Episode 83 – Chris Ekimoff

Chris swims his way to better coworker connections


Chris Ekimoff refers to himself as a “swammer”, as in someone that used to swim competitively. So competitive in fact that he was a member of the Saint Bonaventure University swimming team who won the conference championship for the Atlantic 10 Conference in 2006. This helped him stand out in his start class at Deloitte thanks to the Summer Olympics happening the year he graduated. Many people found out he was a swimmer, so they were asking him questions about the swimming events, which allowed him to develop unique relationships at all levels of the firm.

In this episode, Chris and I talk about how being a part of a swimming team taught him to have confidence in himself while understanding how his piece fits into the bigger picture. He says that no one is judging you. Chris feels the firm plays a big role in this, saying, “The firm itself can’t make you share but the firm also shouldn’t limit it from happening.” And shared experiences are great, too, but the firm must be careful to find a balance in activities so a variety of people can be involved.

Chris Ekimoff is the Director, Financial Advisory Services for Resolution Economics in Washington, DC. Prior to that, he had forensic and litigation roles with various companies including Hilton and Deloitte.

He graduated from Saint Bonaventure University with both a BBA and MBA in Accounting. He later went on to receive the following certifications: CPA, CFF, CFE, CGMA, and MAFF.

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Other pictures of Chris

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On the podium for the 200 freestyle at the 2007 Atlantic 10 Conference Championships

Mid-Race in the 500 freestyle at the 2007 Atlantic 10 Conference Championships

Touching the wall first in the 200 freestyle at the 2007 Atlantic 10 Conference Championships

Holding the 2006 Atlantic 10 Team Championship Trophy at the team banquet

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  • Read Full TranscriptOpen or Close

    John: Welcome to episode 83 of the Green Apple Podcast where each Wednesday I interview a professional known for a hobby or a passion. Just by being themselves, stand out like a green apple in a stereotypically boring red apple world.

    I was talking with someone recently about sharing your “and”, because we don’t always do that when people ask about us. “I’m an accountant” or “I’m a lawyer” or “I’m a consultant” – but we stop there, and we need to keep going with “I’m an accountant and a comedian.” Because they’re both important, but it’s that “and” that really strengthens our human connections.

    I’ve got a very short research survey that will support the book I’m writing about corporate culture. It’d be really cool if you could just take 60 seconds and go to greenapplepodcast.com, click that big green button, and answer a few questions. I’d really appreciate it. It’s completely anonymous. If you could share it with your friends and coworkers, that’d be really, really cool.

    But today, it’s all about Chris Ekimoff. He’s a very busy man, and come to find out, a fan of the show. Chris, I’m excited you could be with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.

    Chris: It’s great to be here. Thanks, John.

    John: Of course. Absolutely, man. But before we get into your hobbies and passions, I figured it’d be best to cover a little bit of where you’re at now and how you got there.

    Chris: Yeah. I’ve always been interested in the forensic accounting side of the industry.

    John: Those are the cool kids, right?

    Chris: That’s what we tell ourselves, but I seem to think we’re just very similar to the others out there that we appreciate. I work for a small firm called Resolution Economics here in Washington, DC. Our work focuses on supporting litigation. Cases that have accounting and finance issues at the center of them, we’ll be called to either help the attorneys understand the documents or in some cases even testify in open court on those issues to help educate a judge or jury about all of those nuanced things us in the industry know so well to help them reach better conclusions.

    John: Wow. That’s pretty exciting, man. That’s kind of fun, I’d imagine.

    Chris: Yeah, it can be. It’s fits and starts. People always ask if we have a busy season. I always say it depends on court dates, so it’s not really a January to March 15th kind of thing, but it can be a Monday to Thursday.

    Kind of the flipside of that is you’ll work really hard on an analysis or a set of arguments, and then it’ll go before the judge or the jury, and it’ll get excluded for a variety of legal reasons.

    John: Oh, no.

    Chris: You’ll really work your tail off on something and then turn around the next day and it’ll be thrown out, and you’ll be back to the drawing board. Pluses and minuses, but definitely exciting.

    John: Yeah. Have you been in forensics accounting all along or right out of school?

