Breakfast with the Boss - Paul Rosengard, President of Anatwine North America

Paul Rosengard has been deeply involved with the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund for quite some time, even serving as president and chairman of the organization in the past. Paul is devoted to the education of the fashion industry’s rising talent. He is an Adjunct Professor & Board Member at the Parsons School of Design. “I believe in the power of education,” he said passionately. “I marvel at its ability to level the inherent inequities of the socioeconomic field. Education is the great equalizer, and that is why most of my philanthropic activities revolve around it.” “My preparation for today was guided by a quote from Abraham Lincoln,” Paul said. “I’ll paraphrase: When I’m about to give a speech, I spend one third of my time thinking about what I want to say, and two thirds of my time thinking about what my audience wants to hear. What do they want to know? What do they need to learn?” Rosengard told the scholars that they should have two career goals at this point in their lives: get a job and succeed at that job. “The key to happiness is to identify what you like to do, and then figure out how to make a living from that. Does everyone know who Yogi Berra is?” he asked. “Yogi Berra once said if you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll probably end up somewhere else. I want to share four paradigm shifts with you today; they are each comprised of six words that I refer to as ‘Words to live by’. The first one is: ‘Begin with the end in mind.’ These are my favorite six words.”

Paul Rosengard has been deeply involved with the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund for quite some time, even serving as president and chairman of the organization in the past. Paul is devoted to the education of the fashion industry’s rising talent. He is an Adjunct Professor & Board Member at the Parsons School of Design. “I believe in the power of education,” he said passionately. “I marvel at its ability to level the inherent inequities of the socioeconomic field. Education is the great equalizer, and that is why most of my philanthropic activities revolve around it.”

“My preparation for today was guided by a quote from Abraham Lincoln,” Paul said. “I’ll paraphrase: When I’m about to give a speech, I spend one third of my time thinking about what I want to say, and two thirds of my time thinking about what my audience wants to hear. What do they want to know? What do they need to learn?” Rosengard told the scholars that they should have two career goals at this point in their lives: get a job and succeed at that job. “The key to happiness is to identify what you like to do, and then figure out how to make a living from that. Does everyone know who Yogi Berra is?” he asked. “Yogi Berra once said if you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll probably end up somewhere else. I want to share four paradigm shifts with you today; they are each comprised of six words that I refer to as ‘Words to live by’. The first one is: ‘Begin with the end in mind.’ These are my favorite six words.”

“Doing the right thing is more important than doing things right,” Paul said. “It is the difference between activity and productivity. One is easy, and the other takes a lot of time. Here is the analogy I’ll give you: If you go to my office and look at my desk, you would see papers everywhere. To you it might look disheveled or disorganized. Every night before I leave, I think about what I want to get done before I go home. I ask myself how I want to spend the next twenty minutes; what would add the most value? I could file a bunch of papers – do things ‘right’ and make everything look perfect – or I could call the CEO of Men’s Warehouse and have a discussion about a business opportunity. I promise you I always choose some variation on the latter. Recognize the difference between activity and productivity – the difference between doing things right, and doing the right things.” Paul went on to share his second point. “Paradigm shift number two: Dig your well before you’re thirsty. This paradigm shift is about preparation,” he said. “It’s about treating everyone you meet with respect. The support staff, your colleagues, your boss, the security guards – no matter where you work, you need to treat these people with dignity and respect. You never know when you might need a guard to let you in because you forgot your ID, or need to borrow someone’s assistant because yours is out of town.  If that’s the day you have to introduce yourself, you’re probably not likely to secure their help.  Be nice to the people you meet on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way back down. Be nice – it doesn’t cost you anything,” he urged. “If you’re in, be all in. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. The most basic and powerful way to connect with another person is to listen, just listen. A loving silence has far more power to connect and heal than the most well intentioned words. You have two ears and only one mouth for a reason – use them in that proportion.”

“Doing the right thing is more important than doing things right,” Paul said. “It is the difference between activity and productivity. One is easy, and the other takes a lot of time. Here is the analogy I’ll give you: If you go to my office and look at my desk, you would see papers everywhere. To you it might look disheveled or disorganized. Every night before I leave, I think about what I want to get done before I go home. I ask myself how I want to spend the next twenty minutes; what would add the most value? I could file a bunch of papers – do things ‘right’ and make everything look perfect – or I could call the CEO of Men’s Warehouse and have a discussion about a business opportunity. I promise you I always choose some variation on the latter. Recognize the difference between activity and productivity – the difference between doing things right, and doing the right things.”

Paul went on to share his second point. “Paradigm shift number two: Dig your well before you’re thirsty. This paradigm shift is about preparation,” he said. “It’s about treating everyone you meet with respect. The support staff, your colleagues, your boss, the security guards – no matter where you work, you need to treat these people with dignity and respect. You never know when you might need a guard to let you in because you forgot your ID, or need to borrow someone’s assistant because yours is out of town.  If that’s the day you have to introduce yourself, you’re probably not likely to secure their help.  Be nice to the people you meet on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way back down. Be nice – it doesn’t cost you anything,” he urged. “If you’re in, be all in. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. The most basic and powerful way to connect with another person is to listen, just listen. A loving silence has far more power to connect and heal than the most well intentioned words. You have two ears and only one mouth for a reason – use them in that proportion.”

