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Episode 194 – Becoming Radically Generous with John Hamon
Episode 19416th June 2022 • The Jackson Hole Connection • Stephan C. Abrams
00:00:00 00:42:16

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John Hamon is a husband, father, entrepreneur, community leader, and the Founder and CEO of Fortimize. Fortimize is a company that helps bankers, mortgage lenders, and asset managers build valuable customer relationships, experiences, and outcomes.

In this episode, John tells his story about why he decided to move out to Jackson full-time during a pandemic. John shares how he hitchhiked out west and fell in love with California. He goes into how he ended up moving back east to start a church in New York. John tells Stephan the origin story of Fortimize and how some In-and-Out burgers made a big impact when starting his company. Stephan and John then discuss the importance of family and the human connection. 

To find out more about John and Fortimize visit Fortimize.com 

Connect with John on LinkedIn

This week’s episode is sponsored in part by Teton County Solid Waste and Recycling, announcing the new commercial Curb to Compost Program for restaurants and other commercial food waste generators. More at TetonCountyWY.gov or at @RoadToZeroWaste.JH on Instagram

Support also comes from The Jackson Hole Marketplace. Find Kate’s Real Food bars here! The deli at Jackson Hole Marketplace offers ready-made soups, sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and hot lunch specials. More at JHMarketplace.com

Want to be a guest on The Jackson Hole Connection? Email us at connect@thejacksonholeconnection.com. Marketing and editing support by Michael Moeri (michaelmoeri.com,@thatsamoeri).

Transcripts

Speaker:

You are tuned in to the Jackson Hole, Connection, sharing, fascinating stories of people connected to Jackson hole and folks.

Speaker:

I am so grateful for each of you who are tuning in today.

Speaker:

And on a side note, I have created.

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A little YouTube channel and also you can follow me on Instagram.

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It's called building in the whole in 22, 2, 2 building in the hole and two to follow us on YouTube, Instagram.

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And you can see how we are building a new home.

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If your kids like to look at videos with trucks and diggers and all that, we're putting all that stuff in there and support for this podcast comes from:

Speaker:

I enjoy reading and learning from others, which really helps guide me to share a quote before we begin this episode, today's quote is a friend maybe waiting behind a stranger space by Maya Angelou and

Speaker:

Today on episode number 194.

Speaker:

I speak with my friend, John Hamon, the founder and CEO of Fordimize.

Speaker:

But more importantly, John is known as a husband, 33 years.

Speaker:

He's a father, a grandfather, and yes, just a phenomenal guy to know.

Speaker:

And who makes a great impact in his communities?

Speaker:

I met John a few years ago, right here in Jackson through a business group called the lion's pride.

Speaker:

And John was living in New York at the time, and now he.

Speaker:

Our full-time residents here in the valley, and John's going to share with us today, some insightful life lessons, what it was like to go hitchhiking across the country when he was younger, which I wish we could do that.

Speaker:

Nowadays.

Speaker:

Folks, John is a business person, a family man who teaches others, what it means to be a person of integrity and.

Speaker:

impact as John says, do you want to be comfortable or do you want to be useful?

Speaker:

And that means a lot.

Speaker:

And he's going to dive into what that means.

Speaker:

I know you'll enjoy listening to John, share his adventures throughout life, as much as I enjoy spending time with him and having conversations, whether we're out on the trail or over a meal, he certainly gets me thinking about who I am, who I want to be.

Speaker:

And how I can make an impact in other people's lives as well.

Stephan Abrams:

John.

Stephan Abrams:

Thank you for joining me here today at the Jackson Hole Connection.

Stephan Abrams:

It is just an awesome joy to get, to have time with you and speak to you any day of the week.

John Hamon:

Thanks for making time for me.

Stephan Abrams:

You're welcome, John.

Stephan Abrams:

all of the episodes everybody's been listening for the past 190 plus episodes knows that we start by you giving us some background.

Stephan Abrams:

So where were you born and raised?

Stephan Abrams:

And you're a recent, transplant to Jackson.

Stephan Abrams:

So you can tell us, why did you decide to come out here to be here other than me being here?

Stephan Abrams:

Of course, no.

John Hamon:

Okay.

John Hamon:

I'll try to be succinct.

John Hamon:

I was born in, actually in Hartford, Connecticut, and, I've moved.

John Hamon:

A lot in the course of my life.

John Hamon:

after that my family lived outside in New York.

John Hamon:

Then we moved to new England where I lived until I was about 11 years old.

John Hamon:

And we moved to England where I went to, my parents decided we w they wanted us to live like British kids.

John Hamon:

So I went to British boarding school for four years and then came back to the United States in the throws of the seventies.

John Hamon:

And.

John Hamon:

The cultural upheaval.

John Hamon:

And it was quite a shock for me to go from wearing shorts and ties and cardigan sweaters to what was happening in the seventies, in the United States.

John Hamon:

so I, I, graduated high school in new England.

John Hamon:

I went to school in New Hampshire and when I was 23, I actually was in college.

John Hamon:

I hitchhiked across the county.

John Hamon:

And it hit Santa Barbara in February.

John Hamon:

I'd gone to school in New Hampshire and, it was February and kids were wearing flip-flops and shorts and eating burritos.

John Hamon:

And the snow was up to my shoulders in new England.

John Hamon:

And I thought, you know, I could get used to this life, but anyway, after I got into school, I got an opportunity to come out, work for a company in Southern California.

John Hamon:

And I moved out there and my wife and I, raised our family there.

