Episode 23 - Candace Fleming - Consciously Creating Harmony

Candace Fleming (00:00):
There are way more paths to success than failure. When it comes to parenting parents today, you know, are involved, both are involved in everything. One of us has this great opportunity to really put the pedal, you know, on to, to accelerate for a few years is the other one in a position to sort of step back into, take over a little bit more on the home front. We all need to help each other get there. And I feel like it's just, it creates a lot more supportive collaborative environment.

Young Han (00:30):
Hey guys, I'm young, a full-time dad and a full-time professional with the old to become the best parent possible. The girl at show is my journey interviewing fellow working parents aspiring to be both good at work and parenting. I'm gonna do this by gathering and sharing unfiltered perspectives for my guest. So join me as I research parenthood. One interview at a time. This episode of the girl at show is brought to you by Monty kids. Auntie kids is a company I'm working closely with and I'm their number one fan. I truly believe in the amazing work that they're doing. Did you know that 85% of the brain is formed by age three? That's why Monty kids created their award-winning program to support babies and parents. During these critical early years, as a busy working parent, I'm always looking for ways to benefit my girls' development, but I don't always have the time to do the research. Monte kids checks all the boxes. They deliver a box of high quality learning toys to your child. Every three months, the toys are designed by trained Montessori educators to be safe, engaging, and developmentally appropriate for babies and toddlers. Monte kids also supports parents as part of the Monte kids program. You'll receive tips and tricks from child development experts on topics ranging from sleep schedules to potty and everything in between. You also have access to one-on-one personalized coaching with Montessori trained child development experts and access to an exclusive online community of Monty kids. Families. Trust me, that's a game changer, especially for things you're troubleshooting as a parent like the sleepless nights in those early days, I've had so much fun watching my girls learn and grow with Monty kids. They get. So when the box arrives and the toys, target areas of development, including their fine motor skills coordination and growth mindset, I also just feel good knowing I'm giving my daughters the absolute best start. Are you interested in trying Monty kids for your family? You can join the Monty kids programs today with the code girl, dad, 60 for $60 off your first box, and you can expand your child's lifelong potential with Monty kids. Welcome to the show, Candace, thank you so much for joining me today. 

Candace Fleming (02:29):
Hey, Young, it's great to be here

Young Han (02:30):
I am super stoked to be able to talk to you about something that I've been wanting to talk to you about since we started working together, knowing each other, which is all about parenting. And it's really great to finally get to do this with you after many, many weeks of us kind of this conversation off to say for the podcast. Exactly. So let's jump right into it. So can you share with the listeners what you do for a living?

Candace Fleming (02:52):
So I'm a serial entrepreneur. I've worked at five different startups. I've founded two also been CEO of two and currently am the CEO at Monte kids, which is an educational program. That's authentic Montessori delivered at home for zero to three year olds.

Young Han (03:12):
Wow. That's awesome. I had no idea that you had started so many businesses. I your LinkedIn doesn't do you justice, Candace? I just learned that about you. That's fantastic.

Candace Fleming (03:22):
I was just gonna say, yeah, the, the first company that I started was back in Boston. It was with a Harvard professor. My, so my co-founder, his name was Gary King and he had created a super cool algorithm and didn't really, wasn't quite sure if there was any commercial application for it. And so he convinced me to kind of take a look at it. And so we started a company called Crimson hexagon, which was in the very early days of social media analytics. So I remember when I was raising money for that company, I had to explain to potential investors what Twitter was and why they might need to about it.

Young Han (04:01):
So, oh, wow. Yeah. That early on. Yeah. So when you was first coming out and you were doing an analytics company for that, right?

Candace Fleming (04:07):
Right. So it basically, it summarized opinions being expressed in, you know, unstructured texts. So we would basically take tweets and blogs and Facebook posts and be able to summarize in a very automated way, what was being said, like

Young Han (04:23):
Those you know, those books for dummies like kind of version like a, a summarized version of like all this like content.

Candace Fleming (04:30):
No, well it's more quantified than that. So it would be like you know, like 10 minutes after Obama gave a state of the union address it, we would be able to say, well, of all the people who just, you know, posted things about his speech, you know, 10% were saying they really liked his purple tie, 15% were really concerned about his take on healthcare, you know, so it's more than just a positive negative. You can actually kinda summarize and quantify the opinions being expressed.

Young Han (05:00):
That sounds really, really cool. That sounds really cool even now. So that must have been really, really hard to sell when all these platforms were just coming out. I can definitely see what you mean about the, having to talk to investors about this. Cuz I think that that would even be hard to explain even now, not much easier now, but I could definitely seeing that being much harder to explain earlier on. Oh, that's fascinating. And so did that kind of spark your entrepreneurial journey? Like just because that first foray into it with your professor?

