Episode 87 – Liz Mason

July 12, 2017


Traveling the world helps Liz be a better leader

 

Liz Mason began traveling when her Dad brought her along on business trips to London and the Caribbean. Since then, she’s been hooked and now sets her personal goal to travel at least two weeks a year to disconnect and focus on something positive in order to break the anxiety and stress that build up from work. She believes in this so much that her firm offers everyone a $1,000 stipend if they completely unplug from work on their vacation.

In this episode, Liz and I talk about how her traveling has forced her to learn better problem solving skills. She’s learned to filter information more efficiently in order to make better decisions. We also talk about how some firms give their teams time off but then make them feel guilty if they use it, which completely defeats the purpose. These are usually the same firms with cultures that don’t encourage everyone to share passions, missing the fact that, “having human passions is always relatable whether the other person shares that passion or not.”

Liz Mason is a Shareholder of High Rock Accounting, a firm she started in 2014. Prior to that, she held tax positions at a few Top100 firms. She was selected a few years ago to participate in the 5th Annual Leadership Academy of the AICPA.

She graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a BS in Accounting and Finance and later received her MS, Information Management from Arizona State University.


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Other pictures of Liz

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Liz found Harry Potter’s bones in the catacombs in Paris.

One of the 4 times Liz went skydiving!

Exploring some beautiful Maya ruins in Honduras with her husband Rian.

Enjoying the street art of Melbourne, Australia.

Liz loves rollercoasters, especially Space Mountain at Disney.

Liz’s links

 

Transcript

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    Welcome to Episode 87 of the Green Apple Podcast where each Wednesday I interview a professional known for a hobby or a passion. Just by being themselves, they stand out like a green apple in a stereotypically boring red apple world. So many of us are taught a false hope by professionalism. To be the best, you need to get another certification or another degree or memorize all the tax code or be the best technician in your field, whatever that is, but just simply isn’t true if you want to get ahead in business, because it’s still a human-to-human interaction. Professionalism preaches that people with passion outside of work are less dedicated to their job.

    Yet when people asks what this week’s guest, Liz Mason, what she does, her answer could easily be “I’m an accountant and a world traveler” – and a whole lot of other things, as we’re going to find out. They’re all important, and they make up who she is, but it’s the “and” or “world travels” that really strengthens her business connections. If you’re listening to this and think “Hey, I’ve got a hobby or passion that I’d love to talk about”, please reach out to me, because I’d love to have you on as a guest on the show, or maybe you know someone – a friend or a co-worker that would be a good fit to share their story and highlight some of the cool things that your firm is doing. Just go to greenapplepodcast.com and send me a quick message.

    But today, it’s all about Liz Mason. She’s a shareholder at High Rock Accounting, a firm she started in 2014, and she’s an absolute rock star in the accounting world, having been selected a few years ago as one of just 38 CPAs to participate in the Fifth Annual Leadership Academy of the AICPA. I’m so happy we’re finally able to connect, Liz, so thanks for taking time to be with me on the Green Apple Podcast.

    Liz: Thank you so much for having me.

    John: I’m so excited to have you on, and reading about you in the Journal of Accountancy and your firm and everything like that – you guys are doing some really cool stuff. So, I’m excited that you are able to have time to be with me on the show.

    Liz: Yes, that was awesome. I’m excited. So did you notice in the picture on the Journal Accountancy Article I had a nerf gun in my hand?

    John: I did notice that and I was like, “Holy smokes.” That’s not AICPA approved nerf gun equipment, but good for you. That’s awesome.

    Liz: I was surprised they picked that picture, but you know.

    John: Yeah, exactly. I figured that was the only one you sent them, so that’s why I went into it.

    Liz: Oh, no. They sent a photographer out. He took a bunch, and he was like, “Oh, you match your nerf gun. Let’s take a couple of pictures with it as a joke”, and then they picked it.

    John: Nice. That’s so awesome. I guess that leads into – I gave everyone a little bit of an introduction, but maybe in your own words, kind of where you’re at now and a little bit of how you got there.

