Joanne Pasternack (00:00):
If what you love to do more than anything in the world is organic gardening. Fantastic. Why do I want this? What am I gonna do? But also, how does this level up into what I, what my long term goals are. People have time and money for what's important to them, but just because somebody says they don't have the time and money doesn't mean you aren't important. It means that right now, their priorities are elsewhere. You know, we, we have an opportunity to lift our voices and to, to do something.
Young Han (00:25):
Hey guys, I'm young, a full-time dad and a full-time professional with the goal to become the best parent possible. The girl dad show is my journey interviewing fellow working parents to be both good at work and parenting. I'm gonna do this by gathering and sharing unfiltered perspectives from my guest. So join me as I research parenthood one interview at a time. Joanne, thank you so much for joining me on the Girl Dad Show today.
Joanne Pasternack (00:55):
Thank you. Young, excited to be here.
Young Han (00:57):
Yes. I'm very excited to catch up with you. It's been quite a few years since we've actually and able to see each other. Oh, I guess it's gonna cut a few for everybody. I see each other face to face, but very excited to talk to you. Let's jump right into it. I'd love for you to share the listeners, what you do for a living.
Joanne Pasternack (01:11):
Well, I have a lot of fun. You know, I'm, I'm finally living my purpose I guess, is what I'd say. But I spent about 15 years in front offices of some little known professional sports teams, like the San Francisco 49ers and the golden state warriors. Prior to that, I was with special Olympics and also with the city of mountain view and throughout all of those experiences, I recognized that there was an opportunity to elevate voices and that I had a skillset that I could bring to the table that could enable people to do more and make a bigger impact just by giving them the opportunity to lean into what their true passion was. So I after launching global impact strategy for ServiceNow, I left to start my own agency. We, two years ago in January, 2022, and the agency is focused on bringing together athletes, influencers, corporates, and nonprofits that they can elevate messaging around good work in the world.
Young Han (02:07):
Wow. I love it. And I love that you just packaged that up so nicely, but we have to double click a little bit because sure. You glossed over some really big names I think are really, really important. And I think actually just heard one that I didn't know about. I didn't realize you did big tech either. I thought you did all, I thought you did all big sports. I didn't know.
Joanne Pasternack (02:24):
Well, everything's a sport. It's just whether you take it on the field or not, but no, I, yeah, I went into service now and helped strategize as they were looking to launch global impact. They, they had reached a 10 billion mark, but were looking around and seeing that they had an opportunity to build something from a social responsibility perspective and really wanted to do it in a purposeful manner. And so I, I spent, you know, a year and a half with them building that up, building that out. But the pullback to my core and the individuals I love working with was so strong that I found myself moving in that direction again.
Young Han (03:03):
I absolutely love, I love that you have the experiences that you do, because I think when people think about, especially when I talk to college kids, especially even adults, but like when I talk to people about what would you love to do? I would say that like the ask, majority of people would say that they wanna do something meaningful with purpose that supports the community or humankind, and then, you know, be able to make a great living doing that and also like support really cool brands. And when I think about the trifecta, all those things, I like, I immediately think about you and what you've gotten to do over the last, like 10 or 15 years working for these unbelievable professional sports teams doing social impact work. Like how, how did you land in that? Like, that's incredible.
Joanne Pasternack (03:46):
Well, I mean, I, I have to pay homage to my father first and foremost. My dad passed away in January of 2021. And after a battle with younger onset Alzheimer's, which was, was devastating all around, but my dad had this way of bringing out the best in people and also helping them to find the thing that was most authentically them. And he did that for me. He was a manager consultant and self-made man, but a manager consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton and everything even in my childhood was a weighted ProCon list was a Gant art was looking at it from all of these, you know, traditional sort of management consulting tools. But, but one of the things that my dad said to me from a very young age was when you're trying to make a decision, make a weighted ProCon list, because the thing you might have 50 things on the pro list and one thing on the con, but the one thing on the con list might negate everything on the list, and so I've used that model, whether deliberately where I actually take pen to paper and write it down, or sometimes just in my head, I'm thinking, do I want, I mean, you can think about this even with ice cream flavors. Do I want ice cream tonight? Do I, you want to save my ice cream? I take for the dessert that I wanna have, you know, it's, it's these micro choices, but it might be that this place has banana cream pie and all I want is banana cream pie. And so I'm just gonna say yes right now. So that's, that's really the philosophy that I've guided my decision making with it's it's not being so mired in the moment in the details that you get stuck in what you're doing right now. Why, how, why now? But it's jumping in when you feel that gut instinct that it's going to be right now, you asked me a, a very specific question. However, you said, how did you get into this? And, yeah, it's funny when you said when you ask people what they'd like to do, let's, let's go back. I mean, this is the girl dad show, and I have two kids. My kids are, my daughter J turned 14 and my son will be four, and my son will be COVID vaccination compliant in just a month and a half. He's turning 12. So we are excited about that. And have the appointment ready to go. But but I think about when I went to do a career day thing at my daughter's preschool when she was four years old and and I was trying to think, gosh, how do I explain what I do at the time I was running philanthropy for the San Francisco 49ers? So when I do, I showed up with the mascot and some swag and told some stories about their favorite players and then, and then left. Well, what I was trying to do was trying to showcase to them that even though I'm a Domin just shy of five foot four don't, I'm like, I've never actually thrown a spiral. I worked in basketball and have never made a three pointer in my entire life. But I earned every championship ring. I earned the opportunity to call myself somebody who was affiliated with, or part of the family with those teams that I worked for. And it's it's because people wanna work in sports and they don't understand that there's so many different ways that you can be of benefit to a sports team. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. And for me, it turns out that, again, it goes back to that unique ability to understand, to listen, to learn, and then to amplify voices in a way that's so authentic that it doesn't feel like a forced commercial placement. Young, you were joking earlier about Wayne's world. I love the movie Wayne's world. I also often refer to the Wayne's world product placements. And if, if you've seen that movie, you know, that they go like, and yes, I'm gonna write with my pilot pen, right? Yes. And then they write, you know, and it's, it's obviously making fun of it. But in truth, when you're working at a sports team, you have all these huge brands. I mean, the biggest brands in the world who are affiliating with your team and they're affiliating with your team because they want something from that affiliation, it's not just because they think it would be fun to have Coca-Cola port at every game it's it's because they know that they're getting their product into the hands of people, but how do we make them feel good about that? How do we make sure that the way that we're are activating on their social responsibility goals is authentic and believable so that it isn't the holding up the pilot pen, but it's the kids who are drafting their first story ever using the pilot pens with players and finding a way to articulate what respect means to them. And that's a real program that we do where we would, we would blow, lend together the corporate partners, the philosophical bent of what we were trying to do, and then the teams and leveraging the influencer status in order to be able to propel it for it. So I think my brain operates differently. But that's how I came to be in this really amazing place and space where I'm thinking about how, how we can build social impact work every day.
Young Han (08:42):
So I, yeah, I love that. I mean, it definitely works at a much more macro and cerebral level than I could have ever imagined. And I thank you for sharing kind of like how you map that out. And it's also really interesting to go back to the first comment about how it all started with your dad teaching you decision matrixes. even at a young age because that is like almost hilarious because if you think about how beneficial that is, you know, and, and using, so things like ice cream or dessert, as an example, to teach you those skills and the understanding of how to do that has probably paved to your point, paved the way for you to actually be able to suss out these large scale issues and how they intertwine mix together. The pro cons from all these different stakeholders and parties, like, that's incredible. I love that.
Joanne Pasternack (09:28):
And it's also, you know, going back to this girl, dad thing, I mean, you're a dad and your kids are a little younger than mine. And and I, I remember this exercise. I don't think my, I didn't think no it was an exercise at the time, but I now look back and realize it was, but when my sister and brother and I were quite little and we were visiting our grandparents in Florida and we went to Disney world and we were each given an opportunity to spend $20 on something while we were at the park constraints. So if you look at my brother, my sister and me, and how we decided to spend that $20 it would not surprise you to know what professions we're in now and how we still approach our lives. And, and my dad was very deliberate in doing that. So I held onto mine, looked at everything, everything until I figured out the best way to allocate my money. And it was just were leaving the park that I made my parents go back to the store that I had seen at the very beginning to get the thing that I had wanted. My sister, meanwhile, had spent all of her money like first store and my brother kind of never really decided what he was gonna spend on. He decided to save it for later. Well, my, my brother is an economics pro, a teacher high school teacher and was a wealth manager and advisor for years. So that's nice.
Young Han (10:39):
Guys there so funny right?
Joanne Pasternack (10:40):
My sister's a librarian and she's really happy with like, just kind of doing a little bit of research and then pushing it out to the others. And for me, I really wanted to suss it out. But one of the things that I learned going forward was if you sus it out for too long, you actually really missed the opportunity. So at some point you need to have that moment where you're, you're just saying, I, I don't know that I'm gonna get back to this place. So I'm just gonna try this out. And and I talk about these decisions with my kids a lot and how they're gonna make a decision and, and why, and and set them up very young with bank accounts that were linked to my bank account that I could pull out my phone and if we were at a store and they wanted Pokemon cards, for example, I'd say, cool, okay, great. So you're paying for that or half of it, and I'm gonna transfer the money right now. And they'd actually watch me doing that. And it would make them stop and go, you know, I'd, don't really need it that much. So it's, it is it's that matric it's, they're the matrices where you're, you're stopping and you're saying, why do I want this? What am I gonna do? But also how does this level up into what I, what my long term goals are, and for athletes that is a crucial skill and athletes are better than just about anybody in the world at making a split second decision because they have to but when they enter the real world, what does that transition look like? And how are we taking their incredible decision making ability and their ability to kind of have that global of the view, but then to layer that into the real world where there are resources that we have, but they aren't infinite.
Young Han (12:20):
That's deep. I love it. I I, I love the whole constraint idea with the money in the Disneyland. I mean, I think that's like so incredibly telling about how you grew up and was that, so your father intentionally did this. It like, it was a very intentional decision that he made as a dad to instill this. And are you doing the same thing with your kids then? It sounds like you have some level of it, but are you doing it to?
