Episode 323 – Joel Lacayo

Joel is an Account Executive & Community Builder

Joel Lacayo talks about his passion for charity and non-profit work helping fellow immigrants like himself find contacts and develop professional skills for building careers!

Episode Highlights

• Getting into his first non-profit
• How his background as an immigrant helped his career
• Starting Contabi Alliance
• Joining the board of La Concina
• Why workplace culture should be both from the top down and bottom up


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    Welcome to Episode 323 of What’s Your “And”? This is John Garrett, and each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby or a passion or an interest outside of work. To put it another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “And”, those things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that actually differentiate you when you’re at work.

    I’m so excited to let everyone know my book is out. Yes, it’s published. You can go to whatsyourand.com for all the details, all the links, all the stores it’s available at. I can’t say how much it means that so many people have bought it, left reviews on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble and, more importantly, changing the cultures where they work because of it. Thank you so much.

    Please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week, and this week is no different with my guest. Well, his mom wants him to be called Joel, but I’m calling him Joel Lacayo. He’s the Lead Channel Account Executive at Rippling out of the San Francisco Bay Area, and now he’s with me here today. Joel, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Joel: Thanks for that intro. It was amazing. My mom will be so happy.

    John: Oh, she’s gonna be happy and then angry at me, so there we go. We’re gonna do rapid-fire questions right out of the gate, get to know Joel on a new level. Here we go. Let’s see how this goes. When it comes to puzzles, Sudoku or crossword.

    Joel: Crossword.

    John: Crossword. Oh, look at you. Okay.

    Joel: Which is more important than numbers right now.

    John: Yeah, that’s very true actually. How about a favorite place you’ve been on vacation?

    Joel: Oh, Cancun. We go there yearly. Playa del Carmen, more specifically.

    John: Oh, nice. Very cool. All right, how about a favorite color?

    Joel: Blue, royal blue specifically.

    John: Yeah, I’m a big fan of blue. How about a least favorite color?

    Joel: Oh, man, that’s a good — I don’t think I have one. If I have to, probably dark green, which just sucks because my little kid loves green.

    John: Oh. Well, I’ll give him time. You know the old saying. Don’t worry.

    John: Yeah, exactly. How about — this is a tough one — brownie or ice cream?

    Joel: Ice cream. I like chocolate. Brownie is cool, but ice cream, it just comes in so many different flavors. I can get multiples — if you say, rainbow sherbet ice cream; I’ll be, yes. That’s only one. Ice cream is just, I can have many.

    John: That’s very true, and you could put the brownie chunks in the ice cream.

    Joel: Oh, brownie ice cream.

    John: There you go. See? How about a favorite actor or actress?

    Joel: Oh, man. I don’t think I have generally one. I’ve liked The Rock, so Dwayne Johnson recently has been really awesome for me. Yeah.

    John: Yeah. The Rock, that’s a solid answer, solid answer. Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?

    Joel: Early bird. I’ll be up at 5:30 because of the kids. They call me on a daily basis. I can’t get away from them. Even if they go to sleep late which is like 9, 9:30 for them, they’re up at 5:30, 6:00. Hey, let me do this. Let me do that.

    John: Tapping you on the head? Yeah, it’s like, go to your mom.

    Joel: Totally. The mom’s, she’s out.

    John: Yeah, totally. So, my book’s out, got to know, Kindle or real books.

    Joel: Probably a real book. I just like the feel. I listen to a lot of news and podcasts and stuff on the regular, so when I actually do read, it’s more like I want the real thing.

    John: Okay, all right. How about a favorite number?

    Joel: 19.

    John: 19.

    Joel: Yeah, 19. Keyshawn Johnson wore jersey 19. When I played football, that was my number. I went from seven like everybody else, and I was like, no, I want my own. I got 19 from Keyshawn Johnson, so, there.

    John: Holy cow, wow. Okay, all right. How about jeans or khakis?

    Joel: Actually, neither. I’d rather do shorts. I do shorts on a regular basis even in San Francisco, no matter the weather. It’s just I run hot.

    John: No, that makes sense. All right, are you more oceans or mountains?

    Joel: Oceans. Yeah. So, funny thing, I’m not a fan of open ocean, but I love hanging out at the beach and doing the beach scene. Mountains are cool, but I don’t know, not really attractive for me.