John Hamon:

And then.

John Hamon:

Jeepers.

John Hamon:

I want to say seven or eight years ago, we moved to New York city to plant a church and, um, build, build a business there.

John Hamon:

And then, I guess it was now, it's almost, it's a little over two years since we've lived in Jackson full-time, but my background is in my wife and I got married in Yosemite.

John Hamon:

We've always loved the national parks and always loved being in the outdoors.

John Hamon:

Our relationship is, you know, birding and hiking and backpacking, whatever else.

John Hamon:

And.

John Hamon:

We came through here years ago with our daughter, when she was a little girl and just, I remember seeing the Tetons, it just took my breath away.

John Hamon:

I was, I was truly speechless, which is a rarity for me.

John Hamon:

So, then several years ago our mutual friend bill Watkins, and I started, I got involved with him as a.

John Hamon:

CEO coach.

John Hamon:

And I was coming out for these quarterly meetings and I really got to spend time at Jackson.

John Hamon:

I thought, dang, you know, this is, I could be here and I have a business that's.

John Hamon:

Based on the cloud and the ability to do what our team is all is virtual all over the United States.

John Hamon:

My wife and I looked at each other COVID was going crazy in New York city.

John Hamon:

And we said, you know what, now's the time we're going to make a move.

John Hamon:

So that's how we ended up in Jackson.

Stephan Abrams:

Beautiful story.

Stephan Abrams:

Thank you.

Stephan Abrams:

Sure.

Stephan Abrams:

Now we're going to dive deep into this story.

Stephan Abrams:

I have heard of people hitchhiking.

Stephan Abrams:

When I first moved here, you could hitchhike not in the park.

Stephan Abrams:

That park would give you a ticket.

Stephan Abrams:

My brother got a ticket for hitchhiking in the park, but in town, running fly fish and shuttles, you could still hitchhike.

Stephan Abrams:

I don't know if people do it much anymore, but not many people do I know of who hitchhiked across the country.

Stephan Abrams:

Please share that experience of what it means to hitchhike across the country.

Stephan Abrams:

When you, and you said you were about 23 when you did that?

Stephan Abrams:

No,

John Hamon:

actually I was in college.

John Hamon:

I call it makes me, yeah, I was in college my sophomore year and I just ha I sort of had it with college.

John Hamon:

I w I was there because that's where you're supposed to be.

John Hamon:

And, and I thought, why am I doing this?

John Hamon:

The school I went to had a term system, so I could take a term off without, you know, missing w without messing things up and.

John Hamon:

I just wanted to get out and see the country.

John Hamon:

And like probably a lot of people I'd read Jack Cara wack.

John Hamon:

And I just saw this vision of getting on the road and sort of seeing what America is about.

John Hamon:

And I've noticed in life that you see things differently on foot than you do.

John Hamon:

In a car.

John Hamon:

And although your course riding lining your car or truck, when you're hitchhiking, you also spent a lot of time walking and you're kind of still an underground in a place.

John Hamon:

And so it was, it was an incredible experience actually, when I think back about it.

John Hamon:

And I think about the different kinds of people that I met on the road, and there's a really wide range of them.

John Hamon:

You know, there's people who are, I think dreamers like me, people who are.

John Hamon:

maybe down on their life, the luck and things are tough and they're trying to find a new place.

John Hamon:

And then there's people who are, really, it's a life for them.

John Hamon:

They don't want to deal with the confines of like an everyday life and being situated.

John Hamon:

And they'd like to be on the road and it's the way they live.

John Hamon:

it's a great flattener being on the road.

John Hamon:

Right?

John Hamon:

Cause there's, it's sort of all different kinds of people.

John Hamon:

it's like being in an airport or a Greyhound bus station.

John Hamon:

There's every kind of up.

John Hamon:

And you get to encounter them all.

John Hamon:

So it was this unique and special experience for

Stephan Abrams:

me.

Stephan Abrams:

Do you remember the path that you took from back east to Southern California?

John Hamon:

yeah, roughly, I mean, that's a long time ago, but I mean, I went to first, I went down to down the Eastern seaboard down in Washington, DC.

John Hamon:

I can't remember what the reason for that was.

John Hamon:

I think it was picking up a buddy of mine and then we hitchhiked, We hitchhiked west out through, the Midwest and then from the Midwest down into Denver.

John Hamon:

And I actually stopped for a few weeks down in Boulder, Colorado, and worked and just, kind of rebuilt my cash reserves.

John Hamon:

And then.

John Hamon:

And then I found a guy who was headed down to UC Santa Barbara, you know, and he, he offered to take us in that direction.

John Hamon:

And so that's how he ended up in Santa Barbara on the way, you know, one of the interesting things that happened to me was between.

John Hamon:

Santa Barbara and Northern California.

John Hamon:

I went up the highway 1 0 1, you know?

John Hamon:

And where was it was in Monterey.

John Hamon:

I think, a Nepalese guy picked me up.

John Hamon:

It was very late in the day and he, he took pity on me, said, well, why don't you come and stay at my house?

John Hamon:

And I thought, well, I mean, that's incredibly generous.

John Hamon:

I'd been camping at the side of the road.

John Hamon:

And, he made me this series of very modest means and he made me this dinner that I was the hottest food.

John Hamon:

I like hot food, the hottest food I've ever eaten.

John Hamon:

It was so hot.

John Hamon:

The foothills of the mountains.

John Hamon:

It was so hot.

