Episode 276 – Rebecca Kelley

Rebecca is an Accountant & Baker

Rebecca returns to the podcast from episode 62 to talk about her new passion in baking! She tells us how she got into baking, sharing recipes in the office, and how being open about her hobby encourages others to follow suit in the office!

Episode Highlights

Getting into baking
Sharing stories and traditions related to baking and cooking
Testing recipes by bringing them to the office
Sharing and trading recipes with colleagues and clients
Being intentional with making time for sharing in the office
How her office encourages colleagues to express their passions

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    Welcome to Episode 276 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’ve impacted them since we last talked.

    I’m so excited to let everyone know, my book’s being published so 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 so you’ll be the first to know when it’s coming out.

    Please don’t forget to hit subscribe on the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes every Wednesday and also now with every Follow-up Friday. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week and this Follow-up Friday is no different with my guest, Rebecca Kelley. She’s a partner with Plante Moran in Denver, Colorado, and now she’s with me here today.

    Rebecca, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Rebecca: Absolutely. My pleasure.

    John: Yeah. It’s so cool to catch up with you and all that. But before we get into the fun, we start with more fun maybe, the rapid fire questions are at the beginning now. Here we go. If you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones?

    Rebecca: Game of Thrones.

    John: Okay. How about a favorite adult beverage?

    Rebecca: Oh, gin and tonic.

    John: Oh, nice. Okay. It sounds fancy too.

    Rebecca: Yeah.

    John: Is that a pinky out kind of a drink?

    Rebecca: Definitely. Always.

    John: Definitely. There you go. This is a hard one. Brownies or ice cream?

    Rebecca: Ice cream.

    John: Okay. How about this one. Ocean or mountains?

    Rebecca: Oh, you know, I mean I’m blessed to live in the mountains so I love that but I really always love visiting the ocean and the beach. It doesn’t get old.

    John: Right. I mean in Denver, the mountains are there all the time.

    Rebecca: Right. Looking at them right now.

    John: Bragger. How about a favorite Disney character?

    Rebecca: Oh, boy. Disney character. You know, I’ve got two kids and I’ve become a big fan of Moana. I really like her.

    John: Very cool. All right. How about are you more of an early bird or a night owl?

    Rebecca: Early bird all the way.

    John: There you go, there you go. The last one, maybe the most important one ever in the history of this show. Toilet paper roll, over or under?

    Rebecca: Over. Yeah. There’s only one way. Is that even a question?

    John: Apparently, people with cats have a reason to go under but you never know. It’s also a way to know how long this interview’s going to go or rather how short.

    Rebecca: Well, yeah. Now that you mentioned that though, I mean kids too. I might have to change my mind on that one. I’m going to try it out.

    John: Yeah, because I guess it tricks them.

    But yeah. You were on Episode 62. I mean over three years ago. That was amazing. Talking about travelling all over and all that stuff, is that still a passion of yours or probably now with the kids, it makes a little bit tricky to do that?

    Rebecca: Yeah. The kids change things a little bit. I’ve got a three-and-a-half year old and a one-and-a-half year old. I’m not doing a lot of international travel. Most of my travel is for work. My hobbies and my “and,” and the things I’m doing have definitely changed a little.

    John: Yeah, and so what are you up to now?

    Rebecca: Well, when I was on maternity leave with my littlest one, I actually took up baking. I am now – I’ll call myself a baker.

    John: Yeah. Good for you. That’s awesome. Is there something that you like to bake more than other things or are they all the same to you?

    Rebecca: It’s not all the same, no. I mean I’ve made ice cream, I’ve made brownies, I try new things. I’ve done pies and tarts but my real passion is cake.

    John: Cake, yes. I love it.

    Rebecca: Yeah. I love making cake.

    John: Right? Cake is always good. I mean it’s always good. You’re never not in the mood for cake, I mean really.

    Rebecca: Right. It’s true.

    John: That’s very cool. Is this something that you share with colleagues and clients?

    Rebecca: I absolutely do. That’s really been one of the most fun things, just asking my staff and people on my team what their favorite dessert is, and if it’s something I’ve never made before, giving it a whirl and trying it out so you know, somebody’s requested lemon bars and I made those and that was fun and it allows me to try something new, work on my perfectionism complex because not everything works out the way you think it will.

