Dave Nast, managing partner of Nast Partners, discusses the work that he does helping companies to hire better and faster and create a more productive and profitable workforce. Dave discusses how he uses the Predictive Index, which measures the inherent human needs that drive people. Dave shares the experiences that shaped who he is today, including starting a car detailing service while in school. He also talks about how he met his wife and the wisdom he would want to share with his (future!) great-grandchildren.
Kelly Meerbott: Welcome to Hidden Human. This is your host Kelly Meerbott. I’m here with Dave Nast, managing partner of Nast Partners and I am so excited about this because Dave and I have tons of great conversations and I’m really honored that you’re gonna be allowed to listen in. So, Dave welcome.
Dave Nast: Thank you Kelly. I’m so happy to be here.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah. So, in a brief way, explain to me what you do in a way that a six year old could understand.
Dave Nast: We help companies hire better, hire faster, develop their people in a way so that the people are happier but the company prospers from that as well.
Kelly Meerbott: Okay. How do you do that?
Dave Nast: We help them predict the performance of their people. We use the predictive index.
Kelly Meerbott: Right. So, Dave and I always have these chit chats about how many assessments are flooded in the market and I’ve sort of fallen in love with predictive index because of its unique way of really getting into the motivators and the drivers of what motivates people to move forward, correct?
Dave Nast: It’s the drives. We all have drives and those drives create needs. Then we go about meeting those needs and that’s the behavior we see so people can masquerade. So, if we have the awareness of what’s driving the behavior, that’s where you can move the bar.
Kelly Meerbott: That’s awesome. So, tell me what was it in your soul that said this is what I want to do in my life. I need to be spreading the word about predictive index and helping change the world that way.
Dave Nast: So, it wasn’t something that came about naturally. I don’t want to say it came about by mistake either. So, I’m a recovering head hunter and I used the tool as an end user for years and it really made my job a lot easier. I thought that’s all it did. It’s legally defensible for hiring and selection. So, it was cool, safe. It was quick and it’s easy. So, then later when I was working at Vistage, we used it in house for recruiting. We used it for coaching. We used it for training and development. They were owned by private equity at the time, so they used it for MNA, succession planning and I was like, “Wow, it does all this stuff.”
Then I started my coaching and training practice with my wife in 2014-
Kelly Meerbott: The lovely Christine. We will say hello to her.
Dave Nast: Yes, yes. The other part in Nast Partners. We added it to our practice in 2016 thinking we’re adding another arrow to our quiver and it took over. It’s all we do. We are 24/7 with PI, who knew that predictive analytics were so hot right now.
Kelly Meerbott: Right. And you know as a leadership coach, I’m trying to make it a little more selective to work with me and predictive index has proven to be a really great tool. Not only for me, but you did it for my business manager, Rebecca and it just helps us work together better because I know how to motivate and drive her. Not that she needs that, but it’s good for me as her supervisor or partner in crime to really know what moves her forward and helps her grow and helps me develop her too.
Dave Nast: Yeah, I like to say the analytics create awareness. It takes the guesswork out of it. So, I’m me, you’re you, how can we work best together.
Kelly Meerbott: Right, which is beautiful. What I also love about it is it takes three minutes to do.
Dave Nast: It’s super short. And the data’s really rich.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah, and it’s really intuitive. I mean, when I took it I was like, how can this really … Because you select words. So, what I thought was really what are we gonna get from this. Oh, Dave’s a nice guy. He’s my friend. I’m just gonna do it, click, click, click. Then we get on the debrief and I was like, oh, my god. Yep, mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep, that’s me. Yep, yep, yep. Then as soon as I finished with you I was like, “Should I do this with my husband and my best friends?”
Dave Nast: Yes.
Kelly Meerbott: I mean, think about it. You really should because a lot of times we come from different lenses. We’ll talk about your background as well. It colors the way we look at things and sometimes the context is not as clear as we think which is where miscommunication, misidentification and all those kind of confusion things kind of come in. I feel like PI is sort of the roadmap.
Dave Nast: Yeah, it helps quite a bit and for instance there will be people who sometimes think, oh, so and so doesn’t like me. Why do you feel that way? Oh, because they’re always questioning everything I do. Then when you look at the data, it’s like oh, that’s how they learn. It has nothing to do with you at all. They’re just being who they are. If you ever said to them, “I don’t think you like me.” They’d be like, “What? What are you talking about?” So, yeah. It takes some of the mystifying work out of it if you will and it just makes it more real. It’s kind of focused so people can leverage the differences. I like to say, we maximize our ROI, return on individuals. So, turning people-
Kelly Meerbott: I love that.