John Hamon:

Like the next day my mouth was still on fire and he made me sleep in his bed.

John Hamon:

It was this sense of hospitality.

John Hamon:

Like I've never experienced.

John Hamon:

He said, you know, no, you can't.

John Hamon:

You're my guests, you sleep in my bed.

John Hamon:

And I was asleep on the floor and that guy, I don't know his name.

John Hamon:

I spent.

John Hamon:

16 hours with him, but he literally changed my life because he showed me what hospitality looks like in, in this the most honest, humble, and loving way.

John Hamon:

And it was really cool.

Stephan Abrams:

thank you for sharing that.

Stephan Abrams:

could you imagine where we would be today?

Stephan Abrams:

If one, it was safe for somebody to go hitchhike across the country, but then two.

Stephan Abrams:

If more people exhibited such, hospitality on a level where, that person wasn't asking for anything back, it was unconditional, just genuine hospitality towards you.

John Hamon:

Yeah.

John Hamon:

You know, I've experienced that elsewhere, everywhere, except for the United States.

John Hamon:

Another trip I had, was I traveled from France to, Morocco on trains because I was a poor kid.

John Hamon:

I wasn't a wealthy kid.

John Hamon:

And so I went on trades and I admitted.

John Hamon:

Taylor who took me into his home with his family and maybe stay there for two or three nights, or maybe, you know, he offered me too, but the way they treated me, it was just this, you know, I'm as a scruffy, whatever 20 year old and just receiving the, into the bosom of their family, feeding me, you know, giving me a place of honor.

John Hamon:

And I, I just think it's sad stuff because I think in the rest of the world, hospitality is regarded as like table stakes, it's just how people live.

John Hamon:

you have a stranger, you received him or her in and, and we just don't operate that way here.

John Hamon:

but you see it, lots of other places you do see a lots of other places.

Stephan Abrams:

Sounds like we have a little bit of work to do there.

Stephan Abrams:

John could be.

Stephan Abrams:

Yes.

Stephan Abrams:

You know, you mentioned that you and your wife moved from Southern California.

Stephan Abrams:

and is that you moved to New York and is that after you raise your kids were grown and you use the terms to raise a church.

Stephan Abrams:

Tell me about how this came about for you and your wife to do that.

Stephan Abrams:

and why New York city to raise this particular church as well.

John Hamon:

Well, thanks for asking me that I actually, you know, I actually, I haven't been a Christian all my life.

John Hamon:

I became a Christian about 20 years ago.

John Hamon:

So, you know, I'm 62 years old.

John Hamon:

I, you know, I was far along in my adult life, in.

John Hamon:

It really radically recentered and reordered my life in terms of what my priorities are.

John Hamon:

And, you know, the center of my faith is this idea for example of hospitality, but also being really generous of being radically generous.

John Hamon:

and that to whom much is given much as expected.

John Hamon:

And I have to say, in the scheme of things, I think both you and I are people too much has been.

John Hamon:

And we were at that place where we were very comfortable, where we had a beautiful place in San Diego, had a beautiful network of friends.

John Hamon:

We'd love the church we were in.

John Hamon:

And I actually went to a conference with my wife where a guy came in and he said, do you know that 60 or 70% of the world's population is going to live in cities by the end of the 21st?

John Hamon:

and the needs are astronomical.

John Hamon:

And I'd been in Daraa Salaam a few years ago, which was a massive city.

John Hamon:

And just seeing the challenges for people there and in, you know, my wife and I looked at each other, we said, do we want to be comforted?

John Hamon:

Or do we want to be useful?

John Hamon:

Like we can clock it out here or do we want to do something?

John Hamon:

And my wife is a nurse and incredible nurses done every kind of medicine from emergency department to labor and delivery and everything in between ran a surgery center and, There arose an opportunity for her to actually go and work in New York city, at a place called covenant house where her job was to provide care services for pregnant, homeless teenagers in Manhattan, in hell's kitchen.

John Hamon:

And I got to say in this life, and in this world for you to end up being a pregnant, homeless teenagers, In Manhattan means somebody treated you really poorly.

John Hamon:

Things have really gone poorly.

John Hamon:

And when this opportunity arose and we're asking ourselves how to be useful, we looked at it.

John Hamon:

We said, man, there's just so many people in that city and there's so much need, you know, how can we help?

John Hamon:

And that's really was the Genesis or the impetus for us to move to New York city.

John Hamon:

And, the guy who is the pastor of that church is actually the son of a very well-known Christian apologist and speaker.

John Hamon:

You can read about them in the New York times and so forth a guy by the name of Tim Keller and his son, Mike and I became fast friends.

John Hamon:

And that's how we ended up moving to the city.

John Hamon:

Christie took on that role at the covenant house, and I was the original planting elder with him on that.

Stephan Abrams:

What a mindset of abundance and heart.

Stephan Abrams:

not everybody looks at life.

Stephan Abrams:

There's not a lot of people that look at life and I'm just looking at my notes here.

Stephan Abrams:

Do we want to be comfortable or useful?

Stephan Abrams:

And I'm sure that there's probably other ways to be useful as well in your community.

Stephan Abrams:

What you and your wife did is certainly, a mark of giving and, wanting to contribute to other people because that's what changes lives.

John Hamon:

our mutual faith tradition, right?

John Hamon:

our book, the Torah, the Bible teaches that people are of infinite worth because they're made in the image of God.

John Hamon:

Right.

John Hamon:

And I just, you think about what I mean, and the creation is incredible.