    John: Okay, all right. How about a favorite TV show anytime?

    Joel: The Simpsons. It cannot go wrong. I grew up with that stuff, learned everything about it, damn near used everything having to do with Bart Simpson within what I do. Yeah, The Simpsons has got to be it for me.

    John: That’s a solid answer, solid answer. How about a computer, more PC or Mac?

    Joel: Mac. I was totally PC until I joined the Xero fold, and I faked it until I made it. The first week, I was struggling. As I learned it, I was like, holy shit, this is so much easier. I’m sticking to Macs, so now, everything I do is Mac.

    John: You’re one of the cool kids, okay.

    Joel: I came. I became

    John: Yeah, I’m not one of them, so, good for you. You tell me what it’s like. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Joel: Star Wars. I like both, but Star Wars is just so cool, great characters, out of space, all over the place. I think anything Star Wars related is cool. My kids have watched every single movie. Don’t know what they thought about it, but they watched it because I watch it all the time.

    John: Yeah, yeah. You’re kind of in the accounting space, I’d say, so balance sheet or income statement.

    Joel: Oh, I’d go with balance sheet. I think it’s just the simplest way for me to explain things to people, and it’s cleaner.

    John: Okay, all right. How about favorite animal, any animal?

    Joel: Cheetah.

    John: Nice.

    Joel: Cheetah is my favorite land animal, and dolphin is my favorite sea animal. I’ve swam with dolphins a couple of times, awesome experience. They are so powerful. I had no clue until you swim with them, and you touch them.

    John: Dolphins are my favorite too, and everybody makes fun of me all the time. They think I’m like a six-year-old girl. I’m like, no, I am not. I still love dolphins. They’re wicked smart and cool.

    Joel: But you can’t be mad at a cheetah. Cheetahs are beautiful creatures. They use their tail for balance. They’re just so engineered so well, obviously. Cheetah and dolphins.

    John: Nice. I love that, man. I love that. Last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.

    Joel: My kids. My family. I think that’s the favorite thing I have. They make me nuts. It’s like roller coaster with families but really, I think when you do get a family or you are a part of a family, you just learn so much about yourself and you grow that I’m completely different than I was, years ago before I had it.

    John: That’s really touching actually. That’s cool, man. So, let’s get into hobbies and passions and outside of work and community-building and really just a lot of the charity work that you do. How did you get started into that?

    Joel: Oh, man. So, I immigrated to this country. My family ingrained in me, hey, you’re going to work, you’re going to work, you’re going to do better than us. Hopefully, you have a better position than we do, a better life than we do. My initial work environment started with insurance companies, doing marketing and sales with them, with a small company, and then I went into working at the bank.

    I started working at the banking industry, and I met my wife while working there. Funny enough, she just was not having me. I was a peacock at the bank by trying to be the Mr. Cool everywhere, nicely suited and everything. She was not attracted to that. She came in with some camouflage pants and coming from a soccer practice. She was on an adult team, a soccer team. She came in, and I helped her out with her stuff and started chatting up with her and having a good conversation.

    As I started dating her, she was more of the nonprofit scene. She was working at social services organization really dealing with children and families. I would pick her up all the time, so I will be exposed to all these programs, waiting for her, being a part of programs that she was a part of there. One day, she said, “You know what, you’d really like this field. You should come and work within the nonprofit field.” I remember looking at her, and I was like, yeah, I totally want to go into nonprofit, not make money, lose my girlfriend and then have to start all over again. That’s the thing that I wanted. Right?

    I was fortunate enough to be working at Citibank at the time, and the head of the entire nonprofit or giving sector within Citibank, she would actually bank there. I just brought it up to her. She was like, hey, great to have this nonprofit that’s looking for people to volunteer, which ended up being Mission Asset Fund. They were about a year old. I went there to volunteer to teach financial education classes. I loved being in front of people and teaching and training and decided to leave the bank. So, I left the bank area, started working with them. I worked with them for about three and a half years.

    John: Oh, wow.

