born at 24 weeks gestation, weighing a pound and a half and being about a foot long. That was 19 years ago. He just started college. He’s at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s loving it. We are very proud of him. But it’s a lot of work to get him from that day in August 2000 to where he is now. So the organization exists to help other families that have traveled the same road we were on. There was nobody there when we did it because we were one of the first to have a micro preemie to survive and to thrive and do that well. But Hand to Hold exists. They’re online, handtohold.org. There’s a lot of online resources and a lot of — they have support in the hospital. So families are in the hospital, struggling which they normally are and not looking for help. The help is there. And it goes a long way.

    John: That’s great, man. That’s so cool. It’s great. I mean ten years now that you guys have been going strong, which is so awesome.

    Mike: Yeah. Ten years in this format. They were existing under another umbrella for before that, but officially on their own ten years. Yeah. That’s been successful for them to get this far. With a nonprofit, it’s hard.

    John: That’s really awesome. And I’m sure that that’s something that you talk about at work as well?

    Mike: A lot of people know about Hand to Hold. Certain clients, I will share it with. I don’t ever ask clients to donate obviously. But I will tell them about it, especially my clients who have had children that have special needs or if they’ve had premature babies or people that have difficults, at risk pregnancies. Because I wasn’t in there. I did not know what a NICU was, and NICU stands for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I had no idea what one was. I didn’t know that I was standing next to one when they told me about it. So just to educate people.

    John: Yeah. I mean just how prevalent it is these days. And it’s so great that the medical community has gotten to the point, science and what technology has gotten to the point where these now micro preemie babies are now in college and grown adults and part of the world, you know, which is really awesome.

    Mike: Yeah. I’ll tell you a neat story. This past May, my son graduated from high school. There was a family there that we were in the NICU with. They joined us about two days after we got there. And they had twins. We got to be friends with them. This is before the HIPAA laws really kicked in. So the nurses would — when the time was appropriate, they would get the three of those babies together and take pictures of them and have them interact with each other. Then this past May when they all graduated from high school, those three boys walked the hallways of the same hospital that they were born in. Some of the nurses and doctors that were there when they were born were still there. So they got to see these kids graduating from high school. That’s a long road to go. And there were not many dry eyes there.

    John: That’s really cool. I don’t even know how to transition away from that because I mean it’s so meaningful. The work that you’re doing is so much more impactful than me interviewing people every week on a podcast. But it’s so cool.

    Mike: It’s not me. Trust me. It’s my wife.

    John: It’s just awesome, what you guys are doing. I guess do you find that when you share these things, other people reciprocate? Do you find people are sharing more now?

    Mike: Yeah. It helps to break the ice with certain folks. And certain people in our profession are stereotypically introverted. So if you can find something to relate with them on some level, it does help to get thingss opened up. And when you start talking about something that’s very intimate and very important to you, then it’s a little more engaging, I suppose.

    John: For sure. Or maybe it’s a concussion. Either way, somebody can relate.

    Mike: Yeah. That concussion was rough. I don’t recommend them for anyone, especially someone who’s almost 50 years old. They’re not fun.

    John: Not fun at all, man. I’m not jealous, not at all. Yeah. So are there things that you guys do there at the firm to encourage people to share their passions or to become more engaged with each other?

    Mike: Not formally, no. But one of the things that we encourage is we like to have lunch together. Usually, when you’re sitting at the table across from someone, you’ve got to have something to talk about. So that’s when a lot of the stuff comes out. That’s when you get to know your co-workers the most. Then every once in a while, I’ll encourage the co-workers to talk to one another and not crack the whip and say, “Get back to work.” If I see somebody that’s down the hall and they’re talking socially for a few minutes, who cares? They’ll get their work done. They’re building camaraderie. They’re building something there that’s going to benefit them and the firm. So as they go forward, as long as you don’t abuse it. Nobody seems to do that.

    John: Yeah. I mean if you get your work done, then whatever.

    Mike: Yeah. But there’s a time and a place also.

    John: Right. Exactly. Exactly. When everyone else is slaving away. If you’re interfering with someone else’s ability to do their job, then that’s where it becomes a problem especially. But that’s cool, man. That’s great. That’s just setting the example as well. Tone at the top sort of a thing is really great. Do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that maybe has a hobby or a passion that’s outside of work that they think maybe it doesn’t apply or no one cares?