    Liz: Yeah, for sure. So I currently am running High Rock Accounting. I was a founder, and I am the CEO, which means basically I do everything, but also I try to work myself out of the job. That’s what I believe all CEOs really do. Focus on culture, build really cool tribes, and then work themselves out of the job. But I got here by a lot of hard work, and I started in traditional public accounting firms. I also had been playing with just this idea that I could build some something better that would give people a better life.

    John: Both clients and staff, I imagine.

    Liz: Oh, definitely. We love our clients and the really badass companies that we work with and really interesting people.

    John: That’s awesome. That’s so cool. I guess one question that I love to ask everyone is just how did you get into accounting?

    Liz: So actually, this is a funny story. I started accounting when I was when I was old enough to do basic arithmetic and write legibly.

    John: Oh, my goodness!

    Liz: My father and my aunt and my grandfather are all accountants. My aunt and my dad used to have me doing Bankrupt Affiliation when I could start checking numbers often and recognizing that they were the same, and then I also used to help my aunt checks for her clients. I’m sure you know it was great, like the giant terrible print on the check going to the bank, but it was great, because I learned a lot.

    Then as soon as I was like old enough to understand percentages, my dad had me helping put stickers on K1’s for the right owners of different partnership returns.

    John: Nice. Wow. You’re like the Tiger Woods of accounting or – I guess that’s not really a good analogy nowadays, but like you were born and raised to be super accountant. That’s so great.

    Liz: Yes. Then when I was at the middle school, my dad actually went back to get his PhD in accounting, and part of the PhD Program was to teach the intermediate accounting. Financial accounting. His students all failed one semester, and he was beating himself up, saying he was a terrible teacher, he couldn’t teach them, like why were they failing?

    But then he had this epiphany. He was like, what if they’re just not working? He decided – and I was currently grounded because I was terrible child – and so he decided my punishment was I had to get a B or better on a financial accounting midterm to be able to get ungrounded. He thought this was like a hilarious punishment. Anytime I got in trouble, that was the punishment. But I was able to do it relatively quickly. I would learn half a semester of accounting in about two or three days so that I could get ungrounded and get at least a B on that exam.

    John: Wow! That’s hilarious. I mean, I would be still grounded, actually. I would still be grounded. I would be doing fine, and then all of a sudden, cash flow statement, and it’s like, “Oh, yeah. I’m going to have to…I’ll just be in the corner.” That’s impressive. Well, good for you. Yes. I’m not sure what that says. Are you like a genius, or is accounting that simple?

    Liz: I don’t think I’m quite a genius, but my dad was a good teacher.

    John: Yeah. I mean, that’s so awesome. Very cool. It is obviously coming in handy and –

    Liz: Definitely. It was great. By the time I got to college, I had already learned half the financial accounting course, so I didn’t’ really have to pay attention.

    John: Right, yeah. I was in all the remedial tutoring and everything. I need help.

    Liz: I was the one teaching that.

    John: Yes, you were the one. You were the one ruining the curve. But you know, it all worked out in the end. I think that’s really cool. When you’re not trying to work yourself out of a job as a CEO of High Rock, what kind of passion drives you when you have some free time there on the nights and weekends?

    Liz: My biggest passion is definitely travel. I love to go anywhere and everywhere, and I will do it at the drop of a hat.

    John: Wow! Are there any places that you’ve been that are kind of your favorite?

    Liz: It’s funny that you asked that. Everyone seems to ask that, and I think my favorite place is honestly the place I haven’t been yet. Because I really like the rush of exploring a new place and finding out new cultures and learning about new cities and places and their history and how it all comes together and also their food. I absolutely love food everywhere. I love all the food.

    John: Nice.

    Liz: But at this point, I’ve been to it an equal member of the states and countries, so I feel like I need to it conquer all of the states at some point. I’ve only been to 45. I have five left.

    John: Wow, 45 states, and then 45 countries. That’s impressive. That’s very impressive. So states you have yet to hit – what are the five?

    Liz: North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas.

    John: Arkansas.

    Liz: Michigan and Oklahoma.

    John: Oklahoma. All right. That’s kind of an interesting mix there. We had Joe Rugger on the Green Apple Podcast. He’s a travel wizard as well, and he’s out of Arkansas.

    Liz: Oh, Joe is awesome. He actually was staying at my house a couple of weeks ago.

    John: Right, except for he’s also never there.