Candace Fleming (05:30):
He wasn't actually my professor my husband introduced me to him. They were working on some stuff together and, and so he, Gary had actually asked me to look at some other algorithm for him a few years prior. And it was one of these things where like, this is intellectually brilliant, but commercially, and I don't know if it has new value. So she, we just kind of stayed in touch and, and he came back to me with this idea a few years later. So it was super fun and you know, like, like a lot of startup roads, it was Rocky and it took you know, quite a few years before it really kind of came into its own. But it, it, it it actually just recently got purchased by Cision so it was a nice it,

Young Han (06:17):
Oh, the, the PR media outlet. Oh, cool. Yeah. Congratulations. That's fantastic. Yeah.

Candace Fleming (06:23):
Well it's there were a lot of people who had a hand in, in that, that road. So but it, it, it was a good journey.

Young Han (06:30):
Well, I don't know any of 'em, so I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna say it's all of you, that's fantastic news. I, and I just have to ask, I'm gonna jump around a little bit, but like how, who, how old are your kids? Can you tell me about your kids and how old they are, who they are?

Candace Fleming (06:44):
Yeah. Yeah. So I have a, an older daughter sh her name's Piper, she's a senior in high school, and then I have a younger son Grady. Who's a freshman in high school.

Young Han (06:55):
Those are awesomely interesting names. How'd you come up with Piper and Grady?

Candace Fleming (07:00):
You know, it's a great question. Piper, as it turns out, we found out after the fact that there was a TV show at the time that had a Piper in it, and we had never seen it. So everyone who asked me about that, I was like, oh, did I think it was like charm? Or so maybe that was the name of the,

Young Han (07:20):
Yeah. Yeah. I remember that show. Yeah. I don't think I watched it, but it's the witch's one, right?

Candace Fleming (07:24):
Yes. Yeah. I think from what I hear again, I've never seen it. Apparently there is a Piper on that, so everyone's like, oh, did you name her after charmed? And we're but actually there's a setter on the Stanford VO team that my husband and I we didn't, we never, we don't even know her. But we used to watch separately, a lot of Stanford volleyball games, and we both remembered her and she was just like, you know, super engaged and talented and friendly and bubbly. And we were like, that's, that seems like a great name for a daughter. So we named her Piper and Grady was just a, just a, there's no sort of specific inspiration. We just liked the name.

Young Han (08:06):
So, oh, that's awesome. Yeah. I was mostly, I, I kind of wanted to jump around and ask because I was kind of curious what the timeline was like, when did you cuz being an entrepreneur and having kids is not necessarily two things that people do around the same time, but it sounds like based on the timeline you just listed, it might have happened pretty close together.

Candace Fleming (08:23):
Actually it did. In fact I was literally writing the business plan for Crimson hexagon. Starting two weeks after Grady was born. So I remember like sitting there nursing him, like writing the business plan

Young Han (08:41):
Oh my, that's wild.

Candace Fleming (08:43):
Yeah. You know, I was just one of those people. I know some people love pregnancy and like the whole, like bloom of motherhood, I could not stand being pregnant. I just like, I was like, so ready to move on. I was like, and Grady was the second one. So was like, okay, I'm good. I'm done. We're moving on. And you know, you can sit here with me while I work and we're good.

Young Han (09:06):
Oh, nice. Yeah. And I, I think that it goes both ways. I mean, I I'd say my sister is a lot like that as well too, or she's like she loves being a mom, but she also love was like, you know, like growing her career and kind of like going and being driven and moving forward with that. So I, I love that sentiment. I think that it's like one of those things that we're, we're seeing more and more of. Right. A as we progress. And so that's fantastic. But I didn't know that you had started so many businesses. And so was that first business, the reason that like you started becoming an entrepreneur and you started continuing to start businesses, cuz you're like, Hey, I'm gonna have two kids and I'm gonna start a business that wasn't that bad. And you're like, now I should just start businesses over and over again. What made you start four, four other businesses?

Candace Fleming (09:47):
Well, I, I only started one other. I've joined a couple other startups. Oh, got it. Startups. So only started one other. I think once you do it, it is a lot less scary. And honestly, when I did that one you know, it was more like this opportunity with GA, like Gary kind of came up and it was like, you know, if I don't do this, I'm just gonna miss out on this amazing, you know, opportunity. And I really, really wanted to just try it. I, I had no idea. I was pretty fresh out of business school, and you know, of course, you know, oh, I can do anything. I have an MBA now

Young Han (10:24):
That's right. That's right. Yeah.

Candace Fleming (10:25):
So, you know, it was just thought it, you know, why not? And once, but I feel like, you know, once you do it, it's a lot less intimidating. Like, oh yeah, I've been through this before.

Young Han (10:37):
Yeah. Especially if you go through it with the kid, I mean, I definitely wanna unpack that a little more, but before we get into that, can you talk to us a little bit about your childhood?

Candace Fleming (10:45):
Yeah. Yeah. So I was super fortunate, had amazing childhood. I grew up in the San Francisco bay area. My dad was a Stanford professor. My mom actually had an MBA which was not super common at the time. But was a stay-at-home mom and and I have one older brother, so who is one of my all time favorite people in the world. So I had, I would say a really idyllic, you know, really happy, fun childhood. My parents, it was a very loving, close family. So it was really lucky.

