Episode 563- Shane Sullivan

Shane is a CPA & Film Fanatic

Shane Sullivan, Senior Accountant at Avant Communications, talks about his passion for watching films and how this passion helps him develop relationships in the office, why it’s important to care about other people’s passions, and much more!

Episode Highlights
• Getting into films
• How it helps build relationships
• Talking about movies at work
• Why it’s on the organization to provide a save space for people to be open about their passions




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Shane’s Pictures

Shane seeing the Sound of Music

Shane and his Family visiting Chicago

Shane hiking with his daughter

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    Welcome to Episode 563 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.

    And 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 at work. It’s the answer to the question of, who else are you besides your job title?

    And really quickly, did you know that pictures of dogs foster social connections amongst people and promote trusting relationships in business settings. A couple of months ago, I had Michael Puck on and his “and’ was dog photography and he has partnered with other dog photographers to create globaldogart.com. You can find out more there and one hundred percent of the proceeds go to saving one million dogs by 2030. So, check out globaldogart.com, really, really amazing stuff there.

    And also, if you like what the message is about, don’t forget to check out the book on Barnes & Noble, Indigo, Bookshop, Amazon, a few other websites. All the links are at whatsyourand.com. And don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast, so that you don’t miss any of the future episodes.

    I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week and this week is no different with my guest, Shane Sullivan. He’s a senior accountant with Avant Communications outside of Chicago. And now, he’s with me here today.

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

    Shane: I’m so excited to be here. Thank you for inviting me on.

    John: Oh, absolutely, man. This is going to be a blast. We’ve been following each other on social media for a while, bouncing back and forth and so, now, it’s like let’s do this.

    Shane: Yeah, definitely.

    John: So, I rapid-fire questions, so we get to know Shane right out of the box here. So, if we’re going to watch movies together, I’d like to know who I’m sitting next to in the theater. And there would be more people in the theater, that would be weird.

    Shane: That’s okay too.

    John: That’s okay too, right.

    Favorite color?

    Shane: I’d say blue.

    John: Blue. Mine too, yeah, we can keep going.

    All right. How about the least favorite color?

    Shane: Oh, that’s a good one. I would say like that like mustard yellow.

    John: Oh, yeah. Yeah, that’s pretty nasty.

    How about – oh, you’re in Chicago, cheeseburger or pizza?

    Shane: Pizza, yeah.

    John: Pizza. Yeah, yeah, all right. All right.

    And how about a favorite comedian of all time?

    Shane: All time, that’s a really tough one. I would say probably Jerry Seinfeld.

    John: Okay.

    Shane: But, also, I’ve got Christmas tickets to see Adam Sandler. I’m pretty excited about that.

    John: Oh, nice. Yeah, that’s very cool. Yeah, I’ve seen the video of him closing with a tribute to Norm Macdonald I think it is.

    Shane: Oh, right.

    John: Yeah, it’s really cool.

    Oh, this is an important one, toilet paper roll, over or under?

    Shane: Over, without a doubt, over.

    John: Right. Right.

    Oh, this is a fun one. Favorite Disney character or animated character I’ll take because it seems like they’re all Disney by now.

    Shane: Yeah, that’s true. I don’t know if I have a favorite. I would say like my most recent because I’ve got a five-year old, we watch tons of Disney nowadays. I love Alyssa from Encanto.

    John: Oh, okay. Yeah, I haven’t seen that one.

    Shane: I’ve watched it probably fifty times, yeah.

    John: Puzzles? Sudoku, crossword, jigsaw and I’ll throw in Wordle now.

    Shane: I like Sudoku a lot.

    John: Yeah. That’s how I did my accounting back in the day.

    John: Yeah. There’s no 7 in this problem, let’s put one there.

    Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Shane: Star Wars. I just never watched like the Star Trek TV show. I think it was a little bit before my time and I never got around to it.

    John: Yeah, I know, fair.

    Your computer, PC or a Mac?

    Shane: PC.

    John: PC, yeah, me too.

    Oh, this is a good one. Ice cream, in a cup or in a cone?

    Shane: In a cone, I like it in a cone, like a waffle cone especially.

    John: Oh, upgrade. All right. I see you. I see you.

    Sunrises or sunsets?

    Shane: Sunrise. Yeah, I like the start of a new day.

    John: Yeah. Okay, I’ll take that. I’ll take that.

    Balance sheet or income statement?

    Shane: Do you ask a lot of accountants this? I feel like we’re going to get…

    John: There’s no right answer, man. These are just completely ridiculous. If you do, that will be even funnier.

    Shane: Probably just income statement.