    Joel: Yeah, did personal budgets, working with families as individuals or as groups, taught financial education classes, developed curriculum with them, learned how to sweep the floor and simultaneously, tried to do credit data and analysis for them so they’d know exactly what they had in mind. That really sparked my interest in giving back or just being part of a community because they focused on immigrant families and helping them establish credit and establishing themselves and establishing assets and establishing wealth as a family.

    My family immigrated when I was five years old, to the United States, so that was really something that drove me and was a passion of mine. I was still making more money than my dad when I was 18 or 19, which is mind-blowing now, thinking about it. It was just an opportunity that was given to me, and I was blessed with lots of good mentors along the way. That’s how I got into the nonprofit scene. If it wasn’t for my wife looking so amazing, it would have never happened.

    John: That’s incredible, man, and very honest and very — where did you immigrate from?

    Joel: Nicaragua, my family came from Nicaragua. I’ve gone back several times. We actually haven’t gone with our kids just because the political environment right now is not the best, but I love the country, everything about it. Funny enough, I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness. I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness up until about 20, 21. When people say, “Hey, you don’t really sound like a Nicaraguense.” I was like, yeah, well, I was raised with Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorians, Nicaraguenses, really from all over the countries. Because at these congregations or these churches, everybody would come. Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, whatever, they were all there. So, I had a very unique upbringing in terms of that.

    My wife really helped me just find myself a little bit better and just pushed me to better situations that I’ve been in. Through my time at the nonprofit, I started working with another organization called La Cocina in San Francisco. They are a commercial kitchen space for mainly immigrant women to have a space to actually cook, and they help them develop their financial business plans and get them to commercial kitchen spaces and open up their own brick and mortar. So, I was working with a lot of them while I was helping them on the financial piece with Mission Asset Fund, to the point where they invited me to actually be part of their Board.

    John: Oh, nice.

    Joel: Yeah, it was a female-focused organization, and I was, when I first got jumped on the Board, I believe I was one of two or three men or male. I was by far the youngest. I think I was 25 when I was on their Board, with these powerhouses like Traci Des Jardins who owns several restaurants in San Francisco, was the Top Chef Master, the director of the entire culinary school of City College of San Francisco, there was the Dean of Students of Hult University, all these incredible people. I was just like, I just know the community. I know the people, my family immigrated here, and I love food. I love finances. That’s how I started on not having just working at a nonprofit, but being associated and supporting a nonprofit with my personal or professional skill sets. That’s how I got in that realm.

    John: Yeah, that’s cool to see how it blends. You can’t separate the financial side of Joel from the nonprofit side of Joel. It’s not like, okay, we only want you to do this today. It’s like, no, you can’t. You can’t unwind those things. It’s cool that you realized that at such a young age and didn’t try to separate them, but instead embraced them and actually pushed them together even more.

    Joel: Dude, you know, there was a mentor that I had at Bank of America. His name is Carlos Avalos. He still works, I think, with Bank of the West now. When I first started as a personal banker with him, he was like, “You know Spanish, right?” I was like, “Yeah, of course.” He’s like, “You know, we can pay you an extra X amount of dollars because you know Spanish?” I was like, what? He’s, “Yeah, that’s a skill set.”

    From that point on, I quickly realized, in the professional field, that my skill set were far from just being able to read or write or add or be very communicative. It was also my skin color. I attract a certain person and a certain culture, a community to come and do business with me because they see themselves in me. I learned that at the bank, really, really early on, that I’ve been able to continuously use throughout my whole professional career. It’s actually led me to the organizations that I’ve worked with.

    When I was at Xero, that was something that we really catered to, being able to understand that I fit a certain demographic that we can attract, and I can completely leverage that out. Then I went to work for a tax and bookkeeping franchise, a national one, called ATAX that was focused on Latino business owners. Obviously, it’s easier for me to attract, to talk to the culturally speaking there.

    During that time, with a couple of co-founders, we founded an organization called Contabi Alliance. Contabi is a play on contabilidad which is accounting. We felt that the Latino professional in this industry just doesn’t get enough credit. That’s both, I think, a combination of our own fault and also just the industry in itself, lacking awareness of who else is available. So, during our time at Xero, me and Arthur, that was there, Arthur Garcia, we talked about, hey, we need a Latino market. We need the Latino market. We need a Latino sales team.