    Chris: Yes. I tell the story, and I’m sure a lot of the people listening will know the movie. Probably at an age before I should have, I watched the movie starring Kevin Costner called The Untouchables, which is about Eliot Ness going after Al Capone. There’s the accountant character who’s constantly in the back saying “We could get him for tax evasion”, right? Obviously, the movie doesn’t end well for that character, but that’s really where I trace my interest in the investigative and forensic accounting side of being a CPA, too.

    I had done kind of the big four internships, gone through all that, and inquired during my internship if I could get into the financial advisory, the forensic accounting group. I ended up starting right out of school in a position with Deloitte here in DC almost ten years ago.

    I have been in it the whole time, kind of that forensic side, but in a variety of different aspects, as well.

    John: Yeah. That’s great, man. That’s really cool. The Untouchables – that’s what made you want to choose accounting?

    Chris: Yeah. I mean, a bit. I also had a great accounting professor in high school that really drove more the interest, but I’m sure it’s a PG-13 or an R rated movie I can’t remember now. It was one of those kind of run and hide behind the couch scenarios when the bad parts came on.

    John: Right. That’s great, man. That’s interesting. I guess now kids are going to say the Ben Affleck movie – that’s what made them want to become an accountant.

    Chris: Yeah. I’m sure we’ve all fielded many questions. I constantly tell people that. The only real part of the movie is that scene where it’s in the conference room with all the binders. That’s the only legit part of the entire movie. It’s very accurate.

    John: That’s what we were all just getting so jacked up where he’s got numbers all over. “Yes! Look at this.”

    Chris: That was interesting. Forget all the espionage and everything else. Show me how they add up at the end of that window.

    John: Right. That was right up your alley, especially with the fraud and things like that. Yeah. Sevens all over the place and all that stuff.

    Chris: That’s right. We did have an office viewing when it came out on iTunes. I could teach some of my colleagues a little but more about what we get into.

    John: Right. That should count for CPE, if you ask me.

    Chris: Yeah. Well, it’ll just be that one. That’ll be the day.

    John: Yeah. But when you have some free time and you’re not busy busting all the bad guys, what sort of hobbies and passions do you enjoy the most?

    Chris: I know John you talk about being a recovering CPA. We have a term for the sport I played or participated in all through high school and college. We term ourselves “swammers” – people who used to swim.

    John: That’s great.

    Chris: I balance that out with some distance running now, but apart from the athletics, I also spend a lot of time job-related working with some different social media initiatives, both for our firm and for me through personal activities. I try to stay busy both athletically and mentally with that.

    John: Yeah. That’s fantastic. The swimming, when you were still a swimmer, I think it’s so cool how you came out in 2008 when the Olympics were getting crazy and everyone’s breaking records, and then there you are in the office, right?

    Chris: That’s right. My first job was during the summer – my first fulltime gig – was the summer of the 2008 Olympics, which I’m sure all of you have marked on your calendars remembering so fondly like us swimmers do.

    There were these new suits. Swimsuit technology that had come out in the prior years, which – we won’t get too technical, but – basically help swimmers go faster because they were basically floating on top of the water. I’m this 21-year-old kid in this big office environment with all these other big four starting people at the same time. A lot of people were coming up to me – partners included and local leaders in the office here in DC – they’d say “Tell me more about these swimsuits. What’s going on? My kids are interested. My wife’s asking me. My husband was cheering at the TV last night.”

    I kind of got to participate a little bit more outside the billable activities and the usual trainings and everything for a young big four participant to talk a little bit more about swimming. It was a pretty cool two weeks to get to interact with all those people, but just like the rest of the country, after the Olympics, people stopped caring about swimming until four years later.

    Got some good facetime out of it which turned into some good stories and some good contacts I have to this day.

    John: I can imagine. For those listening that don’t remember, it was kind of the full body suit almost, like in the 1920s sort of a look, right?

    Chris: Exactly. I had a couple people ask if it was related to the pool temperature – if the pool is too cold so they’re covering from wrists to their ankles.

    John: You should have said yes. “Yes, that’s exactly what it is.”

    Chris: That’s right. The more of that kind of buoyant fabric you had on your body, obviously, the faster you were able to move through the water. I’m sure they were trying to put fins and things on, too, but swimming regulators ended up calling that in shortly after the Olympics.