Dave Nast: There’s a book there by the way.
Kelly Meerbott: There is.
Dave Nast: I co wrote a book with a guy named David Bookbinder called The New ROI. Actually he wrote most of it. I did five chapters but-
Kelly Meerbott: I was joking, but yeah. You said-
Dave Nast: It’s on Amazon. It is a number one best seller in the category of workplace behavior, which is super cool.
Kelly Meerbott: Go buy it right now.
Dave Nast: Dave Bookbinder, the New ROI.com, #TheNewROI.
Kelly Meerbott: We’re not pitching you at all. I swear.
Dave Nast: He’ll be so pleased that I even mentioned it, but that’s in the vernacular though, return on individuals. Because companies, nowadays, I think there’s something there’s gonna be more businesses than ever that are gonna be up for sale in the next ten years or so with the baby boomers and everything else. So, valuation’s key. Well, all business problems are people problems and I think they’re starting to realize that so much so that the Human Capital Management Coalition, which is an organization. It’s 25 organizations with three trillion in assets. They petitioned the SEC to start a standardization of disclosing all the human capital process, practice, performance, retention, all this culture, all these things. How do we measure that? I know a way. So, yeah. It’s gonna be really big soon.
Kelly Meerbott: So, you and I are gonna have a job for the next 20 years then. Is that what you’re saying?
Dave Nast: Easily.
Kelly Meerbott: Okay, good.
Dave Nast: Then retire on a big private island.
Kelly Meerbott: That’s right and fly in our private jets. Anyway, we’ll come back to reality now. Let’s spend a little time in your childhood because I know you really well, but I want to share who you are as a human with our audience. I just think you’re such a great person and it really just permeates everything you do and how you show up in the world.
Dave Nast: Thank you.
Kelly Meerbott: Let’s play a little game. Where did you grow up?
Dave Nast: About five miles from here. I grew up in Villanova.
Kelly Meerbott: Oh, wow.
Dave Nast: Yeah.
Kelly Meerbott: A local boy.
Dave Nast: Right off of route 320.
Kelly Meerbott: Okay, and what did mom and dad do?
Dave Nast: Dad was a doctor at [inaudible 00:06:23] Hospital. Mom was a nurse. You can guess how they met.
Kelly Meerbott: Wow, okay.
Dave Nast: In the elevator actually.
Kelly Meerbott: What qualities do you get from Mom and what do you get from Dad that you use today now in what you do?
Dave Nast: So, Dad had a crazy work ethic which I adopted and my mom’s super compassionate.
Kelly Meerbott: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. And empathetic probably.
Dave Nast: Yes.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah and you have that in spades.
Dave Nast: Thank you.
Kelly Meerbott: I mean, just like it’s just who you are. So, how young were you when you wanted to … When you really started to be curious about what motivated people. I mean, we’re looking between the ages of eight and 14. If earlier, that’s great. You had to have some kind of knowledge back then.
Dave Nast: I’ll probably be a capitalist and say it was when I was trying to sway people to buy my services. So, I’m a car guy and I was kind of young and I really, really wanted a car when I was 16. My dad said, “You can have one if you can pay for it.” So, I started to try to find ways to save money. So, I started washing cars and literally a neighbor drove by and said, “Hey, I’ll pay you to wax mine.” I’m like, “How much?” So, I started a business where I was detailing cars and I would walk around and do it and that’s how I afforded my first car. That’s how I paid for my books in college. That’s how I paid for my vacations in college is I would detail cars everywhere and I got a list. Then I had to learn about marketing and what was of value. So, I called around all the different detailers, “What do you charge?” And I’d charge less. I provided a service where I would go to your office and pick it up and all this other stuff.
It was just a little side business I did all the time. Now of course, I pay other people to do it because it hurts my shoulder. But yeah. That’s kind of … I was trying to guess, what’s of value to people? What would get them to do stuff? So, even in my business today, I can generate a lot of interest but I can’t close interest. I can only close urgency. So, I started to learn what matters to people? What is gonna get them off center to try to do something? So, how people make decisions. Some people are objective. Some people are subjective. All that stuff. So, probably at a pretty young age, the capitalist in me was trying to find a way to earn money to buy a car and that’s how it started.
Kelly Meerbott: Okay. So, let’s go a little younger though. Was there a time before you realized what capitalism was? Let’s just say in grade school. You known what I mean? I talked to a lot of CEOs who were like, “Hey, my friends wanted candy. So I went to the five and dime and bought a bunch of candy and sold it. I mean, anything like that before the detailing business?