Young Han (11:27):
And your mom although had an MBA stayed home, is that what you just said? She did. Yeah. Oh, cool. Does she also, like, what does she think about you writing a business plan two weeks, having crazy, what was her response to that? And then you start other business and then joining multiple startups and then now working at another growth startup. I, I mean, I I'd love to hear what she thinks.

Candace Fleming (11:48):
You know, my mom has just always been a hundred percent supportive of everything that I've done. So, you know, at the time I think she was like, are you sure you can take on all of this, but you know, in, in true mom fashion, she was like, okay, well, if you're gonna do this, she didn't live near us at all. You know, when I was doing this, she's like, well, can I come visit and help take care of the kids? Can I find a you know, a meal service that so can, you know, at least feed you while you're having, she like tried in every way possible to be supportive, even if she wasn't, you know, physically co-located with us. So she's always just, just been super supportive, which is something I think really important that I learned from hers. Kind of taking your own it with regards to our kids. It's like, you know, take some of your own opinions and biases out of it. Like if this is something that they wanna do, like the best thing that you can do is sort of, you know, help them on that journey.

Young Han (12:46):
And what journey are they on? I mean, I'm curious now because it sounds like they have both types of parents. Right. Cuz it sounds and grandparents to that degree. So like they've kind of experienced a wide variety of different types of people in their lives. Are they like kind of taking after you and going down the entrepreneurial route or are they being more academic or what, what, where are they headed?

Candace Fleming (13:09):
You know, well, it's, I mean it's from the entrepreneurial side, it might be a little early to tell, you know, I don't know if you see this with your family at all, but our kids there's no question that they're genetic relations of my mine and my husbands. So hyper like personality wise, she's so much like me and Grady personality wise is so much like Lee and what gets super fun is. So she's so much like me with a lot of the same things that like that about myself that annoy me, you know, <laugh> and, and the, the funny thing is, and it's the same with Lee and Grady. So like I am way less patient with Piper about the things like that I struggle with. And the same for like Lee is, is less patient with Grady on the same things that he struggles with. But I have no problem with those, you know, like I love Lee and I love Grady and they both have the same foibles that doesn't bother me at all. But like, it's it, this interesting, like when we see our faults and our kids, it's more disturbing than when we see them in ourselves. It's very kind of funny how it works out.

Young Han (14:25):
Totally. And I I think I, I kind of relate to that. I mean, my kids are much younger. They're two and four, but I can see that, you know, they're starting to form who they are and they're definitely starting to separate and their personalities and types. And I can tell that Lily's gonna be a lot more like me and, and grace actually, I think grace will be a lot like me too, but in a different way. <Laugh> but I'm not entirely sure if that's just because I I'm a little bit more outspoken and louder than my wife is, but we'll see, <laugh> both kids seem to be pretty, pretty loud and outgoing so far. And that's that's definitely more me than my wife, but yeah, that's really interesting to kind of have like Grady follow follow suit with like your husband and then Piper be more like you. That's fantastic. Yeah.

Candace Fleming (15:08):
It's, it's crazy down to like the Lee has a thing he really likes to sleep with one of his feet out of the blankets and you know, he's like, he, we never talk about that. And Grady does exactly the same thing.

Young Han (15:22):
So funny. Oh my gosh. Like

Candace Fleming (15:24):
Really like down to details like that, where it's like,

Young Han (15:27):
Wait, that's not personality traits we're talking about here. Those are like, quirks are like literal quirks. Yeah.

Candace Fleming (15:33):
Yeah. And they're like, just things like that. It's like, wow, like how did that I, you know, I don't know. Like, so there's a gene for that. I, I don't know. I don't know, but it's oh, wow. Really been fun to, to kind of see these things as they get older and they emerge, it's like, wow. You know, you two, you you're so alike. It's, it's amazing.

Young Han (15:54):
That is amazing. And then you said your you said your mom ended up moving away from the area. So she, you bay area in, for life and then she moved away and then came back or where, where, where did she move?

Candace Fleming (16:05):
No, we all, so right before I started high school, mm-hmm, <affirmative> my dad switched to, so he moved to a university in upstate New York. So our whole family moved to upstate New York. And then when I was in college, they moved down to Georgia. And so when Lee and I started our family, we were in Boston. And so it just happened that my parents weren't there. So that's what I meant is that we were not co-located

Young Han (16:32):
Got it. That's awesome. So you have, so you've experienced both of the major metropolitans of the United States.

Candace Fleming (16:39):
Well, if you consider, I don't know if you consider Boston. Well,

Young Han (16:43):
Well, I meant like the New York area kind of more than anything. Yeah. Oh, ok

Candace Fleming (16:45):
Yeah, yeah, yeah,

Young Han (16:47):
Yeah. That's really cool. That's really, really cool. Awesome. And so how do you how do you find that you, your parents have influenced you in your parenting? Do you find yourself ever like doing what your, what your mom did?

