23: Pursuing Positivity Pays Off: Pride & Beyond (w/ Daniel Mastrodonato)

In this episode we talk with Daniel Mastrodonato (AKA: “Dan Dan Your Payroll Man”), the face of Landmark Payroll. We explore his journey from banking to payroll, running a business, the power of positivity, his experiences as a gay man in the business world, his involvement in the LGBTQ+ community, and the true power of networking.

"Interviews. For Good."
The Naaman Creative Show
Episode Advertiser:

Moorman Photographics

Episode Resources:

Episode Transcript

Dan. Dan the payroll man. Yes. Josh.

Hello. I’ve been looking forward to this one for quite some time. It’s been in the works, and I’ve just.

I’ve been kind of savoring having you on. You’re cracking me up. You and I met at a networking event.

Go figure. Long time ago. You’re the lord of networking.

But I call you Dan. Dan the payroll man because that’s pretty much your name. I. It’s weird.

I’m looking and I’m like, Daniel Master Donato. I never say your real name. I always.

Everybody knows you as the payroll man. Dan Dan. I don’t think anyone knows my real last name.

I mean, my last name cat’s out of the bag now. Totally. Totally.

You are the face of landmark payroll. Yes. You are involved in the networking chapter of NPI that I’m vice president of now.

You are on my sun leadership team of sun leaders. You are a founder, I would say, or co founder of the LGBT B two B plus networking group. There’s a really tough one.

It is very tough. In fact, it just keeps getting longer. But LGBT.

I have to slow down when I say it. That’s a good idea. Yeah, I’ll slow down next time.

But you’re a business owner. You’re an entrepreneur. You are an enormous networker.

Everybody knows you, and it’s crazy because you didn’t grow up here, and we’re going to get into all that. You’re highly involved in the LGBTQ community, and one thing that’s cool is every day. Well, I try not to go on Facebook too much, but every day I go on Facebook, you’re at the top, and you have a motivational thought every day.

Like five, six am. That’s how my day starts, is with your motivational thought. Real quick, when did you start that? Why do you do that? I believe it or not, I started that about ten years ago on Facebook.

Just on Facebook. Because I had a friend that said, can you send me something to brighten my day? And she lived in California, so I’m like, well, do I text it to her? Did we even have text ten years ago? I use Facebook, and I started posting things, realizing or never realizing that people were going to actually like it. I thought they would scroll right past it, but it’s become pretty popular.

And when I miss a day of posting something motivational, I get a phone call or two from people that said, are you okay? Oh, my gosh. I’m like, yes, I’m okay. So.

And it’s not like, there’s a million people that follow me, but I feel if one person is inspired by something that I post, it’s made my day. Yeah. I mean, it is weird when I don’t see it for some reason.

I’m like, wait, where’s Dan? Dan. But also I see, like, oh, my gosh, there’s like 40 comments and people are just like, good morning, you know, and all happy. It’s such a positive thread every day.

And I bring this up at the top of this episode because ever since I met you, no matter what context, no matter where I see you over the phone, in person, online here right now, you are always such a positive, just great energy, and I immediately drawn to you and connected to you because I feel like I, you know, I align with that. But it. And never have I ever met anybody who’s like, oh, man, Dan, Dan, stay away from that dude.

You know what I mean? Right, right. And I. It’s just been a pleasure getting to know you and calling you a close friend now. Like, it’s weird to think about you, like, not being in my life because moving down here, I didn’t know anybody.

Jordan’s recording us. He’s been such a positive part of my life. You now, meeting you and some of the other people who were close to, it’s weird thinking about, like, if you weren’t a part of my life now.

It’s interesting because we are in it for business or entrepreneurship or whatever, but the partnerships and the relationships and that friendship is way more important than any of the business stuff. I agree. How powerful is that? I agree 100%.

And I think that we are all in it because we all lift each other up. You don’t have any idea the impact that you have on the people around you. I mean, it goes pretty much the same.

I mean, you may not post an inspirational post every day, but you are incredibly positive, always upbeat. And I think that positive, upbeat people tend to stick together. I mean, I will tell you right now, I do not want to hang out with someone that is negative or that just spews negativity if it can bring a crowd down in a heartbeat.

Totally. So we only have a limited time while you’re around, right? We are only here for a limited time. Don’t waste it on negativity because it just adds unnecessary stress to your life.

Well, that’s why I love having people like you in my life. It’s really. It’s been such a positive influence.

And again, it’s just weird thinking if I didn’t and, you know, it’s kind of hard to sort through my thoughts on, like, what do I talk to Dan? Dan about? Because we talk so often, you know, I feel like we’ve talked about so much, but I do want to kind of, like, dive in. I know some things that I’m going to ask, but I also don’t know, like, I’m trying to recall, why did you get into. How do you.

How do you. How does one get into payroll? What are you. Are you jazzed about making sure that people get paid month after month? Because I will say for everybody listening, you make sure that it’s weird because I own my own business, right? I don’t pay myself.

You and your business, landmark payroll. Make it so that my salary is paid. Well, that’s a really good question.

How did I get into it? Well, 25 years ago, and that’s a long time, I was finishing up my banking career. So technically, I’ve had two careers. I’ve had a banking career, and now the payroll, HR, and time in attendance career.