Joanne Pasternack (12:42):
I am. Oh, got it's a full degree. Yeah, no. I mean, it's, it's really, I think it's really important that they understand and are empowered to make their own decisions too. So there is a lot of like giving them the opportunity to take personal responsibility for something and for an action and for a decision and not, not saving them from a bad decision also. Yeah. I mean, just last night, I was having a conversation with my son about a not perfect decision that he had made during the school day and, and re really talking through what are the consequences of that and I mean, this is not a major, major thing. It's, it's always something minor, but my hope is that they're learning those skills so that they can then apply it when they get to the next step of their lives when I'm not there with them sitting down and talking at, you know, and a teacher hasn't emailed me. Yeah. So does it look like when they're responsible for their own outcomes and, and how do they develop the skillset? But it's the same thing I do with athletes.
Young Han (13:44):
I was just gonna ask that, is that basically the summation of your service, are you doing this with athletes to help them with their, you know, their, their giving you know, strategies and, and how they wanna brand themselves? It sounds like it's a, a much deeper than just philanthropy at this point.
Joanne Pasternack (13:57):
Yeah. No, it's, it's so funny. It's like, you will, if you were listening and you'd hear me saying why, but why, but why to a lot. And it's because I'm trying to dig deeper with them and to say, don't just do the thing that is on the surface, or that's obvious, or the thing that you think you're supposed to do. What is it that you're meant to do? And I, I, I based even my logo for my agency is the EK guy symbol, right. In the middle EK guy is a, you know, Japanese philosophy. It's been around for many, many centuries. And every, you know, there are many interpretations and misinterpretations, but I just, as I do with a lot of things, I look at it from a perspective that that makes sense to me. And so at the center is the thing that makes you wanna jump out of bed in the morning, or as I like to think, say it, the thing that makes you, you. Yeah. And then all the concentric circles around that are, what, what are you best at? What does the world need? What can you make money doing? And what do you love? And one of the most important components of that is to say to an athlete, you might wanna be an opera singer and perform at the met. That's amazing, but guess what? You can't even sing happy birthday. You don't have a ticket to the met, nobody's gonna pay for that. So while you're passionate about it, if the other components are missing, then, then it probably, isn't the thing that you're meant to do the thing that makes you you. So if we apply that to in a granular way to, to everything, but in a macro way to what are you gonna do once you're athletic career professionally playing is behind you. Yeah. What comes next? And it's saying, what are you best at? And sometimes that's what story do you have inside of you that is so compelling that others will feel drawn to it and want to follow and will learn from it and you can help them to row. And and it's a process I've done, you know, over and over and over. And, and it's, I mean, it is really organic and it comes down to helping athletes to figure out that one, one thing that means more to them than anything else, and enabling them and empowering them to become a subject matter expert around that, to build out their fill philanthropic platform, to support that initiative, to speak passionately and articulately about that particular topic as well. And then to also be able to say no to the things that don't fit into that one of the biggest challenges and the, the guy above my shoulder here number 85, the original 85 for me. That's Vernon Davis Vernon, I love Vernon. Vernon is amazing Vernon. When he was playing for the Niners, he would say yes to everything, cuz he never wanted to hurt anybody's feelings. Yeah. but what's what ends up happening is that you feel, and we know this is parents, you feel like you're being pulled in. So in different directions that you're actually not doing any of it well. And in the end you feel disappointed as do the beneficiaries or recipients of whatever it is that you're attempting to do. If instead you start to focus in on what it is that you most wanna do, which in Vernon's case became really amplifying the need for art in communities. He was a studio art major in college. Art was his way of finding his balance, finding it still is his way of finding his center. And and in the community where he grew up in in Washington DC, there was very little access to art and it was also somewhat stigmatized. If you were a big strong guy and you wanted to paint, like what did that look like? So the Vernon Davis foundation for the arts, I actually supports young and emerging artists from urban environments, mostly black artists, LGBTQ and others in elevating their love for visual arts and then giving them the opportunity to pursue that. So now with that, Vernon can say so perfectly like this was what it did for me. This is what I want it to do for you. And oh, by the way, I can actually move that forward and he's not trying to cure cancer, but yeah, he, he can sit back and feel so good about what he's doing because he's true to self he's true to self and he's saving lives. Yeah. I mean, there are kids out there who feel so disconnected and when they see somebody who is a hero to them saying to them, it's good to be. You I'm like you and it's relatable then automatically without investing a single dollar they're are making a tremendous difference in the community that they wish to serve. Amazing.
Young Han (18:34):
That's awesome. How, how much do you talk about this with your kids?
