084 – Kate Prehn – Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association

In this Happy Hour podcast, John and Ryan are chatting with Kate Prehn about her involvement with the  Fitchburg Teen Center, engaging with UW Alumni, and her thoughts on whether or not college may be the right path!


  • (4:48) Who is Kate Prehn?
  • (13:49) What does Kate do?
  • (19:54) What did Kate go to school for?
  • (21:01) Fitchburg Teen Center.
  • (27:12) Engaging with alumni.
  • (34:46) The last two years.
  • (48:02) Problem solving in marriage.
  • (1:01:40) Business is personal.
  • (1:13:28) College or nay?
  • (1:25:26) Two truths and a lie.


Ryan Freng 5:20
Hello and welcome back to a another backflip happy hour that the ending there took forever. I was waiting and waiting and waiting and it wasn’t happening. I’m Ryan Freng, one of your co creative directors here at backflip Joining me as always, we’ve got John Shoemaker say, Hey, John.

John Shoemaker 5:36
Hello. I am also wearing glasses today.

Ryan Freng 5:41
It’s been a while since we’ve we’ve been on it’s been like three months or something because we’ve been working. Yes. Where have we been? What’s going on?

John Shoemaker 5:50
We’ve been all over the place. There’s been vacations. So some of it’s been that. I’ve been out in the wilderness and many different forms. Hawk Eagle?

Ryan Freng 6:03
Yeah, I was gonna say what types of forms favorite

John Shoemaker 6:06
favorite two different camping trips and things like that. And then I think you’ve been on some and then we also were traveling for two different clients. We’re up in the north woods of Minnesota with one client doing some Ojibwe word of the day stuff. And then we’ve been but then more recently, we’ve been all over the place with a documentary that we’re working on about data centers and green technology and environmentally conscious. Yes, Carolina, Mr. environmentally conscious building. But that that circus everywhere. I think you guys were in. You had a week, crazy week of like three states. Almost a day. But

Ryan Freng 7:05
yeah, we started off in San Diego, or San Francisco, excuse me, California. Then we went to Dallas, Texas. Then we went to Seattle, Washington all in the same week. It was great. But I’m so happy to be back. I’m so happy to be able to be back doing this. Like, wow, this is one of my favorite things to do. And you know what, before we Vamp for too long, I’m just going to bring our guest on, because she’s awesome. We got Kate crane joining us here today. How’s it going, Kate?

Kate Prehn 7:33
Hi, guys. Thanks for having me. Yeah, you haven’t done this show? Because you’ve been working? And you’re like, Yeah, let’s keep pressing on. Because no,

Ryan Freng 7:45
no, this is great. I mean, like, this is what I enjoy. when I’m not traveling. Like I just want to hang out with people and talk. So I mean, it’s it I’m at work, right. So it’s kind of like working. But you know, we we do enjoy the time in the office, because a lot of what we do right is traveling, but nothing about us. Let’s get a little intro from you for those who don’t know who you are.

Kate Prehn 8:13
Great. Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining today. My name is Keith Preen. And for the last oh gosh, almost 13 years I’ve been working at the Wisconsin Alumni Association and now the Wisconsin foundation and Alumni Association. I have the pleasure of just getting to do work on all sorts of really amazing programs that engage alumni of the University of Wisconsin, everything from grandparents University, I’ve worked on our homecomings and reunion programs. And now I also get to travel and do some really fun things in cities across the United States. But I’m also a mom, I actually live right next door to Ryan and have been in Fitchburg here for about six years. My son’s in first grade. And we have a dog. I also have a husband and a fish and we love

Ryan Freng 9:04
and that level of importance. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Has or sun. Dog husband fish. Sorry, Justin. Yeah.

Kate Prehn 9:18
No, no, I think he knows that.

Ryan Freng 9:21
Ah, love it.

Kate Prehn 9:22
The husband feeds the fish. That’s his responsibility to Oh, yeah.

Ryan Freng 9:27
It’s like the natural hierarchy there.

Kate Prehn 9:29
Yeah. Fishing.

Ryan Freng 9:31
Also, your glasses look fantastic. So you need to wear large glasses. You are going to take them off earlier, but I was like, No, leave them on. They look so great. Do you You look fantastic. You work from home? Is this your typical work from home? Like, are you business up top party on the bottom are like, how’s that going?

Kate Prehn 9:51
So it depends. So I actually work from home three days a week. And so I think today is a good day. It’s Friday. So I am wearing cut off denim shorts and I’m here. But also work from home, you know, lots of leggings in the height of the pandemic, when I was working from home all the time. My goal was to wear real pants at least one day a week I’m talking zippers anything, and there was no time limit. So sometimes I literally just wore them for 30 minutes and then took them off and

Ryan Freng 10:26
get comfortable. Basic goals. I love that so much. Oh, here we go. I got this. I got a little title for you, Director of advancement programs, foundation Alumni Association, just like you said, great. So this is a happy hour. So we do like to talk about what we’re drinking. John, why don’t you kick us off? What do you got?

John Shoemaker 10:43
Sure. Well, I have it doesn’t look as nice now because I drink some of it. I have pineapple Tesseract in our let’s drink awesome. Glass that Hannah designed. Yeah, we’re, you know, there’s a backstory there. We’re probably the inspiration for this beer from carbon four. But it’s kind of like it’s kind of like a blue moon But like pineapple instead of like, orange. And then on a whim, I ran back to the kitchen to go grab the old smoky Tennessee. Mango Habanero. was so

Ryan Freng 11:24
good. Oh, wow.

John Shoemaker 11:27
Yeah, I was. I was gonna pour it and then Ryan was like, we tried to take the bottle over there. It’s like, yeah.

Kate Prehn 11:34
Can you run that over here?

John Shoemaker 11:37

Ryan Freng 11:38
It’s like, oh, this i can bring home. It’s like you can have it in a few hours.

Kate Prehn 11:45
I’ll meet you at the fence. Perfect.

John Shoemaker 11:46
Yeah, that’s that’s that. That’s that. Yeah.

Ryan Freng 11:50
Little little beard, a little Mango Habanero. All right, I’ll go next. And we’ll save you for last Kate. You pulled one out. So I pulled one out. I’ve got the old carbon for cucumber melon. This is actually my favorite seltzer. And I’m kind of high maintenance. And so I’m like, Ooh, 85 calories and no carbs. That’d be great. So I got that. I’m crushing right now. This Zoa energy drink, like 160 milligrams of caffeine. So when I’m bouncing around, that’s why. And then, depending on how the conversation goes, I can jump into maybe a scotch, you know, for getting really nostalgic tequila for getting kind of feisty, you know, I’ve got some options here. So

John Shoemaker 12:37
as you can see is Ryan’s actually, you know, working behind the bar where he is right now. There’s people in front of him. There’s patrons and he’s go back there to the shelf and get

Ryan Freng 12:50
Yeah, it’s all Tom Cruise style. Yeah. All right now, Kate, what

Kate Prehn 12:56
are you drinking me? I I inspired Ryan. So I’m drinking the carbon for Huckleberry. Here we go. I’ll just crack it open. Oh, yeah. Love that sound. And I didn’t bring it back up. But there’s a beer left in our house. So I might have to tap into the liquor cabinet. If station goes yeah, I just got a brand new bottle of the fancy Costco bourbon. So

Ryan Freng 13:24
we were just talking about that the other night taste test. Yeah, I would. I would love to try that in a Manhattan actually. wasn’t gonna say otherwise. If you need anything else, and wine or something, I’ll just text Monica. Have her meet you at the fence real quick.

Kate Prehn 13:40
Have a little bring it over? Oh, yeah. That’d be

Ryan Freng 13:43
so great. Like, who’s at home right now? Mary had Mary the three year old bring it over. Mrs. Preen. Oh my gosh, that’d be so great.

John Shoemaker 13:51
Yeah, I have one. Oh, that’s boring.

Kate Prehn 13:54
I’m also drinking water. Because

Ryan Freng 13:56
I mean, responsibility. Yep. Yeah. So yeah, you you were you were also in San Francisco. But that was Oh, was that a work trip. And that was

Kate Prehn 14:06
not a work trip. That was my first that was our family’s first family vacation since 2019. So we’ve, we’ve gone to visit family in Colorado, which, you know, is a nice getaway, but it’s not quite the same. So we flew into Los Angeles, we rented a convertible, and then we drove up the Pacific Coast time. That’s right. My, my dream growing up was to be a mom and a convertible. And it’s taken me six years, but finally made that dream come true. So

Ryan Freng 14:42
we’re not where you go from here though, if you’ve already hit your dream.

Kate Prehn 14:47
Well, you just you know, I think that’s a bit about dreams. I’ve always wanted to be a video intern. So if you know anyone looking for interns, you know

John Shoemaker 15:00
Man, I I feel like I gotta get working on my list of goals because I mean, you’ve got nomina convertible, a pair of pants once a week. Was that the other one? Yep. Like, there’s so many goals that you have. And I’m just kind of

Ryan Freng 15:18
you like, you got more animals to be in the forest. Yeah, different animals besides the hawk and the fish or whatever you had before. Let’s see, we also had, so we are live, I’m going to be bouncing around. So feel free to keep talking and not let me interrupt. But we can pull up people’s chat, we have David golden jumping in saying Kate is the best talented, creative and a joy to work with on projects. Let’s see, do I recognize that name? Have we worked with David before?