But I just say payroll because it encompasses everything. I got into it because I love to work with business owners. I love to work with business owners and their employees.

And what better way to work with the whole entire organization of one’s business than to get into payroll time, attendance, and human resources? I get to deal with not only the business owners, I get to deal with the employees as well, on a limited basis with the employees. But it just. It still gives me the opportunity to work with everyone within an organization.

And now with as high tech payroll is. And, you know, they’ve brought on applicant tracking modules and recruitment tools, you know, I’m actually able to be a part of the hiring process for my small businesses. And that’s a nice feeling, too, because I’m like, hey, I’m on the.

I’m on the hiring squad with, uh, with XYZ Corporation. So it’s fun. It’s fun.

It’s meaningful, too. It’s very meaningful. And again, segwaying from business banking into payroll was a very natural fit for me.

Very natural fit. Still helping the same business owner instead of. Well, as a little bit of a joke, but instead of giving businesses money through commercial loans, I’m now taking it and giving it to their employees.

So it’s fun. I enjoy it. I really do.

Opposite of robinhood. The opposite of Robinhood. Exactly.

How valiant. Yeah. Yeah.
What was the spark, though, from going from business banking to payroll? What was the thing that did it that you’re gonna enjoy? This story. So I was on my 21st year of banking. I was a commercial lender.

I was working with net worth up to 500 million and assets, and my boss, okay, the area director said, hey, daniel, I need to talk to you. Let’s sit down. I have an opportunity for you.

I’m like, all right, Chuck, let’s talk. I mean, I’m always open to opportunities. He says, I want to offer you a new position.

It is a promo. It’s promotion. You’ll be working side by side with me up in the tower, Citibank in New York, and you’ll be my right hand person.

I said, wow, Chuck, that sounds exciting, but what is it going to be? He says, well, you’re going to be working with your clients, and you’re going to be analyzing financial statements. I said, that’s fantastic. As long as I get to work with my clients at my client’s office, I think I’ll be the happiest camper in the world.

Oh, no. You’ll be in a cubicle for 10 hours a day analyzing financial statements for your clients. You won’t have any contact with them anymore.

I can’t see you doing. Jug, that is not a promotion. That is not something that I really want to do.

I said, and why did you ask me? You know, why did you pick me for this promotion? I have nine other lenders that I work with. He says, well, between you and I, we’re dissolving the lending group here in New York, and I’m offering as many people an additional position before we terminate. I said, okay, I’m game.

I said, well, I feel like I’ve done everything that I could in banking without becoming a major manager or department head. I said, let me go speak to my friend who I was partnering with in the payroll world. So I had met a gentleman, had opened up a small payroll company in New York, and I was helping him with payroll clients, and he was helping me with lending clients, commercial lending clients.

And he said to me one day, he goes, hey, Daniel, if you ever get tired of banking, come and work with me. And I did. I went and I went up to Rick one day, and I said, hey, Rick.

I said, does that offer still stand that you discussed a couple years ago? He goes, did you leave the bank? I said, no, I’m just about ready to. I said, but I’ve got my, my options open. He goes, come on board.

And I went on board, but this is 1999, when nothing, I should say, when everything was on paper. So he threw a payroll 101 binder in front of me that was like 700 pages. And he threw a circular e.

So if you know anything about tax law, the circular e is online. It’s probably. Well, because it’s condensed on the Internet.

It’s probably about 500 pages on the Internet. It was 950 pages on paper. And he said, read these two and you will be the best payroll salesperson in the world.

And I looked at him and I said, no, thank you. I said, you partner me with your top rep here in the office, I will go out with that person for a month or two months, and I will learn everything I need to know about payroll. He goes, well, I’ve never done it that way, Daniel.

Let’s try it. And we did it. And little Joey Vitallo was sitting next to me, and he was my mentor for two months.

Little Joey. Little Joey. I mean, little Joey.

He was about four foot two. And then you became Dan Dan. I became Dan Dan.

I instantly became Dan Dan. He was little Joey. I was Dan Dan.

I would much rather shadow someone and just learn from experience and on the job training rather than read a thousand pages of a manual. I mean, it’s good to read certain things, but doing the work is the best form of education. In my hands.

Hands on. Hands on. Just gotta go and dive in.

Right? Exactly. And I’m much more visual to a point of observing someone and their. Their behavior, you know, their speech, their conversation with a business owner that I am reading scenarios about.

Oh, how would you handle this client? Et cetera, et cetera. I’m much better, you know, with real life situations. So it was about two, three months.

And then I was on my own. I was given. I was given a territory an hour and a half away from where I lived.

Convenient. Very convenient. And.
But the caveat to that was if I did well, I would. I would have first rights on opening up a territory anywhere in the United States. Of course, I referenced New York, and I did not mean New York City.

I meant Rochester, New York. So my territory was Buffalo, New York, which is the snow belt of the world. And I did it for a year.

I made president’s club. And then I got a promo down to Atlanta, Georgia. And then you just kept working your way south.

Working my way south until I got to Florida. Sunny St. Pete. I don’t blame you, because here I am.

But it’s interesting because anybody who knows you, because how well connected you are in this community, people would just assume, oh, Dan Dan must have been here in St. Pete forever. People are so connected. You can’t go around town.