    John: That’s so funny. Yeah. When you went in as a new hire and you’re like ‘I’m just going to put my nose to the grindstone”, did you have any idea that swimming was going to differentiate you, or you were even going to be talking about it to anyone?

    Chris: Not at all. It’s kind of that – like I said, the four-year cycle, people ask you a lot of questions, and then it kind of fades away, but what really happened was apart from just being a recognizable face, it really gave me a larger confidence in the office. It wasn’t one event that made me feel like I could be myself, but it was more this kind of collegial environment, for lack of a better word.

    I feel like it’s spread to a lot of the other people that started alongside me. The 50 or 60 other new hires. “Hey, the partners are approachable. If your senior manager asks you to do something, it doesn’t have to be the only thing you talk about is that analysis you’re doing. You can kind of bring up what happened this past week or on the Olympics or whatever was going on.”

    It was a really cool environment. It’s funny. I actually talked to one of the managers that I made connections through that first job with just yesterday. She and I were kind of laughing about the old days. It’s just kind of one of those things that was a cool connection but also was really a great confidence builder for a new hire.

    John: Yeah. I love how you brought that up. That’s really astute of you that it showed others that – hey, these are real people. These partners and senior managers – they’re just regular people. There’s no reason to be intimidated or use titles. It’s just Joe or Suzy or whatever. That’s really fantastic. That’s really fantastic.

    Chris: Yeah. It was funny. Obviously, the summer Olympics are in July and August. I actually started with a good friend of mine right out of college who played football at a school down in Louisiana. He was a really great resource for the office, too. That was a good spread of that.

    John: At first, when people started “That guy swam in college” – did that kind of make you nervous, or were you like “Hey, yeah. This is who I am.”?

    Chris: It was kind of a label I’ve dealt with. You go through kind of the middle school period where everybody makes fun of you for wearing a smaller bathing suit than the average beach-goer. It wasn’t anything unrecognizable.

    I didn’t have the same chlorine overdose that I had prior, because I hadn’t spent as much time in the pool when I started work. It wasn’t surprising to me, just like I’m sure my friend who played football wasn’t shocked that he was Scott the Football Player, either. But just that focus helped me feel more comfortable being myself and kind of transitioned to great conversations with them, as well.

    John: Right. You’d rather be Chris the swimmer than Chris the ‘nother auditor, you know? We’ve got 17 Chris the auditors.

    Chris: Yeah. That’s one of those things. Obviously, listening to the podcast prior and seeing a lot of the folks here in DC, we’re in a really diverse environment in terms of interest and background that brought us to the accounting profession. Trying to bring up those conversations with staff that I work with now is kind of – trying to pay that forward a little bit.

    You just say “Hey, be yourself. Tell me about your softball game last night. Obviously, we’ve got something to do, but how’d your team do? What position were you playing? What was your stat line? Are you going to be the next Bryce Harper?” Having a laugh about that.

    I know you talk about it all the time, but it is getting away from that “Hey, make sure you reformat that spreadsheet by 6:30 tonight” type of mentality. It’s much more “Hey, I know you get that game tonight. If you can get that to me to review in the morning, perfect.” You let somebody else manage their time based on their passions. It’s definitely been a helpful experience.

    John: Yeah. No. That’s fantastic. One thing that I accidentally skipped over but I’d love to hear is just – is there any super cool, rewarding swimming experience that you can remember, whether it from when you were younger or college days?

    Chris: Yeah. It’s funny to look back on now. I went to a tiny school in western New York that participates in the A-10, the Atlantic 10 Conference in St. Bonaventure. When I was there, we hadn’t won the conference championship in a handful of years. That was a great – in 2006 when the team I was on ended up winning that – that was a great memory for me and all the guys I was with.

    But I think the longer-term thing is, especially with communication technology today and the friendships that I’m sure everybody has made over their lifetime, and especially for me and the team in college, is just that interconnectivity. I’m able to shoot a friend a text when I think of something funny that happened back when we were in school.

    Swimming’s an interesting animal, because it is such an individual sport, but it is – your score and your experiences based on your team participation as well. You kind of walk that line between the stereotype that the quarterback and the wide receiver are always best friends because they have to connect on the field. The brush stroker and distance swimmer don’t really connect on the field or in the pool, but you can still build those relationships regardless of what sport you’re in.

