Quiet Revolution is the culmination of my life’s work. It’s an intensely personal passion project, weaving together my favorite topic—how to treat people as individuals without bias—with one of my good friends: Susan Cain.
I forged a lifelong friendship with Susan over 20 years ago in the unlikeliest of places, in one of the greatest platforms for studying the human condition ever devised: The World of Corporate Law. Corporate law was a mixed bag for me, but mostly positive. The experiences I had there fed my curiosity—and sometimes made me scratch my head—about how people can best live, work, and understand each other for the benefit of us all.
I am an extrovert, by the way. I try to be the respectful “yang” to the “yin” of many introverts in my personal and professional life.
My “professional career” is pretty eclectic. I spent most of my youth running away from norms in fear they would catch me. And until the ripe old age of 31, I succeeded. After finishing college, I supported myself as a scallop fisherman, truck driver, waiter, bellhop, cook, and a carpenter. My carpentry boss had only eight years of formal schooling but was one of the most educated people I’ve ever known. I had roommates named “Crash” and “Killer.” I spent six months living illegally in a tent on private wooded land in Montana (the cops eventually found me). I hitchhiked across the US alone, more than once. I rode my bike across the US, also alone. I lived and worked in Yellowstone Park and skied moguls for three years in Big Sky, Montana. I found my brilliant bride of 27 years.
After I left the law firm where I met Susan, I joined JPMorgan Asset Management. JPMorgan was wonderful to me for 15 years. They moved me to Tokyo, then to London, then to NY, in each case to serve as the head of their team of regional lawyers. Then, over an intense week in 2003, JPMorgan asked me to stop being a lawyer and instead serve as CEO of a US business unit with over 1,500 people. I said yes. It worked—really well by some measures. But, my gosh, it was scary. To succeed, I relied on great people.
Later, over a weekend in 2007, they asked me to move to Hong Kong to serve as CEO of The JPMorgan Private Bank for all of Asia. My adventures during this phase could not have been more fulfilling. I ate Tiger Penis Soup, Pigs Knuckles, and Jelly Fish. I became (kind of) comfortable around people with extravagant wealth. I saw the world and met a good number of its leaders.
As a result of my quirky resumé, I’ve learned a lot about people. I’ve learned that while each person is unique and to be cherished, in many ways we’re the same. We’re all insecure. We all want to understand ourselves and to be understood. We want to better ourselves. We are optimistic and fearful. We are hungry to find and hone our unique strengths and appreciate those who help us unlock them. And—whether we’re introverted or extroverted—we need each other.
Today, I get to spend my days working on an inspiring project that aims to help people find their own strengths, be proud of those strengths, and learn to harness them—to have and build a life around what matters most.