If I go across the street over there and I go, hey, you guys know Dan? Dan, the payroll man? They’ll be like, oh, yeah, I love that guy. I can’t go anywhere. I just assume now when I’m having conversations with people, hey, I was meeting with Dan.

Dan. And they know exactly what they’re talking about. You’re a figure.

It cracks me up. It makes me feel great. It really does make me feel great.

But it should. It cracks me up. Yeah.

But, you know, I had my. I had my star here in Florida, right when Covid began. I moved to Florida march of 2020, and we were, what? Quarantined.

That was the three weeks later. So I had to work a new payroll company, Landmark, over the Internet, through Zoom, through teams, through ringcentral, through whatever. And I thought I was going to go crazy.

I really did. I had no human contact other than the person on the other end of the computer. How did you drum up business? What did you think? Every association and chamber and networking group that I could, because I knew that I can get to all of them because they were a room away when I tell you that I was networking.

Three. I had three networking meetings every day, so I had 15 networking meetings a week. But you could do it because it was all online.

Sure. Yeah. And of course, things changed after the pandemic lifted, and I had to, you know, really decide what I wanted to keep as far as not working.

But I was able to meet a lot of people that way. And I guess you would say, start my. My career that way.

My new. My new career in a new home. Yeah.

Well, you really made a home for yourself and a name for yourself. And the networking groups that you’ve stuck with are really quite sticky. They’re very sticky, yeah.

In a very good way. So I just kind of wanted to lay that groundwork because it’s, you know, I guarantee some people who know you who might be listening to this go, oh, really? I didn’t know he didn’t live here forever. You know, just people assume that because no one could be that well connected and have just moved here in 2020, in four years, you’re this well connected.

That’s a testament to not your. Just your perseverance and your drive, but your personality, because you don’t develop that kind of a network and those partnerships and relationships by being a dick. True.

But it’s also a testament to the people that I’ve surrounded myself with. I mean, going way back to those inspirational posts, wanting to be around positive people all the time. I met people like you and the people within NPI and the people at the chamber and sun leaders, and every single one of these people are upbeat and positive and driven.

And that’s who I want to surround myself with. You know, you guys are not just family. You guys are our mentors to me.

I learn something all the time from you. Yeah, I feel the same. Yeah.

And that’s what it’s all about, because, I mean, what we do. Nobody has all the answers. No.

And everybody’s experiencing new dynamics every day with their business and ups and downs, and we can share in the ups and get help each other through times and the downs, and it’s all equally important. And having good people in all of your corners is enormous. I mean, I take that to heart that, you know, we uplift each other.

And it’s not just about you, but the network that you’ve surrounded yourself with boosts you. And so it’s just this exponential growth and, yeah, you’re an easy referral. Let’s just say that.

I don’t know about that. I mean, there’s, you know, there is a lot as far as. As far as an individual.

Everyone might know who I am, but there’s so much competition. You know, there’s so much competition in payroll or so much competition in banking. It’s just that you have to do something to stand out.

So I became Dan. Dan the payroll man. Or now, I guess, my new.

My new name is Dan. Dan your payroll man. I like that.

And people like that even better because it’s a little bit more personal. It is. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I’m yours, you’re mine. It makes me feel comfort. Exactly.

Exactly. Well, thank you. That is definitely making me feel really good.

You should feel good. What you do is important. And for me, I don’t have to think about my paycheck coming.

It just comes. Exactly. And what’s cool is I can call you up if there’s a problem.

And not everything’s perfect and you’re done. You are on it so fast for as much as you do. Your rate of communication, like response time, is incredible.

I try. I do. I look up to that because I have difficulty sometimes keeping it in a 24 hours window.

It’s hard juggling, you know that. I mean, it’s really hard to juggle and you have to choose, you know? And again, if. If the phone rings and it rings more than once from the same number, there might be an issue.

So I have a tendency just to pick that up and take care of it. Sure. So.

Well, Weaver, we’re kind of talking about some highs. I like to highlight lowlights. You know, hey, you’re successful, and you got down here and stuff like that.

But, you know, I’m kind of curious through this journey. Maybe it’s recent, maybe it’s in the past. What is one of the more difficult things you’ve been through? So you.

You know, everybody who knows you knows that you’re not a straight man, and you’re from a particular generation where it was more difficult. Luckily, now we’re in a position in the world where you can be you more. You could be you way more than back in the eighties and the nineties.

You know, it was tough. It was tough. I’m kind of curious about that.

Like, what’s your experience in how that’s transitioned to today? I will say, and I’m very comfortable with who I am, but it’s taken me a really long time, because when I came out, I was 19 years old. Okay. Very strict catholic italian family, or italian catholic family, however you want to preface it.

And it wasn’t easy. It was not easy. It was the second hardest thing that I ever had to do.

And I’ll tell you the first hardest thing or the most important hardest thing that I ever had to go through. But, yeah, coming out in the eighties, especially with AIDS, I mean, literally, that was the beginning of. And thank God I was new.

And believe it or not, I was shy. People like shy. Daniel Masters, Donald Shy.

I was shy. I was shy. Um, I didn’t.

I didn’t want it. I don’t want anything to do with it. I was afraid of it.

So it was a long, painful journey to come out, but I managed to, you know, survive all that, clearly. Yeah. Yeah.

I mean, there’s a lot of. There’s a lot of things in the middle that we. I don’t always talk about, but, you know, you just.