    That to me is one of those things that I take with me. That shared experience has been great. I’m sure athletes and people who participate in music and clubs and other things, whether in high school or college, can look on those and feel the same way.

    John: Yeah. That’s fantastic. That leads me right into the next question, right on cue, man. Swimming, you’re an individual, but you’re part of a dream. Has anything led to a skillset or something that you use in the office or that you’ve found once you started right out of school that, hey, this kind of translates?

    Chris: Oh, 100%. One of the things I find myself constantly asking when I’m focused on some super menial or super details task is “How does this fit into the bigger picture?” I think that that’s something that draws to the legal environment very well.

    Okay, I need to find out where this $2,478 is, because that’s going to prove that it should have been put in on this day and not a day prior. That’s going to help support the argument that they didn’t perform this accounting analysis during the correct period, which then supports the argument that their accounting system isn’t up to what they said it was or led to an issue.

    Bring able to draw that kind of individual task idea up to a higher level is super helpful. It’s also great to help educate and bring along the next generation of staff to be managers and managers to be leaders to say, yeah, you know what you’re doing? You’re going through 10, 000 transactions. Sorry. We’ve got to do it. We’ve got to look at all of them. But that analysis, that review is going to support us saying “Yeah. IN 2016, the company supported 9,858 transactions. The auditors said x, and we move on from there.

    Although it can be kind of a click and scroll or reading through thousands of pages of legal documents, maybe that’s just the way I convince myself that it’s a good way to look at it.

    John: Right.

    Chris: Like I said, it’s obviously supported in the risk-based audit side as well as a lot of the tax stuff that accountants will get involved with, but I definitely see it more in the legal industry to help support the legal arguments and those conclusions, as well.

    John: Yeah. I love how your examples of, now that you are in leadership, how you approach that. That’s fantastic. There were certainly, when I was doing projects, some managers – actually more times than not – that would just tell you “Go do this.” You have no clue how it fits in or why. Then you go to the client, and you’re like “Hey, I need these files.” That lady says “Well, why do you need them?” “I don’t know. I need to go back and ask the guy.” Now, we all look stupid.

    That’s a huge takeaway for anyone listening is whether you’re in management or approaching it, always keep that in mind of how your piece fits in and explaining to others why they’re doing that.

    Chris: I think it also comes from – and I’ll be remiss to admit and hope that certain people don’t take this the wrong way – I classify myself as a millennial, kind of the top end of that. You hear the – I don’t mean to generalize, but – those kind of stereotypical responses of “A millennial can’t just put their head down and do the work. They want something else. They want to know why.”

    If you give them the answer, it only supports them to go through that, like you just said. Tell me why I’m looking at these 350 pages of accounting documentation related to this company. Well, we need to prove x, y, and z, or see if they considered this. That’s going to help. It might be one page 311. We need somebody to look at that.

    I kind if push back on some of those millennial stereotypes. If you give somebody a reason why, they can still complain about it, right? Some of the work isn’t the height of interest at every moment, but knowing that that supports those larger conclusions at least is one step closer to helping them feel like it’s of value and will get you to where you need to be.

    John: Yeah. For sure. In that case, then, I’m also apparently a millennial, and just lost like 15 years on my age, because I used to do the same thing. I’d be like, how’s this fit in? I think it’s just, now, they just actually ask.

    If you go to a lot of these partners that are 50 and 60 years old, you also thought the exact same thing. You just didn’t say it out loud. It’s not really a millennial thing. It’s just treating people the right way thing is the way that I kind of look at it.

    I think this is so fantastic. I guess now that you are in leadership and what have you, this is probably going to be a really good question. Is it more on the organization to create that culture where top down, if you will, setting an example, where people can share and be a little bit vulnerable, not have to know everything, or is it more on the individual to plug in and be a part of it or maybe even just create their own little circle within that.

    Chris: I think it’s a double-edged sword, or maybe a two-factor authentication related to having that kind of open environment.

    John: Okay. I like that.

    Chris: In my view, the firm itself can’t make you share. Think of all the times where they’re like “Okay, get up, introduce yourself in this meeting of 80 people and tell them one cool fact about yourself.” You kind of want to jump off the top of the building before it even gets to you.