John Hamon:

I'm looking out the window at the grand here.

John Hamon:

And what is astonishing?

John Hamon:

Thing of beauty, but people are worth way more than mountains.

John Hamon:

that's what our faith teaches and what I realized I also was a chaplain for a number of years.

John Hamon:

And so I took care of people who are dead and near death and dying in trauma and ICU and stuff.

John Hamon:

And what I found over and over again was at the end of people's lives.

John Hamon:

They never said, gee, I wish I'd spent more time at work.

John Hamon:

I wish I'd spent more time fly fishing.

John Hamon:

I wish I'd improve my golf.

John Hamon:

They invariably said, I wish I'd spent more time investing it, spending with my family and those I love and investing in people.

John Hamon:

I mean, just think of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge.

John Hamon:

Like in our heart of hearts, we really know that just being comfortable is not a very satisfying life actually.

John Hamon:

So this isn't like some big insight that we have.

John Hamon:

I just think it's, I think it's spiritual physics.

John Hamon:

I think that's just the reality of how human beings are made.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

and I wish more people who own their own businesses or just in work in general re stopped and realized that yeah, it's important to make a living.

Stephan Abrams:

You want to put something on the table, but is it more, more because that's what the neighbors and everybody else around you is pushing for?

Stephan Abrams:

Or is it because, is that something that you true.

Stephan Abrams:

Genuinely desire and need, but at the end of the day, what are you going to say?

Stephan Abrams:

Oh my gosh, I missed a kid's recital or I'm at an event with my family.

Stephan Abrams:

I wasn't there.

Stephan Abrams:

I mean, we all need to travel and experience things.

Stephan Abrams:

You can't be there for everything, but I have a business meeting next week.

Stephan Abrams:

In Casper.

Stephan Abrams:

And I was planning on leaving on a Wednesday for the meeting on Thursday.

Stephan Abrams:

And my wife said, oh, just so you know, the kids recital spring concert is on Wednesday night.

Stephan Abrams:

It's like, I'll move, change my plans.

Stephan Abrams:

I didn't know.

Stephan Abrams:

And I did cause my kids who were in second grade and kindergarten not can always get to see them do.

John Hamon:

You never get that time back.

John Hamon:

There's nothing more valuable than that.

John Hamon:

That was the right choice.

Stephan Abrams:

Well, thank you.

Stephan Abrams:

and I look at the pictures behind you.

Stephan Abrams:

I have pictures, bought a box of pictures and sometimes I just don't know what to do with them.

Stephan Abrams:

But today I have a folder from our move and I pulled it out and it has a picture of me, my brother, my best friend Richie, and my brother's best friend, Michael, who are brothers.

Stephan Abrams:

And it was when we were in college and I took a picture of it and send it to them and they're like, oh my gosh, look at us.

Stephan Abrams:

I've known Richie since I was 10 years old.

Stephan Abrams:

and it's just money will never replace that type of relationship or those memories or the people that your wife helped Christie.

Stephan Abrams:

Right?

Stephan Abrams:

Yup.

Stephan Abrams:

Help that covenant house and the lives that you change go into raise a church in New York city.

John Hamon:

again, I talk about, I think of spiritual physics, like what's the nature of reality.

John Hamon:

One of the funny things is you go to give and you hope to receive something back.

John Hamon:

But what I found works over and over again is when you give to other people, you get back a multiple of whatever it is that you're giving the connections that you make, the wisdom that you gain, the insights, the love that you receive from people.

John Hamon:

I mean, it's, you know, it's addictive actually to, to be a giver because it's so rewarding.

John Hamon:

I think

Stephan Abrams:

it is rewarding.

Stephan Abrams:

when you can put a smile on somebody's face.

Stephan Abrams:

get somebody to laugh that's way better than the alternatives.

Stephan Abrams:

Yep.

Stephan Abrams:

Way better.

Stephan Abrams:

So you go to New York city, you started church, you and Christy started church.

Stephan Abrams:

when you moved out here is the church still thriving?

John Hamon:

Oh, yeah, no, it's doing really well.

John Hamon:

It's how many member?

John Hamon:

Well, think about 600 people attend church on Sunday morning, which was the other church.

John Hamon:

Yeah, it is.

John Hamon:

It's great.

John Hamon:

And we go back there.

John Hamon:

We were back there this spring and, gets a disconnect with everybody, but I kind of had done my part.

John Hamon:

I was the first stage booster.

John Hamon:

If you will.

John Hamon:

And then there were younger guys, who, you know, who are really kind of ready to take it to the next level.

John Hamon:

So,

Stephan Abrams:

and it's, that's the way life should be let the next people, the next generation or whoever come in and.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah, I do have a very curious question because you moved from San Diego and I love, somebody who was a minister in San Diego, and I love his messaging.

Stephan Abrams:

John.

Stephan Abrams:

Did you happen to

John Hamon:

attend his church?

John Hamon:

I didn't attend his church, but I went to events there.

John Hamon:

So I, you know, John Maxwell is well known and beloved of course, in San Diego for his leadership teachings.

John Hamon:

Yeah.

John Hamon:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

All right.

Stephan Abrams:

well thank you for sharing that.

Stephan Abrams:

and another person who teaches about abundance and giving, it's John Maxwell.

John Hamon:

Yeah, that's right.

John Hamon:

He sat on the, he's definitely affected my ways to thinking about stuff as a leader.

John Hamon:

We talk about them a lot at work.

Stephan Abrams:

Agreed.