You get by with a little help from your good friends. 100%. That’s a song, too.

Oh, that’s a great Beatles song. Oh, yeah. But, yeah, it.

It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. And today it’s much different. You are right.

Today it’s much different. Parents are. They start talking to their kids when they’re eight, nine years old about that.

Sure. I was 19 when I went up to my mom and said something. Yeah, 19.

I was a. Practically an adult. Right.

You know, did you know much before then? When did it click? Curious. Twelve. Okay.

Yeah. You started to figure it out. It was weird.

I mean it was like, this is a cliche but it’s so true. I was looking at the Sears catalog at the age of twelve and I’m sure you know what section I was looking at. But that was one thing that made me question myself.

Cause I didn’t, I never expected it, I never wanted it. Oh my God, I’m Catholic in Italian. Two, you know, I was gonna say two arrows against me.

But yeah, it just manifested. Had to talk to my priest about it. And you know, of course that was the wrong thing to do is talk to your priests about it back then because the priests were the biggest perpetrators out there.

I was wondering, did you report from the church? I got support, but it was probably. We should definitely have another podcast on the catholic religion during the coming out of men in the eighties and nineties. Oh, I’d love to.

Cause I grew up a catholic, catholic family. So I’m well aware of that very, very different organization. I. Let me, let’s just say that if it wasn’t for my catholic high school, the priests were no good to me at all as far as conversation.

I was afraid of them because of what they were doing to the boys. I spoke to all the nuns. I spoke to the nuns and they got me through.

They got me through. So yeah, stuff was happening many, many, many years before it came out in the news. Gosh.

I mean, now at least, I mean, I think a year or two or something ago, the pope said, you know, like they’re, they’re, they’re starting to get with the times. It’s still interesting though. It still blows my mind that people have a problem with it.

It’s like, get with it, people. Why? Come on. Because it’s different.

I mean, you have to understand, it’s, it’s different than what people were taught growing up. I mean, um, you know, uh, the average don’t be average anymore, but the average family is a husband and wife and two kids and, you know, a dog and that’s it. That’s just the stereotypical, you know, family.

But now there’s, there’s room today in the world for the diversity. But back in the seventies, eighties and nineties, they were just trying to shut us right down. Yeah, it’s wild.

And it’s unfortunate because how, you know, my big thing is how does someone’s love for another person, whatever that is, or their own personal pursuits, as long as they’re not harming anybody else, how in the world does that affect you? And in fact, if you are against it and you’re all caught up in it. You’re actually harming yourself in that process more than if you just let it go. That’s what helped me grow.

That’s what helped me grow. All the anger from the people that had such a hard time with it. They were torturing themselves more than they were torturing me.

So afterwards I realized, you know what? We’re turning this around. We’re turning this around. It’s, I don’t have the problem, he has the problem, or she has the problem.

Right? It’s not me. You know, I’m the same person that I was yesterday. Right.

You know, and when I started to believe in that is when things got better for me. For me, it does. It’s not always.

It’s not like that for everybody. But that’s kind of how I dealt with it. Mormon photographics, where every click captures the essence of life’s most precious moments.

Our studio stands as a beacon of creativity and professionalism, offering a myriad of services tailored to your every photographic need. Whether you seek a studio portrait or the allure of on location sessions in the Tampa and St. Petersburg waterfronts or lush parks, we bring your vision to life with creativity and professionalism. Corporate headshots, we excel at those, too, providing impeccable quality.

Whether in studio or at your corporate headquarters. Need portraits for a large team or event, we orchestrate seamless setups for groups or individuals, but our expertise doesn’t stop there. From high end school portraits to photo restoration, from pet portraits to product images, our portfolio spans the spectrum of photographic artistry.

Led by professionals with degrees in both photography and fine art. Our team is dedicated to exceeding your expectations with every frame. Step into our studio, where creativity knows no bounds.

Contact us to book your session today@mormonphoto.com. dot what do you think is the way to click with people who are still resistant now in 2024? June of 2024? Like, what’s the thing that’s going to take us into the next level of acceptance and understanding and love and people being more peaceful? What’s the one answer? How do we solve it all day? And Dan, that’s a great question, and I wish I had that answer, Josh. But all I could say is that if you are genuine and you are yourself, and you do

not invade that other person’s space, if you know what I mean, and make them feel uncomfortable.

They may feel uncomfortable just looking at you, they may feel uncomfortable just looking at you, knowing that you know that I’m gay or that you’re gay. But when I am in a room of people that I don’t know. I’m just me.

And I just want to be accepted for who I am, not what I am. I don’t want to be accepted for what I am. Right.

You know, everybody wants to change the world. I just want the world to change for us, you know? Well said. That literally just came out.

I’ve never said that before. I pulled it out of you. You pulled it out of me.

Yeah, but no, again, it’s. You are never going to. You’re never going to please everybody.

Sure. You’re going to have your haters and you just walk away because you said it earlier, Josh, they have the problem. They are the ones with the problem.

Also who you surround yourself with. If you get away from that, you’re around people. Like, for me, you know, we’re in Florida, and Florida does get a pretty bad rap.

Yes, we do. And I get it because there are some jerks on the road. My least favorite part of Florida is driving.