Kate Prehn 15:48
That’s part of the team Priene fan club at wha one of my colleagues love working with David. He’s on our facilities operations team. So they like make the behind the scenes dreams come true. Like all the things we take for granted, his team just doesn’t they magically happen and things always

Ryan Freng 16:08
oh my gosh, those are like my favorite people. We’ve got, we’ve got a guy here, Luke, who he called Luke of all trades, where it’s great. Like, I’ve even gotten to the point where like, he does the stuff. And I’m like, Yeah, give him the credit, even though I came up with the idea or bought the thing. Like, our storage room, and we have a ladder that folds up and stuff. And like, we’ve done like all the personality tests and things and like, I’m great at invention, or whatever. So I like to solve problems. But being creative director, I don’t have a lot of time to like, implement a lot of that stuff. But he’s very tenacious, and can do that stuff. He just doesn’t like coming up with ideas. So talk to him have a brief conversation. And like a week later, he creates this you know, stair system that folds up against the wall. And everyone’s always like, that’s the most amazing thing ever. And we’re like, yeah, Luke, Luke, Luke, smart. Those are my favorite people. So what what exactly do you do? I mean, we’ve we’ve worked together. Yeah, right. In the past where you needed to create video. You know, marketing. Would you say you do here, but you know, what, what, what’s your title? Let’s pull that back up. I’ve got it over here. Director of advancement programs, and you said, you’re traveling more now. So like, what is that? What do you do?

Kate Prehn 17:36
Yeah. So I’ll actually give my give myself a promotion there. I’m managing director now. So that was that was a shift in this this last July, which

John Shoemaker 17:45
is another added another word to that title. Word. Yeah. I think the longer the title of the lesson means

Kate Prehn 17:54
the more other people do the things and then you just take credit for all of the great people that are doing all of this. Yeah. So I’m an ideas person, too. But also very much a get it done. But lean on the people around me who are really good at connecting dots and asking the questions and saying, hey, great, crazy idea, Cade, thanks for the update there. How are we going to do that? You know, you’ve just tossed out this wild idea to transform basketball courts into like a gala space, how the heck are you going to do that? Turns out, it’s a lot of carpet and electrical rigging and lighting and all sorts of things. But my team, we work on a number of events that engage alumni and a lot of our really large donors at the University of Wisconsin, some of our recognition societies, as well as alumni who live in some of what we call key geographic areas. So outside the state of Wisconsin, it’s New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Twin Cities. Washington, DC, Atlanta, Boston, in a way and places in Texas, Seattle, Denver. So looking to those markets, to just bring University experts to alumni and create really cool experiences where they can reconnect with university and with each other.

Ryan Freng 19:23
That it sounds like a lot it sounds you know, like, what’s have to have to snout? Yes, yes. Right. It sounds like there’s a ton in there like what is it? What does it practically look like that?

Kate Prehn 19:38
Oh, my goodness. Yeah, like I think that it also the nuts to bolts, right? That’s that’s the bolts. Thank you. I mean, it’s a lot of really leveraging partnerships and relationships and collaborating. In a lot of these areas. We have chapters of alumni so volunteer leaders who who have really grateful time jobs during the day, but love the University and spend time evenings and weekends and wherever they can fit it in helping to bring UW game watches. So for football, basketball, really anything. And then campus faculty to their areas. So we we work with them. We work with campus units, thinking about where their priorities are, where their alumni live, which faculty, they want to highlight, you know, people who are doing super cool research, whether that’s applied or theoretical, sweet worked a lot across campus. And then, of course, there’s event managers and facilities colleagues, who just really helped to take care of all of the odds and ends that, you know, come with doing a big event and are our marketing colleagues and we have a production team, like print production. So we have an in house, large printers, we do invitations, and they get cut and mailed. So it’s a lot. It’s a lot of fun for their big teams that have tons of moving parts all the time.

Ryan Freng 21:11
Yeah. And so that travel is that is that to go to the events and to facilitate and,

Kate Prehn 21:17
yeah, I’ll go to them and to, to alumni relate, which is my favorite part, which is where I just get to show up and make sure things are running well and talk to people hear about their experience at the University, what they care about and what they would want to see. We we also have a travel program that another colleague of mine manages, and so back in March, I’m actually I had to go to the Galapagos Islands for work.

Ryan Freng 21:44
Oh, so you poor lady. I

Kate Prehn 21:48
had to go to the Galapagos Islands, which had been on my bucket list since the sixth grade when I learned about the Galapagos Islands for my teacher, Mrs. Green shout out to K green and Mankato, Minnesota.

Ryan Freng 22:01
zoo or whatever, the very specific.

Kate Prehn 22:04
Darwin’s finches. Yeah, that was, that was a pretty amazing opportunity. And, you know, they just can’t get rid of me. So they keep adding words to my title. And

Ryan Freng 22:16
yeah, what’s after minute? Oh, go

John Shoemaker 22:17
ahead. I was just gonna say, I mean, we’re just building like, we got pants once a week. I’m gonna convertible Galapagos Islands. I mean, it’s exponentially grown. So I’m really interested to hear the next story as we continue this conversation.

Ryan Freng 22:35
Yeah, like, where do we go from managing director of advancement programs with the Wisconsin foundation Alumni Association? Honestly, like senior or like,

Kate Prehn 22:46
I don’t even think I stopped there. I think I go straight to being a university president. Or Chancellor. I think that’s that’s where I’ll just go next. I’ll just oh,

Ryan Freng 22:54
can I vote?

John Shoemaker 22:58
In there, you get emeritus means like, you won’t leave even though people are like, Go

Kate Prehn 23:07
retired. Yeah,

Ryan Freng 23:09
like maybe in like 25 years or something? Yeah, what did you What did you go to school for?

Kate Prehn 23:16
Ah, so many things, many,

Ryan Freng 23:19
many things related to what you actually do. I was

Kate Prehn 23:23
you know, when you when your first major goal in life is to be a mom and a convertible that that kind of puts you on a path to dabble in a lot of different once you

Ryan Freng 23:35
you can get your Mrs degree. Yeah,

Kate Prehn 23:37
yes, yes. I eventually got one of those you know, I went to school might so my degree was from the School of Human Ecology, family, community, community education, Nash community leadership, family, Consumer Community Education, Dash community leadership. That’s it. I said community twice in this considering now it’s nonprofit management studies. So

Ryan Freng 24:04
oh, wait, wait now like that’s that’s what you got your degree

Kate Prehn 24:07
like soaking that up? Yeah. So they call it program now through the School of Human Ecology. Oh, interesting. That kind of interdisciplinary. It was it was a blast. I loved it.

Ryan Freng 24:19
Yeah, and I think I don’t know if it was a title somewhere or in your bio, maybe like, like teen teen programming and the community like in Fitchburg. That’s like a thing you do. Yeah. Tell me more about that. Because that that seems very in line with the original title of your degree.

Kate Prehn 24:38
Yeah. So when I just graduated and I wanted, I was looking for more meaning. And so I stumbled into the AVID tops program with the Boys and Girls Club. And I wanted to be a mentor, but was looking at the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and I didn’t feel like I had the capacity and energy to really to maintain a really strong weekly relationship with a little person. But I still wanted to do something. So I stumbled across avid tops, which is actually geared towards high schoolers, and a lot of them would be first time college attendees in their family. And so I mentored a number of high schoolers, and eventually met my friend Joe Maldonado. He who’s actually, he’s another UW grad, he’s an older person sitting in here

Ryan Freng 25:35
alderperson he’s our older person. Yeah.

Kate Prehn 25:38
And so got to know Joe through that and have sort of stayed in touch with Joe a little bit throughout the years. And back in it was winter 2020 He came to me and said he crazy idea. What do you think about working with me to help build a teen center in Fitchburg, right, over off up drive or somewhere in the neighborhood? And immediately, I was like, yes, absolutely, this is something that we need to do. You know, there’s never too much that you can do for youth. So we do a really great job taking care of children who are younger and school aged. But really, once teens become teens, the level of support and engagement from the community sort of drops off. And a lot of programs, even through the Boys and Girls Club, no longer support them once they hit a certain age. So really want to bring a space to our community that will serve the needs of teams in the Fitchburg area here. So primarily those who go to Verona area are in the Verona area, kind of high school district. So a place where we can help nurture their minds, their bodies, help teach them some financial literacy, socio emotional skills, connect them with one another. My dream is to have a library and the space we want to have like a basketball court and fields. There’s a lot of fantastic people working on on the project. And it’s just really starting to get off the ground. We’re working with equity by design, who conducted some surveys of area residents and area teams, and we’re now actually approved and in the Pittsburgh city budget for the 20. That’s awesome. So things are gonna start to happen. It’s just really slow. I’m somebody who, like, I have an idea, then let’s do it. And seeing the other side of how the city works. Is is very interesting, coming from a very large nonprofit for what I do for work, you know, where we raise a lot of funds, and we can use those funds how we wish. Right? The the private fundraising and city budget combination is is what I’m learning is very state.