    This Latino demographic in the US is bananas. It’s so big. Right now, it’s even bigger than the Canada landscape. They were trying to start at that point. If you think about it, I think some of the research that I’ve seen is, in 2050, about 33% of the population in the United States will be Latino or identified as Latino. That’s massive. In terms of business owners, I think more like two out of five or three out of 10 are Latino right now are being started.

    We saw this has a huge opportunity, and who do they want to do business with, primarily? Obviously, knowledgeable professionals, but people like them. People that look like them that can talk like them that understand that Spanish is not just singularity, one language. It’s actually, there’s a Nicaraguense type, and there’s a Salvadorian type. There’s the Cuban type. There’s all these different languages or dialects spoken within it.

    That’s why we created that organization to, simultaneously, with anything else that I’ve done to this point, now being with Rippling, but anything that I get involved with, one of my question is, great, what are you doing with the Latino population? What are your plans for it? That’s one of the questions I posed with Rippling. I said, “I’d like to work with you guys. What are you guys doing with this population?” To their credit, I’m in a leadership position with this company. The lead on the broker channel is also Latino. The lead on the implementation team is also Latino. I was like, great. There is some synergy in terms of how you see the overall impact and how we need to be placed.

    It’s been so interesting how, from the beginning, you pick that up, and you learn from it. It’s okay to ask a company as you’re getting on board, but many times it takes you time to realize that you have some power in terms of where you’re going to go work.

    John: Yeah. I love what you said of the clients see themselves in you or vice versa. That’s so powerful. Whether it’s your skin color or your language or it’s, I like to play tennis, or I like something else; it’s a connection point above and beyond your technical skills. That’s so huge. That’s a difference-maker, straight up. Whether someone chooses your service or someone else’s, if you send me in to go to a Latino-owned business versus you, you’re going to get it, for sure. Unless we need something off the top shelf, that’s where I come in handy because I’m tall, like that, but other than that, you’re going to get it. Technical skills aside, it doesn’t matter. I think that that’s such a huge point that you brought up, that we all have a differentiator or two or three. Why hide that? Why keep that in the backseat?

    Joel: I think that people who are able to tap into that personal differentiator are the ones that are more successful than others. Because everybody has the same kind of ability, they have skills, but I think some people just are able to innately find themselves a lot faster, or just identify what makes them unique a lot faster, and then build that community outside of the profession.

    There are people that I talk to. We can talk about anything. There are people that I just talk to about sports and only sports, specifically football. I love that sport. So, there are different groups that we have, or there’s the accounting salon that I’m part of. There are people that we talk about accounting, and they get all really excited about it.

    I think, as you learn about yourself, being true to yourself takes a lot of courage to some degree, but it’s also, just for me, it’s been natural. Why wouldn’t I share that I notice that? That makes sense to me. Why wouldn’t I share that I like such and such sport, or that I don’t like this, or I don’t like that? I’m not looking to offend anybody. All I’m trying to do is connect, like you were mentioning.

    John: As long as you’re not looking for attention or just doing it to interrupt other people’s ability to do their work, then it’s fine. It’s totally fine. I think it’s really powerful because you helping these women and you helping these families, you’re helping your mom. You’re helping you, like Matrix kind of way.

    Joel: Oh, totally. When I got asked to be on the Board of La Cocina, for example, immediately, I was like, well, I like food, check; I like business and finance, so, check; and my mom immigrated here and my parents immigrated here, so that totally makes sense to me. The reality is it’s just a lack of resources. That’s really what people are missing. Because there’s so many impactful people out there that have drive and want to do better and want to have more, they just have to have the resources available to them or the right people around them to make that accessible.

    I’m just very thankful that I’ve had really good people around my life, from all different parts of the spectrum of race, and just be, hey, this guy is a go-getter. Whether that’s going to make him or her more money or whether that’s going to get them better, good for them, but it’s about us identifying that as well and being able to take advantage of these opportunities that sometimes we don’t see them.

    You’re right, it was thinking about every single lady that I worked with, or dad that I worked with that was working the whole time and the mom staying at home with their kids, that was me. Or do a financial education class or training and having the kids translate things if they needed to, for their parents; I’m like, that was me, eight or nine years ago. Excuse me, my mom wants to make sure that the check was received. Oh, blah-blah-blah. Yeah, mama, dice que, this and this and that and that. That was totally my life. I didn’t know any different. That was just the norm.