And the jerks do show. It’s a selfishness, really, at the end of the day. And people are not in a good space, so they take it out on others.

But other than that, the people like yourself and our crew, I’ll just put it as an umbrella. I’m so uplifted by the people that I’ve surrounded myself with and I stick with that. And the people that uplift me and don’t bring me down or aren’t jerks.

I agree. I agree. I’m fulfilled, and that’s what it’s all about.

And I feel like if people stick to the people who uplift and are positive, then people who are not nice start to feel alone. Oh, yeah. You know, where did all my friends go? They go away.

They eventually. They eventually go away. Yeah, they do.

Or they start questioning themselves. And I’ve yet to see someone so angry and so hateful turn it around. Totally.

But it’s happened. It’s happened. You know, they realize they’ve lost family because of their hatred or friends, all of their friends from their hatred.

And then they’re like, you know what? It was me, after all. I’m the reason that everybody went away. Right? So, you know, I do like when people start to realize that, but that’s probably 1% of the population, that’s difficult.

You know, it’s a hard thing for people to admit they’re wrong. It’s even harder to admit you’re wrong about something that you’ve believed in your whole life, whether it be a deeply held religious belief or political belief or your care about other people’s sexuality, it’s deeply rooted. You go, for all these years, I’ve been wrong.

Are you kidding me? Something that just popped into my brain is there’s this one guy. I’ve seen him in several interviews, and he’s a black man who befriended someone who was in the KKK, and they became friends. Wow.

And then because of their friendship, the guy who was in the KKK gave him his robe and left the KKK and to thank the guy for opening his eyes because he. I became your friend, and what was I doing? But it was a process of this guy who was willing to be a friend with someone who was the enemy and trying to understand. But to admit you’re wrong about these big things, that’s a difficult thing.

You know, the thing I feel like that allows that is for anybody who is on the other end, being to setting a stage or a space that doesn’t make someone feel stupid or dumb or bad when they are admitting that they’re wrong or coming to that conclusion, exploring that, not belittling them or whatever it is, but being. Just being there for them, because then I think then it’s an easier transition because they’re not being reprimanded for being wrong. It’s just, hey, well, I’m glad you’re here with us

And now we can just hold hands and enjoy life from here, you know? But it’s that. It’s like the stage, you know, it’s like if you’re a Packers fan or a Buccaneers fan and then you want to go to another team, well, you should be able to do that. But it’s the environment in which you go into to make that change.

And so it’s. I think it’s on us to be accepting of people when they’re going through a transition and being understanding about someone’s perspective and them changing that and talking through that with them. Yeah, no, I’m with you.

I think. I think if someone can be supportive, they may not necessarily have to agree 100%, but if they can still show support to someone, I think that means the world. I really do.

Well, that’s what you’re talking to people about on the Sun Leaders podcast on your episodes. Absolutely. You’re talking to people who are LGBTQ plus, and then you’re also talking to the allies, which I think is fantastic because your focus is diversity in the workplace.

Is it there? And what are people going through in the workplace? What have they seen? Has it changed again? My audience or not my audience, my guests are completely diverse. You know that I’ve got young, old, straight, gay, trans, bi. And to hear from the ones that have been in the workplace for a really long time, to say what they say about diversity now versus 2030 years ago, it’s very interesting.

It’s very eye opening. And of course, I’m not going to give it away. You’re going to have to listen to those episodes when we record them.

But it’s very mind boggling to see that some things have changed, but some things have not out there. Well, I was kind of wondering. That kind of leads me in, first off, if you want to listen to those episodes.

Sunleaderspodcast.com, you said that. I didn’t. Hey, I. So I’m kind of curious what your experience, you know, to turn the tables, you know, what has your experience been with diversity in the workplace? How, you know, have things stuck out or situations arose in your journey, whether it be positive or negative, that have affected, you know, your business pursuits because of who you are? That is a very good question.

And I’m gonna go back, I’m gonna go back, way back to when I began my banking career. I was always accepted wherever I went, okay? I was accepted by the people that I. That I needed to be accepted by, you know, the management, okay, the supervisors, you know, I mean, the employees, they come and go so quickly. Um, but to, to have the support of, uh, of, of management, especially in the banking world, well, number one, back in the eighties and nineties in banking, men moved up the ladder very, very

quickly, regardless.
And I’m sure it was a discriminatory act, and I almost feel a part of it. But I had a wonderful supervisor. She taught me a lot.

I moved up very, very quickly. But I always had the support of management. And I think I had built a.

Built a bit of a thick skin from an early age. I wasn’t going to let a lot of people bother me. However, I did see a boatload of discrimination when it came to blacks, when it came to asian, when it came to, you know, my, my latino friends, I saw they were getting passed over constantly, constantly for jobs, and they were qualified.

And I said. I said a lot of things, you know, that. That I probably shouldn’t have said, like, why are you passing over such and such person? It’s just not a right fit.

Not a right fit. That’s all I would ever hear. Not a right fit.

Then why was I the right fit? I almost think to myself that back then, even the movies that you see. Banking was a white man’s world. Very few women moved up the ranks.

When I was about 15 years into my banking career, we had the first female president of the bank that I worked for, and it was the most wonderful thing in the world. I loved it. Everybody else hated it, but I loved it.

Oh, sure. I mean, yeah, come on. Women were a minority.