Ryan Freng 28:05
Yeah, that’s, that’s very interesting. And do you guys at the university? So this is a tangential question. And then I want to get back to the teen stuff. Do you guys at the university as a nonprofit, go through like the democratic method, because I’ve been a part of some boards. And you always have to go through kind of the form and function of bringing in John, you can probably speak to a F raising, what do they call? Motion? You know, having a motion? All in favor? Aye. Do you have to make all decisions that way? Do you make any decisions that way? At the university? Or is it is it different? So structure,

Kate Prehn 28:42
WF, A is a nonprofit, 501 C three, so we’re actually independent of the university. So that we’re the fundraising and alumni engagement arm of the university. But all of the funds that we raise for campus and campus units, all of that, we then pay the university directly. So they get those funds. So with our the funds that come in, we’re operating under how donors want us to use the funds, as well as how the university kind of lays out what their needs are. But we have our own board of directors. And so our board of directors really oversees you know, our budget, like the really big picture, what we do our mission. And then from there, our leadership teams within the organization helped us up the strategy. So I’m in a place where I get to sit around the strategy table for alumni engagement. So we’re talking about what we want to do, why we want to do it and what outcomes we want to see. And then from there, then we kind of we have more autonomy, then go ahead and think about what what would work, what do we want to try. And when we’re, you know, kind of piloting new programs, we just get to throw stuff to the wall and see what sticks. So it’s a lot of fun.

Ryan Freng 30:04
Oh, wow, very cool. Okay, so kind of at your guys’s level of the unit, you’re able to experiment and try things. But I imagine at some point, some of those initiatives are going back up to the board. And they’re going through the democratic process, and they’re like, alright, I motion to approve this idea from the let me pull your title up again. Managing Director of advancement programs with the Wisconsin foundation Alumni Association, K pre.

Kate Prehn 30:31
Yeah, and you know, one of those new things is, lately, I’ve been working a lot on what are we doing to engage alumni who are between the ages of 41 and 54. So once students graduate, they have a super high affinity, most do a super high affinity to university, they’re willing to promote the university to advocate for the university, very likely, they’re not giving to the university. And that, no, we don’t expect them to behave like that. Then as people start getting deeper into their careers, they start families, their level of engagement and how front of mine UW Madison is kind of dips a little bit. It eventually shoots way back up once they hit the age of 55. Once they get closer to retirement, and then certainly once they are retired. So I’ve been working with my team to think about what are the programs that we can engage alumni 41 to 54. So we just piloted admissions 101. So we had an online program last night with the director of admissions, Andre Phillips, that was geared towards alumni in Chicago. So we had a number of alumni attend that with their prospective bachelors and their families. And then we also piloted this last spring, a communication geared towards alumni who are just celebrating their 25th anniversary. So it was just a, it was a really fun, nostalgic, look back, this was your time on campus. You remember Tamagotchis and Hansen, and all of that fun stuff, the scrunchies, the flannels and so we tied in a lot of campus and pop culture, into their experience.

Ryan Freng 32:17
That’s amazing. I love that. And I remember those, but that would have been high school. And I just, I feel like I keep going tangents a tangent to tangent. So I’ll save this third tangent, we’ll go back to the team things. I think that’s, that’s amazing. And fantastic. The work you’re doing there too, and I can’t wait to see that. And I can’t wait to help out. You know, as a community member, I’d love to see, you know, whatever that is because like, what did they have before, you know, teens could like maybe kind of go to the mall, or, you know, there was other activities, where you can just kind of bum around, right? Where you can just hang out, you can entertain yourself. And I think those those types of things are very important. Because there’s definitely been, you know, some teens walking around. And actually, when we first moved in, I was out, I was taking the trash out of the at night or something. And there was a small group of teens, and they’re just kind of walking down the center of the road. And I’m like, you guys should get off the road, you know, be careful, like, whatever, I didn’t say anything. And they’re walking in, like the house next to us, right? The sister’s house, they’re like, oh, let’s go up and ring the doorbell and run. And I was like taking the trash out. And they saw me and then they just kind of kept walking. I was like, That’s okay, like, you know, good, clean, fun is good. I think you know, I think now there’s, there’s a little bit of car, rummaging around in people’s cars. So providing people with just better things to do with their time, like, you know, idle, idle hands. Whatever Devil’s plaything like to provide better opportunities, I

John Shoemaker 33:53
think is awesome. There’s there’s the I know everybody’s tired of talking about it. And so am I but we have to the last couple of years with COVID. Like, just really threw a wrench in a lot of things like we’re even going through that with the the, you know, other organization that Ryan was talking about. I’m I’m the president of American advertising Federation this year. And you you both HAIL THE PRESIDENT. Yeah.

Kate Prehn 34:26
I’m coming after that, John.

Ryan Freng 34:27
Yeah, the queen had to die in order for John to become president.

John Shoemaker 34:32
That’s actually when it happened. I got the call this week. So basically, like, you get thrown off of routine and then you just kind of forget that. There’s like a new group. There’s a new crop of teens, there’s a new crop of employees. There’s a new crop of people involved in like various networking groups that don’t have any consistency or connect Shouldn’t to, like how things had been done. So there’s just this wandering. You know, I’ll just use that analogy to connect it to Ryan’s story about the team’s wandering. There’s just like, where, what do we do? Where do we hang out? How do we do anything, and not to sound like an old fogy? Even though I’m, you know, we’re all becoming them. Social media. And just like phones and stuff is like, I hear stories about like, teens, like not knowing how to hang out anymore. And it just, like, kills me how to socialize. Yeah, you know, and like, so I’m thinking, it even reminds me of, I mean, I had places to go, I had a good, you know, network of friend groups and their parents who would like, have us all hanging out. But I had a few instances where I got to hang out at the community, the teen center in Mayville, Wisconsin. And it was awesome. I wasn’t like, usual crowd. But it was just like, it was really cool. And, yeah, it takes a lot of work for people to do that. But anyway, I don’t know what I’m teeing up here. But I’m just interested, I guess in the middle, I’m ready. Your perspective on what it what it’s taking right now to like, reconnect, people, and take teens who like, just a few years ago, we’re not teens. And so their experience of life is like, not being able to go anywhere and do anything because everybody’s like, trying to, like, stay home and not get sick.

Ryan Freng 36:43
And let’s, I want to keep that question. For you, Kate. The thought that I had that I wanted to jump in with too is like my kids, it’s great. And probably Jackson to pretty soon like, my older kids can like ride like three blocks away. And there’s like 10 families with there’s like 30 kids or 40 Kids, right. And it’s great because they’re like row roaming band of kids going from like house to house. There’s like, you know, barefoot three year old running down the middle of the street. It’s super fun. And we have the park right there, which is nice. So they can do that. But you know, it would be great to to be able to have them ride their bike to the library, have them ride their bike to this other, you know, thing and have activities, because there they go so much like, you know, Jackson is six, I believe, right? That energy level, like if we could put that in a can and drink it like, Man, oh man, like, I come home and I’m like, Okay, I am going to hang out with you guys. And you know, put the time in, right? But like just everything going on that level of energy needs an outlet. And if it doesn’t have a good outlet, then it then it’s gonna go, you know, it could go in a bad way. So it’s, it’s really, really important. So back to well, over here, kind of John’s question and directionality there? Like, what are your thoughts on on that, like, you know, the oddness over the last couple of years, and then the opportunity that this could provide?

Kate Prehn 38:16
You know, I think it’s, you know, we hear a lot about resiliency. And especially within the last couple of years, I think we all found out that we were both stronger and weaker than what we thought, I think going into the pandemic that who we are shifted quite a bit. You know, I think people realized, what they were interested in what they’re passionate about what they cared about who they cared about. But when everybody has had to distance themselves, themselves socially, you know, social distancing. In remote learning, for all ages, you know, we’re seeing the studies, we know that this set everybody back a couple of years. And, you know, to John’s point about for these teams, who are now teens, and they were preteens and then therefore, very formative years, for the last two years, relied on social media inside their own house by themselves where they were most comfortable. And now they’re put into real world situations. They just haven’t learned the social skills that that you need. They haven’t learned all of the body language and the cues that exist that I think a lot of us take advantage are to not take advantage of it take for granted. And so for

Ryan Freng 39:44
me, I take advantage of body language. Yeah,

John Shoemaker 39:48
just get a good make people uncomfortable. Everybody knows what that means. You know, I

Kate Prehn 39:56
think I’m younger kids and a adults are a little bit more resilient than those who are not comfortable in their own skin and bodies and have questions. And face inequalities. There are so many preteens and teens that just need a space that’s theirs that’s safe. It doesn’t have to be heavily programmed, it should have dropping resources. And I think taking the time to build a space like that, that’s been driven by teens, it’s not being driven by us as adults, we really want this to be driven by teens. And we’re working with teens to help us create what the center is. And the teens are essentially leveraging our expertise as adults to build a space and get this accomplished. And it’s, we just have to listen to kids, we have to really care about youth and listening where, you know, I’m somebody who always has an answer, right? Like, oh, I know how to fix that. I know how to do that. So it’s a really great, it’s a test for me to listen and to hear what they have to say, and offer a variety of different paths when I think I might know the right one. But let them lead us down this road and let them build it for us and for the community.

Ryan Freng 41:31
Yeah, I was gonna say, except we can’t just have fortnight like, it can’t just be you know, five stations or 20 stations with fortnight, and they’re gonna play fortnight all day.