    Creating that organic feeling isn’t up to the organization, but I think the other side of it is the firm needs to be sure it’s not limiting that from happening. They need to have an inclusive policy or at least a lack of restriction on “Hey, we try to keep the office environment super quiet, so don’t talk outside of it” or “We really frown upon people sharing what they did last weekend or talking about their vacations.”

    From that side, I’d say the firm really needs to – “foster” might not be the right word, but just kind of allow those type of mentalities to go. Then I think it’s really up to the set of individuals – and I’ll say “set” versus the actual individual. We can all think back to an office or an environment we worked in where there was Suzy, and all Suzy wanted to do was talk about stuff outside of work. It’s great to talk to Suzy for 10 minutes when you get to work or when you’re on your way out the door, but when you’ve got to get things done, Suzy can be a little bit of an annoyance.

    You’ve got to kind of find those situations and those people that you want to share with, and the appropriate time to do so. It’s one of those, hey, it’s Friday in the summertime. We don’t have anything really going on. It’s time sensitive. Do you want to go downstairs to the bar or go next door and just have a chat at the coffee shop at 4:30?

    Certain people are going to say no to that because they already have Friday plans or they really do have something done that maybe you’re not working on. Other people are going to say “You know what? Heck. Let’s go down there and let’s do it.” You can kind of create those situations.

    Again, just to go back to it, I think the firm really needs to be accepting of those types of situations, and it’s up to the individuals in the office to respond to them in kind. We all have good days and bad days.

    John: Oh, yeah. No, definitely. Yeah.

    Chris: There’ll be a day when you don’t want anybody to share anything with you, because you’re having a rough time doing something or something else is going on outside of the office, too. Finding that balance is tough.

    John: Right. It is not just sharing drama and so-and-so just broke up with me and blabbity blah, whatever. That certainly isn’t at all a part of the green apple message. Just be you. You still get your work done, but it’s just not being the stereotype and not being the same as everyone else sort of a thing.

    I think that if you do develop those stronger relationships, then when you are having a bad day or someone around you is having a bad day, you know why. You know that they are. You know right away. Then you’re not piling on that person and “Oh, man, this can wait a couple days, really. It’s not that big of a deal.”

    That’s the cool thing about it is once you’ve developed those relationships. I guess one thing that I struggle with is just understanding, why is it that a lot of people, when they graduate, they have a lot of extracurricular activities. That’s why we hire them. All this, that, and the other. Then when they come in, within the first couple of years, they all kind of become the same. There’s kind of pressure on that.

    Chris: To me, it’s that kind of – not to get too meta, but – it’s just kind of that mentality of “The people who work the most hours are the hardest and best working.” It kind of almost drives you to that mentality of why would I talk about things outside of work when I can improve my perception of the firm and obviously get more things done by doing more work?

    To tie back to swimming again, there’s a phrase in swimming. “It’s not about swimming harder. It’s about swimming smarter.” I’m sure you’ve gone to a meet of a younger niece or nephew or somebody related to you and you’d see the person on the outside lane that’s just spinning their arms as fast as they can. That’s great. They’re putting in a lot of effort. But you can see somebody with a smoother stroke really getting to the other side faster.

    Having that mentality of “Hey, I’m going to work like crazy from 3:00-6:00, and then I’m going to go home and have dinner with my family” – doing that is hopefully a change that we can move towards. It’s not “I’m going to kind of get things done and take my time from 3:00-7:00, 8:00, or 9:00, and then I’ll be the last one to leave, and everyone will be so impressed.” I think that gets to your point of everybody kind of starts to become the same and be nervous about speaking up and saying “I’ve got a softball game tonight” or saying “I just like being at home at 6:00, and if I need to come early tomorrow to get something done before the 8:00 meeting” – giving people the power of their time to make those decisions I think would be helpful.

    I know you spoke with a friend of mine, Rebecca Brown, a couple episodes ago. I’ve worked with her through the Maryland Society CPAs and some other things. The quote I stick to to this day is – we were talking about how to bring people in and hire them, and she says “You don’t hire eight billable hours a day. You hire a whole person. You have to be respectful of that whole person and what’s going on as they operate in the confines of their opportunity in that position.”