Stephan Abrams:

We actually have a book club for the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership next week at the store.

Stephan Abrams:

Sure do.

Stephan Abrams:

Okay.

Stephan Abrams:

And so you started a business in New York city.

Stephan Abrams:

I love the story how you got it going.

Stephan Abrams:

So I look forward to where you to share it

John Hamon:

with everybody.

John Hamon:

Sure.

John Hamon:

Well, I actually had it going before we moved to New York city.

John Hamon:

So I started this business about 10 years ago, so I was a fund manager and, um, well, I started out as a technologist.

John Hamon:

When I was in high school, I learned to program computers and really changed the course of my life because I was a poor kid and it gave me the income to be able to actually, make a decent living for my family.

John Hamon:

My dad had walked down my family, so I've been a technologist.

John Hamon:

Then I became a, you got involved in financial services and became a fund manager.

John Hamon:

And when I started this company, I put the two things together.

John Hamon:

What I was trying to do when I was trying to raise money for my fund was communicate and get to know my investors and build relationships with them.

John Hamon:

And I thought, wouldn't it be great if there was a way to make it easier for people to connect with their investors.

John Hamon:

Okay.

John Hamon:

So I got started with a technology called Salesforce, which I think is coming to be a pretty well-known name that people actually know what it is, but I put two things that I love together, technology and financial services.

John Hamon:

And The way that I started that company actually was, I walked into Salesforce.

John Hamon:

They were in San Francisco to a young group of sales guys.

John Hamon:

And I, I brought them a box of in and out burgers and fries, which is the way to every young, young bucks by heart, I think.

John Hamon:

And, I don't know if everybody knows in and out burgers, but if you're in California, it's in and out burgers And that was Friday the 13th, April Friday, the 13th of 2012.

John Hamon:

And the phone started ringing the next morning, the next Monday.

John Hamon:

And it never stopped the businesses just continue to grow, because what we're doing is meeting a need, you know, banks need to get, to need to get closer to their customers.

John Hamon:

They need to meet their needs.

John Hamon:

They need to help them solve their financial needs and concerns.

John Hamon:

And so, when I moved to New York, though, we moved to New York to plant that church, but it turned out.

John Hamon:

Then, of course you can't throw a rock and downtown Manhattan without hitting the window of a private equity firm, a wealth manager, a bank.

John Hamon:

And so our business really exploded.

John Hamon:

it, I want to say grew about eight times in the course of three years, once we got there.

John Hamon:

So it grew very rapidly and that was a huge part of it.

John Hamon:

But I wish I could say I was a super strategic guy who had this vision for we'll move to New York and it's going to make all the difference, but.

John Hamon:

That isn't really what happened.

John Hamon:

It came as a consequence of moving there for the other reasons.

John Hamon:

but it was certainly contributed to our success

Stephan Abrams:

and then in and out

John Hamon:

burger true.

Stephan Abrams:

And now for demise is a leader in that sector for Salesforce, what you're offering and you.

Stephan Abrams:

Executed on something very generous in the world of business.

Stephan Abrams:

And it goes back to you making a difference and your generosity.

John Hamon:

You're asking me about what we're doing with the business.

John Hamon:

So, you know, we have this kind of north star purpose statement that we want to be wildly successful so that we can be radically generous, actually have a bracelet on my wrist that, you know, everybody in our team has, we want to be wildly successful so that we can be radically generous.

John Hamon:

And so.

John Hamon:

you know, I define success in terms greater than just sort of sales and in income, it's also how our people are flourishing.

John Hamon:

You know, how are they doing in their careers?

John Hamon:

How are they doing their families?

John Hamon:

How are they giving to their communities?

John Hamon:

And when we're thriving, then we have abundance to give.

John Hamon:

And that's the idea of radical generosity.

John Hamon:

So you gotta put your money where your mouth is.

John Hamon:

You know, a lot of people say.

John Hamon:

If, when then, you know, if this happens or when that happens, then I can be generous when my ship comes in.

John Hamon:

I can give.

John Hamon:

Right.

John Hamon:

But my conviction is that giving is a muscle that you have to develop.

John Hamon:

It doesn't come particularly easy because he had, because giving is painful.

John Hamon:

and so I'm teaching everybody along the way to be generous givers.

John Hamon:

And so we started this program.

John Hamon:

It's called CTO.

John Hamon:

That's just an acronym that stands for stake in the outcome.

John Hamon:

And of course I love the local connection with our local brand studio.

John Hamon:

But what CEO is a.

John Hamon:

Is really a mechanism for everybody in our company, from a brand new executive assistant who just joined the company to the president of our team has a real stake in the outcome.

John Hamon:

That is a real opportunity To participate in the fruits of growing that business.

John Hamon:

you know, I've been very interested for a long time in conscious capitalism.

John Hamon:

I don't know if that's, I think you and I have talked a little bit about that in our other times as as a movement, but just the notion that you can do good while you're doing well.

John Hamon:

And there's nothing about capitalism that says it has to be all for a handful of.

John Hamon:

You know, I'm not a socialist, but I'm not a capitalist in the way that people think about capitalism.

John Hamon:

Generally, either.

John Hamon:

I think about, Hey, we're all in this team together.

John Hamon:

How can this be great for everybody?

John Hamon:

How could this be life-changing for everything, not just giving them money, but actually how do we develop the skills and the stewardship to be able to give our time, give our capabilities, you know, give our skills to, to our communities.

John Hamon:

So that's kind of what.

Stephan Abrams:

John.