    Liz: Yeah, I know. He has told me all the awesome things I have to go do with him in Arkansas.

    John: That’s very cool. Have you always been into travel, or is this something that after you became an adult, you’re like “I’m out; let’s see what happens”?

    Liz: I think my passion started when I was a kid. My dad did have some business trips that he took us on. I just loved going all and any places. We went to London a number of times, and then we went to the Caribbean and actually South America a few times, which was awesome. I think that that just started this love of learning new things and seeing it in new places and the unknown. As soon as I possibly could, I started saving all of my money and spending it on plane tickets. I think I was about 15 the first time I was allowed to travel internationally without my parents, so that was an awesome experience. I went and met my sister over in Italy, actually.

    John: Oh, okay. Your sister was over there probably studying or something and then the –?

    Liz: Yeah, she was working on her PhD, and her PhD adviser I think was in Germany. She was in Europe, and then was planning to go to Italy, so I met with her.

    John: That’s very cool.

    Liz: It was super fun.

    John: You know, luckily, you weren’t grounded at that time, so you could take that trip.

    Liz: I know, right? I had to take accounting finals before I could go, but…

    John: Right, absolutely. Because I’ve been to quite a few countries in Europe. Italy and Germany and Austria, and actually, I was just in France last year, and sometimes travelling is fun and sometimes not always as fun depending on whether or not they speak English. It’s like I understand I’m in your country, but I just got at a wrong train, and you really need to help me out.

    Liz: Yes, please. Please help me.

    John: Right, exactly. Would you say that from all your travels that there’s a unique skill set that comes in handy when you’re back in the office?

    Liz: Yeah. I think travel, especially travel the way that I do it, really, really gives you problem solving skills. What I mean by “travel the way I do it” is book a cheap flight to unknown countries that you’ve never been to and don’t speak the language and possibly can’t even read the language, and get there last minute, find a place to stay, figure out what you’re doing, and navigate without any real research.

    John: Yeah. That’s the Amazing Race. That’s what that is. You were the Amazing Race.

    Liz: I actually really want to be on that show. I’m not going to lie.

    John: Yeah. You would win in no time. You’re like “I’m already at the finish line.” “But we just started, Liz.”

    Liz: I’d be like “I figured that out.” The problem-solving skills you need to deal with to do things like that are intense. You have to deal with and juggle a million different things coming in, filter out what information is useful and what is not, and also make decisions very quickly. I feel a lot of people struggle with decision making when they’re using their critical thinking skills and trying to problem solve. They just get almost paralyzed in a specific thought.

    I can definitely say I used to do that. I would just spin on the topic until I was lost, but I think traveling has really honed in my ability to focus on what’s important and really pull out the things that matter when you’re problem solving.

    John: I couldn’t agree more. You’re on like a heightened sense of something. Then from doing it more and more you learn “Hey, I do have this skill set.” You’re more confident in it. You can see when you use it. Yeah. You bring it back with you. I think that’s the thing with a lot of people’s hobbies and passions and something like travel. It’s like “Well, it’s just something I do.” It’s like, well, no, because there’s actually tangible things that you’re bringing back to the office that make you better at what you do.

    Liz: For sure.

    John: It’s cool that you’re able to see that and take advantage of that. That’s awesome. Clearly, travel is something you talk about at work, I would imagine. People know like at 5 PM, you’re like “Yeah, I’m going to be gone starting tomorrow. I just decided I’m leaving for two weeks.” Wait, what?

    Liz: Part of the cool thing about being the founder of a company is you can set it up with what’s really important to you. One of the things that I did when we started Hierarch was first they made sure all of our systems are completely cloud-based and secured. I have very interesting and awesome proxy servers to make sure that I am not hacked at random like WiFi hotspots in sketchy parts of Germany, but I set up all the system so that you can literally do any of the Hierarchy Accounting accounting work from anywhere in the world. We made sure that that it’s all secure and all capable as long as you have a good internet connection.

    John: Oh, wow!

    Liz: So that was step one. Step two was get a cellphone with free data international.

    John: There you go. Yes. That’s huge.