Kate Prehn 41:38
Yeah. I love that saving the world one teen at a time.

Ryan Freng 41:41
Yeah, yeah.

Kate Prehn 41:44
I like to joke but sure. I mean, they are absolutely,

Ryan Freng 41:47
absolutely. And, you know, we think about it with our own kids, right? Like, listening to them, hearing what they need, and then we have to guide them in some way. So So shaping that and saying, Okay, well, you want to try it your way, here’s why I recommend we do it a different way. But if you would like to try it, I will let you try it your way, you know, like, the kids lose their mind. Sometimes when, like dishes, like if dishes aren’t getting done. So in our household, all the kids do the dishes primarily. And sometimes, you know, they slack off, and they don’t get done at night. And so then they have to get done in the morning. And, but so and so didn’t put this away, and you know, all the reasoning and stuff. So then we started coming up with systems to improve that. But the older kids get really invested. And so we’re like, Okay, well, what do you guys think? How do you think it should work? What do you want to do? Right? And their answers aren’t always great. But I think I think that when they feel heard, and this is kind of what you’re talking about asking the teens, this is what we learned with adults to like everybody, when they feel like they’re being heard, they have more buy in, even if you go a different route. And that’s that’s been fantastic for dishes because we were going to change it up because something wasn’t working. And we’re like, Guys, this isn’t working. So we want to change it up to this. They started like, revolting. There was you know, there was like a French revolution happening. They’re going through our heads. And we’re like, Okay, well, what do you guys think you should we should do? And they’re like, well, we want to do the old system. But here’s the slight modification we’ll make. And we’ll do it that way. And we’re like, okay, what are the rest of you think? And they’re like, Yeah, let’s do it that way. We’re like, Okay, we don’t think it’s great. But we’ll, we’ll give it a shot. And they’ve been doing pretty well with it, you know, because they have some ownership in it too. And that’s, that’s what seemingly, could be really helpful, or it sounds like you’re talking about and is really helpful is like, they will have ownership in that thing that is for them. As opposed to and this is I hate it. When I see a movie, or a piece of content. And I’m like, that just looks like old people trying to make something for young people. You know, it feels out of touch, right?

Kate Prehn 44:04

John Shoemaker 44:06
And I was where my sister and I were in those formative teen years. You know, we’re starting to have a lot of like, just conflicts in the household. And my dad did the classic, you know, classic from a movie from a book, like instituted like family meetings. And we were, you know, resistant to it at first, but it became like, this super valuable thing. Because, yeah, we you know, you felt like you had some you had a space where you could say, Okay, well, this is what I think or what’s bothering me or whatever. In the end, they were still guiding us or whatever. But yeah, it’s

Ryan Freng 44:52
you could provide feedback to your parenting. Yeah, yeah. Or to the Yeah,

Kate Prehn 44:56
I’m actually not accepting feedback to my parenting. Ah,

Ryan Freng 45:03
yeah, yeah. at certain ages, right. Yeah, exactly.

Kate Prehn 45:08
But you know, John, your point, like the family meetings, were teaching you a way to manage the conflict and come to, you know, joint resolutions to get there. And I think managing conflict and mediation, the peer to peer mediation is something that I remember from personal experience as a teenager. And there are skills that we have to learn, and we need people to teach them to us, and students and kids today just don’t have they’re not getting that as much. And not all parents are teaching that at home either. So they have to, they have to hear it, and wherever they can hear it from and the experiences that can that resonate best with teens are ones where they’re, you’re adjusting their life, and you’re addressing what it means to them. I remember, like my sister, and I, it was like the great LGI jeans fights, like we both had the same pair of jeans, but they were two different sizes. And my sister took my jeans off of my bed before I went to school. And I came home and they were gone. And then two, three weeks later, I see my sister walking across the living room in my jeans. And what did I do? I tackled her, because what else do you like that? And I remember my mom being like, Okay, I’m not breaking this up, you two need to get this out of your system, and then we’ll talk about it. And then it was the same thing. It was a family meeting. And I got very nicely chewed out about how inappropriate that was, and how unkind I was being to my sister, and sharing and you didn’t even buy those jeans, and all sorts of things. But whatever, how we just need to teach it, we need to learn it. And I think we all probably still need reminders.

Ryan Freng 47:05
Yeah, well, I think there’s there’s a balance to like, we like to think like, Oh, we’re modern, we know so much better than our parents, we know so much better than anyone in history ever. But the reality is, you know, there might be more information. But we’re all still trying to figure everything out, right? You know, I think back to when I was a kid, and you’re like, Oh, my parents knew everything. Like they were experts. And now you’re an adult and having kids like they didn’t know anything. They didn’t even read books, whereas I tried to read books, but I think the importance is, is balancing like, Okay, what is our traditional knowledge? What is our, you know, family historical knowledge? And like, Are there new things that we’re learning? And how do we balance those two things together? Because I feel like on the one hand, you know, like my parents read the book. You know, how to parent with a wooden spoon, right? And I feel like that’s very common in like the 80s and 90s. Whereas now, there’s a book that can confirm any type of bias you might have. But there’s the kind of oversaturation of like, okay, now, Timmy, why do you think punching somebody in the face is wrong? Timmy, Don’t punch me in the face, Timmy, please stop punching me in the face, right? There’s going too far in one direction, where you know, and my wife and I actually constantly push each other as where she’s like, well, more love and logic, let’s make sure we’re talking with them and being patient. And I’m like, Yep, I will work more on that. And at some point, the buck stops, you know, like, tantrums and throwing and breaking and hurting like that that has to be addressed. Maybe more in a stern manner. But certainly you always try to approach it from love, you always try to kind of combine all these things together. And at the very least talking about can cool everyone’s jets. So that’s nice. But it seems like sometimes when there’s this this attitude of like, oh, let’s throw the baby out with the bathwater. It’s like, no, maybe maybe we can try to incorporate all the things because you know, humans have been doing this for 1000s of years. 10s of 1000s of years. Right? So there’s some some learned things that we can take, but hopefully we can get better. And, you know, I don’t know if you find you guys find yourself doing this. But sometimes I’m like, Ah, I’m doing this thing my parent did. My parents said that I didn’t like, why am I doing it? You know, and like my parents, I give my parents crap. I give them a lot of credit. They’re great. They raised us really well. But I’m like, I some of my annoying traits are from growing up in your household and I’m trying to work through them. And I’m sorry that I’m still annoying. But like, that’s from you guys. And they’re like, Well, what, like we didn’t raise you that way. Like, yes, you did. But I don’t you know, there’s nothing bad about that in the sense of like, I’m not there’s no judgement. But moving forward, it’s like, let’s just acknowledge that and let’s, let’s all just do better together. And let’s, let’s do this, let’s save the world, one team at a time. That’s That’s my poignant, poignant title here. So we’ve kind of gone down this, this road, you did say when you’re a problem solver, so it makes me think kind of about myself, I’m definitely a problem solver. I know, John’s a problem solver, too. But John also is an external processor. And I often like to think in like complementary pairs. So like, I feel like John is a lot like my wife and that she externally processes things. John’s like my work wife, our wives make fun of us. Like, I’m his work wife as well. I think Amanda coined that term. For us. That’s the first time I heard that.

Kate Prehn 50:57
But you seem so happy together to like your,

Ryan Freng 51:01
you know, happy wife happy life. Yeah. So so he’ll often externally process things, and he’ll start talking about something, or my wife will start talking about something. I’m like, okay, okay, we’ll do this. No, you’re still going, okay? No, we’ll do this. Okay. Well, am I supposed to solve this? Or am I supposed to listen? And so you, it sounds like you’re a problem solver. So I’m curious with like you and your husband, if that plays out in a similar way, like, if he’s one who likes to externally process and talk about it? And if you’re just like, well, here’s what we do. Here’s what we do. Here’s what we do. And you know, if you’re like me, listening can be hard. You know, is this a listen? Or is this a help out sort of conversation? Do you guys have that dynamic? Or is it

Kate Prehn 51:46
Justin, bless his heart? Is a tell me what you want me to do? And let’s do it. And so I have, I’ll get an idea. Or we’ll talk about something. For example, last year is Austin said, Hey, let’s get rid of our river rock and put mulch down. So half of our landscaping is mulch, and the other half is still river rock, right? Because I just like jumped in and started going. Um, so he will help balance me a little bit. And sometimes he needs to say, like, how, when are we going to do this? Like, what? let’s prioritize all of these things. Because you just laid out 10 Different things you want to do, we can’t do all of them at the same time. Tell me what you want to do first, and we’ll do that first. Justin is he’s a, he’s a really great partner. And I can’t imagine I’m easiest with how excited I get about stuff. Because I’m very passionate, and I have a lot of energy, and I don’t like to sit still. And so I’m constantly doing things. And he, he’s learned that it’s okay that he doesn’t have to do that. And he’s really excited that it’s no NFL season. And he’s got a fantasy team. I’m, I’m just as excited because like, he’s busy four nights a week essentially now, right? But Justin just does a really great job of just Okay, I’ll do it, and will kind of be my workhorse or will help me figure things out. And he’s an engineer. So he’s, he’s a landscaper, or I’m sorry, he’s a land surveyor, which does translate into landscaping. But he the way he thinks and he will measure things, he will double check measurements. We last winter, we’re working on a built up fireplace credenza, I like to call it. And I didn’t have a plan. I just like bought some cabinets, piece of plywood and some two by fours and a fireplace insert and he’s like, Well, how are you measuring this? So then he he’s the one so I get these crazy ideas. And he’s the one that spends more time and energy executing them. And I’m very happy with

Ryan Freng 54:10
how things are now that’s a good team up. Yeah.