Dave Nast: I probably shouldn’t tell this story.
Kelly Meerbott: Yes, you should.
Dave Nast: I have a card trick that I can do and it really sucks people in and I get right to the end of it and I say … I’ve turned over all the cards at this point. So, I ask people … You know, take a card. What is it and all this other stuff. Then I ask them to memorize it and I ask them to memorize it and I fold them out. So, I go about eight cards past your cards going out and I grab the next card on top of the deck and I say, “I bet you ten bucks the next card I flip over is yours.” They say, “Sure.” Then I reach into the pile and flip theirs over.
Kelly Meerbott: Right.
Dave Nast: So.
Kelly Meerbott: I got it.
Dave Nast: I did that at a very young age-
Kelly Meerbott: How young?
Dave Nast: Until somebody’s mother told the principal. I was eight years old and made like $300 that day. So.
Kelly Meerbott: Young, young capitalism.
Dave Nast: Or I was a grifter. I don’t know.
Kelly Meerbott: No, no, no. I think you were creative. I mean for me, here’s how I’m seeing it. Just as the coach is that you looked for opportunities to create money.
Dave Nast: That was the motivation at the time. There were other times too where you wanted to be a friend with the cool kid, so how do you approach them? Or there was a girl you had a crush on in class and you’re six. So, what does that mean? I don’t know. Working up the nerve to talk to someone, social acceptance.
Kelly Meerbott: Right.
Dave Nast: All that stuff, yeah.
Kelly Meerbott: Did you have any siblings?
Dave Nast: Two older sisters. I’m the baby and the only boy. So, I’m probably spoiled.
Kelly Meerbott: Wow. Okay, so what was it like growing up? If we had your sisters in the room, what would they say about their little brother Dave as a child?
Dave Nast: They’d probably be nice at first and say that I was nice and I was a people pleaser and my parents … I was good. I was the good one. My oldest sister blazed the trail and got in a lot of trouble. The second one also was kind of the black sheep in the family. Got in a lot of trouble. So, I observed my behavior and I’m like, “So, I know not to do that, not to do that.”
Then the other thing too is they wore my parents out for me. So, by the time I was older, they’re were like, “Yeah, just go. We don’t care. Don’t have the police bring you home and we don’t really care.” So, my boundaries were a little bigger. I talked a lot. I was hoarse all the time in my throat because I had to be loud to be heard.
Kelly Meerbott: Interesting.
Dave Nast: They got stuck sharing bathrooms and things because they were both girls, so they were ticked about the fact that our house was set up in such a way that I had my own little bathroom at the end of the hall.
Kelly Meerbott: Your own little kingdom. Dave’s little kingdom.
Dave Nast: Yeah, so they were actually not really happy about that. But they both tried to protect me at times from a lot of different things.
Kelly Meerbott: Can you give me an example?
Dave Nast: Yeah, my parents were fighting real bad one day and I came home early and they were like, “Hey, stay outside with us and we’ll play.” Another time I was in a car with my sister and I was little. She was driving and we got rear ended really bad. I didn’t have my seatbelt on. So, she kind of held on to me so that my face didn’t hit the dashboard. Stuff like that. So, they literally tried to protect me physically at times. Then my older sister was a bit of bully and she was a tom boy. So, this kid down the street was picking on me and she chased him home. So, that was kind of nice.
Kelly Meerbott: So, we’re a few years later from your childhood. What’s your relationship like with your siblings now?
Dave Nast: Oh, it’s good.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah, what did your older sisters do for a living?
Dave Nast: The older sister, she’s an LPN. She’s an MSN. She’s on the emergency flight team at the Stanford University Hospital. Goes out in helicopters when there’s bad accidents and scoops up all the blood and guts. She loves that. She stuck with Mom and Dad’s trade. The middle sister is a big wig in finance at a big pharmaceutical company up in New Jersey. So, she’s nearby. She’s at Washington’s Crossing.
Kelly Meerbott: Gotcha. And are Mom and Dad still alive?
Dave Nast: Dad passed away in 2010.
Kelly Meerbott: I’m so sorry.
Dave Nast: Thank you. Mom is up in Langhorne.
Kelly Meerbott: Is Mom proud of what you’ve created with your business and?