    Even with my clients. I’ve had a really nice opportunity to get to learn either what some of their favorite desserts are you know, do they do baking which was some fun conversations around the holidays. I’ve got some pro tips on pie crust so that was good.

    And then I have a client who was doing the keto diet and so I took up a keto recipe and made something for her. It’s been a nice way to try something new and connect with my staff and clients on a different level.

    John: Right, yeah. Because I mean that’s such a great idea, and such an innocent question of you know, what’s your favorite dessert? I mean everyone’s got something. And you make it for them. I mean that’s the next level of wow, I actually care about you. That’s really cool.

    Rebecca: Yeah. There’s a lot of love that goes into it and I really enjoy it and you know, it’s also something that I can actually, depending on the recipe, or depending on what part, can even include my oldest kiddo and it’s just with certain measuring or stirring or putting something in the bowl. It works out with the time that I have with my family and it’s just something that I’ve really come to enjoy.

    John: That’s really awesome. Then would you say that this leads to I guess, some different relationships that maybe you had before? I mean because you could probably just go down the list of the people that are around you that you know their desserts.

    Rebecca: Yeah. I’ve got a go-to, and you know I mean everybody’s trying to watch sugar, but food, everybody’s got a good connection, or a good story about a food or tradition and especially from a baking standpoint of just what’s your go-to or if you had to do dessert, what do you want to eat? And you know, of the mindset of what I make, I really hope that it’s good because also, if you’re going to eat a bunch of sugar, you better enjoy it.

    John: Right. There you go.

    Rebecca: I’m always trying to make sure that I’ve got a good recipe and I can’t tell you how many times though I do a test run, sometimes me test run, I bring into the office, if I’m doing a test run for a friend or something like that, that I’ll bring in to the office. I’ve got good taste testers but you know, really, lots of people have stories and they’ve shared their own recipes with me or say check this out or grandmother’s recipes and stuff.

    It’s been really fun to see those and to hear those stories and to try those recipes and just kind of go a little bit deeper about family and traditions and different things like that.

    John: That’s so cool. Because I mean those are conversations with work colleagues. These aren’t conversation with you know, people in the neighborhood. Those typically don’t happen unless you’re open to it and initiate it on your side so kudos to you. That’s really cool. Because I mean those are things that when you’re in business school, you never hey, learn how to bake a good cake because everyone, they keep relationships in business.

    But clearly, I mean it’s a slam-dunk. No one ever made me a cake when I was working in the office, or I’d still be there. That’s how simple I am. Do you want a raise, John? No, just chocolate cake, I’m good.

    Rebecca: Just bring me a cake.

    John: You know what’s so mind-boggling to me is you make them from scratch but those ones that are in the box at the store, you can have a cake for four dollars. It’s amazing that everyone doesn’t have a cake every day like own their counter. You go to Starbucks for more than that. It’s really amazing. But that’s so cool that that’s what you’re doing and to hear how it’s leading to those relationships and those conversations is really encouraging.

    Do you feel like others are sharing more of their hobbies and outside-of-work passions now or is it something that there’s still work to be done from my side?

    Rebecca: I think people are actually you know, it’s really about starting the conversation and sharing of yourself and letting people share of themselves and just being aware of those things. It’s really paying attention and asking the question around, oh, what are you doing? What did you do this weekend? What’s important to you? What do you got to get to? Helping to support people in their passions as well.

    Yeah, I definitely have lots of those conversations with my staff and I think on the client side, I try to have those conversations. I think there’s still challenges there around just shifting that paradigm of when you go in to meet with clients and not having it be just about the task at hand and really looking to cultivate and develop that relationship further.

    If you can’t do that at the scheduled meeting you have, it’s almost like scheduling the time to spend with your clients to not have a to-do list, to not have an agenda to talk through and to just have it be that open-ended discussion and see where that leads. I think that that’s the next big challenge at least for me is to make sure that I’m being intentional in taking the time to do that.

    John: That’s such a great idea because it’s not always the time or the place, depending on the meeting that you’re having, but there is a time and a place and if you just be intentional with creating that, then gloves are off and we’re all good. That’s such a great takeaway for everyone listening. That’s really, really fantastic.

    Is there something that you do specifically or maybe that your office, the Plante Moran office does specifically to encourage this from people or is it just meeting them where they’re at and asking like you said?