Stephan Abrams:

I still want to dive into what you're teaching and how you're teaching your team to open up that door to generosity and giving.

Stephan Abrams:

We're going to take a quick break to get a word from one of our sponsors, and then we're going to come back to that conversation.

Stephan Abrams:

John, welcome back.

Stephan Abrams:

We are talking about giving How I love what you just said, radically generous.

Stephan Abrams:

You can be wildly successful, radically generous.

Stephan Abrams:

You talked about conscious capitalism and you said that giving is a muscle, which you have to exercise.

Stephan Abrams:

How do you teach the people?

Stephan Abrams:

On your team that are benefiting or are rewarded with the STIO program, how are you teaching them to be givers?

John Hamon:

Yeah, that's a great question.

John Hamon:

So some of it is how we treat people at work, right?

John Hamon:

So for example, I just had my monthly all team meeting today and we announced that Friday afternoons are going to be off for this.

John Hamon:

So for 13 weeks of the summer, we're giving people Friday afternoons off.

John Hamon:

We're still asking them to do the work they need to do in the course of the week, but to structure their time.

John Hamon:

Or for example, we did.

John Hamon:

day of rest where we said, we just going to give everybody another day off because this COVID thing is this is about nine, 10 months ago.

John Hamon:

It's just been too much.

John Hamon:

We just all need to take a break from being in these stupid zoom calls all the time.

John Hamon:

So one part is just modeling in terms of how the company treats our people.

John Hamon:

We have an unlimited PTO plan.

John Hamon:

We have.

John Hamon:

401k matching plan.

John Hamon:

You know, we work hard to try to build people's career path and so forth, but another is just modeling.

John Hamon:

So for example, as things have developed in Ukraine, we went out and identified an organization called hope for Ukraine that is really involved in helping the least of these, the moms and kids, you know, the most vulnerable people in the society.

John Hamon:

And, my president, my, my buddy, Danny and I each agreed that we would provide matching fees up to a few thousand dollars.

John Hamon:

if our team members would come alongside us, we'd matched out a dollar for dollar.

John Hamon:

So you put in a buck, we put in two bucks, that's $3.

John Hamon:

So, and I'm very proud to say that the company, you know, which is 55 60 people right now, we raised almost $10,000 just for that cause.

John Hamon:

And it was just exemplifying to the modeling.

John Hamon:

Bye bye.

John Hamon:

Leading from the front, you know, not leading from the back, if that makes sense.

John Hamon:

And then, you know, we do supportive activities.

John Hamon:

We have what we call BTL, volunteer time off, where we're actively encouraging people to go out and.

John Hamon:

Work in their communities.

John Hamon:

and so we celebrate that when people do those things, we have a very vibrant slack environment for our company.

John Hamon:

and then, you know, bigger initiatives and stuff I'm involved in now is I'm working on setting up a center of excellence in Latin America because.

John Hamon:

We want to be able to make real changes in the lives of help other people to flourish.

John Hamon:

So a friend of mine who's got a company like our.

John Hamon:

He's down in Guatemala right now.

John Hamon:

And they're creating jobs for people who come from, you know, sort of native heritage through the most marginalized people in Guatemala and the come out of technical schools and where those their parents were making $2,000 a year of subsistence farmers.

John Hamon:

These young men and women are making $2,000 a month.

John Hamon:

And if you don't think that doesn't just change their family.

John Hamon:

It doesn't, it changes that local community it's astonishing.

John Hamon:

So my focus is to model to our people how we do our business with this mindset.

John Hamon:

And I think I've answered from small to large, but I mean, there's a lot of ways in which together we're saying this is what matters and in trying to demonstrate it through action and not words

Stephan Abrams:

I'm, just blown away by all this.

Stephan Abrams:

I had no idea.

Stephan Abrams:

Of everything.

Stephan Abrams:

And as far as you are, you're taking this and as much that you, the impact that you were making, and when you interview people or you don't interview people when your team now interviews people and tells them about how fortimize works, what are people's responses?

John Hamon:

Well, you know, it's interesting.

John Hamon:

Just to tell a small story.

John Hamon:

So my wife of 33 years Christie, she was like I said, a line nurse trauma, ICU, labor and delivery for years.

John Hamon:

And at some point about 15 years ago, her management that the hospital that she worked at in Southern California.

John Hamon:

So we would like you to become a leader.

John Hamon:

And my wife has a very blue collar headset.

John Hamon:

And she was like, I don't want to become management.

John Hamon:

Those people that wander around in suits and they don't do anything, they just ride our butts and make our lives for this one.

John Hamon:

They said, no, really we want you to become a leader.

John Hamon:

And she went through a two year period after praying through and discerning that this was thing for her to do of becoming a leader.

John Hamon:

And she was miserable.

John Hamon:

She'd come home and cry every night.

John Hamon:

dinnertime was like a weep athon between for me to just listen, but she became, and this is where this story is going.

John Hamon:

One of the most effective leaders at this hospital system of, you know, 50,000 employees or something scripts in Southern Cal in San Diego, they had two ways of looking at how leaders are doing.

John Hamon:

One was press Ganey scores, which are the way the hospitals.

John Hamon:

What is the patient experience?

John Hamon:

How do patients experience coming in and going through her surgery center?

John Hamon:

And then they have what they call great place to work scores, which you're probably familiar with how did the employees experience working here?

John Hamon:

And I'm very proud to say, and I don't think she'll ever hear this.

John Hamon:

So I think we're okay.