    Being able to take that whole person mentality – it’s helpful to say “You know what? I’ve got a thing.” We had a guy in my office yesterday who was emailing us. He sent out an email that said “Hey, if anybody can review this for me, let me know.” He sent a funny email saying “My kid’s play is about to start. My guess is it’ll be way more interesting than that article you just wrote.”

    He was doing that from his phone at the auditorium. He was definitely right about the level of interest, but being able to have that kind of flexibility and know that he’s going to come the next day and cover what he needs to cover and those kind of things – it’s very helpful. The benefit you get from having that kind of environment drastically outweighs the negativity on the other side of like “Listen, you’ve been to three of your kid’s things this year. Maybe you should stop either going to them or caring about your child.” That message comes up in a much worse light than saying “You know what? Yeah. Take the two hours. Go watch the play, and then come back, and we’ll get things together.”

    John: Yeah. Basically, just because it doesn’t have a charge code doesn’t mean it’s not important.

    Chris: Exactly. Yup.

    John: Yet, I think what is beaten into us is charge codes and the higher billable rate, chargeability percentage, is what’s rewarded and celebrated. The person that’s here early and stays late must be – it’s like, I always thought they’re just a terrible employee. They’re just so inefficient. Why are they here so long? What’s going on? One thing that I just love hearing your examples of where you’re going counter to that head-on with your team. I think that’s really fantastic.

    Do you have any words of encouragement to others that might be on the fence where they’re kind of like “Oh, I was a swimmer, but I don’t really feel like telling anybody about it” or “No one else swims” – that’s my favorite is “No one else does this, so they’re not going to care”?

    Chris: It’s funny being in Washington DC. I think they sent out all those surveys of cities, and Washington I think is the highest number of active triathletes per capital or insert some listicle metric here. But it’s one of those things where you find a person who’s like “I’m a big cyclist. I did a century ride yesterday, but I’m nervous to get into triathlons.”

    You’d say “Oh, well, I was a swimmer. Here’s five tips you can take with you.” I think that that spreads to any kind of element of activity or passion or hobby is trying to figure out how it fits in, how other people’s discussions can do that, or if you have a big – something that’s kind of open. Say you’re really into orchestral music and you love going to the orchestra, and they’re having an open house night. Send it around your office. You’d send it to ten people. You’re going to get nine whiffs, and then maybe one person says “Yeah, you know, I played violin in high school, and I was never very good, but I’d love to come out and maybe see this event, or maybe catch one in the future now that I know you’re interested in that kind of thing.”

    I know you talk about kind of overcoming that nervousness about being yourself, but it’s really kind of – people kind of take it as rejection if you send out an email about going to see the orchestra play and nobody responds, but it’s such a negative response. It’s not like someone is judging you now because you’re interested in music. You’ve identified yourself in a way that can help you, like I said, feel more comfortable being yourself.

    Words of advice are just – keep being yourself and share that message. That’s one of the things we talked a little bit earlier about the social media aspect of some of the things that we do that’s really developed out of some of the relationships I’ve been privileged to have in the accounting industry and beyond.

    People will laugh and be like “Oh, Chris tweets accounting news five times a day”, but it’s really one of those parts of the job that we have in the forensic accounting industry to stay abreast of what’s going on with the ITC or with different case law and being able to tie myself to that level of participation is helpful for other people in the office. It’s the best when they come in there like “Hey, I met this new client. It’s ABC Company out in the Midwest. I can’t get much info on them, but it looks like they have a Twitter account. Can you look into what they’re doing?”

    It’s like “Oh, you’re the guy who was laughing at me because I sent a funny tweet about some case that we settled.” They come off on the other side, too. It is being fearlessly individual and being yourself and not being abrasive with it, but we talked about the firm and the individual and the responsibility for the environment before I think the other side of the firm aspect of it is that you can go to some places and they’re going to be hyper-focused on a single thing.

    I worked at a previous firm that did three tough mudders every year. It’s a great event. It’s great to get out and work with people outside of interact with your coworkers outside of the office. But it kind of segmented itself into the 80% that did the tough mudders and then the 20% who had no interest in that activity. We’re on the fringes. You’ve got to kind of try to find that balance between all the tough mudder folks and the rest and how to be a little bit inclusive maybe in other aspects.