    Mike: Oh, I think everything applies. And it all matters, I would say. If you’re passionate about something, go do it. One thing I will tell anyone who’s listening is I’ve been at my job here at this firm for 25 years. It feels like I just joined. This hockey thing that I just started playing again, I told myself that I was going to play three years ago. And it just started happening. If you put it off, it’ll get by. So go do it and enjoy it and make it part of your life. Talk to people about it. I think it’s all good stuff.

    John: No, that’s great, man. Yeah. You definitely have to be intentional because if not, then, like you said, it just goes right by and then —

    Mike: Yeah. I mean I thought the other day that I was just — I just talked to my buddy, Jim, about playing hockey. And I look back and those messages were three years ago. So just —

    John: Just go play. Exactly. That’s so great, Mike. This has been great. Before I wrap this up though, it’s only fair that I allow you to rapid-fire question me back. So whenever you’re ready, fire away.

    Mike: All right. Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met?

    John: Oh, well, I mean I don’t know how people define fame.

    Mike: To you.

    John: Does Jay Leno count?

    Mike: Oh, yeah, that’s a good one, very famous.

    John: He’s a super cool guy. He’s such a great guy. I’ve been around him several times, really nice guy.

    Mike: What TV sitcom family would you want to be a member of?

    John: Oh, man, the Keatons, Family Ties. I don’t know why. I watched it since I was a kid. But for some reason, as a kid —

    Mike: Probably, a very different case as a kid.

    John: Right. Maybe when I wasn’t stuck in a locker. But I don’t know why. It just seemed like the dad was super cool, and the mom was — it just seemed pretty.

    Mike: Got a nice hippie dad. Yeah.

    John: Exactly.

    Mike: Who is your favorite superhero and why?

    John: Favorite superhero? Maybe Spider Man, I guess.

    Mike: Yeah. Good answer.

    John: Yeah. I mean Superman is too classic. And Spider Man, there’s a backstory to it that’s deep, I think.

    Mike: That’s a real guy.

    John: Yeah. And he’s just a regular guy that can do super cool stuff.

    Mike: And that’s actually the correct answer.

    John: Oh, nice. Don’t stick around for credit, all that stuff.

    Mike: Right. That was my first favorite superhero as well.

    John: That’s awesome.

    Mike: And down that line of things, what is your favorite Halloween costume?

    John: Oh, favorite Halloween costume? I’m not a big fan of people that steal other people’s ideas and then get credit for like, “Oh, you’re so funny.” Like the one night stand thing. It’s like, “Oh, you didn’t think of that.” You saw it last year. It’s just frustrating to me. So I don’t know. I’m just a classic zombie or Frankenstein or something where it’s just —

    Mike: Okay. Something scary.

    John: Yeah. It’s just like your face with just some makeup, and just something that’s from the old school movies where it’s almost funny but it’s not really scary. It’s more silly where it’s like, “Oh, am I supposed to be scared? I don’t know,” type of thing. Yeah. That always cracks me up.

    Mike: Two more.

    John: All right.

    Mike: What is the one person or thing that annoys you the most?

    John: Oh, man. Ah, there’s so many things that annoy me. Leaving a shopping cart in the grocery store parking lot just randomly or the people that don’t use blinkers or —

    Mike: The non-compliant type.

    John: Yeah. But it’s the people that are — everyone else is now inconvenienced because you think you’re more important than us. That’s what just drives me crazy.

    Mike: Yeah. I’m with you there.

    John: The number one thing, it’s got to be people either Skype or FaceTime on their phone or watching a video on their phone on max volume in an airport or in the plane. We hear you. Now, I have spare headphones that I get from the flights that I go on that I just keep in the bag. Then when that happens, “Happy birthday early. Here’s a set of earplugs because we don’t want to hear what you’re listening to.”

    Mike: Oh, yeah. You just hand them out.

    John: Yeah. Totally. I have no problem with that to be like, “Hey, we don’t really want to hear that. Here’s a set of earplugs. They’re still in the bag. They’re fine.” Because that’s my superhero character.

    Mike: Earplug Man?

    John: Earplug Man. Man, I tell you what. That’s going to be somebody’s hero somewhere for sure.

    Mike: That’s great.

    John: That was awesome. Well, very cool, Michael. Thank you so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”? This is so fun.

    Mike: Certainly.

    John: Everyone listening, if you want to see some pictures of Mike in action or maybe connect with him 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.


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