    Liz: I can always work off of my cellphone data anywhere in the world, and that’s pretty fantastic. The other thing was to encourage the culture to attract people that also like to travel and then also would want to take advantage of that flexibility or the ability to go and to completely disconnect. Because I do two different types of travel. I’ll do the travel where I’m actually working when I’m gone and I am exploring new places at night or on the weekends, and then I do the kind of travel where I completely disconnect and I make a point of disconnecting for at least two weeks a year.

    John: All right. When you disconnect, what’s the benefit of that do you feel?

    Liz: I think that it just resets your brain. It gets rid of those types of anxiety that build up. I don’t know if you have this problem, but if you get like negative feedback over and over again or stressful emails, and you start every time you get a new email you start getting stress, because you’re like “Oh, someone needs something or something is wrong”, and it’s just like negative reinforcement constantly, and it creates an anxiety pattern which I think is really unhealthy, but it’s so common.

    I think disconnecting kind of breaks those bonds so you stop having that type of reaction to things and you start focusing on positive and you start focusing on what you love to do and what you enjoy, and you come back in this mindset of “Okay, now I’m going to focus on these big projects”, or “I have this one client where we’re doing a really interesting CFO level planning for and we’re doing projections and building out like revenue waterfall project.” It’s just like really interesting and engaging. You come back with a fresh mindset of “Okay. How do we make this the best we possibly can?” You’re super focused and almost hyper focused when you come back from that type of release.

    John: That’s an excellent way to put it. It’s just a lot of not good stuff is building up, and it’s impossible to get – it’s just going to drown you. Just completely remove and come back fresh.

    Liz: I mean, there’s been a lot of studies to support the fact that disconnecting actually makes people more productive during the year than not disconnecting at all.

    John: Right. Absolutely. That’s what goes to what we were talking about earlier at the very beginning of the Journal of Accountancy article with the firm there.

    Liz: Oh, yes. One of the things I did to encourage people to actually disconnect was write a policy that says that we give a thousand-dollar vacation stipend in to everyone in the firm. Effectively, the rules are you have to go on vacation, you have to completely disconnect – no emails or phone calls, or anything – before you go, you have to delegate your work appropriately, and then we’ll reimburse up to a thousand dollars of your travel expenses.

    John: That’s so cool.

    Liz: For our people that means plane ticket, hotels. It could even mean like rental cars or tours, or if people want to go just connect for two days and go skydiving, more power to them. We’ll pay for the skydiving.

    John: Yeah. That’s awesome, because it not only says that it’s okay, but it’s more than encouraged. You know, it’s almost mandatory. Almost.

    Liz: Exactly.

    John: Which is so great. You’re leading the charge as an example, because I think a lot of firms and a lot of people that works at firms – I remember when I was with PWC. I think I did a Math when I was promoted to senior, and if I took all of my available PTO days, then I would not reach my chargeability percentage to stay employed. I’m like “Wait, so you’re giving me this vacation, but I can’t use it or else I’ll get in trouble? This doesn’t even make sense.”

    Liz: Unless you want to work 90-hour weeks for like two months leading up to your vacation.

    John: Exactly, right, which is insane. I mean it’s just like “Oh, well, you know, well you could do this.”

    Liz: Right, because you’re already expected to work 74-hour weeks.

    John: Right. “What’s another 15, John? Just strap it on. Come on.” I think it’s awesome where you’re not only setting the example, but also rewarding people. I think that’s the other problem too that comes in is where sometimes, firms don’t always reward the behavior that they want to see. Your rewarding that, and that’s such a cool thing. Really, when you boil it down, a thousand bucks isn’t really a whole lot relative to people that love working there. That’s definitely worth it from a human perspective and from a CEO perspective.

    Liz: Yeah, well, you have to model the culture in ways that you can. I consider all of the alternative and interesting and weird hear incentive packages that I possibly can. So we really have some really bizarre incentives and compensation packages, but that’s okay, because that works for our culture, and that’s building a really cool tribe here.

    John: Right. That’s really awesome. Talking about travel, is that something that you did all throughout your career?

    Liz: Yeah. I was that one staff UPA that actually took all of their PTO. I was the person. I did it.

    John: You did it. Good for you.

    Liz: I was the person that I was working 90-hour weeks to be able to do it.

    John: Oh, my goodness.

