Outside of Work

My “Fun” Sports

I’ll first caveat that my passion for extreme sports usually involves adventures that have occurred in between CEO roles. I make time to break away after we reached a major milestone – like selling Janrain to Akamai. Secondly, I spend time on family holidays attempting to address my fix for my favorite activities. My three main outdoor past times include:

  • Big Wave Surfing (both my two sons share this interest)
  • Off-Trail Skiing (my wife leads all of us on this)
  • Jungle Backpacking (the family equally shares this interest)

Big Wave Surfing

Surfing is my favorite sport. And to this day, I’m still excited about large waves – at least waves that my body/fitness level will support.

I’ve been lucky enough to surf all over the world including places as remote as the Island of Nias off the coast of Sumatra Indonesia (which took me several days of travel by plane, bus, and boat). Other places in Indonesia that I’ve surfed include G-Land, also known as Plengkung Beach (an internationally renowned surf break situated on the Grajagan Bay, Alas Purwo National Park, East Java, Indonesia), Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Impossibles, Dreamland, and Balangan…all in Indonesia.

I’ve surfed in the south pacific at places like Samoa. I’ve surfed all of Baja California (when I lived in San Diego for 21 years), and recently further south in Cabo San Lucas at Shipwrecks, Nine Palms, and Old Mans. I’ve also surfed the entire Sunshine coast of Australia (from Sydney to north of Brisbane).

My most recent adventure was the longest left in the world at a place called Pavones, in Costa Rica; and an equally fun right at Matapalo, Costa Rica (on the Osa Peninsula).

The list goes on….yes, I love the sport.

“Shhhh”…don’t tell my wife. I’m now looking at South Africa at well-known spots like Jeffreys Bay; and south France at Lacanau just 45 minutes south of Bordeaux – quaint town that’s bursting with authentic southern vibes.

Off-Trail Skiing

My love for backcountry / off-trail skiing was developed 100% because of my wife, Annie. Her favorite sport is skiing, and now the whole family searches for the most remote places to “drop in”. “Shhhh”…don’t tell anyone…but we love to go outside the ski boundary of Burnt Mountain Glades at Snowmass, Colorado. The above picture is at Jackson Hole, Wyoming at Corbet’s Couloir.

Jungle Backpacking

My favorite backpacking story takes me to The Baliem Valley – sometimes known as the Grand Valley, of the highlands of Western New Guinea, and is occupied by the Dani people. I almost died there, trying to hike over 5 mountain ranges with a local Dani guide and porter. If you haven’t already heard that story, ask me sometime – happy to share.

Diversity & Equality

With the events of George Floyd, change will ensue. It has to. Frankly, there shouldn’t be one American who isn’t united on this issue. But the sad truth is that we’re far from achieving the level of diversity and equality this country needs. Pain is deeply etched in the soul of our nation for George Floyd and the many black Americas before him, who have experienced a deeply rooted discrimination. The racial injustice must stop now. Period.

We must support a process to ensure that America’s black community is heard throughout the country, and take action on reconciliation and reparations. America’s very existence is rooted in empowering the pillars of diversity and equality. So, therefore, it’s incumbent upon us to use our resources, to drive that systemic change supporting those pillars. Here are wise words from Former President Barack Obama:

“For those who have been talking about protest, just remember that this country was founded on protest — it is called the American Revolution,”

“Every step of progress in this country, every expansion of freedom, every expression of our deepest ideals have been won through efforts that made the status quo uncomfortable,”

“And we should all be thankful for folks who are willing, in a peaceful, disciplined way, to be out there making a difference.”

By the way, “diversity” is broader than the issues fueling the events of George Floyd. It includes: Racial diversity, Cultural diversity, Religious diversity, Age diversity, Sex / Gender diversity, and Sexual orientation.

And “equality” is broad as well. It includes dimensions such as Natural, Social, Civil, Political, Economic, Opportunity and Education equalities.


#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.





The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has evolved in the years since from this small group of idealists into the nation’s premier defender of the rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. The ACLU continues to fight government abuse and to vigorously defend individual freedoms including speech and religion, a woman’s right to choose, the right to due process, citizens’ rights to privacy and much more.





The ‘me too.’ movement was founded in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly Black women and girls, and other young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing. The #metoo goal is also to reframe and expand the global conversation around sexual violence to speak to the needs of a broader spectrum of survivors. Young people, queer, trans, and disabled folks, Black women and girls, and all communities of color. We want perpetrators to be held accountable and we want strategies implemented to sustain long term, systemic change.