John Hamon:

But she was absolutely at the top of the system and both of those schools.

John Hamon:

She accomplished exceptional experiences for both the patients and for her people.

John Hamon:

And what I learned from her watching her do this was that she created a culture that was so, like a fan of a putting green that was really hard for weeds to come through and practice people would come into the organization and they'd either look at it and say, that is definitely not for me.

John Hamon:

Or they go, this is really exciting.

John Hamon:

And I want to be a part of it.

John Hamon:

And occasionally they had misses of people who came in, who were quite right.

John Hamon:

And it was such a strong culture that people opted out.

John Hamon:

So for me, being really clear about what the business is about, what we value and externalizing that.

John Hamon:

So people know what they're getting into is a huge piece of this.

John Hamon:

I call it the cilantro chest.

John Hamon:

My, my mom has that genetic thing where cilantro tastes like detergent to her.

John Hamon:

And to me.

John Hamon:

But what we want to do is say, this is what we do, like cilantro and say, you'll either love it or you'll hate it.

John Hamon:

And , in doing that, we have a much higher success of getting people with.

John Hamon:

That's for me.

John Hamon:

I want to be a part of it.

John Hamon:

We don't do it perfectly, but it keeps getting better and better.

John Hamon:

And so I think lots of people are attracted, especially thinking younger, the younger crew coming up now, you know, I think Zs and millennials want to be part of more than just maximizing the.

John Hamon:

They want to be going somewhere and being on mission.

John Hamon:

And so I think what we're, what our team is doing is really attractive to those guys.

John Hamon:

That answer your question?

Stephan Abrams:

You did and okay, well, well answered and thank you for that story is as well.

Stephan Abrams:

And you mentioned great place to work.

Stephan Abrams:

Last year, we were received certification from the.

Stephan Abrams:

As a great place to work because our team went through the survey process and that's what they voted us for as being a great place to work.

Stephan Abrams:

And I can tell you what, four or five years ago, we never would have received it.

John Hamon:

So that had a lot to do with the work that you've done with, Great game of business and stuff.

Stephan Abrams:

It is with not just great game, but with, through the lions pride.

Stephan Abrams:

And it's also not just my work, John, it's the work of the team that I've assembled.

Stephan Abrams:

That's where it comes down to.

Stephan Abrams:

Now I have the vision.

Stephan Abrams:

I say, this is what I would like.

Stephan Abrams:

And people say, yes, I want to be a part of that and help grow it.

Stephan Abrams:

And we'll water it.

Stephan Abrams:

We'll plant the seeds.

Stephan Abrams:

We'll water it.

Stephan Abrams:

And we'll harvest.

Stephan Abrams:

And that's what the team has done.

Stephan Abrams:

they're the ones who are putting in really the hard work for it.

John Hamon:

Yeah, well, by the way, I'm the talking head, right?

John Hamon:

I mean, I, everything that gets done by an incredible team of people.

John Hamon:

I'm humbled by the quality of people I get to work with.

John Hamon:

this is not my thing.

John Hamon:

It's their thing.

John Hamon:

Our thing.

Stephan Abrams:

I'm with you, John, I am very humbled and let's talk about people who aren't in necessarily a.

Stephan Abrams:

Roll like you and I, so we both own our own businesses.

Stephan Abrams:

We're running businesses.

Stephan Abrams:

We have the, leverage to say, this is what I want.

Stephan Abrams:

Let's go do it.

Stephan Abrams:

and it's not from, I'll say this for me.

Stephan Abrams:

It's not coming from a top down level type of model.

Stephan Abrams:

It's more of the servant leadership saying I would like this for you.

Stephan Abrams:

And for everybody else.

Stephan Abrams:

So I'm here down at the bottom.

Stephan Abrams:

You're above me.

Stephan Abrams:

How can I help you accomplish this if you really want to do it, but for people who are in that role, like you and I, how do you think they could make a difference in their organization?

Stephan Abrams:

Even if the top hasn't adopted this type of philosophy so they can make.

John Hamon:

Yeah, right.

John Hamon:

Well, people don't quit companies.

John Hamon:

They quit bosses.

John Hamon:

So whatever's farrier and you have the opportunity to affect those immediately around you.

John Hamon:

Right.

John Hamon:

And, I just think about the difference between what we call it at Fordham.

John Hamon:

I was being an owner mindset factor.

John Hamon:

Our president talked about it today, right.

John Hamon:

He said, you know, there's a difference between a rental unit and a home that you own.

John Hamon:

Right.

John Hamon:

So if you own a condominium and you get a stain on the car, You're going to move heaven and earth to try to get that stain out.

John Hamon:

If it's a rental, you know, maybe not so much.

John Hamon:

So it's a mindset of what do I own and what we call a true you're familiar with to create or mindset, right?

John Hamon:

Not a victim mindset, not a scarcity mindset.

John Hamon:

Like I don't have this and I don't have that, and I'm not at the top of the organization, but rather than.

John Hamon:

This is my sphere.

John Hamon:

This is the world in which I'm working.

John Hamon:

What can I do here?

John Hamon:

And, you know, I've found Stefan over and over again that the actual knowledge of the organization is at the bottom.

John Hamon:

Like I talked to bank, president CEO, CTO, CIO, CLS all the time, and they'll tell you how their bank works.

John Hamon:

And then you go talk to, a borrower, I mean, to a lender, to a teller, and you find out how the bank really works and there's this huge disconnect.