Gay men were a minority, you know, so it was a good feeling. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

I mean, if there are more women in leadership roles and decision making roles earlier on and even today, the world would be a bit of a better place. They have a different kind of outlook, perspective, and approach to, you know, a lot of things that happen that are wrong are because of conflict and how you resolve those conflicts. Look at freaking war, you know, take it easy, people.

I would work for a woman hands down anytime than working for a man hands down. And I have. I’ve been very, very fortunate to work for some phenomenal women in both my banking career and in my.

My payroll career. But it’s still. It’s.

The numbers are still skewed. I mean, yeah, unfortunately, it’s just going to be like that until something major happens, and I don’t know what that’s going to be. I think inherently, one thing that’s difficult for women is that they’re the only ones who can carry a baby, and there’s a lot of complexity to that and a lot of responsibility.

My wife having given birth to our daughter, I never knew the extent of how unbelievably dynamic and difficult and powerful that journey is. I couldn’t do it. And so I just.

I hold women in such a high respect, especially after that, where it’s like, holy moly, you are a powerful. I agree. I do more on that to come.

Yes, yes. We will discuss that on another episode. Sure thing.

Yeah, we’ll have to have several parts to this. Perfect. I mean, but, boy, I appreciate the breakdown of that because, I mean, also, I appreciate your openness to it.

You know, it’s important for. For you to be open about this, to have your podcast where you’re talking to people about being open about that, because how else are we going to be? How are people who are unaware of these things be aware of it? Just to talk conversation? Agreed. And it’s not happening all over the place.

It’s not. I still see a lot of discrimination out there. A lot towards you or towards people like me, I guess you would say, towards the lgbt community.

But, you know, again, the. The acronyms are the letters are getting very, very long. We call it Alphabet soup now.

Alphabet soup. Alphabet soup. So it’s easier just to say it that way.

Yeah. Well, at least, you know, we’re, we’re. The plus is quite helpful.

I like that addition because it’s like we’re not forgetting anybody. It’s just a long, agreed thing, you know? And the plus is the allies, I tell you right now, my allies. Okay.

You know, you and all the allies, I, straight allies have been wonderful and they’ve made this journey so much better. But it’s taken a while. It’s taken a long, long time to get there.

And once you get it, you want to embrace it and you want to hold on to it, certainly. Well, I’m happy to be an ally because everybody who is gay or trans or bi or whatever, it’s always pleasant. I mean.

I mean, obviously there are bad apples in any bunch, but like, from my experience, it’s just I’m continually boggled. Like, people who have a discrimination is like, have you ever hung out with a gay person before? You’re not going to have a bad time, probably. You know what I mean? Like, just take down your guard for a day and go to a gay bar or something like that, and you’re going to have a good time and you’re going to realize these are just other people.

Right. They just love in a different way and does not matter at all. How does that affect you at all? Agreed.

Agreed. It’s just wild, but yeah. I just appreciate your openness.

And we’re in the month of June. It’s like, I feel like, just like Earth Day. It’s like we have one day for earth.

Like every day should be Earth Day. Like every day should be pride day. And how many days do we get in June to celebrate? Every day in June? Yeah.

It’s Pride month. Indeed month. So it’s fun month.

It’s fun month. I. Listen, I love, it’s colorful. I really do.

It’s very, very colorful. Like, my wife and I love going to, like the pride parade and stuff like that. It’s just a blast.

And there’s so, it’s like so joyful and happy. It’s a huge celebration. That St. Pete Pride parade is massive.

Oh, it is. It’s huge. It’s like.

Yeah, it’s just mind blowing. I think it’s the largest parade in the south. Southeast.

Southeast. That makes sense. Besides Atlanta.

But Atlanta is its own. It’s its own city. Okay.

Yeah. The deep south, I should say. Sure.

Even though I’ve never considered Florida the south, but obviously it is because it’s the most southern state. But pretty south. Yeah, we are south.

We are south. But it’s. The St. Pete Pride parade is very large.

Oh, yeah. Yeah. I’m gonna.

I think it’s coming up soon. June 22. June 22.

June 22. Yeah, we gotta get a caregiver because I definitely don’t wanna miss that. And don’t forget June 22 in the evening as well.

So get your caregiver. Yeah. From noon till 11:00 p.

m. if you can stay up that late, because there’ll be a lot going on. Be up anyways, so might as well be up.

Yeah. You don’t sleep. You never sleep, Josh.

You never sleep. Eric put it. Leaders don’t sleep or something like that.

I get a nap here and there, and I do get some rest, and I’m just motivated and really inspired. So I feel like I get enough. But it is changing.

Cause I know that’s not. That’s a. That’s a candle that’s gonna burn out.

Right. You know, so. But right now we’re just moving and grooving.

So I gotta keep. Keep things good for you. Well, I wanna ask you many, many questions, but I also want to respect your time.

So we have two. Two segments left. Okay.

The first, you have reached the rapid fire. Oh, no. All right, let’s go.

I’m ready. So asking similar questions to my guests. Throw in some random ones out there.

But ultimately, I like to see the different similarities, the differences between everybody that we have on, because it’s a big, diverse range of people who I have on. Like, my next guest will be across the entire world in Australia, working on films and animations. Great friend of mine.

Yeah. And so, you know, I might have to ask him some different questions, but here are yours. Are you ready? I am.