Dave Nast: I still to this day, she doesn’t really know what I do, but she’s very proud of the fact that we have a logo and for Christmas, I got her a t-shirt from Vistaprint that says Nast Partners on it. She wears it around and, “This is my son’s company.” Got her a coffee mug and she thinks that was the best thing ever, but she still thinks that I place people in jobs. She’s like, “Your nephew’s graduating college. Can you do his resume?” I’m like, “I can still do that, yeah. But you know, that’s not at all what I do anymore, right?” She goes, “Well, what do you do?” And I’ve explained it 400 times.
Kelly Meerbott: Uh-huh. My parents don’t know either.
Dave Nast: Yeah.
Kelly Meerbott: They don’t know either. They’re like, “Oh, she’s a motivational.” Yeah, that’s one little thing, but I don’t think they understand, but it’s okay. It’s fine. I mean, that’s not for them to understand. Was there anybody outside your immediate family as a child that had a deep positive impact on you?
Dave Nast: There was a kid next door. His name is Tim [Draglin 00:13:36]. He’s down in Virginia now and around DC. He had a real positive impact. He was three years older than me, but he treated me like his brother. He put me under his wing. He took care of me. He taught me a lot of stuff. He always looked out for me when I was real, real little. We would ride bikes together. When I say we rode bikes … I lived in Villa Nova, we would ride to [inaudible 00:13:58] Mall on our bikes. No helmets back in those days, nothing.
Kelly Meerbott: For those who aren’t from this area, how long is that? Let’s take a visual journey, just so our audience can understand it.
Dave Nast: I’m betting it’s ten miles. But you know it’s on really busy roads.
Kelly Meerbott: And hilly.
Dave Nast: Hilly.
Kelly Meerbott: And windy.
Dave Nast: Yeah, all that stuff and we would just go out and spend all day together and hang out and he had me hang out with his friends. So, I was hanging out with the older kids. They were really cool. He was a jock. He played on a travel team. We went to Europe for soccer and everything else. So, he was a good influence.
Kelly Meerbott: Wow, that’s awesome. What is he doing today?
Dave Nast: I’m linked with him on LinkedIn and Facebook and I think he’s in some sort of finance or management consulting capacity.
Kelly Meerbott: Oh, you might want to reach out and say hi.
Dave Nast: We talked on the phone maybe a year ago. His dad had also passed away. His dad was a great guy. But yeah, professionally I’m not 100% sure what he does.
Kelly Meerbott: That’s so cool that you stay connected though.
Dave Nast: He looks good in a suit though.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah. So, besides card tricks and detailing cards, was there a hobby that you really dedicated yourself to as a child?
Dave Nast: Music.
Kelly Meerbott: Music. Okay, tell me about that.
Dave Nast: Oh, geez. Yeah, so I really wanted to be Elvis Presley when I was five years old. My mom said, “You have to learn how to play piano first.” So, she got me piano lessons when I was five. I never followed directions from the teacher. I just sort of … I would watch and then I would kind of imitate. So, I could get by. I was a little bit lazy. I wanted everything now, so I didn’t practice as much, but then I’d have a recital and I’d kind of get it up for the recital and do a good job. So, just enough so she’d say, “Yes, now you can have a guitar.” So, I got a guitar and my first teacher was awful.
Kelly Meerbott: What do you mean?
Dave Nast: He just wasn’t engaging. He didn’t do anything I wanted to do. He was just showing me standard stuff and I was bored. I really wanted to learn how to play, but he just wasn’t helping. So, then I went years trying all sorts of interests. I tried trombone, trumpet, flute, whatever. Drums, my sister had a drum set.
Kelly Meerbott: Oh, your poor parents.
Dave Nast: I know. Oh, it gets worse. So, then when I was 14, I saw Purple Rain and I was like, “That’s what I’m gonna do with my life. I want to be Prince.”
Kelly Meerbott: We have to take a moment of silence for Prince. Okay.
Dave Nast: Awesome, yeah. So, even though at the time at 14, I was probably already taller than him. So, I wanted to learn how to write music. I found a great guitar teacher over at Medley Music, which I think is no more.
Kelly Meerbott: Okay.
Dave Nast: His name is Chet [McCowsky 00:16:28]. He was at Harcum Medley Music School. That’s where he still is. So, he was great. He met me where I was. He taught me some basics of music theory, but he knew I was never gonna take the time to really follow anything. So, he taught me. He was like, “What do you want to do?” I’m like, “I want to learn how to play Purple Rain or Stairway to Heaven.” And he would give me the exercises I needed to learn those songs. So, then we’d learn the song at the same time. So, I felt like I was getting somewhere.