Candace Fleming (17:03):
No, you know, I feel there, yeah. There are definitely things that I learned from them. I learned you know, the value of how hard work and discipline like I remember when I'd come home from elementary school, you know, with my little handwritten report card, you know, in those days it was like a folded yellow piece of paper. And the teacher wrote in pencil what your grade was and, you know, I would get all A's except for one a my, and my dad would inevitably be like, you know, he wouldn't even comment on the a, he'd be like, what happened here? He'd be like, come on, you know, like I did pretty well. And yeah, you're only talking about the a and so, but, but in, so doing, you know, he, and he was, he was a super loving father, but in, so doing kind of like got me to realize that I can push harder and I can do better. And so it was, I interpreted it a constructive way. And so I, you know, we try to do that, but a little bit toned down with our kids, you know, it's more like.

Young Han (18:17):
Yeah. Cause, cause your dad sounds a lot like me, but so I gotta figure out what that means to tone that down. Yeah. Yeah.

Candace Fleming (18:24):
So it's more like, so when, you know, if somebody, if Piper gritty brings home a us that you know, didn't go so well, it's like, Hmm. You know, so what didn't you understand? And can we help you go through the problems that you didn't understand so that you can learn it so that you can finally master it? And so, so I think we, instead of shifting on why did you get it instead of an a it's like, oh, the, you didn't quite understand these three things, how can we help you understand them? Or can, you know, do you need us to help, you know, do we need to get someone get a tutor, do like whatever we can do just to help so that they can do the learning. So it's more focused on the learning than the grades, but but it kind of takes you down the same path.

Young Han (19:14):
That's clever. Yeah. So you're just kind of more doing open-ended questions and kind of being like a, a friend coach. Open-Ended. Yeah. Softer. I get it. That's the softer version of it. Yeah, yeah. A little

Candace Fleming (19:27):
Bit, but to be fair, my dad was not, you, you know, again, I think it's a, it's a generational thing. Like in those days, this was in the early seventies and in those days, like there were, I think, much stronger you know, domains that like, that's what dad, like dads went to the office all day and they didn't get involved in, in a particular test for instance. So my dad only saw the report, whereas parents today, you know, are involved, both are involved in everything everywhere. That's right. And so you have a lot more visibility to the homework from last night or the test from last weekend. So you actually get to see like, oh, well you had trouble with fractions. You know, let me help you with that cuz you know, I just wanna make sure you underst kind of thing. It's a little, little

Young Han (20:13):
Different. And are you guys both more involved than your parents were?

Candace Fleming (20:17):
Definitely, definitely.

Young Han (20:19):
Definitely. Oh cool. Yeah. So now that's awesome because now my next question is being an entrepreneur even right now, you're very entrepreneurial in the role that you have. How, how did you balance and how do you continue to balance between, you know, successful as an entrepreneur and as a business woman and, and being a mom that's involved?

Candace Fleming (20:37):
Yeah, I think I got really good, really fast at Crimson hexagon. So this is, you know, when after great Grady was an infant, Piper was three at com compartmentalizing. So I just remember, you know, I would go early to work, come home, you know, like six or seven and I would have, you know, like, and one to two hours where I was a hundred percent focused on playing with the kids. I, my phone was nowhere nearby. I didn't even, I, I was so mentally engaged with reading, you know, what about the hippopotamus or mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, and doing that puzzle and trying to, you know, make them laugh and trying to have fun with them that it literally took all of my focus to do that. Yeah. But in, so doing, it was like a complete break from work. And so, you know, so we'd grab a quick dinner and then I would hop back on email afterwards, but I felt like, you know, I was like, okay, I've had a break, I've had a breather now I'm gonna go back. And so having S such clear boundaries between home and work, I think has really, really helped me and also just being really creative. Like I remember back in Boston you know, I started running to work instead of, you know, driving because then I could do two things at once. I could get my workout in and my commute all at the same time, even though it wasn't super close and just like, like trying every possible way to eek out more efficiency in the day. But it, I think it, you know, it all added up and it, it, it helped. And it, it worked for me. It worked, so I, I think that strict com compartmentalizing still today, like when I'm with the family, I don't have my phone with me. I'm not looking at it and I am focused on them. And I feel like that mental break is really important.

Young Han (22:41):
Yeah. And then what about for your, your time? So when you just said something that was kind of indicative of that, like you said, you used to run to work to kind of like E out more efficiency. Is that kind of your outlet when you, when you're, you know not doing super mom work and com compartmentalizing for super professional work. Are you, is that what you're doing or what else, what are you doing to unwind and kind of replenish your, your cup?

Candace Fleming (23:06):
Yeah, yeah. I think I do, I do try really hard to, to, to get a workout in you know, most days that doesn't mean I succeed and I don't want at all to give the impression that I am athletic in the least <laugh>, that makes it sound like I might be really good at things. I feel like running is one of the few things that I love to do, but I'm a horrible at

Young Han (23:31):
I did, I did picture a super athlete cuz when you said you ran in Boston, I'm like Boston's cold in the winter. So I could just like, see you like doing Rocky Balboa, you know, just like in the, in the freezing cold, like I did, I did picture a super athlete. Yeah. Just like, you know, like a backpack for your laptop and like a baby in the front, just like <laugh> super mom, you know?