    Liz: I would honestly – I would get out of plane, and I would pass out. I would like sleep until destination, because I would always be so exhausted before I even got to the location. That sucks, because half the time, I was sick on vacation, because I had been working so much, and then finally, my body slowed down. It was like, okay, now all these sicknesses that you’ve been fighting off are going to come in. It’s going to suck, but I still explored a lot of the world, so I can’t complain too much.

    John: Right, exactly. I guess one thing that I think about often is just how much do you think it’s on the organization to create that culture and those rewards and things like that, versus it’s on the individual to just kind of step up or to kind of just create their own little small circle within the larger organization?

    Liz: I think it has to be both. Obviously, this particular incentive, the travel stipend, came from the top, because it came from me, but had someone suggested it from the bottom, I would have listened, and I would have implemented what I thought would create incentives from the behaviors that I appreciate. One of the things we do every year is ask people what benefits they want and what matters to them.

    I think it’s on the people at the top to be open to actually hear the people at the bottom, but I think it’s also on the entire team to be able to extract what they need to be incentivized properly.

    John: Right, absolutely. Then that all boils down to just trust. Do we trust the staff to tell us the truth, and does the stuff trust us to not lop their heads off if they come up with ideas? That’s huge. That’s not something that comes easy, but it’s something that builds up overtime. Is there something that you guys do there at High Rock specifically to kind of enforce or kind of create this culture or when someone comes in new?

    Liz: When someone comes in new, I think they have a hard time accepting kind of our – I don’t want to say millennial culture – but our laid-back culture, and that you know we have a very flexible schedule. People come in anywhere from like 6:00 AM to 11:00 AM, and they leave anywhere from like 2PM to 8PM. Our rule is you have to be here for client meetings. You have to be here for team meetings. As long as you’re communicating with everybody, you can be anywhere in the world that you want to work. You can work at pretty much any time, like I said, as long as you make meetings at like our clients actual time zone, then we’re fine. You can’t go to Australia and be the complete opposite schedule and be like, “Hey, client, meet me at 2:00 AM on Skype”, but as long as you’re up at 2:00 AM making that meeting, I don’t care if you’re working in Australia.

    It’s hard for the new people I think to accept that at first. We have a guy that started yesterday, actually, who showed up at 8:45 AM for a 9:00 AM start time, and he left like at 5:05 PM, but that was like kind of adorable. Then today he was here at like 9:00 AM sharp. It’s like “Okay, you’re new. You’ll figure this out.” Just don’t expect everyone else to be here at like 9:00 AM sharp and leave at 5:00 PM. That’s not a thing.

    John: Right. “Well, I’m new. I’m trying to put –” no, don’t worry, seriously. Just do your thing. That’s all the matters. That is. That is all that matters is the deliverables, the meetings, and that’s it. I mean, between then, just do your stuff. I mean, just get it done.

    Liz: Right. I had someone ask me in an interview – we were interviewing for an accounting specialist position just like this guy, Dan, just started in, but I have this other guy we were interviewing ask me in an interview “How do you deal with bad performers?” I had to pause and like take a step back.

    I was like “That’s an absolutely great question.” My answer to him was “We don’t have bad performers.” He kind of like looked at me and said “Well, I’m really scared that your expectations are way too high, and I won’t be able to perform.”

    I was like “Oh, man. You had a great question, and then you followed it up with the worst thing you can have possibly said in an interview.”

    But the truth of the matter is – and that made me make take a step back and think about it – is our team is built to support each other, and so we do vet people quite well before they come in. We make sure they’re smart enough, and they’re motivated enough, and they understand enough about our culture, and they buy into it before they even get hired. If somebody is not performing, I feel like it’s a fail on the top end, like either they weren’t trained properly, they weren’t given clear expectations, they were given clients that were too needy – whatever it was.

    It’s really a communication process. Our people, when they’re supported and trained and given good clients and know what their focused on, have all done really great.

    John: Yeah. I mean, that is the truth, because it seems to be like creating a better culture and keeping people, attracting and retaining that top talent, that certainly puts a lot of pressure on the top to keep that going and to hire properly and to interview properly and, like you said, where it’s a lot easier just to bring in a bunch of numbers and then just throw it against the wall and whoever sticks stays and whoever doesn’t, doesn’t, and you don’t really care. But that’s certainly an expensive way to go about it.