Then I wanted to learn how to write a song. So, he gave me … He was like, “Here’s every chord in this key. Go put them in order.” And I put them in order. He’s like, “Oh, you naturally resolved. That’s nice. Now start humming a tune.” I did that. We took a while and we ended up writing a song together and then more and more. So, I’m 15 years old. I’m writing songs.
Kelly Meerbott: Wait, wait. Dave, what was the name of the first song you wrote? Do you remember?
Dave Nast: Dirty Sneaker in the Laundry. It was a very percussive heavy thing. I had a drum machine. I was 12. Then I started-
Kelly Meerbott: Oh my god. That’s the best thing ever. Go ahead.
Dave Nast: It’s awful. I wrote a song called Shut Up when I was 14. It’s like a heavy metal thing. So, yeah. It was great and then I needed money for the studio. So, that’s where the detailing cars-
Kelly Meerbott: Came in.
Dave Nast: Paid off. So, I did that forever. I was the black sheep in the family in that regard. Oldest sister went to college right away and got her masters. The second one went to Warden, got her MBA and I remember Thanksgiving when I was 15, my grandfather was there that year and was like, “What are you gonna do when you grow up?” And I’m like, “I’m gonna be a rock star.” I actually was able to get into Berklee College of Music, but my dad said, “You can’t go to college for music. I’m not paying for that.” I’m like, “Well, you don’t have to pay for it. I got a scholarship.” He’s like, “Well, you gotta pay for food. You gotta place to live, car insurance,” and he said, “No.” So, I said, “I’ll show you. I’m not gonna go to school.”
So, I took two years off between high school and college. He was right. I was wrong. I went back to school but I went to Villa Nova and I got a liberal arts degree. I actually have a t-shirt that says, “I got a liberal arts degree. Do you want fries with that?”
Kelly Meerbott: I have one of those too from Holy Cross.
Dave Nast: Awesome. The one from Warden bought me the shirt by the way. So, yeah. But I kept pursuing music. I did it full time. Those two years, I was off. I had a day job like all musicians do.
Kelly Meerbott: Sure.
Dave Nast: What do you call a musician … What do you call a guitar player without a girlfriend?
Kelly Meerbott: What?
Dave Nast: Homeless.
Kelly Meerbott: Oh, gotcha.
Dave Nast: So, I had to do something. So I worked at a bank and had long hair. Hair longer than yours now. We should get that graphic up. So, did that for a while. Went to college. Kept doing music. Got out of college. Kept doing music. I really did want to pursue that for a while, but I discovered a few things. I don’t like performing live and I don’t like traveling. So, I’m not gonna be a great rock star doing that, but I loved writing the songs. I loved crafting them, going into the studio, doing them. So, I shifted things at one point. Focused more on my day job, which become my job, job. Then I could afford music as a hobby. So, I still to this day will write songs and do stuff and record stuff and everything. Now it’s more for me.
Kelly Meerbott: I had no idea.
Dave Nast: Oh, yeah. Every … Usually the week between Christmas and New Years, I’ll go to the studio, I’ll go to Morningstar out in Ambler. Boy, I’m plugging everybody today.
Kelly Meerbott: I know.
Dave Nast: Glen Barrett. Call Glen. And I’ll record some songs. Then in January, I’ll give friends and family a CD going this is this year’s coaster. Put your drink on it.
Kelly Meerbott: No, no. I hope I get one.
Dave Nast: If I have a new one. Yeah, I actually haven’t done one since 2012.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah.
Dave Nast: Yeah, I’ve been busy.
Kelly Meerbott: So, you didn’t become a music rock star, but you became a rock star in business. So, that works.
Dave Nast: I’ll take that. Thank you.
Kelly Meerbott: You’re welcome. You’re welcome. It’s so funny because you travel more now than you probably did as a musician.
Dave Nast: At least, I’m in control of it. So, when I was a head hunter, I did a lot of travel and it was all by myself. Interviewing people, eating airport fod and that was terrible. So, now when I travel, I go to a client. I’m there for a bit. My wife, my business partner, she comes with me. So, that’s kind of awesome. We’re very selective about what we do and we have clients all over the country, but we don’t always have to be on site. Sometimes we can train remotely. It saves them some money, but-
Kelly Meerbott: Which is what I do too. Yeah.
Dave Nast: Yeah. So, you can do a lot by phone and through technology. So, it’s not as much as it used to be and the travel’s a little bit more fun now. I’ll weave in some things like if I’m gonna speak at a CEO conference in San Diego, oh darn. That’s okay.
