One fine college afternoon in sunny San Diego, we were finishing up our burritos at Chipotle and Johnny was finishing up one of his bona fide rants that have earned him the title, “Monologue Spiezia”. Shortly after Johnny makes his point about knowledge being power, a gal sitting at another table materializes and says to him, “You’re really smart. You’re going to be successful.” If I had a dollar for every time a situation like this presented itself while hanging out with Johnny, well, I wouldn’t be eating at Chipotle anymore.
Johnny is like the very Starbucks vanilla lattes that he drinks; he’s liked by everyone, much stronger then he looks, contains 3x more caffeine content than his competitors, gets people pumped up, and will make your day just a little better.
It took me a couple years and a few college classes to get past his Spicoli façade, but I eventually came to realize the innate characteristics that make him a world-class friend and an admirable leader. You know the quote you gave in 5th grade that was placed in the yearbook? His stated, “I want to make my own way and lead others.” This ten year old had aspirations to lead whereas his peers focused their attention on becoming Mario Kart masters.
Like gravity, Johnny draws everything to him. He connects with everyone with surgical efficiency and charms people with his positivity and forthright vision. His values, never forced upon others, stem from deep within his core and guide his actions. One of these core values is the desire to help others. Johnny has spent the past decade devoting any free time to lifeguarding at Newport Beach where he has been the deciding factor in life or death situations. He recently lost a friend and fellow lifeguard who was in the act of saving someone. This is merely one illustration of how Johnny seeks to help others; his days are speckled with other micro examples of his good intentions.
Johnny has a strong command of logic. His notable international private equity job bears testimony. (Speaking of bears, Johnny has an affinity for bears. Truly. Ask him anything about bears and he’ll drop some wisdom on you). Every lawyer and businessman also wields the power of logic, but Johnny’s respect for creativity and esoteric vibes distinguishes him amongst others.
We’re talking about an international man of mystery whose personality makes him the ultimate partner in crime while traveling. First he takes care of responsibilities, then puts all his attention and energy into making some epic memories. Johnny’s up-for-anything attitude coupled with his undying desire to achieve always leads to adventures packed with good vibes, laughs, and luster.
Johnny’s a glue guy: he keeps the friends together. He cherishes relationships and doesn’t push his agenda without considering the potential outcomes to others. That quality must originate from his Italian famiglia. And I revere his communication skills. The world would get along better if we all possessed his communication skills.
I’ll need to write a part deux to this anecdote. Johnny’s future is as bright as his spirit. Stay tuned for stories of glory to come from this young man.