    They knew English. They just didn’t know it as well or felt as comfortable speaking, which is interesting because now, you have so many kids that know Spanish but they don’t feel comfortable speaking it. Being raised a Jehovah’s Witness, man, I was giving 45-minute talks throughout California, be like, hey, send him over here. You’re young. You could speak Spanish. They love you. That’s an example. I was like, great, I’ll go. It was okay.

    John: Is there going to be food? If there’s going to be food, I’ll be there.

    Joel: I get to eat afterwards? I don’t have to pay for anything? All right, send me. I will go. That was helpful. Now, I go to accounting conferences. I speak at different events. I’m just like, I feel comfortable speaking in Spanish and in English. It all ties in together, which is nice.

    John: Yeah, yeah. It’s so cool to hear that you just take it or leave it. This is who I am. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s nothing to be scared to share. This is who I am. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you, but that’s on you because I’m not doing anything that’s crazy. It’s also cool to hear that you had these mentors in these places where you worked, where you were able to share those things and ask those questions. How much do you think it’s on the organization to create that tone at the top, if you will? Or how much is it on an individual to be like, maybe it’s not the tone at the top, but I’m going to have this little circle of friends and get it started that way?

    Joel: Well, during my time at Bank of America, I’ll say this. They identified neighborhoods and retail stores that were Hispanic or Hispanic-centric or black-centric storefronts or Asian-centric storefronts. In a sense, they came from a corporate environment where they’re like, hey, we’re going to identify these neighborhood as primarily Latino or Hispanic, and we’re going to hire folks that are Latino or Hispanic to run these for the same reasons that I stated. In itself, they did create that environment for me to flourish because my mentors, my managers, my supervisors were Latino because they were placed on purpose, right?

    So, when we went to recruiting summit or recruiting phases, they’re like, “Do you speak Spanish?” Yes, I speak Spanish. Great, so we have 23rd admission, 29th admission, we have this, this and this for you. At the time, I was like, hey, we’ll give you a job. Looking back, I was like, why wouldn’t you just put me in the financial district? That would have been great because I would have had other contacts. Who knows where that would have turned out, right? Not nonprofit, who knows? Maybe larger nonprofits, I don’t know.

    Has to come from a corporate, the top down, but also from the bottom up. It does take me to take advantage of those positions and opportunities because I’ll tell you, I still know folks that are in those banks and/or other banks, doing the same role that they were doing when I left. Some people are just like, I’m doing this as a nine-to-five; and others I feel, like myself, they’re just like, this is cool. I learned, and I’m going to move onto something else.

    I traditionally have been in a place for about two to three years because I get bored of doing the same thing, and I just move onto something else. I need to continue to learn from what I’m doing. I think it is a driver from an individual perspective but if the company or the corporation doesn’t have that, at least in the most generic way possible, even having an initiative is something to start with. I think it’s going to be a lot harder for people to progress and grow.

    John: Yeah. It’s one of those things too, that when you’re at a big bank like that, your differentiator isn’t, yeah, I know finance really well. You notice that? It’s these other things. No one in business school told you, hey, keep up with the Spanish because it’ll make you stand out. No one ever said that to you ever.

    Joel: Because your mom, hit you with the chancla and be like, dude, you better learn your Spanish. You’re going to talk in Spanish, you’re going to read in Spanish, I want to see you studying in Spanish, but you better do that homework in English. I had no choice. You want to play video games? You want go outside? You better finish up that reading right now. I’m like, okay.

    Everybody is involved. My progress or my success, whatever I’ve achieved to this point, is not by myself, not even. It was with my family as much as they were Jehovah’s Witness at the time, they still are right now, and as much as they were very, very strict with me at the time, but that brought me up the way that I needed to be brought up. The people that I was able to befriend and impressed enough to help me, the mentors in my life, they helped me get to where I needed to go. It rings true that it’s who you know in business rather than what you’ve actually done most of the time, to get an opportunity to come and to play.