Candace Fleming (23:52):
No, I I'm like, I feel like lumping is a better word to describe what I do rather than running. But yeah. So so I do that, but I also Lee and I have also been really good at you know, some at like it used to be after we put the kids to bed, you know, now we just stopped tucking the older one in even just a few years ago, which is  awesome. I think, yeah, we, we kept it for so long, but after dinner and you know, before we jumped back in into work, we're pretty good at just sort of like sitting down on the couch for, you know, even if it's five minutes or 10 minutes and just making sure we check in with each other. We, we have always had a Thursday night date night ever since Piper was born. And so I find, I know you asked the question about, but, but the, the relationship that Lee and I have is so important to me that that's a it's it, when I think of what do I do for me, it's actually, my relationship with Lee is, is actually what I do for me because he's such an important partner and friend and you know, so such a critical part of my life and making this all happen. I, I think of him in that way, so,

Young Han (25:16):
Oh my gosh, that is so romantic and sweet. I hope he, I hope he watches this and, and, and it gets choked up and teared up hearing that, but you're, you're, you're how you're he is how you replenish your cop. That's amazing. Yeah. Yes. I I just started doing that with Amy realizing that, you know, we have such this like focused dedication to our kids, both of us like have this we've always wanted kids and we've always kind of like dreamed about having kids. And it's kind of a weird thing, you know, as, as young adults, right. To kind of want that burden in some ways. And then we had it, like all of our energy went into it and over the last few years we realized that we weren't spending any time or concentrated focus time on ourselves. And so more recently we've been doing date nights very similar to your Thursday nights and we've been doing Wednesday nights. No, actually that's not true. Ours is Thursday nights. Huh. Anyways, that doesn't matter to relevant to the story, but we just started a month ago and we've been on two so far. It's very hard. It's very hard to, to, to stay on, on it and disciplined with it because there's just like having kids and having a job and like trying to be, you know, successful at work and, you know, being a present parent, like you get physically exhausted, mentally exhausted and, and like you wanna work out and you want to eat healthy. And you're trying to like squeeze all these things into like 24 hours a day. And like one of the first things that seem to go is always that, because it's kind of like, you, you and I are good. Right. We're, we're good. Right. Like we can just like, I'm like super tired. We're cool. Right. And it just like, even though we made this commitment a a month ago, it's been so hard, we're like 50% success rate. Yeah. Isn't that the weirdest thing is that you have the same struggles or you yeah,

Candace Fleming (26:59):
We have, we have. And, but, but we've learned pretty, pretty early on that. It just, it has to become a habit. Otherwise it does go by the wayside and it, if it goes by the wayside, then you, you think we're good. Right. And, but a few months pass by and then suddenly you're actually not, and, you start stumbling over other things. And it you know, it's it, you just start to realize that that investment in keeping that friendship and that relationship and that closeness is critical to like everyone's success. So like everyone in the family. So I think of, I have this weird kind of hilarious mental image in my mind that families are sort of like, like, so in our case, there's four of a us, it's like, we're all tied together in a three-legged race. So like all of us have one leg tied together, right. And we have to get the whole group across the finish line. Right. So which means we all have to work together. But each of us is also independently doing our own things. So, you know, while our legs are tied together, you know, Lee is getting published in AC academic journals and Grady is becoming an awesome ukulele player. And Piper is like, you know, becoming a super fast 800 meter runner. And so, you know, she's like running one direction, Grady's, you know, you know, ukulele away Lee's publishing. And I'm like, like, you know, making toys and running this company on the side. And and you know, this, this mass needs to get like across the fish line together. Right. And, and so you, there's a, there's so much kind of give and take. And there are times when one person in the family needs the support of everyone else and everyone else kind <affirmative>, it takes a backseat. But it's so important that that pivots, right. Because if it's always one particular person, then everyone else doesn't get to achieve what they need to achieve. But we all kind of recognize that and support each other at different times. And so it's a, I know it's a crazy, you know, mental image. Yeah. But I feel like, like that, that's, that's the way I, I think about it.

Young Han (29:08):
It is a very interesting imagery that is popping through my mind. Yes. Very much so. But when you explain it and you think about it, it makes so much sense. Cuz there is a level of fun, but there's also a level of work that comes with doing a three legged race. And so you can obviously imagine the physical strain as, as well as the mental and emotional strain, the amount of communication you need to do the amount of fun. It's still fun, but it's also like pain, like not painful, but like stressful, but like it's like gratifying and then you do it together. And then you're like, I could definitely think that this is a really great example to illustrate your point. I think it's a really great example. Yeah. You should totally stick with it. You should write a blog about this. This is great. This is a great point. I think it's a great metaphor and a really great example of what a family unity means. I do have to ask though, if you don't mind me diving a little bit deeper, have you had a situation where someone kind of monopolize the, the, the three legged race?