Kate Prehn 54:13
He I mean, he listens. He’s he’s really good at listening. And I probably don’t listen to his suggestions and ideas as much as I probably should. So yeah, like, bless his heart.

Ryan Freng 54:26
Yeah, good. Good complementarity. And John, I characterized you kind of in a, you know, in a particular way, do you? Like, how would you describe you and you and Amanda’s diamond dynamic?

John Shoemaker 54:38
Yeah, it’s funny, we, we joke and laugh about how like we’re, we’re both you know, fairly creative minded. And, you know, neither of us have a lot of like organizational administrative type skills. So, at home, although no one will would label me with that here I am that at home. But I don’t know, we just kind of trade back and forth because she’s gonna watch this. And then she’s gonna, like, get on my case about it. So she actually she, she homeschools our kids, and then she takes part in a couple different coops that. So she’s teaching art, like right now to a whole classroom full of like, kids who are part of this homeschool Co Op on Fridays, just on a Tuesday. So she manages a lot of schedules and stuff like that. But your description, Kate of how, you know, you like to start working on a project. She’s teaching art, because she’s very artistic. And so she likes she gets an idea. And she just starts, and then she’s halfway into it. And she’s like, Hey, how do I do this? And I’m like, I, I have no clue because none of this was started with a plan. And I don’t know, like, I would have measured that ahead of time or figured out if I had enough material to complete, you know, being halfway into gluing something and realizing that you don’t have enough, you know, whatever it is. So I have to, I mean, I feel a lot like I the roles that I fall into, are just kind of like I don’t know what you would call it, maybe maybe chameleon, like Rob would call himself a chameleon. I don’t know if that’s the right tournament Alliance. It’s more just like, think I have enough confidence and capability to slot myself into whatever role needs to be filled in the moment. So if they’re, if some if they’re missing, the organization and administration in a team, like it’s not my favorite spot or skill set, but I can’t do it. Or, you know, like, I just kind of end up falling into various roles. But what Ryan’s referring to is, if you’ve heard of like one, it’s one of the newer work profile work personality profile things called Working genius. There’s these areas of wonder, invention, discernment, galvanizing enablement, tenacity. And I kind of fall into a wandered recall of all those, by the way. The it’s widget is the Oh, that’s right. That’s right. I fall into wonder and discernment. So I can spend a long period of time. Just, you know, I’ll let you know processing out loud about different ideas, and not moving on them. But just like, I wonder if we could do this, but I want to, you know, and then, you know, those who are inventors like Ryan, and others here, are jumping in with like, oh, yeah, we could, you know, we could do this, we do that we did it, you know, and then I also, I will spend other time processing, discerning those ideas. So, just being humble, like, I can be annoying, because I can, you know, think about how we can do things better when somebody proposes an idea. And then I can analyze that idea for a while, and be doing those two areas that kind of come naturally to me. But, you know, like, it’s all like in this processing space, instead of like, the, like, Okay, well, let’s, let’s do this thing, or let’s make this thing or whatever. Yeah, I don’t know, I could. I don’t have a point at the end of that thought. But that’s kind

Ryan Freng 58:57
of No, it’s just kind of ruminating on on how you think and how you operate. And me and Monica are kind of like, I don’t know, kind of combination of various things. So some similar things like Kate and Justin, and then various Amanda, John, like, I, like we just had this conversation the other day, actually, where Monica will ask me a question. And for me, it feels like such a leading question. I’m like, you don’t want my feedback. You just want confirmation? She’s like, No, I honestly, I’m honestly wondering, like, which of these three do you like? And I’m like, Well, I don’t have a strong opinion. And when I start giving my opinion, you will come very strong about one of those. And she’s like, well, I’m an external processor. I like I need to talk it out. And I don’t know until you talk it out. And it’s like, let’s go out to dinner. Where do you want to go to dinner? And she’s like, Oh, I’ll go anywhere. And I’m like, Okay, how about laredos? She’s like, Oh, I don’t want Mexican. Like okay, how about Takumi now As sushi doesn’t really sound good, I’m like, Okay, I got one more suggestion, and then I’m out like that anywhere. But really, you have an idea, you just need someone to help you process it. So, as a as a partner trying to be a good husband, you know, thinking about how can I do my side of this better? Have more patients help you externally process when I don’t externally process I internally process, like, I thought about it, and then I’m just like, here’s my idea, here’s the action, probably don’t spend enough time in discernment or thinking about things. So trying to do more of that, but I also get a lot of stuff done. So, you know, it’s kind of that fun balance. And like, with all these things, with the working genius with the Enneagram, like, I like to encourage people think about them as descriptive, not prescriptive. Like sometimes people can use it and be like, Well, I am, you know, I’m the discerner. So you have to listen to me to the conclusion that I came to because I’m the discerner. It’s like, well, the language actually in that program is like, you get energized by this, you feel good, you probably are better at it. But that doesn’t, you know, mean that no one else has discernment, or someone else’s discernment is less good, right? Or my invention. I get energy from invention. But it doesn’t mean my invention is necessarily better than John. It’s just the first thing that I go to, you know, when I’m trying to solve a problem, I just start solving it, but maybe a little bit more time thinking about it’s good. And that’s why partnerships are good. That’s why teams are good. And then ask questions. Say that again. Oh, yeah.

Kate Prehn 1:01:41
I just started to ask questions to ask the questions that you wouldn’t think about. Right? Like, oh, yeah, great question.

Ryan Freng 1:01:48
Right. Even if I never saw the questions I’ve already thought about but

Kate Prehn 1:01:52
yeah, right. Yeah. But having to say it out loud, having to like go through the exercise of like, explaining to somebody why I think this would actually work. Right? Like,

Ryan Freng 1:02:02
honestly, it’s like those other 10% that could change the whole thing, right?

John Shoemaker 1:02:08
Yeah, I do. Like, you know, those kinds of things. Like, I, I’m not a morning person, you know, I’ve always that. But at some point, I came up with the idea that like, Okay, I’m not like a natural morning person. But I also, I don’t want to be a slave to like that kind of a label, like, you know, because there’s incredible value to me, when I do get up earlier in the morning, you know, because then I have time to like, Ryan’s ran away. It’s gotta be a great experience for the viewer to be like somebody just disappeared

Kate Prehn 1:02:53
after another stream. But no, you get up in the morning? And do you find time for yourself in the morning?

John Shoemaker 1:03:00
Right, right. So if I get up in the morning, I have time to like, read to pray to like, take a look at my schedule for the day. Drink a cup of coffee, have a little quiet, watch the sun come up. It’s not like the natural thing for me. I am more of a night owl. I do stay up longer. But I like that idea. Like what Ryan was saying is you know, it’s good to know your strengths or to know your like tendencies where you go, but you don’t also you don’t want to become a slave to that stuff.

Kate Prehn 1:03:42
I am not a morning person. And my son’s school bus picks them up this year. It’s a 648 a last year was at 6:44am and it’s crazy how much that four minutes. Like extra time we have this year makes but so he’s out of the house before I would like wake up. Yeah. So now I’m up and then he’s out of the house before 7am So if I’m working from home, I like get laundry in like I can get a lot of laundry in the washer and the dryer. I can do whatever I want to do. I read I sit I enjoy I drink hot coffee, which is something that you know, before I was a parent I would never drink like room temperature coffee and then you if you’re a coffee person and you have a kid chances are you probably aren’t drinking hot coffee very often. We’ll sit and have like a cup of hot coffee. And the house is quiet. I can do whatever I want.

Ryan Freng 1:04:44
And you’re not getting emails.

Kate Prehn 1:04:47
I am I’m just not answering them yet.

Ryan Freng 1:04:52
Before eight o’clock like not getting emails like after six o’clock like it’s such a beautiful time.

John Shoemaker 1:04:59
If you take that and apply it across to those other things that we’re talking about, like, alright, so you know, some of these other areas don’t come as naturally to me, the two lowest on that particular profile are enablement and tenacity. But I know we’re just talking right about like, although I’m not a morning person, I don’t want to be a slave to that label, like, well, I, you know, part of like, becoming an adult, you know, growing in maturity, as you compare yourself to the teams that you’re trying to deal with are to the kids or to the college students even is I don’t have to be stuck in this category. Like, you know, Ryan, and I talk about this a lot like Enneagram. And stuff is like, the more mature you become, the less it should be easy to pay, you know which one you are, because you should be able to like, kind of just will yourself into other areas, you know, they might be a little bit harder, you might end the day with less energy, you know, but you should be able to like function in some other areas of expertise. And so, yeah.