    I think people who got me into the cloud accounting space or even the financial space, with Arthur, my co-founder with Contabi, he’s like, “Hey, I like working with you before. Come to Xero, work for me here.” That blossomed me into a new area, in a new industry that I really love to have been in and I continue to be in. There’s definitely that need for everybody to help each other out, and I feel like in our communities, at times, if we see somebody progress or go to the next level, we’re looking up. We’re like, wait, why do they get to go? Come back down here. We’re pulling them down.

    John: Pull them down.

    Joel: Yeah. Whereas, the community’s just like, good job. Let me keep helping you up. They’re like, yeah, let me help you up back too. Let me bring you up with me.

    John: Yeah, I’ll drop down the ladder.

    Joel: Exactly.

    John: We can find out.

    Joel: Put some strings out there, let me put some rope so I can help you guys up, which is like, let me talk to my people to see if there are opportunities for you. I feel like that piece of it is what we are trying to build and what I really am focused on with Contabi. How do I create a platform for others to be successful? Believe me, it’s a challenge though, John. The challenge that I’ve seen is it’s really hard for me to not walk that spotlight because that’s how I’ve been raised. So, how do I create a platform where I am not the peacock, just doing my job? That’s been something that I’ve had to learn. How do I make somebody else have a position or an opportunity? How do I give them a chance? It’s not going to affect me. It’s not taking away from me. Rather, I’m helping myself personally grow and helping others develop that generational wealth.

    John: Yeah. I remember the first award show that I wrote that was nominated for an Emmy. The host was so funny. Dan Hicks and Hannah Storm were hilarious. It’s like, no, I wrote all of it. I’m just standing in the back. People are raving and talking about how hilarious they were. You’re just like, it’s actually all to me, but they just don’t know it. You’re just like, yeah, check your ego at the door. Those people know that you’re the one that made them look good. You’re the one that pulled them up, and you’re the one that helped them. Hopefully, you’re creating that ripple effect where they’ll help others, and just 10 years from now, you’ll look back on the thousands of people that have been impacted just exponentially because one person touches five, those five touch another five. Before you know it, yeah, everyone’s going to be in a support group because they’re going to be like, “You know Joel too? Oh, man.” No, I’m kidding. It’s super powerful.

    Joel: It’s a good problem to have, John, good problem to have.

    John: Yeah. All right. That’s how you get them in. I see.

    Joel: Absolutely.

    John: Honestly, it’s really powerful, and it’s really cool what you’re doing. It’s really neat.

    Joel: It’s really what’s driven me to — again, I immigrated here when I was five years old, so, by no way, means, am I a success right now. I think that drive that your family instills into you — they gave up everything. My dad was doing accounting for the government in Nicaragua when he was there. My mom was in an accounting office as well. Who knew that I was going to go into this field? She was an executive secretary at that point, too. They had some semblance of a good profession out there, and they gave that all up because they felt that coming here would create a better opportunity, in general, for all of us, though we were okay. We weren’t low, low class family.

    It’s just one of those things that makes it real for me to understand. I want my kids to be better than me. I want them to have more than me. It’s that struggle as a father. How much is enough? Do I give them everything so that they don’t work hard for it? Or do I have them work for it while I give them things and they don’t know and hide it in some shell account somewhere? It’s been part of the conversation that I’ve had with my kids. I am not very hard on them as much as my parents were because our situation is different.

    If I wanted a pair of shoes, for example, I would wait like four months, begging my Dad, can I just get a pair of shoes? I’m not even talking about like cool Uptempos or some Jordans. I never had Jordans, don’t even talk about that. Even $50 pair of shoes, I was like, God, look, I have no sole. Can I get a shoe? Okay, okay, we’ll get you a shoe. Whereas, now, I see, I don’t know, a little scrape on my kid’s shoe, and I’m like, oh, shit, I got to give them a new shoe. I’m such an a-hole. How can I do this to him? Instead of helping him think about it. That’s the mentality that I have to break away. It just lingers there because, to me, it helps me remind myself where I came from and what other people are striving for. I’ve made a certain level, but I need to continue to strive, not just for myself, but for them and for everybody else.