    Not really a very caring way to go about it, either, and it’s not hard. It just takes an extra step or two from your side just to make sure, but then once you get that in, then it’s clicking, and like you said, there are no bad – I don’t have to worry about bad things. We all get along, and everyone knows about each other and –

    Liz: They work hard. That’s it.

    John: Yeah, and then they work harder, because they care.

    Liz: Well, I like to say that High Rock is a choose-your-own-adventure firm. Honestly, what we do is we pull people in that are smart and that can be trained and that have a background that facilitates what we do, and then we look at it like a Venn Diagram.

    There’s the bubble of what they’re really good at, and then there’s the bubble of what they actually enjoy doing. Then there’s always an overlap. That overlap section, that little wedge, is where we focus people. After a few months, we kind of figure out what those things that they’re good at and what they enjoy are, and we gear all of their goals and all of their client assignments towards getting them into that bubble as much as possible.

    John: Yeah, and then they’ll never want to leave.

    Liz: Right, because we keep – I mean, it obviously keeps adjusting and grows over time, but in that way, we’re able to put people doing what they’re really good at.

    John: Yeah, everybody wins, and they’re happy about it, too.

    Liz: Forcing them away from what they don’t like.

    John: Right. I mean, it’s such a novel concept, isn’t it, Liz? It’s like, wait, what?

    Liz: Let’s focus on people’s strengths here, people. Let’s not focus on making them get better at what they suck at.

    John: Right, or what they hate doing. It’s like “Oh, yeah, you need to do more tax, so you need to get better.” “No, I hate tax. I do not – that’s it. I’m out. It’s like, oh, well, darn it. Do you find maybe when you’re early on in your career, what have you, some barriers that kept you from sharing sometimes?

    Liz: Yeah. You know, I think, like you were saying earlier, the traditional PPA will sometimes give you the PTO, but then don’t give the flexibility to really take it without hurting your job. I think that I had a hard time talking about the cool trips that I was doing or the things that I was planning, because it kind of frowned upon to take PTO. At the end of the day, while it’s a benefit that given, people don’t necessarily really want that, so not drawing attention to the fact that they’re leaving for two weeks is probably better for you, for your career advancement.

    You know, partners are in and out. You might be at a client site or not. It’s not as obvious when you’re out of the office for work versus for PTO, and if you kind of keep your mouth shut and only your direct supervisor knows that you’re going on PTO, then it looks better at round table time.

    John: That’s interesting.

    Liz: Yes. For years, I barely talked about it, because I didn’t want to affect people’s opinion of how hard I worked.

    John: Yeah. Because you think that then people will think that you’re not very dedicated or what have you to your career, because you’re using the benefits that they offer. Did you feel like that was the thing that did affect your career?

    Liz: Honestly, it was probably a combination of both. I was hyper sensitive to it because of some comments I got when I was a young staff which was “I can’t believe it you took two weeks off in a row” or things like that. I was like “Wow, that’s not okay?” I kind of took that very – I internalized that very much. I think that that was partially on me, but also, I mean, there was a culture that that was okay to say.

    John: Right.

    Liz: It was okay to kind of make someone feel bad about that. At the same time, it was both. It was definitely both sides of it.

    John: Right. No. But that’s an interesting point of even if it is in your head, it’s a culture that allows that to even be said. It should be the other way around. It’s like “What? You’re only going for three days? Why don’t you take two weeks?” I mean, if you can, just the opposite.

    Do you have any maybe words of encouragement to people listening that maybe they’re huge travelers and they’re like “Yeah, I don’t really want to share”?

    Liz: I think everybody should share what their passionate about, because it shows that you’re human. Having human passions is always relatable, regardless of if the person shares the passion or not.

    When it comes to travel, when it comes to taking PTO, I would encourage everyone at every firm to actually take their benefit. If they encounter any pushback from maybe the person directly above them that’s reviewing their work, they should talk to the partners, because most of the partners actually do care about the people as humans. They I do want the people to explore the world and explore their lives and enjoy their time off.