Ryan Freng 1:06:21
Yeah, it’s fun, like all these things, thinking about teens, thinking about ourselves, and personalities, like it just all translates everywhere. Like, it translates to our spouses or partners, that translates to our kids, that translates to other people we’re helping. And that’s why I find it most interesting, like, we’ll do something at work. And then I’m like, oh, okay, well, now I can kind of understand how you’re different like the kids at home, and what you could need or how to talk to you in a way that you’ll understand and I love seeing those skills, like transfer those seemingly distinct environments, but at the end of the day, like, you know, and John says this a lot like, we we’ve been told, keep business, what is it now I’m gonna ruin it. Your private life and business separate or whatever, but like, our business, like, is a part of our private life. It’s a part of our family, you know, we’re extended community members to some extent, and so personal. Business, yeah, personal and business. Well,

John Shoemaker 1:07:27
it gets his personal, separate businesses personal, it’s right people. The more and more we do this, the more I’m just like, well, the jobs that we have are with people who are like, I like these people, I’d like to hang out with them more, let’s do this work together. And then we’re going to talk together, and there’s going to be moments that become emotional, where there’s like disagreements, we have to work through them, like friends. If we can’t work through them, like friends, then the job will, or that client relationship will end. And it won’t be there anymore. You can’t just like, analytically, look at well, this would make sense for this business to work with this, because we provide the best value to them. And so they would just continue, like now that that guy doesn’t really get along with me, and so he’s not going to work with me anymore. You know, yeah, it’s gonna overcome that for the logical choice,

Ryan Freng 1:08:27
it’s almost more critical to think about that at work, because at home, you’re like, well, we can’t get rid of each other. So we have to figure this out. Whereas at work, you know, you might have some seemingly small misunderstanding, that just totally ruin somebody’s perspective of you or the relationship. And you might not ever talk about it like that might be the end of the working relationship, because that’s how some working relationships can go. Whereas at home, you know, you’re stuck with each other. So you’re like, well, we better figure this out, otherwise, it’s gonna suck. So if you can get ahead of that at work in those relationships, and that’s why it’s important to remember, it is personal, it’s primarily personal, you know, we create great work, I’m sure you like, the events you run are amazing, and the connections are amazing. But at the end of the day, if there’s not a good personal relationship, someone’s not going to come back or not care or not hire us again.

Kate Prehn 1:09:24
I think you know, when you are working with a bunch of people who are all working towards the same goals, same direction, have a shared passion. Not everybody has the same way to get to the end result or the vision or, you know, and I think a lot of times, that’s where conflict comes in, you know, at work and at home, but just sort of coming to terms with, we’re gonna approach this differently. Your D, you’re an AI, you need to work we need to work together. We got to talk about it and To put feelings aside, and hopefully, you know, if you have a conflict, and I’ve had plenty of complex in my professional time, if you can just set that aside, get back to what it is that you’re trying to work towards together and find a shared understanding and making sure you have common language and a solid set of beliefs that you’re working towards together. I think anybody can work with anybody, you just have to work at it. Working really,

Ryan Freng 1:10:35
you have to desire that common goal and believe in it, or whatever, you know. And once you have that, once you have your sights set on something, you’re like, Okay, well, we’re gonna we’re gonna walk this walk together. Yeah, it’s been fun. Me, John and our other partner, Scott are very different. In a lot of different ways, we’re similar in a lot of different ways. And it creates tension. And I think through that tension, it’s made us grow a lot individually, as a group, as a business. And it’s, you know, we kind of go through mental exercises once in a while, like, it’s very different if there’s not one of us, or if there’s a different, you know, different people in different roles. Right. And I think that’s, that’s great. Like I, I regularly feel humbled, which is probably a good thing, as opposed

Kate Prehn 1:11:24
to the work marriage. I mean, are there three of you in the marriage,

John Shoemaker 1:11:29
those three, and all wives, very non traditional,

Ryan Freng 1:11:33
a sister wives, yeah, we’re also say wives. Yeah, he so he comes from more of a corporate world, and a financial world. And for him the way he thinks is very financially oriented. And we kind of came more from an experiential and creative oriented kind of mindset. So like, when we started as a company, we’re like, we’re going to do things like the coolest things that we see to make people want to be here, like, we’re gonna do food, we’re gonna have snacks, we’re gonna drink beer, we’re gonna, you know, we’re gonna try all these things. And there’s been, you know, varying levels of exploration with it. And like, I feel like I used to drink a ton at work. Now, I think we drink like a nice amount. No, it’s not.

Kate Prehn 1:12:23
New and happy hour,

Ryan Freng 1:12:25
I Well, I was like, dang, I had like, three drinks at work. And then I couldn’t finish my emails, I was like, I got to not drink as much at work. So you kind of figure some things out, but like, just coming into that environment was very shocking and different to him. He’s like, Well, we’re spending a lot of money over here. Not a lot, but we’re spending money over here. I think we should not do that. But he had the wherewithal to be like, I’m going to, you know, we’re going to see how this goes. Like, here’s my feelings on it like, and here’s my experience with that type of thing. And, you know, regular lunches, all the snacks like that stayed. That was something that that he saw and learned, oh, this is really good. We didn’t really know, per se that it was good. Except that we felt that it was or we thought that it was, then there’s other things where it’s like, I would more frivolously spend money on things and just be like, I don’t know, I’m gonna buy that thing. We need it. We need this, we need that. And he brought more discernment into it. And John was always very discerning too. But, you know, at the end of the day, how many battles does John want to fight with me about getting the new pieces of equipment? Right? So then we had Scott, also be able to provide kind of some of that more discernment to like, do we need that? Do we have to buy a new camera every year? Can we wait. And I think that’s helped us, helped me, you know, be more fiscally responsible in some of those regards. So it’s, it’s growing, growing, you know, all together towards a common goal, kind of, like you were just sharing in this weird Sister Wives marriage that we

John Shoemaker 1:14:01
use a lot. There’s just a lot of roles to fill. And we were talking about, you know, bouncing around to like, having to, you know, be in whatever role is necessary at the time. And that’s where, I mean, three business partners is just like, we’re just sharing the work of the business. You know, have our areas of expertise, but then, you know, we’re, you know, I’m not always discerning or whatever, but I would, you know, jump into a meeting and it’s like, okay, I mean, it’s not like a conscious thing. I’m just like, Okay, we need a good cop in this meeting. I’m I’m good cop today. You know, I was like I’m in something is like okay, we need a bad cop in this meeting, you know, so then I’m like, harder line on financials when like Ryan’s getting somebody like fired up about an exciting idea. You know, you just and and we have spent enough time together and work together enough. have to be really effective at that to just kind of like, you know, fill the roles that need to be made. And, you know, have somebody talking about one perspective and then offer the other perspective at the right time. And it is challenging. Interestingly, funny enough, we, you know, Ryan and I went to UW Madison, part of our connection to the foundation as well. And when we went to this, there was a business school workshop are a kind of like, group that would give analysis on like your new business. And we were forming our business way back when. And one of their pieces of advice was, don’t do a partnership, which I always thought was so goofy, because basically, they were like, it’s harder. It’s just harder. And they were right in the end. But, you know, the difference in perspective, you know, from us.

Ryan Freng 1:16:08
In the end like this, this whole partnership isn’t working, we’re gonna dissolve it.

John Shoemaker 1:16:15
It is harder. But oh, yeah, I think it’s better. You know, like, just because it’s harder. You know, maybe it, maybe some things go a little bit slower or whatever. But we are all individually interested in becoming, you know, better men, better husbands, better leaders. And so it’s hard. But you know, that you’re like growing from that.

Ryan Freng 1:16:46
On that very thoughtful note, I’ve got one more, one more thought in question. Want to hit you? It’s like a gotcha. It’ll be fun. And then we’re gonna play a game called two truths and a lie. Did you know that? Oh,

Kate Prehn 1:16:59
I didn’t know, bring it on.

Ryan Freng 1:17:01
I don’t. So Emily, woman who used to work here. Now she works in the cities. She used to prep and kind of produce the show. And so she would let people know that I forgot. And didn’t let you know, but it’s good. So you’ll just you’ll just go on the fly. Right before that, though. It’s interesting. My wife got a theology degree. You know, they joke around like it’s a liberal arts degree, they joke around call it that Mrs. degree. We have communication arts degree, I think I have a Bachelor of Science in it with filmmaking. I encourage people to not jump into college right away to go and intern and just work. And that might be a great kind of what’s that word? I almost had an apprentice, you know, apprenticeship kind of path to get into it. I value the experience that I had I value college. And there’s certainly a lot of things that you need certifications for in very specific knowledge. I think maybe filmmaking might not be one of them. So that’s, that’s kind of my, my question on like, university, right? Like you are, you know, in the thick of things like what is, you know, what is kind of your personal opinion with like, your degree, and you’re like, I’m still paying back some of my debt, right. And for my kids, I’m like, depending on what you need, let’s think critically about it. And what type of education could be useful for you something more, you know, apprentice oriented, or if University is right for you, because I feel like there was definitely, like, boomers, it was like, the only way you’re gonna get a job. And this was true. A good job is if you go to college, so you know, they struggled to go to college for the first time. Then our generation was like, well, there’s no question you’re gonna go to college, like, this is just what people do. Things have changed. jobs have changed, like you can go, you know, work for Google and make 80 grand, after showing that you know, how to, you know how to code and you can be a good teammate, right? A lot of people can learn that in college, a lot of people probably don’t even need that, right. And they’ll hire people without degrees. So with it with the world changing as it is, what, you know, that’s a lot of just thoughts that I have, like, what is that? What are your thoughts on all that?