Joanne Pasternack (18:39):
You know, it's interesting. I, I was just having a conversation with this, about this with my kids yesterday. But it, I, I I've joked that my kids of my, my interns, since they were E bitty, because I would take them to games with me, they would help me with fulfillments they've they brainstorm with me. I mean, this is, this is a part of what our family does and who we are. And so we have a lot of conversations about it. And I honestly, I, I think all too often, we try to separate out work and family in a way that's unnatural. In my case, I probably bring them together more than I should. And and I wanna talk about it all the time, but but it's, I want them to also apply the same ideas to their lives and think about what it is, not just what they want to do, but what are they meant to do? And that's a big difference. And for anybody who has had the opportunity or the challenge at times of supervising somebody who has been told their whole lives by their parents, by their teachers, by whomever that they get to do whatever they wanna do. It's really hard to manage that. And it's really hard to integrate them into a team as opposed to the people who can say with authenticity and confidence here's what I can do really well. So based off of that, here's what I can offer within this construct or within this team. And each of our families is a little mini team. And if we're all trying to do the same thing and do the same thing as, as a leader within our family, then we're just stepping on each other's toes. But if we can lean back and say, you know what, dad's great at that. Mom's great at that. My brother's great at that. Our dog can take care of that thing. Like you start to see. And then one of the other components we talk about is when do we bring in external resources? When do we admit that this is not our strength? And then look outwards and find somebody who has that as their strength. So I am somebody who did not even want me to build an Ikea bookshelf, like just got it. Don't just don't I, I won't I'm TaskRabbit is my friend, you know, it's, it, it it's really like product placement there. Now I'm just kidding. But no, I mean, in, in truth it's if I tried to do that myself, I would end up feeling frustrated and maybe actually have a decrease in my self confidence because now I'm pushing myself to think that I need to be good at everything. Another thing my dad used to say was, you know, Joe, can't be good at everything. If you're good at everything, then God, nobody really likes you. Like, by the way, people, people need to feel needed in your life too. Yeah. So I think as parents, we want to solve everything for our kids and we wanna tell them that life is gonna be easier and we want the path to be easier for them than it was for us. No matter how easy we had it, we still want it to be easier for them. Yeah. But in truth, some of the greatest moments are when we say to our kids, I need you, I need your expertise. I need your help. I'm elevating you to this position where you're now guiding me on something. But by the way, you can't guide me on everything and I'm gonna guide you on this other thing. And it's, it starts off when they're very little with the micro decisions and saying, which shoes do you wanna wear? okay. But you can't wear flip flops to preschool because, and here's why, and there's always the, here's why, which I think is another really important component. It's and again, with athletes, same thing. Okay. I get it. You wanna do hospital visits right now and bring toys to kids over Christmas. Cool. so here's why this is not the best use of your time, but let's work on it. I don't tell them why it's like we talk through it. Yeah. And they would eventually get to the place and space where they'd realize that during a, a time, like we're in right now, nobody's delivering toys directly to a hospital or to kids who are inpatients, but then it, you take a step back and you say, okay, if we can't do that one thing, what can we do? And, and how can, how am I uniquely suited to do that? So again, I don't want them to, for example, I'm working on initiative right now around vaccination, hesitancy mm-hmm <affirmative>. And we have a public us announcement we're pulling together that we'll be part of the, be shown with the NBA and some others. And we're taking a comedic approach because, and we're going with guys who actually have, and gals who have comedic timing and those who don't, we're using that and leveraging that to make it funny from an awkwardly funny kind of way. Yeah. So, and, and we're not asking him to explain why vaccinations are good or the scientific realities behind herd immunity or anything like that. We're just having them say literally I was afraid because sharp needles are really scary and I'm also afraid of spiders and I'm also afraid of the color or green or whatever. And, and that way humanizing it I don't want an athlete unless they have a medical degree or a master's in public administration to tell me how and why I should be getting a vaccine. I just want them to tell me that they're doing it. And that they were scared too. And I should do it with them.
Young Han (23:50):
That's so fun. Your job sounds really, really cool. <Laugh> I like it. What do you, so your kids have a really good grasp of what you do. And so you talk to them a lot about it, but not only do you talk to them a lot about it, you actually bring them with you to a lot of things. And so you've made the conscious decision as a parent, as a working parent to basically kind of integrate your parenting with your work.
Joanne Pasternack (24:12):
So here's the, the fun thing with sports. Actually, my husband and I just talking about this yesterday, he was he was getting a haircut and the, the hairdresser found out my husband works for the San Jose earthquakes. He's been there for 12 seasons. He loves what he does. Yeah. He's so fun. So he does their corporate partnerships and he was laughing. Cuz one of the questions you get when you work in sports is do you it's either, do you get to go to all the games or do you have to go to all the games depending on whether people enjoy going to games or not? In this case, the, the gentleman cutting his hair said, do you have to go to all the games? And my husband's was well, that's like asking if you have to cut hair, like, this is what I do for a living, like the game days are the show up kind of moments for, for, you know, the work that we do. These are all encompassing jobs. You work nights, you work weekends, you work very strange hours when everybody else is enjoying their Turkey dinner. There is a Thanksgiving game being played by football teams all over place. Yeah, that's right. Somebody's working those games. Yeah. When I was with the NBA and I was with the warriors, we had the Christmas day game, like every year. And so really good example is of, this is one year we were, we had the morning game, like the mid morning game. And so we decided we were gonna do a breakfast for kids at Oracle arena just prior to the game. I had one of my 49ers friends, Dennis Brown come and be Santa for the kids. The players were gonna present the kids with Chromebooks to support their advancement, you know, all this stuff. Yeah. So, so we're doing this breakfast pre-game and then the kids were gonna stay and watch the game and they were actually receiving their gifts on court. Pre-Game from the players. So that's so cool. That's pretty cool. Right? Yeah. Very cool. Well, it's Christmas. I have my family, we want to be together. Yeah. And so the kids, I got them elf costumes and they were, oh, they were like seven, eight ish. They're two years apart. But somewhere around that. And and they made really adorable elves, but they went with me and they helped and they were passing out the gifts and they were on court with us, handing the gifts to the players so that the years could then hand them to the kids. Yeah. But, but they got it. They got that. This wasn't about them and, and what they needed to do, but they were there supporting my work. But, but we talked about why, why were these kids needing the Chromebooks? Why were we doing it that day? What does it mean for the player? And I mean, I remember my daughter, who's very logical asking a question, which was, why are we handing it to the players? And then the players are handing it to the kids cuz to her that was an inefficiency and she's very efficient. Yeah. And, and my, my response to her, her was, well, who do you think the kids want to receive it from? Yeah. Do they? And how can we convey that the players are actively involved and engaged and excited to be doing this versus this is just a performative, active philanthropy. And she goes, oh, okay. I understand if the kids, the kids want to get it from the players. And if they're not getting directly from them, they might not believe that the players are actually involved in this process. So it's bringing it to, to vision there. But it's hard.
