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Nothing But the Finest

Four Men Elevating the South County Experience

Bart Zandbergen CFP®

Founder, CEO of The Zandbergen Group Wealth Management

HOW DOES YOUR WORK TIE INTO YOUR PASSIONS IN LIFE?

After 30 years in wealth management, I can confidently say the answer to this is simple- my work reveals what is of the utmost importance in anyone’s life – True Wealth. Consisting of health, relationships, spirituality, service to others, legacy building, peace, the “invisibles” and finances, True Wealth connects me to all 8 pillars of life that I’m passionate about. In particular, being in the moment to experience the “invisibles.” For example, a hug from your child at the end of a long day is an invisible that goes unnoticed if you are not present. My sense of fulfillment comes from knowing that I am present for the invisibles, wise enough to remain a student of life, and healthy enough to spend invaluable moments with the people, places, and things I hold close to heart that are ever-priceless.

IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE A DIFFERENT JOB IN A DIFFERENT INDUSTRY, WHAT WOULD YOU PICK AND WHY?

Years ago I completed my Sommelier certification.  I’m passionate about wine and love to share what I know about pairings for special events and holiday meals. Every year on my podcast The Zandbergen Report we do a special holiday wine tasting episode where we break down the perfect wines for a variety of meals. So, it’s safe to say if I was in a totally different industry it would have something to do with wine!

WHAT’S THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED?

“There are no absolutes in life,” and “Never say never; Never say always.”

WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU’VE LEARNED RECENTLY THAT SURPRISED YOU?

The COVID pandemic was a game-changer for most.  I learned three very key things: 1. Do not overreact, 2. Stick to the plan, and 3. It's never as bad as it seems…..or as good as it seems. The stock market as measured by the S&P500 tumbled over 35% in March of 2020.  For many of us who “stuck with the plan”, we not only recovered within one month but went on to reach new highs.

Alec Glasser

Founder of The Drake, Laguna Beach

WHEN AND HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE MUSIC SUPPER CLUB BUSINESS?

I’ve wanted to open my own music supper club since I was a young, 17-year-old saxophone player. I worked at The Drake Hotel at 56th and Park Avenue in Manhattan. It was a very iconic music venue… all the jazz greats passed through there. I just naturally gravitated into the space from there.  

WHAT DO YOU DO TO MAINTAIN A BALANCED LIFE? HOW DO YOU DISCONNECT FROM WORK?

I like boxing. It’s a great aerobic workout for legs, upper body, and the heart. Boxing really clears my head.

IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE A DIFFERENT JOB IN A DIFFERENT INDUSTRY, WHAT WOULD YOU PICK AND WHY?

I’d be a crooner and play the saxophone along with that.… A crooner is an old-time word for someone that sings smooth, melodic songs—like Frank Sinatra. Music is a big part of my soul. It’s just who I am.   

WHAT’S THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED?

 I was night shift elevator operator at The Drake Hotel. One night, the general manager walked up and said, “Son, success comes with responsibility.” And he was right. If you’re responsible, success will follow.

WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU’VE LEARNED RECENTLY THAT SURPRISED YOU?

I suffered a medical setback about four years ago which caused me to reflect on life and my future. I learned that a youthful state of mind and a youthful heart never have to leave you—regardless of age. It’s all about attitude!

Jeremy Cavallaro

Co-founder, Community Roots Academy, Laguna Niguel  

WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BEGIN WORKING IN EDUCATION? 
In 1997 after graduating with a degree in history I worked at Shelburne Museum in Shelburne VT, an open-air art and history museum. I designed exhibits, tours, and field trips for children. I enjoyed teaching. I also coached basketball, baseball, and softball.

WAS THERE A MOMENT THAT INSPIRED YOU TO START COMMUNITY ROOTS ACADEMY?
I was sitting in a cafe in Greenwich Village working on a graduate school project with classmates in my Bank Street cohort. We were designing a school and soon realized we had created something unique and discussed taking it beyond just a project.

HOW DOES COMMUNITY ROOTS ACADEMY TIE INTO YOUR PASSIONS IN LIFE? 
Life development is my passion. Helping children and adults discover their passion and achieve their goals inspires me.  Nothing sums it up better than, “Hard work is the difference. Very hard work.”

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A BALANCED LIFE? 
Leadership is challenging and demanding work, so I enjoy challenging and demanding play!  I exercise regularly… always with a mindset that I’m training for my next outdoor family adventure.

THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED? 
I am in continual pursuit of mentorship, coaching, and collecting maxims and quotations. John Wooden once said, “Many athletes have tremendous God-given gifts, but they don’t focus on the development of those gifts.  Who are these individuals? You’ve never heard of them, and you never will.”  It’s true in sports and it’s true in life. Hard work is the difference.

Scott Green

Founder at Oscar & Ma, Irvine

WHAT GAVE YOU THE IDEA TO START OSCAR & MA?

I’ve long been associated with the Orange County Community Foundation.  A few years ago, a nonprofit director mentioned that there was a lack of jobs and training for people from marginalized communities (formerly incarcerated, domestic violence survivors, and foster youth).

My most recent business involves events, so when the pandemic started, I saw a need for nonprofits that rely on fundraising events but didn’t know how to quickly pivot to virtual.  My idea was to start a nonprofit that solved both problems: create jobs for the underserved and help nonprofits with events and fundraising.

Oscar & Ma is a social enterprise that does both. We produce high-quality events for nonprofits, and we provide on-the-job training to apprentices from underserved communities. The goal is for the apprentices to graduate from Oscar & Ma’s Academy with the job skills to have rewarding careers.

HOW DOES YOUR CHARITABLE WORK TIE INTO YOUR PASSIONS IN LIFE?

My interests are primarily focused on people—mentoring, sponsoring, and helping them achieve their goals.

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A BALANCED LIFE?

I read a lot, exercise every day, and spend time with my family.

WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU’VE LEARNED RECENTLY THAT SURPRISED YOU?

After COVID nothing really surprises me. I’m just happy to have found ways to give back during these challenging times.

THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED?

My dad always said that the best way to achieve success is to stick with your goals through thick and thin and to maintain a balanced perspective regardless of the circumstances.