Kate Prehn 1:19:33
So, my thoughts on this, I think, without a doubt, education is the best thing we can do for ourselves, the best thing we can do for our children, the best things we should be supporting. I think what’s best really is all based on the individual. I remember, you know, when I was thinking about applying to colleges, and I was like, Well, I think I want to major in this or that or that, you know, and I hit like seven different means. jurors, and it took me five plus years, you know, to earn a four year degree. Not all students know exactly what they want to do. There are some students who are prepared to, you know, apply into like a direct admit program, like, you know, for example, the Wisconsin School of Business where they know they want to be an engineer, they know exactly what they want to do. They’ve always wanted to do it. I think, for those students, yes. Go go right away, I think for other students, and I think, you know, back to myself, in my own experience, I wish I would have listened to my mom, when she said, you can go to like, a two year college and just get your like, general requirements done for less money. And then you could apply and go to a different university,

Ryan Freng 1:20:49
especially once you have a better idea of what the heck you want to do. Yeah.

Kate Prehn 1:20:52
What do you want to be when you grow up? Because there’s no solid program for if you want to be a mom and a convertible? So you have to go through? You know, I think that no matter what if it’s, if it’s a two year degree, a four year degree, or if, if somebody doesn’t continue after high school, or even just has a GED, I think that surrounding yourself with experiences and opportunities to continue to learn to always be a lifelong learner. I think taking time for experiences, whether it’s travel, interning, working in different places, I think everybody needs to work retail, and everybody has to work in the food and beverage industry. Yeah, I think those are solid skills that people you learn how to do. But you also learn a little bit about gratitude and kindness and patience. I, you know, really, it’s different for everybody. But education is so so, so important. And they think having access to education that’s individualized. But really, it’s always there. So if you want to learn you, you have the opportunity to learn, you have the resources to learn, you have the support of other people to learn, no matter what that looks like. So, yes to higher education.

Ryan Freng 1:22:17
Yeah, for Yeah, in my opinion, is, you know, for the for the right thing, because also, the way we learn is changed. Like, for filmmaking, again, I’ll speak very, very personally, you know, there’s there’s masterclasses from all the major directors, major actors, right. So you can see a lot of that, and then there’s actually online, you know, film courses that can get you a lot of that kind of basic understanding. But then, really, you just need to get in somewhere, like get into an agency, you get into a production company, and you’ll learn a lot. So it’s fun, because I’ve, I’ve talked that the what is it? It’s it’s the AATF version, but the student version at the university, at add to, right, is that what you said, Yeah. And to Madison, I should know what it is. I’ve spoken there a few times. And I’m like, it’s great. I was like, guys, let me let me set this up. I love the University, I got my degree here, and keep getting your degree, you’re going to be in a good place. However, if you’re considering film, here’s another thing to think about. And if you can get into, like an internship, get into a company as soon as you can, because for us, too, like, Will I hire a four year degree person to be a filmmaker out of college at the rate that they would like or need? Probably not, you know, because it’s more of an internship, you know, kind of starting, like, I’ve got two editors, I could probably have a assistant editor assistant to the assistant editor, right, which is not going to make what you need to make to pay back your college. But in like two years of working here, you know, you could probably be there, right? Two years after paying back your student loans. Like are you going to be there? That’s part of the challenge, right? Do you need something else?

Kate Prehn 1:24:07
Kids these days? They’re changing jobs left and right, you know,

Ryan Freng 1:24:11
oh, my gosh, yeah. Well, and again, it’s like, they want something that means something to them. Yeah. So let’s give them something that means something to them. And then maybe they can stay somewhere longer than three months or six months, right? It’s kind of a give and take. Yeah, what were you gonna say?

Kate Prehn 1:24:29
I should what I should make a plug here for the University of Wisconsin, as being a top rated us research university. So UW is an amazing place to be. It’s just not the right place to be right away for some students. Everybody’s different. Everybody’s different. I I’m thankful for my degree from UW Madison. I know you guys are both proud of yours and

Ryan Freng 1:24:53
and the experience, right? Yeah, yep. Right. I want to I want to be like, kids think critically But also, I had a great time. You know, it was good. It’s valuable. John, you’ve been so quiet sitting there watching the dynamic. You know,

Kate Prehn 1:25:13
I will start making notes on my two truths and a lie.

Ryan Freng 1:25:16
Yeah. Oh, yeah.

John Shoemaker 1:25:18
I would just say I was like, oh, yeah, you can tell it’s been a long time since we’ve done this. Because, you know, we got a lot of, we’ve got a lot of our own thoughts that we need to get out to the inner

Ryan Freng 1:25:28
internet, oh, many opinions. Well, especially just, you know, working at the university, like, I love having that conversation of like, university is so good. Also, there’s other paths for you know, people like to yours. Great. Apprenticeship is great. Let’s, let’s make sure even for our kids, we offer up those opportunities. Sorry, I steal your time. Well, yeah, I

John Shoemaker 1:25:50
mean, I think we’re, we’re all everybody’s looking at the climate of the world and of the work work world right now. Things like the great resignation, and you know, all of that, and we’re just trying to, like, learn, take whatever lessons we’ve got, you know, back to raising our kids and stuff, take whatever lessons we’ve we’ve learned, and try to, like, do better with our kids to just be like, well, there’s tremendous value, but it’s not, it’s not just a given, it’s not just an automatic thing. I, I have no idea because I don’t have like a double blind scientific test to conduct, you know, on myself. But I feel like, you know, I could have been somebody who could have benefited from like, a gap year or some other kind of experience before continuing on and getting my bachelor’s degree. But that would have been, like, outrageous, because I was valedictorian of my high school. But it was not. So it was never, like, it was not a thing that was like, on the mind of my family. Anyone that knew me or anything. Because we weren’t thinking about it in terms of like, individual, you know, it was just kind of like, well, of course, you’re going Of course you go to college. But really looking back I know, in my own mind. And maybe it was because I was immature. I’m sure I was. But in my own mind, by the time we were like, at the end of senior year, I was so mentally done. I was just, I don’t know why I just was like, I was just tired of it. That’s not a great place to start, you know, your freshman year, your first year of your next four years of school. Like having come over here. We’re like, I just feel like I’m done. So, anyway, that it’s it’s a complex thing to me, you know, like I obviously there’s, there’s huge value, but I think we all want to like learn better, and we want to have, I think what it also is we want to have less stories, especially from our kids and from our families of like, well, I got this degree, it was super expensive, I’ll be paying loans for the rest of my life, and I’m not working in that area. That’s what we want to change. You know, it’s like,

Ryan Freng 1:28:25
although we might have that opportunity in December to forgive some of those loans. So it’s this zero risk, it’s totally fine. Alright. So on that contentious note, yes, just kidding. Go to college kids unless you don’t want to or need to.

Guys, it’s time for to choose an ally. That’s that’s Magdalene saying it several times. I love that so much. So this is two truths and a lie. Just for being here. And for playing. I’m gonna bring you home some of these Kate. And I keep saying I’m gonna bring them home. We’re neighbors. We don’t live together. So I’ll hand them across the fence. Let’s make awesome or Let’s drink. Awesome. Right. So you get a couple of those and you’ll get some the fees for being on our happy hour.

Kate Prehn 1:29:21
Oh, I love it. And the newest red shirt. Ooh, I’ll need the newest Fred shirts. Well, let me show you guys one of those

Ryan Freng 1:29:36
on your Azure.

John Shoemaker 1:29:37
I almost wore that shirt today. i It occurred to me later when I was like looking at the screen here. I was like, Oh, I had that in my hand this morning. And I set it back down.

Kate Prehn 1:29:48
Well, let’s let’s coordinate next time.

Ryan Freng 1:29:50
Yeah, that’s the very same shirt. I love it. Thank you. All right. So for those who don’t know the rules, Kate’s going to tell us three different things about herself. And one of them is going to be a lie. We’re not we don’t know which one it is, we’re gonna figure it we’re going to, you know, use our intuitive mind in order to try to figure out what is the lie. And if you are at home, you guess as well, if you get it right, you can also win some coasters, we’ll send you some, you just have to end up sending us your address. Lots of people play lots of people, when no one sends us their address, no one follows up. So I’ve got like so many of these sitting around that I want to share with all you people out there. And if you’re listening on the podcast, after the fact, just let us know, we’ll send you some. And you can have these around as well for when you’re drinking, while listening to a podcast, because that’s one of our goals, is to just get more people drinking, we feel like this is a real good thing for society. Drinking together listening to smart, fun people. At noon, I appreciate so much that you’re drinking. We do hang out with a lot of different people. And a lot of times when people come from bigger corporations, they’re like, Yeah, I can’t drink. It’s a policy. So I didn’t know if it was a policy or not because we just drink together in the evenings anyway.

Kate Prehn 1:31:11
Alumni Relations.

Ryan Freng 1:31:13
Ah, there you go.

Kate Prehn 1:31:15
And I’m not driving. I’m not driving company vehicles. I’m purchasing major things. Yeah. I love alright.