Young Han (27:31):
Oh man. Hard, deep conversations with your kids. How old was she? Yeah, that's some very complex stuff. I mean, I can barely grasp it. Right. I mean, think about your job is such a complicated job because I mean, it sounds like it's wrote for you, but I mean, you're talking about very nuanced work here. You know, it's very, very nuanced. It's very strategic, a lot of, lot of mixed things that you have to like stitch together. And I know you're talking about it. Like it's just commonplace, but I'll tell you right now, the vast majority of people listening right now are gonna be like, oh my gosh, this is so complicated.
Joanne Pasternack (28:04):
Here's the thing. I mean, I'm look at it's. It's like both my kids take Mandarin at school. I can't even my, I wanted me to help her study for a test the other day. I'm like, I, she wanted me to write down some of the characters. I'm like, she's like, mom, you wrote that so wrong. I'm like, it looks the same. I don't understand like it, to me, it, it, it doesn't compute. But even for my daughter, it's so much harder than the kid who grew up in Amanda in speaking home and is just naturally flowing into it. She's having to retool her brain to pick it up. And I'm way too old to retool my brain brain to do that. But, but here's the thing it's if I didn't include my kids in this, then I was giving it up either the opportunity to have them be integrated into what I do or did I lean out of my desired profession and how involved it is and I, I love what I do Young. I love my work. And I take issue with the fact that sometimes people well you're making a choice to work or you are you know, they, they act as though somehow I, I could be doing anything else or that I should have taken a step back, particularly when my kids were very young. I I believe I don't have this verified, but I believe I, the only person or one of the early people to have expressed breast milk on a team plane with the 49ers, you know, so, wow, here we were playing a game in London and I was on a really long plane ride and I had a one year old at home. And, you know, because of the way your body operates, I that's something that needed to happen and I needed to do it there. And I thought to myself, like, it's just, it's, it's one of those crazy moments where I realized that this is, this is not normal, but it also should be normal, if that's what's normal for my life or lies within my family. Yeah. And and I'm not, it's not going to hinder my kids' growth and development. Sorry. I'm hoping it actually helps them. Yeah, yeah.
Young Han (30:22):
I do, I have lots of interns and they love to, they love to interrupt all the meetings and I can't even stop 'em anymore. And no yeah. I just kind of like same thing that you just talked about, and I think it's so timely that you mentioned the integration of it because I, hi, I started to integrate them. I just started to accept the act that it's part of the, the world that we are now living in because of the, the pandemic and kind of the shutdown. But more than that, like, I'm actually starting to lean more towards the fact that I wanna make this my choice. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> like, I actually want to live in a world. It's kind of like the Empress of even starting this podcast is to like figure out and like how other people, like you fear doing this. Right, and is it, is it something that we should just normalize? Like why does this have to be such a structured thing where you can either be a great worker or a great parent? Like, I feel like you could do great work and still be a great parent. I think this is real, of course,
Joanne Pasternack (31:15):
Of course, that that's actually so, you know, young going back to what you were, you were saying about the way that we integrate our family life and our life life. And during these crazy times we've been in where we're zooming from home and life is happening around us. There are things we can control and there are things we can't, and it's kind of what we do with those moments. So I've looked at this many times and I've, I've never been more distracted and yet more grateful for the con connection, but I've also needed time to myself. I've joked that there were times this past year and a half where I felt like I was living in a house of spies, because if I opened up a cabinet, somebody would be like, mom, what are you doing? You making dinner. What can you get? Cause you're home, I'm home. You know, it's like, and, and, and also by the way, they, there's so many times to be like, you're in a lot of calls, mom, like Uhhuh. Yeah. I am. I always have been I haven't seen it's like, you know, what's that silly expression about sausage, seeing the sausage being made like, yeah, like you guys come to the finished product, but this is what it looks like as I'm building it up and building it out. It's so funny. And you know, I even, I even had my dog out or helped me out with an Excel spreadsheet that I needed for something related to my athlete's voices program. And I wanted to build out some links, decision matrixes. But, but, but here's, here's an example of a time when it, it felt like it wasn't working, but I was leaning back on some of the skills that I've garnered over the years, being a working parent and then a hardcore working parent all these years was I was recording a live webcast. So we're live. I can't pause it. Can't be edited. Like we're on the air. And had messaged everybody in the household to remind them that the dog should not come into my office during that time, which meant that the dog was absolutely coming into my office. in walks. Murphy's law. Yes, that's right in walks Wesley, the 50 pound Bernie doodle. And he wants my attention and he's sitting next to me. You couldn't see him, but I certainly could feel his presence. And I had this feeling that he wanted to bark. Like I just knew it. So he gave one small bark and I was like, oh, I'm so sorry. And then I realized I had a waffle on my desk that I was gonna eat later. And I started to peel off pieces of the waffle for 20 minutes. I fed Wesley little tiny pieces of waffle just to keep him quiet. Oh. And just a I'm doing right now. I'm motioning. You couldn't tell that I was feeding the dog. Yeah. And that's right. Nobody would've been any of the wiser except for the fact that I felt like I really wanted to say like, this is not easy because people look at it and they're like, oh, you make it look so easy. I'm like, oh no, no, this is not easy. By the way, for the last 20 minutes, I've been feeding my dog under my desk. Yeah. So that he wouldn't bark. And because nobody is responding to my SOS tech saying, come get your dog. Yeah. So, so that's what