Let’s go. What is your biggest source of inspiration? God. Boom.

Mic drop. Bam. Mic drop.

Mic drop. Quick, quick. Caveat.

Have you. You know, people use the Bible to discriminate. How do you cope with that? I don’t read the Bible at all.

It’s man. It’s written by man. Okay.

So I have no use for it. Yeah. Because there’s a lot of contradictory things in the Bible.

So I stay right away from the Bible, and those people that repeat that are constantly repeating those Bible verses, those are the ones you need to stay away from, too. So. So is God more a higher power to you? God’s a phenomenal higher power.

Yeah. Yeah. I feel you on that.

Yeah, I mean, I was. And you know this because we both were raised the same way. Catholic.

Catholic grammar school, catholic high school. However, my catholic upbringing is we were all going to hell all the time because that’s what we were taught. And when I left the catholic faith and realized that there was a God, that was really awesome and that you weren’t going to hell or the proverbial hell, that’s the one that I started to put all my faith in.

Sure. And very much a divine good power. Higher power.

I like that. That I’m on board with. Mm hmm.

Cool. I just, I usually, I don’t do follow ups. This might be a first in rapid fire history, but I just, I felt obligated to ask.

I’m glad you did. And I have no problem talking about it. I’ll talk about it to anybody.

Love it. So part two. Part two.

Dude, deep dive. You have a favorite book besides the 750 page payroll manual? Josh, it’s so funny that you asked me, because sun leaders, Sun readers, fun readers, I am not a part of that. I. Yes, you know what? I do.

I have a favorite book. It’s by Rhonda Byrne. It is called the Secret.

That book is amazing. That book is amazing. She had three or three or four books in the series, and it is all about positivity.

How unusual about, you know, aspiration are not aspirations. I’m sorry. Affirmations and just believing in good things.

But it didn’t come out until book two that it was God centered, but energy. God energy centered. And I just found that book incredible.

In fact, five of the affirmations are on my Facebook, my, um, I guess my about on Facebook. And I still, you know, I still go by those. Can you think of them? Do you know them off your heart? One is visualization.

Ask, believe, receive. Okay. Give to get.

Okay. That’s the oldest. That’s the oldest, I guess you would say affirmation in the world.

I want to give before I receive. And. And all of our networking, but in all of our networking groups, it all flows back, even into our professional lives, is give to get.

You know, don’t walk around with your hand out. Walk around with, with you putting something in someone’s hand. Love that.

And if it comes back to you, great. Mm hmm. So either way, it just came back to giving.

Right. And doing good. Right.

You know, that’s the thing. Yeah. Love that.

Yep. I’ve tried. I like to pay it forward at times, but, yeah, it’s just a part.

It was a good book, and I’ve taken parts of it and just kept them really close to my heart for years. That’s when it’s. When it resonates with you.

Like, one of my favorite books is called the Blind Watchmaker, and it’s about evolution and biology, and I learned really specific things about bats. Oh, really? I never forgot it. You know, those things just stand out, and it’s like, whoa, that’s beauty of books.

Yeah, beauty of books. Cool. You’re winning so far.

You’re doing great. Two out of two. Do you have a few favorite musical artist or favorite album? Oh, my God, you are gonna laugh so hard.

I grew up with a young woman from Detroit, Michigan, called Madonna, and I met her when she had $20 in her pocket in New York. And you literally did. Yeah.

And I knew that this woman, this crazy woman called Madonna was gonna make it big. And, what, $400 million later? She’s an icon. Pretty big.

I. As controversial as she is, I still like her. I still follow her, you know, she’s got a good heart. Doesn’t always come out that way.

She’s got a good heart. You still keep in touch with her? Oh, no. Oh, no.

I was just a peon back then in the eighties. Are you kidding? I was like a blip on her radar. You’re not on her speed dial? Oh, no, we’re not on speed dial.

Well, she’s missing out. Thanks. You know, it’s funny because, you know, I haven’t had time to, like, sort out what.

What all has happened with, like, Michael Jackson. But, man, do I love that friggin music. Oh, yeah.

You know, that’s. It’s hard to change that. And I. There’s.

It’s hard to get to the bottom of particular information when it’s so. There’s so much out there. But, you know, man in the mirror, if that doesn’t get to me every time, right in my heart.

That’s amazing. I mean, I can’t do anything about that. But anyways, I digress.

You only have one business tool in the world to use. What tool do you wield? My. I would say me, but my genuineness.

Is that a word? Genuineness? It is. Now, is being genuine with whoever is in front of me, me just being me, but the genuine me, I love that. And that’s a business tool.

I think it’s a tool. I really do. I used to say it’s.

No, it’s still. It’s still genuineness. Yeah.

Anyway, I’m gonna stick to that genuineness. I’m not changing when you have an album that’ll be the. I’m gonna have to look to see if it’s truly a word or if it’s just of genu, but genuineness.

Jordy, can you pull that up? If you could have dinner with any one person that are alive, who would it be? And why? My mom. Oh, I think we know why. Yeah, that was my hardest loss.

We didn’t get to it, but that was the hardest loss that I ever had to face, because we were best friends beyond the womb. We used to joke, um, and say that I was always attached. We were still attached by the umbilical cord as long as she was alive.

