Tuesday, August 30, 2016

29 going on 30: My journey, my life, living the United Way

Nap also taught me the value of hard work.  
Pete & Penny, April 1962

by Pete Grignon, Chief Financial Officer, CPA

“Get out there and do something, don’t just take up space!”  At nine years old, I formed a shoe shine business partnership with two of my best childhood friends, Dan and Kevin. We lived across the street from a college with fraternities. There was this older kid Walter. We saw him shining shoes for the frat boys and found out he charged 15 cents a pair... today’s equivalent of a dollar. We decided we would charge 10 cents a pair. For the first week, business was slow as there were many loyal customers. So, we offered a 5 cent introductory offer for the first pair and each additional pair for 10 cents. Success. Walter wasn’t happy. He threatened to kick our butts if we didn’t stop our business. So, instead of fighting with him, we offered to divide up the territory and he agreed.  

Lesson learned: There is enough for all to go around.  Don’t kill your competition. Negotiate and think about the needs of others. You will always win, and without violence.  

Turns out Nap wasn't alone in his thinking. Entrepreneur Cameron Herold's Ted Talk challenges us to raise kids to be entrepreneurs. Take a peek...

Monday, August 15, 2016

29 going on 30: My journey, my life, living the United Way

My first lesson with money 

by Pete Grignon, Chief Financial Officer, CPA

“Son, we are going to the bank today to deposit the money you earned. We will watch it grow together.”  ~ Edward Napoleon “Nap” Grignon 1960.  

At four years old, I had no idea what that meant.  Back in those days, you received a small passbook from the bank that recorded your deposits and interest earned. The first time I saw that additional interest recorded in that little blue multi page book, I got what my dad meant and was hooked on saving.  I didn’t realize later in life I would be working with United Way of Pierce County with one of our focus areas on coaching people how to earn money, keep it and grow it.

Over the next few months, I'm going to share with you the things I've learned in almost 30 years as the CFO at United Way of Pierce County and the things I learned growing up. Lessons that have played a bigger role in my life then I even thought possible. And lessons that, I hope, will help others as they work toward their own financial self-sufficiency.