Young Han (34:08):
You do. It is. It is. And that's kind of what I was doing right now too. But it's like, it's one of those situations where I think like it's just like, I, the more I get, I think the experience of having to be part of the home life and bringing your work to, and then the kids actually seeing it. And my kids are much younger than yours, but like my four year old, I ask her, I'm like, you know, like, what do you think I do for work? Or mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you know when she tries to explain what I do, and it's just really funny because now she's so exposed to it. Right. Cause she gets to like, listen in the next door or like actually walk in here. She doesn't care at all. By the way, they're like oblivious. They have no sense of like ground rules or privacy. So I even stopped trying. I just like let them come in. But cause it's actually more disruptive and I close the door and I try to like block it off. But yeah, they, she, she equates it to, oh, he talks on the phone all day and pushes his buttons on his key board.
Joanne Pasternack (34:55):
Right. It's funny. I remember saying when I was little, I thought my dad was a traveling salesman because I knew that he got on planes, he sold stuff. I just didn't understand what he was selling. Yeah. Like it wasn't like a widget, you know, so exactly. But how do you explain that you're selling your expertise as a business manager, you know, or whatever. So it was it, but it's interesting. Cause your show is called girl dad, and you're obviously a girl dad and I'm the daughter of a girl. Yeah. And, and it's and I, and I have a daughter and I have a husband and I see their interactions and I, I know the unique nature of that relationship and you know, it's, it's interesting.
Young Han (35:35):
I definitely love this conversation. I love how, how intentional you are about parenting and work. And it's really incredible that like the work that you do and just kind of like how complex it is and how much more complex it is than I even thought. Right. And I, and I, and I've done some philanthropy work myself and I've tried to like dabble in that space, on the technology side previously doing tech stack. Yeah. And, and so I know how complicated it is and just hearing you talk about it, it's even 10 times more complicated than I even thought it was. And so it's really, really impressive. You have to be young.
Joanne Pasternack (36:06):
I mean, and it, it's interesting cuz I know you remember when we first met, but yeah. But you know, we met when we were on a panel together for leadership mountain view, I think it was that's right. It was probably
Young Han (36:17):
Like some community yeah. Leadership event.
Joanne Pasternack (36:19):
Yep. 12 years ago, who knows? I made my daughter that's right. I don't even know if my daughter existed yet. Yeah. But, but the reason why we stayed after and talked to each other was because you were clearly driven by a sense of purpose. Yeah. And that you were, but you were also very honest with yourself that you didn know where to move's within that space's at that time and you were trying to figure it out. And that's what parenting's about too. It's we're trying to figure it out admitting where we need others to lean in and be a guidepost for us or assist us looking at what we see being done best and what we don't wanna emulate as well. And you're a great example of somebody who tries to take in as much information as you can synthesize it and then be really honest about what works and doesn't work for you or what works and what doesn't work within your skillset. So philanthropy doesn't have to be hard. It, it's only hard if you're trying to do something that doesn't naturally relate to who you are, what you wanna do. And so if what you love to do more than anything in the world is organic gardening. Fantastic. Guess what? There are philanthropic opportunities around organic gardening where you can share your knowledge, your passion and make a difference. You can go to east Palo Alto where they have a community garden project and help them to create thriving plants that can be harvested for families in east Palo Alto to have fresh fruits and vegetables. Yeah. That's amazing. You can feel really good about yourself, but you're still doing something you love. So when people try to disconnect their charitable efforts from that thing that they love doing the most, that's when it starts to feel more like a burden or something that's hard, and getting to the bottom of that is as simple as just saying, what is it that I like doing most in the world? What is the time in my life when I was happiest? You know, people talk about it as their happy place sometimes, but it's it, somebody said this to me a few years ago, they, they were like, you know, Joanne think back in your career. And when was the time in your career when you enjoyed it the most? And it was a really, really easy answer for me. I said it was when I was in the weeds as community relations director, my early years at the 49ers. And I had this awesome team Jared and Brandon and Heather and I loved working with them and we loved working together. And we were just out there doing, doing community events, Thanksgiving dinners at shelters and pet calendars to support humane society and whatever it was, it was really fun because it was organic. And and that's what I tried to recreate for the athletes I work with now is when was it the most fun for you to give and give back?