Candace Fleming (30:05):
I don't, I don't think for too long, I think it's a sort of a self-correcting thing because you know, there are definitely times

Young Han (30:12):
There's just tons of judgment from the other three. Everyone just starts like giving them the cold shoulder, the

Candace Fleming (30:21):
Like, you know, yeah,

Young Han (30:26):
Exactly. self-correcting just a ton of glares.

Candace Fleming (30:30):
Yeah, no, it's more because other thing, you know, other things come up that are, you know, really great opportunities are really exciting for other people, people in the family. And I think it's, it's a little bit easier. At least it has been for us so far with the kids, you know, it's like they have an activity that they get super excited about. And then to what extent are we all gonna like get up at six o'clock in the morning to drive to, you know, the, the track meet four hours away or, you know, like there's, so it's a little bit E I feel like it gets harder when it, the careers, right. It's more like, so one of us has this great opportunity to really put the pedal, you know, on to, to accelerate for a few years is the other one in a position to sort of step back and take over a little bit more on the home front. And we have had very explicit periods in our marriage where it's been like, okay, you know, now it's Candace's turn. And Lee has totally stepped up and like, you know, done more stuff with the kids and more stuff with the house and sort of dealing. And, and then, you know, that will go for a little while and it will sort of reach a point or something will come up for him. They'll be like, you know what, this is something you can't pass up. I'll, you know, take a little bit of a step back and, you know, be a little less aggressive and I'll, you know, be the frontline, you know, on the, at home. And we've, we've like actively discussed these trade offs and periods during our marriage of, and I think that that has served us really well because we both, we feel like we're total teammates and, you know, and getting everything done.

Young Han (32:05):
So that's amazing. That's a really, really, really great way of mechanical parenthood. You're you're, I mean, I guess it's operationalizing it really, right. Because you're communicating the needs, you're articulating the thesis and then you're basically coming up with like a stand hundred of like care level of priority. And you guys are basically taking turns. That's like, that's like the ultimate example of good partnership and good business dealings. That's awesome.

Candace Fleming (32:34):
Yeah. Well, I'm super lucky. Lee is phenomenal if you can't tell, I think the world. Yeah.

Young Han (32:42):
Do you, do you do this with your kids too? Like where you have these kind of check-ins with them and like just calibrate that's it's a good question.

Candace Fleming (32:48):
Not, well, I think we do it in the context of you know, in their own world to help them prioritize things. So it's like, you do realize that if you decide to spend all this time running track, that you're gonna have to give up, you know, other things or you know, and, and, and sometimes it is, well, if you do that, then, then I won't be able to do this. And so you know, I just wanna make sure you're, you know, it's not like putting a guilt trip on them, but just making them more aware that their decisions impact more than them. Because it's true. It, it, they, you know, one child's decision on activities that they want or the way they approach school actually can impact everyone in the family. And so, yeah, it's a three legged race.

Young Han (33:38):
Yeah. It's not about them.

Candace Fleming (33:39):
And I think that kind of awareness and understanding is a, is a great thing to carry with you in life. Like when you're working, right. Everything you do is part of a team at a company impacts the other people around you too. And, and it's kind of the same thing. Like Monte kids doesn't win. If I get across the line, like Monte kids wins when all of us, you know, with our legs tied to get across the line. So yeah, like we, we all need to help each other get there. And I feel like it's just, it creates a lot more supportive collaborative environment.

Young Han (34:14):
That's awesome. And so do you feel like you are kind of employing the same techniques at, at work that you in your family?

Candace Fleming (34:23):
I think to some degree, you know, it's a little, it's a little bit you know, more task focused and less emotional, I would say at work, but, but in the way that, I mean, you, you do this with us cuz you are helping us right now in the way that, you know, we, as a company need to prioritize things that we're working on. And if, you know, if, if we decide to do this really cool product thing, then that means that the marketing team might not be able to be, do some of the things that they want. And it, so it's this, it's actually kind of the same fundamental prioritization of things that require, give and take across different functional areas. So it kind of, yes, I think is the answer to your

Young Han (35:07):
Question. Yeah. Like I, I can see the, I can see the parallels in the way that you think about it. I definitely think that you run the company like that right. Where you're like, Hey, we have finite resources and who's, you know, we're all, we all have to use the same resources. So are you aware of the fact that you're just decision, of course you wanna do these things, but like, do you realize that there's a finite resource as to how can we make this so that all of us win, right. Like I think you have a very, very clear vision and articulation of that as you, as you lead the company. So yeah, I think there is quite a bit of parallels, maybe not as emotional, like to your point, but I think the concepts carry over pretty well. Yeah. Yeah. Well, yeah. That is interesting. Yeah. Very cool. Yeah. And so if I can ask more directly, like, so is that how you qualify success in, in both business and parenting getting everyone to the, you know, to the goal yeah. To the finish line. Yeah.

Candace Fleming (35:55):
I, you know, I, I think it is, I think you know, everyone across and still together I think is, is success for me.

Young Han (36:05):
And, and if, and if either of your kids said, Hey mom, I want to be an entrepreneur. What do you think you reaction would be?