    John: Yeah. I know it’s not cash flow because I don’t know how to do that one, so I never could get that right like ever, ever. Thank goodness for computers.

    Favorite animal?

    Shane: Wolf. Yeah. I think when I was a kid I was obsessed with them.

    John: Yeah. I love it. It’s a solid answer.

    How about your first concert?

    Shane: Probably like some dove stuff concert in college I bet. I don’t even know. I think I just went to – that’s like the only time I went to concert. I know a lot about movies and nothing about music.

    John: Okay, fair. No, fair enough, fair enough.

    How about a favorite number?

    Shane: 14. I got that from Paul Konerko, who used to play for the Chicago White Sox, their first base.

    John: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, definitely. Love it, that’s a great one. Two more.

    Books? Audio version, ebook, or real book?

    Shane: I found I really like audiobooks lately, especially the ones that they like hire actors like act out scenes. Yeah, I love that lately.

    John: Yeah. It was funny, when I was doing the audiobook for What’s Your “And”? that a voice-over coach person to listen or whatever and he’s like, “Oh, you know, where’s this person from?” And I’m like, “No, it’s a real person. I’m not going to do their voice. I mean, like I don’t do UK or Australia or Detroit or, you know, like I’m not doing your voice, like there’s a real person that I talk to, man. This isn’t a fictional character.”

    So, that was – we had a bit of back and forth of where I’m not doing it, like I’m not doing it. Like, it’s just crazy. But, in a fiction book, definitely hire actors and play out the scene, that makes it much better.

    And the last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own?

    Shane: Probably like big coffee mugs. I’ve got a couple that I love.

    John: Like how big are we talking here?

    Shane: Not carton big. I mean, like I’ve got one here that’s pretty big.

    John: Oh! Okay. That way then you don’t have to refill?

    Shane: Oh, yeah, that’s the idea at least.

    John: There you go. There you go. Nice.

    Okay. All right. So, let’s talk movies, man. Have you always liked movies from when you’re a kid or?

    Shane: I think so. I mean, yeah, I probably inherited this bug from my father more than anybody. Yeah, I grew up with tons of, you know, video tapes in the house, which eventually became DVDs. And, yeah, I mean, we had all those Disney movies lined up at our house back when I was a kid and we’d rewatch it and rewatch.

    And then, I think growing up like I thought everybody else watch this much movies as I did. And then, I got to find out like nobody else has family like goes to the movies either like every weekend, like if we didn’t have games or if we have free time, we’re going to go to the movie.

    John: Yeah. That’s awesome, man. I love it. And was it like get the popcorn and the candy and like the whole experience?

    Shane: Oh, yeah, we always had to get popcorn and, yeah, we could get pop when we were little.

    John: Maybe that’s why you love movies so much even because it was, oh, this is the time I get to have the pop and soda, you know. That’s great.

    And so, were there any movies or ones that you saw like growing up that you’re like, man, that was ama – like a cool experience or a cool theater or something about it?

    Shane: Yeah. I think I have, I mean, I have a couple memories of really cool movie-going experiences. We went to see The Dark Knight at IMAX at Navy Pier. That was really cool. So, I felt like I was like actually like because we’re in Chicago where it was filmed and as they’re like on top of these huge buildings. That was really cool. That was one of my favorites.

    And another one as an adult was going to the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas with my wife and we saw The Nice Guys. I don’t know if you ever – have you heard of Alamo Drafthouse?

    John: Oh, yeah, absolutely, yeah. There’s one in Denver as well, yeah, where you can like get food and eat, and like, yeah, and drinks and, yeah, you’re like at a table sort of or like recliners.

    Shane: So, we went to like a little bit older one, but it was really cool because they had – they played like 70s detective movies like trailers before the movie and they had like a 70s theme like menu, so it was really cool for me. And then, I love that movie the Nice Guys.

    John: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, that’s awesome, man. Yeah, because I mean, there’s more to it than just the movie itself. You know, there is the atmosphere and the experience and, you know, the food and who you’re with and all that is all a part of it for sure. That’s awesome, man, yeah.

    I mean, my first movie I remember seeing when I was a kid like super young, I don’t know how old I was, but it was when – when Star Wars first came out. And then, there was another one that was like The Last Star Fighter or something like that.

    I remember sitting in that very first row and it was like my first grade or second grade birthday party or something and like the very first row of a movie where there’s like there’s spaceships taking off and like just like, whoa, like we’re under the, you know, that type of thing. But, I wouldn’t recommend the first row to most people actually because…

    Shane: No, yeah. I think in high school, yeah, I went on a date and we had to sit in the front row, I don’t even know what movie, but I remember it was such a miserable experience.