    You don’t want to overdo it with kind of the firm side of things as well, but you know, like I said, it’s not about being abrasive and sharing it, but just offering up the next event or the next idea or just a story to tell people.

    John: Yeah. If you’re one of the 20%, I could definitely understand that. While they’re doing that, why don’t we do something over here? The firm should be like “Yeah. Absolutely. That sounds fantastic.”

    Rather than just sit there and stew over it, just speak up. That’s how the tough mudder thing happened. Somebody said it.

    Chris: Exactly. Yup. That’s how it started.

    John: Yeah. It certainly isn’t in any accounting brochure. “Well, when you start a firm, you have to do three touch mudders a year….”

    Chris: That’s right. That’s right at the bottom under Microsoft Word and Excel skills.

    John: Other duties as assigned. But this has been so great, Chris, but before I dig out my old Speedo from my elementary school days and come down and do some swimming laps with you, I do have my 17 rapid-fire questions that I like to run you through.

    Let me fire this thing up. All right. Here we go. I’ll start you easy. Do you have a favorite color?

    Chris: Green.

    John: Green. All right. How about a least favorite color?

    Chris: Not a big fan of grays.

    John: Gray. Yeah. That’s a solid answer. Do you prefer the oceans or the mountains?

    Chris: Probably the oceans. I’ve done a lot of open-water swimming.

    John: Okay. Sure. Sure. How about a favorite ice cream flavor?

    Chris: I’m a huge fan of Cherry Garcia.

    John: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. When it comes to movies, more Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Chris: One hundred percent Star Wars.

    John: Okay. All right. When it comes to computers, more PC or Mac?

    Chris: I’m a recent Mac convert.

    John: Oh, wow. On a PC mouse, are you more right-click or left-click?

    Chris: Definitely right-click. I want to see what’s going on behind that link.

    John: Right? More jeans or khakis?

    Chris: Jeans. I like feeling a little bit more relaxed. I look forward to jeans Friday every week in the office.

    John: Okay. All right. What’s a typical breakfast?

    Chris: Avocado toast.

    John: Wow. Nice.

    Chris: My fiancée makes a great avocado toast with the special maple pepper we get from a syrup farm in western New York. It’s amazing.

    John: Wow. Do you prefer more Sudoku or crossword puzzle?

    Chris: I like crosswords. I just kind of fudge the answers and then go back and pretend I knew it the whole time.

    John: Do you have a favorite actor or actress?

    Chris: I mean, right now, it’s got to be Ben Affleck, like we talked about.

    John: When it comes to financials, more balance sheet or income statement?

    Chris: I’m all about the income statements.

    John: Okay. All right. All right. Do you have a favorite movie of all time?

    Chris: Favorite movie of all time? I mean, I grew up on Star Wars.

    John: Okay. Do you have a favorite number?

    Chris: Nineteen.

    John: Nineteen? Why is that?

    Chris: My brother was a baseball player and he wore 19.

    John: Okay. Very cool. More cats or dogs?

    Chris: Hundred percent dogs.

    John: Okay. All right. Two more. More early bird or night owl?

    Chris: I’m an early bird. Swim practice started at 5:45 in the morning, so that’s a tough habit to shake.

    John: Right. Oh, my gosh. Last one – the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?

    Chris: You know, I’m 100% dogs. My fiancée and I adopted a yellow lab two years ago. She brings a smile to our face every day.

    John: That’s a great answer. Well, thank you so much, Chris. This was so great. Thank you so much for being with me on the Green Apple Podcast.

    Chris: Been a lot of fun. Thanks, John.

    John: That was really, really fun. I particularly loved how Chris said the firm itself can’t make you share, but the firm also shouldn’t limit it from happening. This is huge, especially if you’re in a leadership role at a firm and want to create a positive culture.

    If you’d like to see some pictures of Chris from his swimming days and connect with him on social media, he’s all over Twitter. Go to greenapplepodcast.com. If you’re listening on iTunes or Stitcher, please just take a minute and give us a five-star rating and maybe leave a comment so others can learn about the show. Thank you so much for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, which is to go out and be a green apple.

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