    I think that, like I said earlier, culture is really both bottom-up and top-down, and I think that as long as they are able to build up their own confidents to communicate up, I’m hopeful and I’m optimistic that most people would to response positively to that. They might be able to build a better culture for the people below them in the firm that they in.

    John: Right. That’s so well put. That’s excellent, Liz. I mean, this is amazing. I’d love to hang out and just buy plane tickets now. But before I do, I have my 17 rapid-fire questions that I need to run you through to make sure that we can hangout.

    Liz: I’m in. Let’s go.

    John: Let me fire this thing up. It’s a super easy, super easy. You’re going to kill it. I can feel it. You’re going to do well. Let’s start with an easy one. Do you have a favorite color?

    Liz: Orange.

    John: Orange, nice. All right. How about the least favorite color?

    Liz: Funny story – I’m actually slightly colorblind. Lime green and like – bright orange is my favorite color, and lime green is least favorite because they look the same.

    John: Right, that’s very funny. How about are more of an early bird or a night owl?

    Liz: Night owl.

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

    Liz: Income statement.

    John: Okay. All right. How about do you have a favorite band or musician?

    Liz: That’s a really good one. I have lots of bands that I absolutely love, but I would say my favorite genre of music is whatever puts a smile on my face at that moment.

    John: All right. We’ll take it. How about a least favorite vegetable?

    Liz: Broccoli.

    John: Broccoli. That’s a solid answer. How about a Sudoku or crossword puzzle?

    Liz: Sudoku.

    John: Okay. How about are you more Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Liz: Star Wars, but only by a slight margin.

    John: Oh, wow. That was a tough one for you. Okay. All right. When it comes to computers, are you more PC or Mac?

    Liz: Mac.

    John: Mac. Wow. Impressive. How about are you more diamonds or pearls?

    Liz: Neither.

    John: Neither. Okay. How about do you have favorite toppings on a pizza?

    Liz: Cheese.

    John: Cheese. Just plain?

    Liz: Yes, I like plain cheese.

    John: Plain cheese. Okay. All right. Are you more cats or dogs?

    Liz: Dogs.

    John: Do you have a favorite actor or actress?

    Liz: No. I like the characters.

    John: Oh, the characters. How about a favorite character from a show or a movie?

    Liz: No, I meant that I don’t focus on who’s portraying the character, I focus on the character themselves.

    John: Oh. Got it. Got it. How about do you have a movie that makes you cry?

    Liz: August Rush.

    John: August Rush. All right. I haven’t seen that one.

    Liz: Every single time I see it, I cry.

    John: Yeah? How about do you have a favorite number?

    Liz: Seven.

    John: Seven, and why is that?

    Liz: It’s my birthday.

    John: Oh, well, that’s good as it gets right there. Of course. Two more. What’s your typical breakfast?

    Liz: Oh, my gosh. I love breakfast. We have a pancake maker in our office. So pancake, waffles. We frequently make eggs and English muffins and put avocado on it, jalapeño just make it like crazy breakfast sandwiches. Favorite breakfast is crazy breakfast sandwich.

    John: Crazy breakfast sandwich, yeah. That’s awesome. The last one is the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?

    Liz: My favorite object that I own is definitely skis.

    John: Skis. Okay. You’re skiing quite a bit then, I imagine.

    Liz: Yes. I grew up racing. I just am an avid skier. I ski all over the place – all over the world, actually.

    John: Holy smokes. Look at that. You grew up racing. You can’t drop that at the end. “Oh, yeah, by the way, I grew up racing skiing.” Wait, what?

    Liz: Yeah, it’s fun.

    John: Well, that’s it, Liz. Thank you so much for being with me on the Green Apple Podcast. This was great.

    Liz: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I had a lot of fun.

    John: That was really, really fun. I particularly loved how Liz said “Having human passions is always relatable, whether the other person shares that passion or not.” She’s so right. So don’t let professionalism suffocate your personality.

    If you’d like to see some pictures of Liz from all over the world and connect with her on social media, go to greenapplepodcast.com. If you’re listening on iTunes or Stitcher, please just take a minute and give us a five-star rating and maybe leave us a short comment there so others can learn about the show.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with your friends so that they get the message that we’re all trying to spread which is to go out and be a green apple.

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