Candace Fleming (36:17):
You know I would probably say, you know, I, by the way, I don't know that they will, after having seen me go through this, I think, I think we're now having that conversation where we're like, you guys gotta work hard in school so that you can get a job that you like, and they look at us and they go, like you <laugh>, But we're like, really? No, we do like these jobs, you hear us complaining, you know, sometimes, but we do like these jobs. Yeah. But but I, I, I think there, so it would surprise me a bit, but it also, you know, I feel like the excitement of being an entrepreneur is undeniable. And so I would be like, yep. I, I, I know, I understand you can't say no. So yeah. You know, I, I was there, so what can I do to help?

Young Han (37:08):
That's awesome. Yeah. That's awesome. And then who's musical, or did Grady just pick that up by himself? Me Lee Lee's musical,

Candace Fleming (37:15):
Phenomenally musical. He was a, like a French prodigy. So, oh yeah. He actually, he played in our wedding. As I like walk up the aisle he and his parents played played music, which was really,

Young Han (37:34):
Really wait, stop. Did you just say him and his parents? Yeah. Yeah. So he comes from a musical family. 

Candace Fleming (37:40):
Very musical family.

Young Han (37:41):
Yes. Oh, cool. So, so both parents played with them. What did they play?

Candace Fleming (37:45):
They both played a variety of different bras instruments. So they're like a, a brass family, brass family. Yeah. But his, his, his is the French horn. He, he, and he hasn't played since our wedding. I don't know what happened. And I keep telling him, he's like, oh, well, after I get tenure, and then he got tenure and then he, like, he still hasn't picked it up. So like, you gotta, you gotta play it's my, it happened totally. Coincidentally, it's my favorite instrument.

Young Han (38:13):
So that's great. Oh, he had you at French horn. That's right. Yeah, that's amazing. I love of that. And, and hopefully he does he does pick it up cause I I've, I play I play music as well. And you wouldn't know that just because I don't really play anymore, but it's like this weird thing is like, you know, I was talking to you about how like the date night kind of seems to go away. First music was like gone, I'd say like four or five, four or five items even before that. Right. And so it's just like one of those things that you just like is very easy to just like knock off of your things that you want to get done in 24 hours, you know?

Candace Fleming (38:47):
Yeah. I, it also seems I feel music is one of those things that once you're really good at it, it's painful to not be as good as you were. And so like for him, he's like, well, if I get back into it, I'm gonna have to play like four or five hours a day. And I, because otherwise it won't be very enjoyable for me cuz I'll be like really bad at it. And so it's a, it's a big commitment. Oh. Because of the level of proficiency or at least that's that's, I mean, I I'm talking like I know what I'm talking about. I don't, this is more what he's explained to me.

Young Han (39:20):
No, this is really great. Cuz then now I could basically just tell everyone that I'm usually really, really good but this is cause cause I'm so rusty and I'm just gonna point to you in this podcast to, to confirm that this is why and it's totally validated. Yeah. And I'm actually an amazing musician. Yeah, this is perfect. Okay, great. yes. Awesome. And then I do wanna make sure that we take the time to ask some rapid fire questions. Yeah. So if you don't mind me switching gears a little bit and of course shooting off some questions I like to ask every guest that'd be really great. All right. So number one, what advice do you have for other parent and soon to be parents?

Candace Fleming (39:59):
Yes, so my, I will share a piece of advice that Gary Gary King, my Crimson hexagon co-founder gave to me. He had a daughter who was a few years ahead of us. And I remember, you know, in one of those really dark times, he was like, every day tea is better. And T minus one, when it comes to parenting and he was a math guy where he's a statistician every day T is better than T minus one, so.

Young Han (40:26):
Oh, okay. Okay. Got it. Got it.

Candace Fleming (40:27):
Okay. So things just keep getting better with parenting and that's what I would say everyday. T better than T minus one.

Young Han (40:34):
Yeah. Take took me a minute to like do the, the mask, the T minus one is, is deducting it. And I'm like, wait, what? Yes it's like talking about the inverse. OK. Sorry. I'm just not that smart but I, I got it. I got, I got it. Very good advice. That's awesome. And so that's your advice to other parents is just to like, remember, know that it's gonna get better every day. Every day,

Candace Fleming (40:53):
Every say is better than the last

Young Han (40:56):
What's the best phase.

Candace Fleming (40:58):
I don't know. Cause I'm not there yet. I like the next phase that we're going through is gonna be better than the one we're in now.

Young Han (41:04):
Oh, I love it. Yeah. Sticking right to it. I try to get you off balance, but you just stayed right on. That was awesome. if you could go back and tell yourself one thing before having kids, what would you tell yourself?

Candace Fleming (41:16):
That there are way a path to success than failure when it comes to parenting. I actually, there, you know, I think I totally fixated on, well, what's the right way to do this. And actually there are a million right. Ways to do it and way fewer wrong ways.

Young Han (41:33):
Yeah. And then isn't it also so funny because like, I've, there's like, they're so resilient, they're so resilient and it's just like, you really can't mess up as long as you are. Well intended. I think so. You know?