    John: Right. No, your neck is like…

    Shane: You’re like laying all the way down in the chair.

    John: Yeah. No, for sure. Yeah, not, it’s definitely something. And are you one of those that like reacts in the theater? Like, I love like laughing out loud.

    Shane: Oh, definitely.
    John: Like I’ll be the only one laughing at the thing or something and I’m like, we’re all here like it’s a shared experience.

    Shane: Yeah. I think especially with comedy and horror.

    John: Yeah.

    Shane: Having a fun crowd really – I mean, it adds to the experience, like – so, this year I saw Everything Everywhere All At Once in theater.

    John: Oh, right, yeah, yeah.

    Shane: And the whole crowd was like laughing throughout the whole movie and it made it a lot more fun.

    John: That’s awesome.

    And do you feel like any of these translates to work at all whether it’s through relationship building or a skill that you bring?

    Shane: Yeah. I think it definitely helps with the relationship building. It’s a way to, you know, connect with other people. I mean, most people love movies. I know there is a lot more people’s attention span has shortened to where they just want like, you know, few minute video or something. But, I mean, most people I know at some point everybody loves at least one or two movies.

    John: Yeah. And odds are you’ve seen them.

    Shane: Yeah, that’s true too. Right?

    John: You’ve seen it and you’re like, oh, yeah. And then, you remember more about it than they do and you’re like, this isn’t even my favorite movie, I thought it was terrible and yet I know. That’s funny.

    Shane: Yeah.

    John: That’s funny. And that is interesting. Like have you always shared your love for movies through your career or is it something that’s more recent with social media sharing it or?

    Shane: No, I think I’ve always shared it. I mean, for me I just find like I perform better at my job when I can like be myself and talk about things that I like, things that I love. And I think when you’re able to connect with other people too, it, you know, makes work better.

    So, I’ve always shared it. I mean, I definitely I’m like, oh, maybe I shouldn’t talk about movies when it’s like we’ve got to get twenty tax returns done today or something.

    John: Right. Yeah, but you know, you know, two to three minutes like if that’s going to throw everybody off, then maybe that’s not the job for them, you know. And it’s nice to have a little brain break and all that stuff.

    But, you brought up a great point, I’m just when you have those connections with people, work is just better and it just goes better I would imagine and you’re more productive as well.

    Have you come across other people that are, you know, quite the movie fanatics as well or?

    Shane: I honestly can’t say I have. No. I haven’t met everybody and gotten to know everybody super well at my new job at Avant because I just started in December. But, one of the first things the CFO asked me was like if I like movies that I thought that was really cool.

    John: That is amazing. But, yeah, like you said I mean, everybody likes one movie. I mean, you’ve been to the movies, like I mean, everyone has been to the movies or seen a movie. So, you know, like it’s something that you can create a connection. It’s like food sort of or it’s like, well, everybody eats, right? I mean, come on now. So, it’s great.

    And how much do you feel like it’s on the organization to create a space to encourage people to share their “ands”? And how much is it on the individual to just share amongst their little circle or what have you?

    Shane: I mean, I think it’s on the organization to make people feel safe, you know, to talk about their “and’. I mean, I’ve definitely like when I was studying for CPA exams, I remember talking about watching a movie and then, they were like, “Oh, you should probably like studied last night instead.”

    John: Oh, goodness.

    Shane: Yeah. So, it’s a mix. I mean, most people want to share about their “and”, you know.

    John: And you passed that exam, so who cares? Like, I feel like the people that say things like that are the ones who don’t have an “and”. They think that the stereotype and the norm is actually they think someone that just does work and only does work and then, you know, reads about work and then comes back into work.

    Shane: Yeah.

    John: In actuality, they’re in the minority, the vast minority and it’s like, you know, based on my research, 92% of us have something else out of work that we love to do and so that means that you’re normal. And so, you know, yeah, there’s a time and a place for studying and there’s a time and a place for, you know what? I’ve been studying a lot and I need to do something that brings me joy and studying for the CPA exam is not on the list of things that bring me joy.

    Shane: I like to meet the person who does not experience joy, right?

    John: I just keep taking the exam, I already passed it four times. I just keep taking it over and over because I love it so much. And it’s like, what? No one does that. But, I feel like more people are probably gravitate towards talking to you about movies than the people that are, you know, kind of poo-poo at whatever. And so, I’m glad to hear that they didn’t discourage you from sharing it all, you know, going forward because that’s – that’s sad when that happens for sure.