Ryan Freng 1:31:23
So yeah, that’s how we’re gonna play. You’re gonna tell us your two. Your three stories. One of them is going to be a lie. And we’ll try to figure it out.

Kate Prehn 1:31:33
Okay, so wait stories or statements?

Ryan Freng 1:31:38
Sorry, sorry, just three things about yourself. One time I played this, and somebody literally told stories for like, 10 minutes each for each of them. And I after that I had to change the language like not stories. They’re gonna tell us three things. Yeah,

Kate Prehn 1:31:51
I guess. I mean, brevity is not my strong suit. But I can I think two statements. Okay. One. I’ve been to Cuba. Two. I have assigned Keith Morrison autographed photo. Three. I’m double jointed in my elbow. Which do you think is lie?

Ryan Freng 1:32:15
jointed? These are. These are three things we haven’t talked about. That’s what I was going for. Yeah, nice. Because we do we hang out and we drink. And we talk about all the random things. Later, we might do a movie tonight. In the backyard, just throwing

Kate Prehn 1:32:36
a family date. I don’t know.

Ryan Freng 1:32:39
Oh, yeah. Just send Jackson over and then go on a date.

Kate Prehn 1:32:42
Oh, no. backseats you could do that. No. Yeah, you could be there at three.

Ryan Freng 1:32:48
Yeah. Okay, let’s see. So can a man sign photo? Yeah, we got we got a run over on YouTube. I don’t know if David golden or Carolyn are still around some comments from earlier. I don’t know John, you want to talk it out?

John Shoemaker 1:33:11
Okay, so she was trying to keep it brief

Ryan Freng 1:33:23
Oh, there we go. This is a Ron. You finally got I think we did get you some swag a round

John Shoemaker 1:33:32
Oh, he’s gone. Okay. So he made his guess he went

Ryan Freng 1:33:36
she said she said one of my elbows. Right. One of my elbows is that will join it. Is that what you said? Are both of them.

John Shoemaker 1:33:42
She didn’t say I don’t know what, though, is she said I’ve been to Cuba. Like what a short statement. You know, like, so. She you know, we’ve got autograph. You know, that’s a little bit more of a story. It’s not a story, but it’s just like longer. There’s more detail there. She could it could be an autograph from not Keith Morrison. I don’t even know who that is. I probably

Ryan Freng 1:34:10
I just looked him up. He’s the dateline. Oh, my Canadian.

Kate Prehn 1:34:15
We have a problem. Oh my goodness.

Ryan Freng 1:34:20
So so you’d recognize them?

John Shoemaker 1:34:26
Okay. So there’s like more of a statement. They’re double jointed. In the elbow is also more of a statement. It could be you know, most people lie here of is like their thumb. Oh, that dude. Yeah, okay. From Dateline I’m, I’m I’m just so I’m really bad with names like I know, like the faces of a lot of like, directors actors or whatever. I don’t I never know their names.

Kate Prehn 1:34:56
It will like he’s also Matthew Perry is stepped down as

John Shoemaker 1:34:59
a lot of Oh, okay, yeah. Oh, every actor so I’m going to Cuba. I mean, it’s possible. That’s it’s tough to get there.

Kate Prehn 1:35:19
As Ryan, what’s your vote?

Ryan Freng 1:35:21
So you’re on Cuba. Aaron’s saying elbows. i The Keith Morrison thing seems like a really lame lie. Like if you’re gonna lie, like be like I have a I have a Leonardo DiCaprio. Yeah, like pick. Somebody everyone would know and be impressed by. Yeah, thank you. person. I feel like that’s something you totally would have. Yeah. Like, what

John Shoemaker 1:35:45
random name would you come up with? If you were going to tell why you’re like, ah, yeah. Keith Morrison.

Ryan Freng 1:35:52
Yeah, like I have a assigned American cinematography. There’s American Society of cinematographers manual. From Shane Hurlbut. Right. That’d be super like industry. Right? So maybe that’d be a good lie. So maybe maybe it’s a good lie, but it feels like too nerdy to be a lie. Like, I feel like you totally you have a Keith Morrison sign photo. Yeah. And she was really offended when I didn’t know. Yeah. Oh, my gosh. Dateline.

Kate Prehn 1:36:30
Yeah. Okay, what’s your answer?

Ryan Freng 1:36:33
Long of the king by the way. Chairs. Okay, so I feel like I would, I would tend towards the third answer that nobody picked. But I’m gonna go double jointed as well. I’m gonna go double join it. I’m gonna do it. That’s my answer.

Kate Prehn 1:36:57
Well, let me I don’t know how I can do it with the camera, but I am double joint. Nope, I can’t it’s. I’ll show you tonight. Right. I am double jointed in my elbow. So with my son Jackson. Oh, I was in Cuba in December. Oh yes, yes. On an educational visa. But, um, I would love to have an Morris then there’s a special place in my heart for Keith. So while super detailed might just be revealing about me. I love

Ryan Freng 1:37:41
it’s something you want.

John Shoemaker 1:37:42
He you’re watching

Ryan Freng 1:37:46
you’re out there can can i May I call you key? Yeah, that

Kate Prehn 1:37:55
looks and he always he’ll have like these shots where he’s like, leaned up against like a and he’s always wearing like jeans and Chuck Taylors and maybe like a leather jacket?

Ryan Freng 1:38:09
I do. There’s gotta be some type. Oh, yeah.

Kate Prehn 1:38:12
There’s so many

Ryan Freng 1:38:14
Americans Canadian father. It’s great. Um, so nobody wins. So nobody gets any prizes. But I’m gonna I’m gonna still bring you some of these. As as somebody gift. Yeah, there you go. Exactly. Yeah. Do you want some glasses? If you don’t want more glasses in your house? I won’t give you them. But they’re pretty rad. Yeah,

Kate Prehn 1:38:34
I’ll take out some of the the old ones but we still have around from when we used to like steal them from bars. Remember when used to go out to bars downtown? Yeah. Yeah, you should. Like we

Ryan Freng 1:38:46
should. We could have again, the kids can watch Jackson. We could like do like an old college. rager. But like adult style, so we’ll be done by like 930 So we’ll go on to like seven be done at like 930

Kate Prehn 1:39:00
I’m all for it.

Ryan Freng 1:39:03
Get a little fish ball. Do they do fish balls after COVID? Do

Unknown Speaker 1:39:05
they still do fish balls? Yep,

John Shoemaker 1:39:08
like fish balls. We got the flu. The regular flu. They’re like they’re like COVID couldn’t couldn’t you know handle a fish bowl. So yeah. All the alcohol kills it.

Kate Prehn 1:39:21
fish balls are essentially boosters. Yeah,

Ryan Freng 1:39:23
yeah. Yeah. Guys, you heard it here. First official statement from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Foundation Alumni Association. Drink more to be immune to COVID. Got it? Correct. Also only go to school if you need to. Kate, is there anything else you want to plug? Because we’re winding down here. We’re already past our time. Sorry. Appreciate you. Oh,

Kate Prehn 1:39:47
my goodness. I don’t know. Thank you so much for having me. I say to all UW grads homecoming coming up the week of October 21 will be homecoming parade and block parties. So make your way down State Street, check out the parade party and alumni Park enjoy some good live music on the terrace and drink water.

Ryan Freng 1:40:07
We totally get it. We’re totally gonna do that. But we’ll drink poison water. Just like we did here today. It’d be good alcohol in case anyone’s wondering. Okay. Thanks, Kate. Thanks for hanging out. Um, thank you. Yeah, it’s funny because like we had a little over an hour conversation, and I feel like okay, now we’re just kind of getting into it. Right now we’re getting into the thick of stuff. So we’ll we’ll definitely circle back and have you on again. Check out homecoming. Yeah, the university. I’m so bitter that the university I feel like everything became beautiful after I graduated, like Union South corridor like redoing. It was like,

Kate Prehn 1:40:50
and it’s just getting better. Humanities is going to come down. But that’s for another show. Oh, my gosh, another show.

Ryan Freng 1:40:55
You heard it here first, folks. We got the scoop. Just like Keith Morrison. Thank you. Thanks for coming on, Kate. Anything else? John?

John Shoemaker 1:41:07
I think she just made a threat on humanity.

Ryan Freng 1:41:14
Alright, that’s it. Thanks, everyone. for tuning in.

John Shoemaker 1:41:17
We’re gonna Oh, go ahead. I’m praying for teens. That’s, you know, that’s what I

Kate Prehn 1:41:23
thank you.

Ryan Freng 1:41:26
Make it make a t shirt. Fight the good fight. We’re gonna be back in a couple of weeks. With more guests. I’ve got some communications out there. So we’re just trying to figure out who to have on next. This is a podcast as well. So if you don’t already, subscribe to the podcast. Here’s where’s the link, there’s a link. So this you’ll eventually be on the podcast to when we get this into the rotation. It’ll be fantastic. That’s what we got. I don’t even remember how to end these things. So thanks, Kate, for coming. Thanks everyone else for hanging out. I think I have an ending screen and we’re out. So thanks, everyone.

John Shoemaker 1:42:07

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Ryan Freng
Owner and creative director. Shall we begin like David Copperfield? 'I am born...I grew up.' Wait, I’m running out of space? Ah crap, ooh, I’ve got it...