Kelly Meerbott: Okay. So, I always ask my guests that have a musical background, what was the first song you heard that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up?
Dave Nast: It’s gonna be a toss up between LA Woman by the Doors or D’yre Maker by Led Zeppelin.
Kelly Meerbott: Yes. Both great. Do you remember where you were when you heard them?
Dave Nast: Yeah, I was actually in the basement. My sister was a big rock fan and my … So, right up the road here when I was eight years old, I had fifty bucks and we went to Silo. I got a Panasonic boom box, which I think is still in my basement. I had enough money left over for two cassettes. I got the Doors Greatest Hits and I got Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy because I just love those songs.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah, I mean they’re unbelievable and they’re timeless. It’s so funny because when I see these 14 year old children walking around in Led Zeppelin t-shirts, I’m like, “You have no idea. You have no idea.”
Dave Nast: They’re in my car. My car has one of those things where you put it in and it’s got a hard drive or whatever. Those two albums are in my car.
Kelly Meerbott: Oh my gosh. That’s awesome.
Dave Nast: Still.
Kelly Meerbott: The other thing I was curious about is all the money you saved up washing cars, what was your first car?
Dave Nast: It was a piece of … It was not-
Kelly Meerbott: You can say piece of shit. It’s okay.
Dave Nast: Okay. Yeah, it was. It was a ’76 Dodge Coronet with a big honking V8. It was a like an old cop car. If you ever watch the Dukes of Hazard, it was like what the cops used to drive. So, it was not sexy, but my dad let me buy it. I wanted a Corvette and he said, “Yeah, no.” So, but it had a big V8, so it was fast. The car cost 350 bucks. The stereo cost 500. The rest of the money went to get it running, keep it running, and replace a few rust holes in it. That was the first car. It lasted me three years. So, yeah. Then I got into some cooler cars. That was what my parents would let me buy.
Kelly Meerbott: Gotcha.
Dave Nast: But I used to drag race it all the time because it was pretty fast.
Kelly Meerbott: Gotcha. So, do you mind if we talk a little bit about love?
Dave Nast: Sure.
Kelly Meerbott: Right now. So, I’ve met your lovely wife, Christine and she’s absolutely delightful. She of course is the other half of Nast Partners. Tell me about how you guys met and was it love at first sight.
Dave Nast: So, yeah. It was so weird. So, I’m at this time in my life when I’m single and I’m living in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. And I have friends that are trying to fix me up with people in Princeton and out here on the main line and I’m like, “Yeah, I’m not gonna drive that far.” So, I get the job and I’m working out of Vistage. They’re … It’s headquarters in San Diego. I’m out here. I’m field based. It’s a weird thing. My job is headquarters based. I was the first one they ever let get a job that didn’t’ work there. So, it was weird circumstances.
I’m out there for training. Third day of training, I’m in this big room of people. This team of people come in and they kind of walk past us. She walks in the room and I recognized her. I’m like, “Oh, man. Where do I know her from? I know I know her from somewhere.” I actually spent a day or two trying to figure it out. I actually talked to my boss at one point. I’m like, “Where’s she from?” This and all this other stuff and I couldn’t piece it together. We started talking at one point because we ended up working together. And her last name is like my mom’s maiden name. So, I’m like maybe she’s a relative. She’s not.
Kelly Meerbott: Thank goodness.
Dave Nast: I checked. She’s not. So, I have never dated a coworker and I certainly have never dated anybody long distance, but it just sort of happened. So, here I am dating someone 3,000 miles away. I’m out there every four to six weeks. I’m finding excuses to go to the office. We flew her out here a few times. We dated for about 18 months long distance. Built a relationship based on communication, which I can’t emphasize enough how important that is. Then we got married and I convinced a third generation southern Californian to leave San Diego in the middle of our winter out here in 2014. If you remember that winter. She came here and we started the business. It’s been amazing and awesome and to this day, I mean, we’re coming up on four years of marriage, we still say it’s like it’s just such a blessing to wake up next to each other every day after having dated long distance. Neither one of us had done it before, so we had no expectations.
Kelly Meerbott: That’s how Brian and I started, my husband and I. We were … I was in Florida. He was in Virginia. I remember when we moved in together, which I had a rule about that. No living together before marriage. Of course I broke every rule. Just waking up in the same zip code was nice. You know? Then being married to your best friend. It’s even better. I can tell you just from watching Christine and Dave, you get such value not only from them as professionals, but as humans because their love is really infused in their business and it just kind of permeates into everything that they do. I mean, she’s just lovely. So, for your great, great, great, great grandchildren or grandnieces, whatever that are gonna be listening to this interview years from now, what wisdom would you have to impart for them?