John Hamon:

So one of the things about unlocking genius in an organization is to push decision-making and, you know, it's to empower people in their world to take action.

John Hamon:

Now that's not the answer to the question you said, well, if I'm not the boss, what do I do?

John Hamon:

But wherever you are.

John Hamon:

There are things you can make better.

John Hamon:

There are stains, you can get out of the carpet.

John Hamon:

There's a, you know, there, there are things that you can see that no one else can see that can , make a difference.

John Hamon:

And, to me, work is just much more fulfilling when I'm trying to do something as opposed to fetching about how life is unfair.

John Hamon:

I don't like what I've not.

Stephan Abrams:

Yes.

Stephan Abrams:

Don't look at life with, I'm going to bend over and pick up that piece of paper.

Stephan Abrams:

What's it.

Stephan Abrams:

Even if it doesn't have to be at work, it can be in our community wherever somebody lives, just grab a bag and go pick up trash in your neighborhood.

Stephan Abrams:

One day you'll

John Hamon:

make a difference.

John Hamon:

You know, you asked me about pastors, his pastor in San Diego, who's who's been dead now for 15 years.

John Hamon:

And he was very beloved to people in Southern California.

John Hamon:

And he had this congregation of a thousand people or 2000 people.

John Hamon:

very humbling.

John Hamon:

Well-spoken men and people were just attracted to hear what he had to share.

John Hamon:

But one Sunday, apparently when people were exiting church, people couldn't figure out where Chuck was.

John Hamon:

When we kept asking where's Chuck.

John Hamon:

Well, somebody eventually found him.

John Hamon:

After the service and he finished and he dashed out to the bathroom, he discovered that the toilet was plugged.

John Hamon:

So he was.

John Hamon:

The senior pastor of this large congregation out there with a toilet plunger, plunging the toilet to get it unstuck.

John Hamon:

And it was just that mindset.

John Hamon:

Like, no job is too small for me.

John Hamon:

I'm not too great for anything to do.

John Hamon:

And if leaders will do that, they know that their people see that.

John Hamon:

I mean, people are children, your kids, my kids, they don't listen to what you say.

John Hamon:

They're looking at what you're doing.

John Hamon:

And leadership is modeling.

John Hamon:

It's not talking.

Stephan Abrams:

Modeling not.

Stephan Abrams:

Talking.

Stephan Abrams:

Well, well said, John, thank you.

Stephan Abrams:

I feel that you and I, well, you know, you and I can spend hours talking to each other.

Stephan Abrams:

We can,

John Hamon:

and we should.

John Hamon:

We need to do it again soon.

Stephan Abrams:

Yes.

Stephan Abrams:

Yes, we will.

Stephan Abrams:

Well, what we're going to have lunch soon.

Stephan Abrams:

I know that, you and Chrissy had a phenomenal road trip, in the west and you got to go see some of the places that we saw last year.

Stephan Abrams:

Let's have you share if people want to connect with you and get some words of inspiration, what is the best way for them to be able to connect with you

John Hamon:

to find me?

John Hamon:

Yeah.

John Hamon:

Okay.

John Hamon:

I don't do social media.

John Hamon:

I gave up Facebook seven years ago.

John Hamon:

My family said, you'll be back.

John Hamon:

I said, Nope,

John Hamon:

because I realized just, I have to editorialize to say, someone said to me, you know, when you're not paying, you're not the customer.

John Hamon:

And all of a sudden I realized it was the product and not the customer.

John Hamon:

And I just got off.

John Hamon:

However, because of business, I am on LinkedIn.

John Hamon:

So my name is John Hammond, H a M O N.

John Hamon:

You can find me on LinkedIn there, or I will, I can give you my email too.

John Hamon:

Is that appropriate?

John Hamon:

Like, okay.

John Hamon:

It's you can just email me at John J O H N at fortimize.com.

John Hamon:

And I know that's a weird thing.

John Hamon:

F O R T I M I Z E fortimize.com and.

John Hamon:

Loved to interact with people.

John Hamon:

I love to exchange ideas

Stephan Abrams:

and I know you do, and thank you and folks, John is very genuine and serious about.

Stephan Abrams:

He loves to connect with people and exchange ideas and fortimize, it rolls right off the tongue, John, it's not a weird name.

Stephan Abrams:

It's great name.

Stephan Abrams:

I love it.

Stephan Abrams:

Thank you.

Stephan Abrams:

It has meaning to you.

Stephan Abrams:

It does.

Stephan Abrams:

Yes.

Stephan Abrams:

Well, John go enjoy the rest of the day.

Stephan Abrams:

take a deep breath and look those Tetons out your window.

Stephan Abrams:

Give your wife Christy a hug and, we will see you very soon.

John Hamon:

Thank you so much, Stephan.

John Hamon:

It's really been fun.

Stephan Abrams:

Always a fun time talking to you, John.

Stephan Abrams:

Take care.

Stephan Abrams:

Okay.

Stephan Abrams:

Bye.

Stephan Abrams:

To learn more about John Hammond and how you can be radically generous.

Stephan Abrams:

Visit that Jackson hole connection.com episode number 194.

Stephan Abrams:

Thank you everybody who helped keep this podcast on the air for tuning in share.

Stephan Abrams:

These episodes with your friends and family, but especially my wife, Laura, my boys, Louis and William.

Stephan Abrams:

And of course Michael Moeri who has edited every single episode of this podcast.

Stephan Abrams:

I do appreciate you sharing your time with me today.

Stephan Abrams:

Cheers, till next week.

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