    Rebecca: Yeah. I think a lot of it really is meeting them where they’re at. I think teams are broken down and there’s different relationships and it’s kind of taking that active interest but we do encourage people. If that’s something going on or something they’re passionate about or something they’re involved in to share that, and to practice some of that vulnerability and just putting it out there, bringing people along but we do try to do a team ousting, at least with my team. I’ve got about 15 people on my team directly and trying to do team outings or certain things like that.

    When we do that, I’m not mandating and saying, here’s what we’re doing but asking the team, what are you interested in? What do you want to do? We went paddleboarding. A couple of people on the team really liked paddleboarding, and we had a great group of people, some who have paddleboarded a lot, some who have done it a couple of times, and some who hadn’t done at all.

    It was a new experience for us to share in and be challenged. I thought it was a really great team outing and they all planned that. I supported it and joined along. But that’s really on them to figure out hey, what do want to do as a team and I thought it was great.

    John: That’s great, because so many people will be like well, we’re going to go do this. It’s like, no one even likes to do that, you know that thing or whatever. It’s such a simple idea of asking them and you know, have them plan it and I love it too because there are some people that maybe their “and” is paddleboarding and now, you get to see how they light up when they’re paddleboarding and other people as well would get to see how passionate they are about it. That’d be such a great idea. Share your “and” and then we’ll go do it or watch you do it or whatever type of a thing.

    Rebecca: Yeah. I love that.

    John: Yeah, because then you get to see people really light up for that. That’s cool. That’s very cool.

    Do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that thinks that I have something that’s outside of work and it has nothing to do with my job and probably no one cares?

    Rebecca: You know, I think it really is a little bit of that I’ll say being vulnerable, but I don’t even know if it’s vulnerable. But if you’re proud of something, if there’s something you enjoy and there’s something you’re proud of, don’t be afraid to share that.

    It’s not that you’re bragging, it’s not that you’re talking about yourself and that you’re the best and you’re so amazing and everybody’s going to roll their eyes, but if there’s something you’re proud of, I think that if you share that, and that encourages other people to share what they’re proud of, or to ask them what are you proud of or what you’re excited about or what you’re working on outside of work that you enjoy?

    Because even on the flipside, when I’m having a bad day, I’ll apologize maybe to one of my staff members, I’m having a bad day and I’m always really impressed by what she says and she’s like, it’s okay. You’re human too.

    So just because I’m a partner or I’m leading the team or something along those lines that even if you’re a supervisory role, you’re a person too and your people know that. Make sure that you’re exhibiting that because that encourages them to be people too.

    John: That’s really fantastic. Really great points. Yeah, Rebecca. This has been so much fun and really awesome with such great takeaways for everyone. But it’s only fair that I turn the tables and let you question me since I started out so rudely firing away at you. I’m on the hot seat now. Ready to go.

    Rebecca: Okay. Here we go. I’m going to start with the baking. Cake or pie?

    John: Cake all the way.

    Rebecca: All the way. All right. Going to stick with the theme. Chocolate or vanilla?

    John: Yeah. That’s so tough. That’s so tough. I mean when it comes to cake —

    Rebecca: Or fruit.

    John: Oh, yeah. No, no, no. That sounds too healthy. Got to go with chocolate. Sometimes, for milkshakes, I’ll go vanilla but yeah, I got to go have to go chocolate.

    Rebecca: All right. Good. Let’s see. Favorite flower?

    John: Favorite flower? Wow. I assume we’re not talking about baking flower, we’re talking about like —

    Rebecca: No. But if you do have a favorite baking flour, there’s a lot out there.

    John: Wheat or white or almond.

    Rebecca: Potato or —

    John: Yeah. I didn’t even know there was potato flour. Oh, yeah. Favorite flower. That’s a good one. I guess I don’t know, Gerbera daisies always seem easy because they’re all different kinds of colors and yeah, they’re always fun.

    Thanks so much, Rebecca, for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”? This has been really, really fun.

    Rebecca: Yeah, absolutely. It’s been a pleasure for me as well. It’s great catching up with you.

    John: Totally. Everyone, if you want to see some pictures of Rebecca in action or maybe see some of her baking delicacies or maybe connect with her on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com and while you’re on the page, please click that big button and 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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