    Whatever I teach them, whoever I connect them to or network them to, they’re going to be able to have a better life to begin with than I did. That’s really what guides me, and I hope to continue to create that within the Latino professionals that we’re working with in Contabi so that they understand they’re really great professionals. They probably just need some good contacts, or they need some good resources or just maybe a little bit of more fine tuning on how they communicate their sales tactics or how they build revenue or how they’re running their practices or how to communicate because they’re having a conference. Or they want to have a webinar, and they want sponsors. How do I get them in touch with certain brands and how to put that together in a proposal, things like that, that are things that you learn, that I’ve learned because I just have been to it. Hey, how do you do that? Why did they do that? Could I see that? So that we can have that as a knowledge to impart and I think that wealth is not just financial, it’s definitely intellectual.

    John: Yeah. No, that’s great and, yeah, lean into your differentiator. Because a lot of times, we just take it for granted and then we don’t want to — we’re like, yeah, whatever. No, no, lean into that. Double down on that. That’s really great. Do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that has a hobby that has nothing to do with their job, they think?

    Joel: Just go deep into that hobby, really, really take it in as something that’s going to help you internally and grow as a person because, ultimately, whatever you decide to do, whatever you decide to spend the time that you have on this planet is going to make you a better person, or it’s going to grow you as an individual. That ultimately is going to make you a better professional, no matter what field that you’re in. So, that hobby, that passion that you have for that activity that you’re doing, help yourself reflect that in everything that you do. Just think about the time that you’re doing that activity and how do you harness that and bring that to everything else that you do.

    John: Yeah. I love that. That’s so fantastic, so fantastic. So, it’s only fair, before we wrap up though, since I rapid-fire questioned you there at the beginning so rudely, that it’s now the Joel Lacayo Show. I am the first guest. Thank you so much for having me on.

    Joel: Awesome. I love this. I’ve got some questions for you.

    John: Oh, yeah? Hopefully, they’re in English?

    Joel: remember.

    John: Okay. Okay, here we go. Here we go.

    Joel: Okay, John. Una pregunta para ti. No. The first question —

    John: No. Okay.

    Joel: Think of John 15 years ago, maybe John in his early 20s. What’s the one or two things that you would tell John to really focus his attention on or do differently?

    John: LinkedIn connect with Joel Lacayo, that would be step one. Learn Spanish so I could actually be a guest on his show. Seriously, what I would say is just get out of your own way. Just get out of your own way. Don’t over-think everything. Done is better than perfect. Really, just get out of your own way, and don’t be so hard on yourself. I’m super, super critical of myself and things that I do, and I want them to be really, really great. It doesn’t have to be. It can be 95% and people will still be like, wow, that was really good. I’ll be like, well. Just don’t be so hard on yourself, and get out of your own way.

    Joel: Nice. Favorite Power Ranger.

    John: Blue? I don’t even know. What are the — I don’t even know. Is blue one of them? Do they have a name? I don’t know.

    Joel: Favorite sport. Don’t say football though.

    John: College football, hands down. College football and soccer. I like soccer. I like watching soccer too.

    Joel: Do you play football?

    John: In sixth grade, one year. I was actually pretty good. I was also on a select soccer team that traveled quite a bit. Yeah, I was much better.

    Joel: What was your position?

    John: I was a mostly midfield. Yeah, I was the guy with the through ball, assists. I was the assist guy.

    Joel: And stamina guy, just go back and forth, back and forth all the time.

    John: Pretty much, and the trash talker, and that might get all up in your head.

    Joel: One meal on an island that you can have every single day, what would it be?

    John: One meal. Ice cream sundaes, I like hot fudge brownie ala mode, sundae with nuts and whipped cream. Or cake, cake’s good too, and also not expensive.

    Joel: Next question, Peloton or Mirror.

    John: I’m going to go Peloton because I don’t want to look at myself. That’s weird. Yeah, I’ll go Peloton on that one.

    Joel: Glad I’ve got a Peloton instead of a Mirror.

    John: There we go, man. Well, this has been so much fun, Joel, thanks so much for being a part of What’s Your “And”?

    Joel: Thank you, John. I had so much fun. Being able to share my why and being able to help me transition and express and showcase that, my story with everybody, is an awesome blessing. Thank you.

    John: Absolutely, man. Everyone, if you want to see some pictures of Joel in action or connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there. 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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