But that’s just the kind of relationship we had. You know, she’s. She was just a good person, and I loved her to pieces.

But, yeah, I would totally have dinner with her and enjoy every minute of it. That is a fair answer. And she did a wonderful job, might I add.

You hear that, mama? So, good job, mama. Last one you’ve made it here. Okay.

Man, are you doing good. Speed round, see if you can. Yeah.

See if you can pull out a win. Okay. Big w.

How do you define success? Wow. That, believe it or not, is easy. The way I define success is that to see my employees become better than me.

There was a time when I was in Georgia and someone said, mister Daniel, I want to be as good as you. I want to sell as good as you. I said, you know what? Not going to name the name, but you want to do better, actually, you want.

You want to really impress me, do better than me, be better than me. That’s what I want. I don’t want you to be as good as me.

I want you to be better than me. That, to me, is success. When I’ve taught someone to go even further than what they’re capable of, they can come back and now probably teach you.

When they can kick my butt. When they can kick my butt in the sales sales world. I love that.

I love that. When I taught at the art institute, there were some classes where. Cause I taught all sorts of classes, and, like, animation was one of them.

And I would not consider myself like a professional animator, but I knew about animation. I could show the tools, we could talk about the techniques. And there’s one guy, Taylor, maybe he’s listening.

And he was a rock star. And I had him come up and teach a class to do a walk cycle because he was already teaching me. And now he’s worked on naming creative stuff, and he’s, like, crushing it and it’s so cool to see him, like, work on stuff he’s worked on.

Sonic, the game, you know, it’s. It’s. It’s incredible.

Um, that there. That is such a good feeling. I really feel you.

To see someone that you’ve worked with that maybe you’ve mentored, maybe you’ve helped grow and they’ve grown past you. I mean, that’s. That’s.

That’s a testimonial to you. Sure. You know? Sure.

Yeah. So, yeah, very cool. You won.

I did win. Great job. Another podcast.

You won. I am game. Round two.

I’m game. We could talk all day, and we do usually, but we do have to wrap it up. Our listeners gotta get to the restaurant that they’re headed to or the meeting they’re late to.

So a couple things to wrap up. I want to know, where is Dan, Dan and landmark payroll in 510 years? What’s going on, crystal ball? Oh, another good question. Actually, all of your questions have been phenomenal.

I will tell you, in 510 years, I probably will still be a part of landmark payroll. I don’t think that I will ever retire unless I have to. Part of that is because I love my clients.

I love working with them. I love knowing who they are and sharing with them. I love building my team.

I love the fact that I’m paid for life with, you know, as long as their clients. So again, I find myself just growing. Florida.

I would love landmark to be a household name in the state of Florida. Yeah, I really do. When it comes to payroll, of course.

It’s becoming that for sure. I hope so. I hope so.

I hope I leave a little dent. Oh, yeah. Well, you already have.

So now we need to make it a creator. Thank you. I mean, it’s cool because, you know, the better your clients do, the more they grow, the better it is for you, too, because they’re running more payroll.

Agreed. And so, like, there’s this mutual benefit to you caring about them authentically. Right.

And, like, vice versa. And it’s not a selfish thing, because if to make a client happy for life is a lot of work, it really is. You don’t just stand there with your hand out again and say, okay, you know, Josh is running payroll.

He’s happy. I don’t need to contact him. I don’t need to be in contact with him.

I don’t need to check in on him. Yes, you do. Yes, you do.

Because you know what? You lose communication with your clients. Someone’s going to come in the back door and offer them something better. Totally.

Well, we definitely don’t have a problem with checking in. That’d be hard not to. I would love when you check in.

Love it. And I see you every week. I know.

Every day, almost practically. I love it. I wouldn’t check in.

Me too. Me too. For people listening.

Anybody. Business owner, not gay, straight, whatever it may be. What’s the best advice you have for someone listening? The biggest piece of advice you could lay on? Never give up and always ask for help if you have to.

That’s it. That’s some damn good advice. I dropped the mic.

Well, we’re about to, but I want to end it and let you plug your organization. Obviously, it’s landmark payroll. But how.

How can people get ahold of you? Where can they connect with you? What do you want them to do? You can get ahold of Dan. Dan, your payroll man. By emailing me at daniel@landmarkpayroll.com or just calling me at 727-455-8547 boom.

Your phone numbers out there. My phone clearly care. I do care.

I do. We do have to change your email address to Dan. Dan.

I would love that, Mark. I think that’s what. That’s my goal.

That’s. That’s my goal. Because you could just start that.

Start promoting that. You could always have Daniel forward to that one. True, but that.

Would that be pretty? I like that idea, Josh. Thank you. Thank you for putting it in my head.

We can. We can work on it. Good.

Well, let’s figure out why Otter AI is doing all your notes in your video meetings. It’s bothering us. Shall we? Audience, if you know anything about Otter aid at Otter AI, tell me how to get rid of it on my computer.

We’ll try to tackle that now. But I. I really appreciate you, Dan. Dan, you are.

You mean very much to me in my life, and I look forward to all that’s ahead because my little brother that I look up to. Oh, man. So.

Well, I feel the same about you. Excellent, indeed.

Ready to make your own podcast?

Join the ranks of successful businesses and individuals with a professional podcast produced by Naaman Creative. Schedule a free consultation now to get started!