    And like how important is it to know what other people’s “ands” are or does it matter at all?

    Shane: I think especially if you’re leading a group of people, that’s when it really, really does matter. I think people who are at the same level – I mean, if you just want to be a good co-worker it’s good to know a little bit about what is somebody else passionate about, but you’re not seeing a whole person because all you know is what they do at work.

    John: Exactly. And I’ve also found that like if you think about it what you do at work part is completely replaceable. You know, whatever old job I used to have, someone is doing that job just fine right now.

    But, they’re not bringing the personality or the comedy or the college football or the, you know, whatever side of me that, you know, that I bring to work-type of thing. And that’s not replaceable is that duo of doing the job and who you really are.

    It’s a shame that most people don’t bring that other side or they’re not given permission to bring that other side and so, just do it, I’d say. What? Are you going to get fired because you were talking about movies? Like it’s like, really?

    Shane: Probably not the place you want to be anyway.

    John: Right. It’s like, like a jaywalking ticket, like as the cop is writing it, you’re like, really? We’re doing this? Like for real, like this is a thing? Okay. It’s like, okay, all right.

    And so, I guess do you have any words of encouragement to anybody listening that, you know, has an “and”, but they’re, you know, maybe thinking no one cares because it has absolutely nothing to do with my job.

    Shane: I think you’d be surprised about how receptive people will be and how much that will improve your connections with other people too.

    John: Yeah, definitely. And it sounds from your experience that that’s been the case.

    Shane: Definitely. I feel like I made stronger friendships when we all share what drives us, what hobbies we have. And for me, it’s like I don’t know how to communicate without like talking about what I love.

    John: No, that’s so true and I mean, just when you were saying that, they brought me back to my college days and there’s a good friend of mine, Jim, who I’m still friends with. And I don’t think we could go through talking to Jim without an Adam Sandler or a Chris Farley line from a movie coming up. Like, it was just he talks in movie quotes, like it was just it was amazing.

    Shane: My brother-in-law talks in movie quotes.

    John: That’s awesome. That’s hilarious. It makes me laugh every time because it reminds me of the movie and I’m like, ah, that’s funny. So, that’s cool, man and such great advice too of, you know, just how it’s worked for you. And I mean, the fact that the CFO is asking you, you know, not, hey, can you prepare this cash flow statement or can you do this macro or – it’s, no, no, you like movies? Tell me about it. That’s really awesome to hear that that somebody that that cares about Shane as a person, not just Shane as, you know, a job title, you know, for a senior accountant guy or whatever. So, that’s cool, man.

    Before I wrap this up because this has been so fun, I feel like I rudely peppered you with questions at the beginning, so it’s only fair that we turn the tables and you get to A Few Good Men me I guess. There’s a little movie reference. I’ll be the Tom Cruise, you’d be the Jack Nicholson and I’m all yours, the Shane Sullivan Podcast. Thanks for having me on.

    Shane: All right. So, I think they’re all going to be movie based.

    John: Okay. I love it. They should be. If they weren’t, I would be grossly disappointed.

    Shane: How about just I will start with an easy one. What’s like your favorite genre of movies?

    John: I guess comedy I would say in general.

    Shane: What are couples of your favorite comedy?

    John: Oh, hands down Dumb and Dumber. I mean, Ace Ventura solid. I’m a huge Jim Carrey fan. But, also, I mean, I was in college when it was Tommy Boy and, you know, Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore and all those movies. So, those are the good days, man. Yeah.

    I have cousins that are younger that, you know, much younger and when they’re in college they came back. They’re like, “Yeah, we watched it,” I’m like, “What? No way, that’s amazing.” Yeah. So, and I feel like they stand the test of time. There are some other movies that I’ve seen when I’ve gone to watch that I watched when I was, you know, a long time ago and I’m like, “Ah, maybe it’s not as good as what I remembered it.”

    But then, there’s some of them that stand and that’s always good. But, yeah, so those kind of movies that are just, you know, that or – or, you know, I mean, I’m always a sucker for Rudy.

    Shane: So, I’m from the south side of Chicago, I’m like from an Irish Catholic neighborhood, so I watch Rudy like every weekend after we played like Grammar School football. Like, the school the team would project the movie like on the side of the garage by the field house.

    John: That’s awesome. That’s so great, man. Yeah, no, I mean, it’s an unbelievable movie. It’s really such a good movie whether or not it’s a hundred percent accurate to the real story is another thing, but it’s a great movie.