Dave Nast: Oh, boy. You know … Be yourself. Surround yourself with really good people, people who will help you be yourself when you feel like you need to be something else.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah, that’s a big one. That’s a really, really big one. Is there anything you would want a do over in in your life?
Dave Nast: I would like to … My dad and I had a rocky relationship. He was really busy when I was a kid. So, we didn’t spend a lot of time together. Then my parents got divorced and then he and I started hanging out. Then he got into retirement and he had some illnesses and then he moved all to different places. So, in those last couple of years, I kind of wish I had spent more time with him. Because we had some really cool conversations when we kind of found each other when I was like 18 and that drifted. It was kind of funny, he had had a stroke or two, so his communication skills weren’t fantastic. He’d give you the one word answer. “How you doing?” “Good.” “What’s new?” “Nothing.”
Kelly Meerbott: Right.
Dave Nast: “What do you think of the Eagles?” “Whatever.” That was kind of our conversations those days, but right before he died, 10 days before he died, we were on the phone talking about something. He was having one of his good days. We had a great conversation. It was on the phone and I remember getting off the phone going, “I wish we had more conversations like that,” and I think maybe if we had made more of an effort, both of us, in his last couple years, we might have had more opportunities for conversations like that.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah, so. My dad and I aren’t as close as I would like to be and I realized last time I was with him which was a couple months ago because he’s getting into … He would hate me for saying this, his late 60s. I thought how do I find out about other people? I interview them. So, why don’t I kind of interview my dad with the same questions I use for an interview and I discovered a lot of really interesting things. He always wanted to be a father which I never … That would not have been the first thing I would have pegged him for, but yeah, it’s fascinating. I encourage a lot of people to have those kinds of conversations if they’re able with their parents just because you need to know where your roots are. So, if you were sitting in my seat, Dave, and you were interviewing you, what question would you want me to ask you?
Dave Nast: Oh, boy. I have no idea. I don’t know. What do you value most, something like that?
Kelly Meerbott: Okay. What do you value most?
Dave Nast: Relationships, friendships.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah.
Dave Nast: People. Yeah. I’m definitely a people person, but in business that becomes, “Hey Dave always knows a guy.” I had somebody ask me. I was at my CEO peer advisory group this morning and, “Hey, Dave. Do you know a guy who does this?” I always do because I network and I take the time to, but I value those relationships. I like putting people together. I like having folks to call on. what I’ve also discovered later in life is while I love to help people, every once in a while I need help too and it’s amazing. If you put it out there as a habit that the first time you reach out to someone, boy, they line up to your door to help you out at a time when you really, really, really need it and that has just been priceless to me.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah. I find that people will really step up if you allow them to. Sometimes, a challenge of mine is asking for help and when you actually do, people are really honored and they want to. They really want to help. So, I always like to end the interview with a few rapid fire questions.
Dave Nast: Oh, no.
Kelly Meerbott: Are you ready?
Dave Nast: I hope.
Kelly Meerbott: Yes, they’re all questions you will know the answers to. So, what’s your favorite comfort food?
Dave Nast: Chicken Parmesan.
Kelly Meerbott: Okay. What books are on your night stand?
Dave Nast: Currently, it’s Option B because I went to the Adam Grant thing. There’s also a Rammstein documentary. It’s a DVD I have to put in there. And Auto Week, I’m sorry to be cliché.
Kelly Meerbott: No, no. This is very telling.
Dave Nast: I’m a vegan now, so the chicken Parmesan thing, I don’t know if that’s gonna be my new comfort food. That was my stand by for years.
Kelly Meerbott: You’re a vegan now?
Dave Nast: That happened in August.
Kelly Meerbott: Oh, gotcha.
Dave Nast: Yeah.
Kelly Meerbott: What was the impetus for that?
Dave Nast: I saw way too many documentaries and also I’m training for the Philadelphia marathon.
Kelly Meerbott: Congratulations.
Dave Nast: Thank you, thank you. It’s first one in eight years and I’ve been injured the whole time. So, I’m glad to be back with no pain. That’s another story. But it was about just health and other things and I just wanted to do it. We went fully, fully, fully plant based and all of a sudden it was like boom. 10 pounds fell off of me and everything, running’s great. Everything’s good. I got off coffee. I’m meditating now. It’s like I’m a whole new person.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah. That’s amazing. Isn’t it amazing how food really affects your athletic performance. So, on Saturday I’m actually about to ride my 500th ride at SoulCycle.