Young Han (39:06):
You've literally answered like the major questions that I I'm trying to get out of this podcast, which is how do you quantify success and work and how do you quantify success as a parent because that's really the thesis of it. And then not only did you kind of explain that organically, you've also kind of like guided me and mentored me through this process of how I, I need to start unpacking this and thinking about it, which is much more introspective. I need to do some introspective work. And so I can't thank you enough for articulating like that. I'm gonna go re-watch this and go listen to it again. So I can use it as a guiding post because that is literally why I started this podcast is to do research, is to like go talk to other smart people that are like aspiring to do great in work and also aspiring to be great parents. Right? And like let's collect all the ways that people do it. And there's so many ways, there's so many ways. And, and you're one of many voices.
Joanne Pasternack (39:56):
If somebody tries to tell you that it should be done a certain way, then they aren't looking at who you are and how you do it. Yeah. I learned the same thing with the grieving process over time, you know, it's, I'm gonna grieve the way I'm gonna grieve and it's gonna hit me in different ways. And when somebody says to me, or almost judges, you just like they do with parenting, they'll judge you on how you're doing it. But reality is, is we're learning as we go. And I think the greatest opportunity for me was when I realized that perfectionism is impossible and I, I, I just leaned in and found that it was okay to make mistakes. And I've had moments where I've had to take a step back and say, is this the person I wanna be working with or working for because they don't understand where I'm coming from. But I also recognize what a tremendous gift that is that I can make. I can say that I can make those decisions. So many people in the world are doing what they need to do in order to just get by. And so then I recalibrate it and I think, okay, well what can I do to help them? with their, whatever is they're doing and how can they help me? But yeah, I don't know. This is, it's a journey.
Young Han (41:03):
This is so good. Yeah. I love it. Cuz it's almost like your services that you offer also kind of parlay directly into your parenting style. It sounds like you kind of are your true, authentic self in both parallels. You're not like you're not separating it by time and you're also not separating by philosophy.
Joanne Pasternack (41:18):
Like sure you don't. Yeah. You wouldn't wanna hear some of the conversations I have with the athletes I work with I used to joke and I'd say I have 53 guys at the, I, I have 53 kids at the office and two at home because that's how it felt. It's like I would go to the office, I'd be like, oh my God, you wore those pants to this community event. Or like literally didn't event once with a bunch of guys in London, it was torrential downpour. And we were doing football and soccer drills outside and three guys show up in flip flops and I'm like, and literally the mom and me is like flip flops. And they're like, well, you didn't say on the sheet. And I was like, true. Okay. So going forward, I'm gonna make sure that I indicate what kind of footwear you need for the event on the, the one pager I give them. That's a learning cuz your kids will say that to you. Your kids are gonna call you out in exactly the same way, but dad, you didn't. Yeah. Da that's right. You're like, and you wanna look back at them and be like, okay, so I'm supposed to think through everything for, are you like yeah, no. And that's why running to school to drop the off the homework that they forgot is not the best approach. Oh wow. But having them figure out what is their work around and then suffering the consequences of it in a minor way. Love, love that a minor way. And the, the polite always think of is when I went to college, I went across country from where my parents were living at the time and my, but my freshman roommate was 45 minutes from home and there was a formal dance coming up and she had her mom drive up her prom dress like just 45 minutes, drove it up. Her mom took us out to lunch. It was great for me. I had to figure out a no cost option to get myself into formal wear with very little notice and and ended up suggesting to my sorority that maybe we do a dress exchange because there were so many of us who had dresses and some didn't and that became a thing. Like everybody would bring all these dresses, you'd exchange them and then we'd donate the rest to the princess project, which provides prom dresses to girls to go to prom who couldn't afford it otherwise. Wow. And so, so that became like a project based off of a need, a need. And had I been 45 minutes from home, would I have been forced at that moment to figure out a solution? Now my freshman rate, Sandy is one of my best friends this day. She is one of the most brilliant people I know, but she didn't have to figure out how to get dressed that day. Yeah. She had to figure out other things. And so it's just looking at it and we don't wanna be so overwhelmed with the things we have to figure out that we're paralyzed or that we're unable to move forward. But at the same time we need to, and this for our kids too, we need to give them chances to learn and lean and listen and kind of figure it out. So
Young Han (44:00):
Awesome. Joanne, I'm gonna fire off my rapid fire questions. Okay. I like to ask every to be guest. So what advice do you have for other parents? And soon to be parents?
Joanne Pasternack (44:08):
Understand that your parenting experience is gonna be your own and you get to control how you're interacting and what you're doing with your work life balance. But it's a learn as you go and you're gonna make mistakes and just be patient with yourself. Love that.
Young Han (44:24):
If you can go back and tell yourself one thing before having kids, what would you tell yourself?
Joanne Pasternack (44:29):
If I could go back and tell myself one thing before having kids, I would go live overseas for a little bit and really say yes to even more opportunities and experiences. Wow. Not being said, my kids have traveled extensively. I take them with me when I have work trips and they've been to like 20 some odd countries. Wow. So also I would tell myself that my life of travel and exploration was certainly not over because I had kids. It was just changing a bit.
