Community is at the Heart of the Good Life
Another major aspect of Greg’s Good Life is having a sense of community. I met Greg at an upscale wine bar and restaurant that was converted from an old industrial garage. He said he frequently stops by this place to visit with his neighbors. Even if one of his neighbors is not there, he feels that he will be able to have great conversations with anyone there because of his knowledge of many diverse things.
Greg wishes that he had the sense of community within his neighborhood like he saw on the TV sitcom Cheers. He knows that this is very hard to accomplish in a city like San Francisco where most people are very career-focused and usually do not have the time to build strong relationships with neighbors. Even though Greg knows that establishing community does not come easy for someone like him who lives in a fast-paced city, he keeps it a priority to cherish the time he does have with the friends who he is able to see on a frequent basis.
I asked Greg to elaborate more on what he has learned from having a career of giving back to society. He said that he has come to understand that philanthropy is hard work; it is not a matter of giving money to a great cause. Rather, it is something that must done with a passion because making a difference in today’s world is something that can only be accomplished with a willingness to being extremely devoted to creating a positive change.
Based on his emphasis on how the Good Life is found by constantly learning, it was not a surprise to learn that one of Greg’s favorite areas to give back to society is by supporting educational programs. He explained how he has supported many efforts to develop the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) throughout the world. However, he said it is his personal mission to add an additional A to the acronym to make it STEAM so that Art is a critical part of everyone’s education.
Greg has found that being open to artistic and creative activities has helped him in many avenues of life. Nowadays, Greg serves as an angel investor who awards money to young technology companies in exchange for a percentage ownership in the company. Like most angel investors, he meets prospective clients at coffeehouses to better know them and to learn more about their ideas. His favorite meeting spot is a boutique coffee bar on the roof deck of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). He instructs these clients to meet him on the first floor where they precede to climb to the coffeeshop, passing by galleries of modern masters. By the time they are settled to talk business over coffee, they are in a creative and open mindset that makes for great conversation.
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