    And I mean, I’m a Notre Dame alum, so, of course, it’s even better. But, anything like that, remember the Titans, you know, things like that that are just like sports teams kind of things, I do enjoy those. Yeah, or like Saving Private Ryan, that’s another good one or, you know, ones that are kind of World War II kind of theme I guess.

    Unless on the ones that where you have to read them, the subtitled and I know you’re on that kick now and I’m like, ah, man, like I just can’t, like I’m just, what? Like, what’s that? Because I can’t watch and read, I’m just like, what? Rewind to see what the scene was now that I know what it says, like it’s, yeah.

    Shane: No, those are all good movies you’re mentioning.

    How about do you have a favorite actor or actress?

    John: Yeah. I mean, I would say Jim Carrey has been always, yeah, I mean, I don’t know, everything he’s done I’ve always – I mean, even, oh, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, such a great movie. I love that. I love the Matrix, I love like — everyone makes fun of Keanu and whatever, but I feel like they’re both really good people too, which is kind of cool. But, everything Jim Carrey has done like I just – I mean, even Cable Guy like I love that movie. I think it’s hilarious, like it’s so funny to me.


    Truman Show is another one. I saw it in the theater, I laughed out loud probably five or six times. It’s not a funny movie necessarily, but there are scenes in that movie that are so funny and I’m the only one in the theater, I’m like, “What?” And everyone’s like they’re looking at me like, what’s up with the guy that, he should probably be wearing a helmet, like what’s wrong with him? Like does he ever have a chaperone? Like why is he here by himself? But, yeah, I’d say Jim Carrey is, yeah, my favorite.

    Shane: Okay. How about what’s the last like great thing you watched? This can be a TV show or a movie.

    John: Probably the last show that I watched that I thought was really good was Queen of the South. I thought that was pretty good. I thought that was well done.

    Shane: I haven’t seen that one.

    John: It’s kind of on par with Breaking Bad sort of, where I love it because the characters, you have to decide is this a good person or a bad person. Like most shows and most movies, here is the good team, here’s the bad team, you’ll like the good. But, those shows like Breaking Bad, it’s like he’s making meth and selling meth and like blowing things up like as a drug kingpin eventually, but he’s doing it to provide for his family and to get cancer treatment.

    So, you’re like, ah, like, you know, one episode he’s a good guy and you like him and the next, it’s like, man, this is the worst person ever, what is wrong with this guy?

    Queen of the South is sort of like that too, where the characters, you’re like, oh, I’m supposed to like this one, but I kind of don’t right now, you know, type of thing, which is fun because then it’s a choose your own adventure kind of style, I feel like I have – I have some say in how I experience the show. So, yeah, I’d check it out.

    Shane: How about give me like five favorite movies?

    John: Five favorite movies? Wow, I probably already said them. Yeah, I definitely already said them. I mean, Rudy, Dumb and Dumber.

    Shane: A Few Good Men.

    John: Oh, yeah. I mean, I don’t know if it’s in my top five, but it’s always it’s a good one. It’s just that scene is so great. It’s intense, man, you’re like, whoa. And I mean, I grew up my dad was military, so I was around that and I know you’re prior military, so I’m sure you like, whoa, I know a guy like that.

    Yeah. I’m trying to think of any other. As a kid, I loved – there was a Disney, Fox and the Hound.

    Shane: That’s a sad movie.
    John: It’s so sad, man. And I’m a crier, man. Like, Rudy, I’ll cry every time, every time. Like, I just hear the music and I’ll get emotional and like, oh, boy, somebody it’s getting dusty in here everybody, like it’s – it’s just, yeah, I know I get into it, man. It’s, you know, I laugh along with it, I feel it, you know, like just sit there and observe, like I’m invested in it.

    And, yeah, although, you know, the new Matrix one, that’s probably – I guess Queen of the South as well as the newer Matrix that just came out – well, probably just didn’t come out, but whenever I saw it.

    Shane: It came out in 2021.

    John: Holy cow, that’s crazy.

    Shane: No, that’s pretty good for me.

    John: I thought it was a little long. And in the middle, I felt like the middle part made it a little bit like, well – but, otherwise, I mean, I just – I just love that whole concept of what you think is reality is not actually reality. And it’s like I think that’s fun to explore. So anyway, yeah, man.

    Well, this has been great. I really appreciate you being a part of What’s Your “And”?, Shane and, yeah, look forward to following your tweets for what movies I should be – should be watching in the future. So, thanks for being a part of this.

    And everybody, if you like to see some pictures of Shane in action or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com, all the links are there. And while you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture. And don’t forget to check out the book.

    So, thanks again for subscribing on Apple podcast or whatever app you’re using 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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