Young Han (45:05):
I love that. What is the most surprising thing that you learned about yourself? Becoming a parent?
Joanne Pasternack (45:11):
Becoming a parent. I learned that I am, it's funny. So becoming a parent, I always thought I would be the rigid enforcer and it turns out that I'm, you know, every couple there's the pushover and the enforcer I'm, I'm kind of the pushover and so funny. I mean, it's, you know, being honest here, but what I've realized is that I, I think with some introspection here, I think that the reason why I'm a pushover is partially due to that pressure of being a working parent and specifically a working mom. Yeah. And that, I feel like I need to overcompensate sometimes because I'm working and I'm not as present as some of the other parents I see at school who can be there for everything. Mm. But but now my kids are older and I'm at peace with this and they say, you know, okay. I I'm just gonna be me. I'm I'm not good at that other side of being the enforcer. So yeah. Sorry, husband, you get to do that.
Young Han (46:14):
That's awesome. I love it. And what's your all time favorite Business book?
Joanne Pasternack (46:17):
My all time. Favorite business book. That is an easy question because I have it right here and it's my dad's book. So plug for my dad. Oh it's called results. Keep what's good. Fix what's wrong and unlock great performance. Co-Authored by my dad and as partner at the time, Gary Nielsen. And it is, it's a phenomenal book because it talks about the different types of business entities and how to maximize your results by analyzing what your business is. What's your best at my dad coined the phrase, organizational DNA looking at what makes an organization unique and really looked at it from that perspective of each organization has its own set of chromosomes. And if you try to be a one size fits all, you're always gonna fail. So yeah. So plug for my dad there. Wow. I love it. I gotta Amazon. But that's the second book. His first one was called San corporation, but I like results.
Young Han (47:17):
Oh he has, he's written two books. He wrote two books. Yeah. Oh man. I gotta check out both of 'em. That's amazing.
Joanne Pasternack (47:21):
You asked me what my favorite business book and is, and it's interesting. Cause one of the reasons why I keep my dad's book right here is not because I'm flipping through it all the time, but it's just a reminder to me that stay focused. Yeah. Well, it's stay focused. It's also a reminder that there are great. I mean, again, it's, it's called results, right? There are great results that can come from just about anything. And when I look at this book, it reminds me that my dad, his superpower, is he could find ways to bring out the best in just about any company, any corporate executive. That was his superpower. Wow. He, he created the strategic leadership practice for Booz Allen and and it was based off this organizational DNA model. And just trying to understand what you do to dig deep. So to just kind of footnote that a little bit. My dad passed away January 13th, 2021. He was going through a journey with younger onset Alzheimer's from the age of 63 on probably even sooner. But the diagnosis came in his early sixties. He passed away long before he could accomplish everything he was meant to have accomplished. And I look at his voice as one that was stifled too soon, a life interrupted. And so when my dad passed, I launched a foundation at Stanford, a fund working with Dr. Michael gr, who is incredible and looks at neurodegenerative diseases. But it's a reminder to me that, you know, we, we have a, an opportunity to lift our voices and to, to do something. And my dad would've cared very little about his own recovery and cure as long as it meant that other people were learning and that there would be something in sight that could help to find a reason why Alzheimer's dementia, Louis body, Parkinson's all these neuro degenerative diseases with an often younger onset exist and how we can first help try to figure out why, but second remind people to just go for it, live their life and just take a step back, and the pandemic taught us that. So, yeah. So I would love for everybody to go out and buy a copy of the, a book. It is available on Amazon, but but I'm actually in the process of writing my own book right now and nice it's it's bringing through the, the values and the lessons I was taught by my dad, but applying them to the case studies that come from my work and really where those come together, because I realized that I was constantly quoting my dad and sharing some of the, the little things that he would say to me, like you know, people have time and money for what's important to them, but just because somebody says they don't have the time and money doesn't mean you aren't important. It means that right now, their priorities are elsewhere. So explore that and see where you align with priorities. Or if you need to come back at a later date and approach them fresh. And it's such a good reminder, cuz we often feel like when somebody says I'm too busy that they're saying they don't want us around. Like we personalize that too much. That's right. My dad would say don't personalize that. Yeah. Acknowledge it. And then say, I, I get it. So what can we do to open up a door for us to do something later or at a different time that's or is this just not the thing that you're most focused on? And so therefore I'll go look for somebody else who is focused on that. But this is also a parenting skill, right? It's it is telling your kids not right now. You know, my dad used to always say just because everybody else is doing it doesn't mean you're doing it. You have to figure out what makes sense within your life. So I'm like, okay, I got it, dad. Yeah.
Young Han (50:55):
Yep. Joanne, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me about your job, your business, your dad, your parenting, and, and just so much more. I, I had so much fun and learn so much from you and I justt and thank you enough for your time.
Joanne Pasternack (51:09):
Yeah, no, no problem. And if you wanna learn more about my background and my story feel free to go to Oliver rose, llc.com. And on there, I share a little bit more about how I came to live this philosophy in this life. So young, I absolutely love every conversation I've ever had with you and excited to have one actually on record and look forward to more and more in the years.
Young Han (51:31):
Yes, I would love that. Thank you so much. Talk to you soon. Thanks for tuning 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.
Episode 28 - Joanne Pasternack - Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
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