“Paradigm shift number three,” Paul said, “Is this: Establish your patterns; practice makes permanent. You’ve heard the expression ‘practice makes perfect’, but here is the shift. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfection is impossible to achieve. As Vince Lombardi, the great football coach once said, ‘If we chase perfection, we might catch excellence.’ Practice doesn’t make perfect, but practice does make permanent. Whatever it is you do, you establish those patterns. If you consciously make decisions like choosing to be more polite or more friendly each day, it becomes your pattern. To paraphrase Shakespeare, ‘Decide the part you want to play and then grow into it.’ Play the role everyday, and that practice will become permanent,” Paul said. “Become a pattern recognizer in people, in companies, and in yourself. Look for the data point clusters, not the stray data points. The great curse of the intellect is the ability to rationalize,” Rosengard said.  “Moral imperatives are black and white. People have strong opinions on those that aren’t going to change. Everything else in life is a shade of grey. Don’t be fooled by stray data points. When I was much younger, I had an Aunt Alice. Aunt Alice never married, lived alone, and was maybe four feet and ten inches tall, six inches of which was her cotton-candy high hair style. She smoked three packs of unfiltered Camel cigarettes every day, and after dinner poured herself ten ounces of Johnny Walker Black Label and drank it straight. Aunt Alice lived until she was 92 years old. Everyone has a metaphorical Aunt Alice. Smoking three packs of cigarettes and drinking ten ounces of scotch each night is not the key to a long life. Don’t be fooled by the stray data points; look for the clusters.”

“Paradigm shift number three,” Paul said, “Is this: Establish your patterns; practice makes permanent. You’ve heard the expression ‘practice makes perfect’, but here is the shift. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfection is impossible to achieve. As Vince Lombardi, the great football coach once said, ‘If we chase perfection, we might catch excellence.’ Practice doesn’t make perfect, but practice does make permanent. Whatever it is you do, you establish those patterns. If you consciously make decisions like choosing to be more polite or more friendly each day, it becomes your pattern. To paraphrase Shakespeare, ‘Decide the part you want to play and then grow into it.’ Play the role everyday, and that practice will become permanent,” Paul said. “Become a pattern recognizer in people, in companies, and in yourself. Look for the data point clusters, not the stray data points. The great curse of the intellect is the ability to rationalize,” Rosengard said.  “Moral imperatives are black and white. People have strong opinions on those that aren’t going to change. Everything else in life is a shade of grey. Don’t be fooled by stray data points. When I was much younger, I had an Aunt Alice. Aunt Alice never married, lived alone, and was maybe four feet and ten inches tall, six inches of which was her cotton-candy high hair style. She smoked three packs of unfiltered Camel cigarettes every day, and after dinner poured herself ten ounces of Johnny Walker Black Label and drank it straight. Aunt Alice lived until she was 92 years old. Everyone has a metaphorical Aunt Alice. Smoking three packs of cigarettes and drinking ten ounces of scotch each night is not the key to a long life. Don’t be fooled by the stray data points; look for the clusters.”

“Paradigm shift number four:  Think big, start small, show value,” Paul shared. “No job is ever beneath you. Bloom where you are planted. No matter what your first job is, no matter how unexciting or unglamorous it seems, be the best at your job that you can be. Ask yourself and ask your boss this question every day: What can I do today that will add the most value? Don’t focus on the task and whether or not it seems important to you; focus on adding value. The answer might change each day. Don’t become trapped by the limitations of your job description. Those are the things you want to do right, but not all that you can do.” “Finally,” Paul told our scholars, “Don’t forget to have fun while you are here. New York is one of the best cities in the world - take advantage of it. Get out of your apartment and see a Broadway or off-Broadway show. Explore some of the amazing restaurants here. Make sure you get to Central Park. Go to the Bronx Zoo. There are so many things here to experience; take advantage of that and have fun while you’re here. Have fun at work too! This is a people business. You spend more waking hours in your job than you do at home. You need to make sure that you surround yourself with people who you want to be around all day.”

“Paradigm shift number four:  Think big, start small, show value,” Paul shared. “No job is ever beneath you. Bloom where you are planted. No matter what your first job is, no matter how unexciting or unglamorous it seems, be the best at your job that you can be. Ask yourself and ask your boss this question every day: What can I do today that will add the most value? Don’t focus on the task and whether or not it seems important to you; focus on adding value. The answer might change each day. Don’t become trapped by the limitations of your job description. Those are the things you want to do right, but not all that you can do.”

“Finally,” Paul told our scholars, “Don’t forget to have fun while you are here. New York is one of the best cities in the world - take advantage of it. Get out of your apartment and see a Broadway or off-Broadway show. Explore some of the amazing restaurants here. Make sure you get to Central Park. Go to the Bronx Zoo. There are so many things here to experience; take advantage of that and have fun while you’re here. Have fun at work too! This is a people business. You spend more waking hours in your job than you do at home. You need to make sure that you surround yourself with people who you want to be around all day.”

Paul Rosengard’s Words of Wisdom: “Showing up is only the start. It is what you do once you arrive that makes a difference.” “Mentors can show you how to do things, but they can’t provide you with the reasoning as to why. You have to provide yourself with the why.” “They key to happiness is to identify what you like to do, and then figure out how to make a living from that.” “Be nice to the people you meet on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way back down. Be nice – it doesn’t cost you anything.” “You have two ears and only one mouth for a reason – use them in that proportion.”

Paul Rosengard’s Words of Wisdom:

“Showing up is only the start. It is what you do once you arrive that makes a difference.”

“Mentors can show you how to do things, but they can’t provide you with the reasoning as to why. You have to provide yourself with the why.”

“They key to happiness is to identify what you like to do, and then figure out how to make a living from that.”

“Be nice to the people you meet on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way back down. Be nice – it doesn’t cost you anything.”

“You have two ears and only one mouth for a reason – use them in that proportion.”