Candace Fleming (41:45):
Yeah. Yeah. You know, I know. Yeah. Other parents who did exa exactly the opposite things as we did and you know, the kids are all great. I, yeah. You know, so it's fine.

Young Han (41:54):
Yeah. next question. What is the most surprising thing that you learned about yourself after becoming a parent

Candace Fleming (42:03):
That seeing their, so seeing the kids happiness is like a thousand times better than things that just make me happy. So like their happiness is the most gratifying thing in the world. And so the, the most concrete example I can give is, you know, when they're super young and they give that belly laugh, that just like, like literally their little belly is going awful, you know, just because like this pure joy like that, like, like trying to get that out of them is the best. Like it's a thousand times better than my own. Like me laughing at someone's really funny joke. So like their happiness like translates into exponential happiness for me. And that's what I found and what I learned about myself.

Young Han (42:58):
Wow. I love that. That's awesome. I mean, just outta curiosity, was that some, a bit of a surprise you weren't expecting that?

Candace Fleming (43:06):
No. I mean, I figured, you know I, I consider myself to be a sort of generally happy person and I just thought like, like I might like to make people happy, but the extent to which their joy, it impacted you brought me joy. I never expected.

Young Han (43:24):
Yeah. Cause you said like a thousand percent, right? That's like a lot of X's. Yeah. That's awesome. all right. So what is your all time favorite business book?

Candace Fleming (43:35):
I'm a bit of a, an old school person. So I, I like Jim Collins. Good to great. Mostly because of the level five leadership thing that, that really speaks to me.

Young Han (43:47):
Oh my gosh. That's awesome. Yeah. That's really telling as well too.

Candace Fleming (43:55):
You're like, yeah, that that's not

Young Han (43:56):
A surprise. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. That's awesome. It makes a lot of sense. I love it. Now I'm gonna go brush that book off. It's actually sitting right there, so, oh, nice. I'll go brush it off and read it. It's a really good book. Yes. It's actually just, this is, this is neither here nor there, but that's actually one of my weaker weaker points. So like I'm really good at like bad to good. I'm not the best at good to great. Yeah. Yeah. I'm the, I'm the bad to good guy. <Laugh> so anyways, just, just cuz I, I just learned something about you. I just wanted to make sure you knew something about me. And then my last question, I added one more that over the last few episodes that I just think is really fun, but we kind of talked about it already, but I'm still gonna ask it. Yeah. So when you're not being a super mom and a super professional, what are you doing for fun?

Candace Fleming (44:40):
So, well we, I mean, so I do, I do exercise, but I and I do go on dates with Lee. But I love to cook and anything and everything, a huge cooking fan. And I love to read and you're gonna probably, this is so weird, this tradition that we have, but we still read out loud as a family. So like one of us will read the book, you know, out loud to the, to the rest of the group. So right now we're reading my family and other animals by Gerald Dorell, it's the story of this like guy who goes up with this family on Corfu it's not a serious book or anything, but we read all kinds of different literature and it's just so fun. We all it, it started out because Lee and I didn't want to miss reading the Chi, like the kids' books to them, cuz books got so good. So like we were reading Harry Potter, be like, don't read without me. And we just kept going. And so now the kids are in high school, we're still reading it aloud <laugh> and so I that's amazing.

Young Han (45:51):
I love it. I can't wait until Amy hears this podcast because she's gonna wanna employ this thing too. So when do you read, like, is it over like while you're cooking? Like how, how do you get off the family together? Do you tie everyone's leg together? 

Candace Fleming (46:04):
Yeah, that, that three-legged RA lace race thing is physical. Like we all walk around the house with the legs. Yes. no, it's, it's mostly after dinner, like before we all, and it's not for long, it'll be like 10 minutes, you know? And we'll be like, oh, let's try to squeeze a chapter in before we all like disperse. Or like on weekends sometimes if we can all manage to have lunch together. So it's usually after a meal we'll, you know, just take a little bit of time because we're all procrastinating and don't wanna go on with our lives and we're like, oh, one chapter, it's just one chapter.

Young Han (46:41):
Yeah. That's awesome. Because then it also means that you're bonding with the family, but you're also like taking turns, practicing, speaking. You're also, I mean, there's just a lot of things that come with that. That's really great. It's my wife's gonna love that idea. She's gonna love it.

Candace Fleming (46:56):
It feels like it's really nerdy, but we all just love it. So where do we keep doing it? So it's fun.

Young Han (47:02):
That's a good one. I love it. That was a really great answer. Thank you for sharing that one and Candace. That was the episode. So thank you so much for taking the time outta your busy schedule to join me and talk to me about parenting in your life.

Candace Fleming (47:14):
Well, young it's always such a pleasure to work with you and talk with you. So as always, this is no exception.

Young Han (47:21):
Thanks. Well, thank you again. I appreciate it. I'll talk to you soon. Okay. Right? Yeah. Take care. Bye. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the girl dad show, we really hope you enjoyed that interview. And as always, please take a moment to review, rate and subscribe. We'll see you next time.

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