What's up? I'm Rachel Spiewak and this is Rock Your Tribe Radio where community, fun, social media and business collide. I firmly believe that parties are the answer to all of life's problems. Seriously. Building a community, bringing people together for a common purpose and serving them, that's your mission as a business owner. Let's make it happen. It's time to rock your tribe.
(00:28): Welcome to the show. I have some sad news, but I promise I'm not throwing a pity party. My grandpa Paul just passed away on Thursday, July 22nd, 2021. And now I wish I had interviewed him for this podcast because he was the original content creating community building systems, thinking social entrepreneur. Paul J Spewak was born on March 29th, 1926, which happened to be the first night of Passover that year. The Hebrew word for Passover is pay sock. And so that became his Hebrew name, pay sock pay sock means order how fitting for a kid growing up in crown Heights during the great depression who had spent the rest of his life, smiling through the ups and downs, because for every problem, there's a solution. My grandpa authored a memoir in 2008 called the day I flew my car and other true stories on the back cover. It says, Paul is an octogenarian with a love of life and new experiences.
(01:28): He has had more than 50 jobs in his life. Been an owner of 19 businesses, a computer systems designer, a consultant, a magazine publisher, a public speaker, and an author. Strangely. He left off veteran. I've been flipping through this collection of reader's digest style vignettes that typically end with a punchline or some kind of witty observation. And the prevailing theme is when life gives you lemons, start a lemonade business or become a lemonade business consultant. I think my grandpa loved life precisely because he could always find a way to make order out of chaos business out of nothing. A bounty of cherries out of a neglected cherry tree that grew in Brooklyn, which is Russian immigrant mother turned into pies and cherry borscht. There are sad stories contained in my grandpa's book. My grandmother's miscarriage, losing jobs and businesses, several accounts of being inches away from a horrific car accident.
(02:21): A very long battle with cancer that was probably due to a computer cleaning product. He used in one of his businesses. And in 1968, the day, my grandpa's heart stopped after donating blood to his uncle. Pete who had been diagnosed with leukemia as I was scanning through the table of contents of his memoir, that chapter was hard to miss. It's called the day I died. There's a bit of old time wisdom that my grandpa shared with me that I've always carried around. If you borrow something, be sure to return it in better condition than you received it. Since my grandpa technically went into code blue in 1968, that means he had been living on borrowed time ever since then, by his logic, it was his duty to leave the world a better place than he had received it. And he did the other day, a business associate of mine.
(03:11): Emailed me about an opportunity specifically for female founders. Do I spend much time thinking about the condition of being a founder who is female? I could pontificate on the topic, but because of my grandpa's example in support, I never doubted my ability to build my own lemonade business or consult. He, he never said you can't because you're a girl. He showed me. You can because you're a SPI whack and the world of entrepreneurs and founders, the Spewak bloodline might be an outlier while most business owners find little or no support among family members to chase their dreams. This is all we know and it's really about survival and pragmatism. My grandfather, grandfather, Isaac, Spewak got the hell out of Dodge, Warsaw, Poland in the early 19 hundreds and landed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he made and sold sheepskin parkas to the dock workers and founded.
(04:07): I SPE whack and sons, a very successful clothing company. That's still around today. I'll have to do some more reading in my grandpa's book to find out exactly what happened, but he wound up not working for the company still as my dad, my grandpa's youngest son likes to say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Although my grandpa owned at least 19 businesses in his lifetime, the one I'm familiar with because it's the one he operated throughout my childhood was called the reunion network. He eventually we sold it. And these days it's called the military reunion network. He ran this business with my grandmother and they traveled the country for years, helping to organize military reunions. They provided a much needed service for our veterans, giving them that sense of community and connection that all people need, especially those with the collective history of trauma.
(04:58): I spent most of my senior year in college, protesting the war on terror and at my college graduation in 2003, I was the only student who decorated their mortar board. I constructed a masking tape, peace sign on it. My grandparents came to my graduation and had a bit of an issue with my statement. They countered with their own. When they sent me pictures from that day, as in, they took pictures with a camera and had the roll of film developed. The final two pictures in the stack were of the American flag on Emery's quad, where our graduation ceremony had taken place. This didn't go unnoticed by me when it was decided just a few days ago that it was time to call hospice. I started leafing through my grandpa's book, not quite ready to dive in just yet. Then after I got the news that he had finally passed, I started to read it.
(05:45): What I found was me a lot, his stories look like a lot of my stories. Why have I had so many disparate life experiences? Why have I started businesses a and all sorts of projects? Why am I so passionate about community building? Why do I love to publish my ideas and share my platform with other thinkers? I always my bat mitzvah ocean themed. Again, we find the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Now back to our dueling graduation statements about the war, a peace sign and American flag. They're just symbols. That mean the same thing to my grandpa and me that it's our job to make order out of chaos, abundance out of loss, a business out of whatever's lying around and community out of people. My guess is that growing up during the great depression, taught him that it's people who matter, not things. There's a lot more to say about a man who lived to be 95 years old, who lived hundreds of lives in just one lifetime. For example, my grandpa and grandma were scuba divers and underwater photographers. And what I remember most are the hours my brother and I spent as children watching slide projector shows of his and my grandmother's underwater
(06:57): Photography, pictures of sea creatures projected on our wall sharks, sea urchins, a very scary eel. And so to the man who paved the way for me, who when faced with tough times and chaos smiled and created order so long. And thanks for all the fish. Thank you so much for being here and as always you rock,
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