Dave Nast: Nice.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah, thank you very much. First ride was May 28th, 2016. So, I’m pretty proud of that, but I noticed if I eat stuff I’m not supposed to … Which carbs don’t do really well with me. I have a gluten intolerance, not an allergy. But the other night, it was Halloween night and we were out like handing out candy and I had eaten two pieces of pizza and the next day in class at six A.M., I couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t catch my breath. It’s happened before when I’ve eaten like white doughy. So, it’s really interesting how, especially at our level, when you’re training for a marathon or you’re working out consistently, how your food really needs to shift for performance based not pleasure anymore.
Dave Nast: Yeah. I can still have spaghetti and marinara. So maybe that’s a new comfort food, but I’ve also found quite a bit of comfort in a Chipotle Sofritas Burrito because that’s lovely.
Kelly Meerbott: Awesome. We’re plugging all kinds. Hey, Chipotle, I need a sponsor. Just joking. I’m kidding.
Dave Nast: Sorry.
Kelly Meerbott: Not really, but if you want to. The other question was what songs are on your playlist?
Dave Nast: Right now? This is gonna sound like a diverse grouping. I have Rammstein’s Ich Tu Dir Weh, which is … They’re a German heavy metal band.
Kelly Meerbott: I’ve heard of them actually.
Dave Nast: Oh, I apologize. I have Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy in there.
Kelly Meerbott: Of course.
Dave Nast: I have the redone version of Purple Rain with all the really cool B-sides and 12 songs that he recorded for the album that never made it. Three CD deluxe. Go on Amazon, it’s amazing.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah, I’m gonna have to get that.
Dave Nast: It’s like 19 bucks. It’s awesome.
Kelly Meerbott: I’m such a Prince junkie. I love him.
Dave Nast: It comes with a video too of his last [inaudible 00:32:29] for the Purple Rain tour.
Kelly Meerbott: Did you read the article I wrote for the Philadelphia Business Journal on Prince and how we was like a trailblazer for diversity and stuff?
Dave Nast: No, I want to. I have to.
Kelly Meerbott: I’ll send it to you. It’s awesome.
Dave Nast: Huge Prince fan.
Kelly Meerbott: It’s awesome.
Dave Nast: What else is in there? I’ve got … I’m drawing a blank. I’m sorry.
Kelly Meerbott: That’s okay. That’s perfect. Then the last question is what are you most grateful for in this moment right now?
Dave Nast: My wife.
Kelly Meerbott: Yeah.
Dave Nast: It’s been a very, very hectic, crazy, busy time and I just kind of needed a rescue over the weekend and she provided. She not only stepped up, but she kept me performing. I have had like three presentations in three days and I was starting to kind of forget where am I, what am I doing because it was just so hectic. I try to do as much prep work, but I also rely on my ability to improvise and she said, “No, no. You really need to practice,” and she helped me, helped me practice and kept my focus on it and she took things off my plate. That’s the work side, but then just on the other side too, she knows how hard I’ve been working in the running. Last week was the big run. It was the 20 miles and all. 10 miles in the middle of the week and all that stuff. So, she’s just been making sure I’m eating the right food and taking care of me and she’s just been. I don’t know. She’s made me feel really valued and really loved in more ways than one. So, I’m really grateful for her.
Kelly Meerbott: That’s amazing that they do that. Like I came home from class last night and Brian was like, “Go take a shower and do some thinking.” I was like, “Huh?” He goes, “Well, you do your best thinking in the shower. You need to … You’ve had a lot of stuff going on-”
Dave Nast: He knows that.
Kelly Meerbott: I was like, I love that they know those little nuances about us. So, if our listeners wanted to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to do that?
Dave Nast: On our website. There’s a phone number there as well as emails and a contact form and all that stuff. It’s www.nastpartners.com and that’s Nast. Kind of like nasty without the y. Or like Conde Nast, the publisher. I wish I was related. Nastpartners.com.
Kelly Meerbott: That’s N, A, S, T partners.com, right?
Dave Nast: Yes.
Kelly Meerbott: Okay, good. So, I’ve been speaking with the great Dave Nast, managing partner of Nast Partners. I just wanted to thank you for having an authentic conversation with me and to encourage our listeners too that my intention with this podcast is to inspire you to go and have these deep conversations with other people to really deepen your connection with the other humans on this planet because we’re not having them anymore. So, make it a great day and thanks for listening everybody.