Environmental Causes

I must admit that being married to an environmental engineer and global warming / environmental activist helps me stay true to my passion for the outdoors, but in a sustainable way. I need to do more than simply enjoy nature, and do my part in preserving/protecting it. So here are a few organizations which I advocate for all.

WorldWildlife (WWF) is the world’s leading conservation organization. WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by more than one million members in the United States and close to five million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.

Virgin Unite has a goal to unite people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world. There are so many challenges facing the world today, but we believe that by bringing the right people together and taking an entrepreneurial approach, we can create positive change.

The Surfrider Foundation is a community of everyday people who passionately protect our playground – the ocean, waves, and beaches -that provide us so much enjoyment.

The Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States – fighting for Earth’s natural resources.

Rainforest Action Network preserves forests, protects the climate and upholds human rights by challenging corporate power and systemic injustice through frontline partnerships and strategic campaigns.


ONE is a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, so that everyone, everywhere can lead a life of dignity and opportunity.

Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges.


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) translates to Doctors without Borders. MSF provides medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare.

Guided by science and economics, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) tackles urgent threats with practical solutions. EDF is one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than 2.5 million members and a staff of 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world.

charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.

Curing Cancer

One out of three people have had a direct experience with cancer in their family, and I’m one of them. Cancer is the second cause of death in the US (with heart disease being the first) – resulting in the statistic of one of four deaths being cancer-related. Cancer is also the second most common cause of death in children. Cancer isn’t a single disease, but rather a collection of over 200 different ones. As such, it is difficult to talk about cancer without understanding the specific type of cancer someone has. Needless to day, I have told my family story of cancer to as many who are willing to listen (my favorite at a Strata Keynote in 2013). Once heard, people can appreciate why I’m a supporter of several organizations dedicated to the cure of cancer(s).

The MPN education foundation is “close to home” because my mother, Antje W. Hjerpe. She was the President and is now still a director of the board for the MPN education foundation. She has been fighting for her life for over 35 years with a rare blood cancer called Myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN). It’s a class of chronic hematologic disorders in which there is abnormal production of blood cells by stem cells in the bone marrow. Her class of MPN is Essential thrombocythemia (ET), which is one of the Philadelphia-chromosome-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), or chronic, progressive hematologic disorders in which there is uncontrolled production of platelets, the cells that help the blood to clot. The excessive numbers of platelets in the blood may result in an increased risk of formation of blood clots that limit blood flow and supply to organs.

The mission of the MPN Research Foundation is to stimulate original research in pursuit of new treatments — and eventually a cure — for the blood cancers polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia and myelofibrosis, known collectively as myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN).

MPN Advocacy and Education International is dedicated to providing the knowledge, support, and resources patients will need as they adjust to living with an MPN through educational symposia in several cities each year, website access, free webcasts of each program, collateral materials, and direction to people, resources and other organizations that can help.

The Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Alliance Australia (MPN AA) was formed in 2015 by a small group of motivated MPN patients. The patient-led advocacy group collaborates with the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia with the common goal of achieving better outcomes for Australian MPN patients.

NORD, a 501(c)(3) organization, is a patient advocacy organization dedicated to individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them. NORD, along with its more than 280 patient organization members, is committed to the identification, treatment, and cure of rare disorders through programs of education, advocacy, research, and patient services.

CancerCare provides free individual and group support to anyone affected by cancer. CancerCare’s cancer-focused emotional support is available in English and Spanish and centers on the emotional and practical challenges that arise from cancer.


The Cancer Support Community (CSC) is the largest professionally led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide, dedicated to ensuring that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.

The mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Team In Training raises funds in support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Knowledge Is King


When I was approached by Adeo Reesi about helping start the San Diego chapter of the Founder Institute back in 2009, I had no idea of how instrumental Adeo’s model would be in supporting aspiring founders and CEOs of impactful companies worldwide. I only wish I had more time to play it forward than I already do – I love the mentor model (founders teaching founders) that Adeo has operationalized for over a decade. Startup founders are led through a “bootcamp” of key components of their business over 12 weeks including:

  1. “Vision and Validation”
  2. “Customer Development”
  3. “Revenue”
  4. “Branding and Design”
  5. “Mentor Idea Review”
  6. “Legal”
  7. “Go-to-Market Planning”
  8. “Product Development”
  9. “Mentor Progress Review”
  10. “Hiring and Onboarding”
  11. “Growth”
  12. “Equity and Funding”

Vistage is a CEO and key executive member organization with over 23,000 active executives in over 20 countries worldwide. I’ve  been a member since 10/1/2011. It is by far the most sophisticated executive coaching organization with over 60 years of history. Members are referred by other members and then, still only invited into their respective groups selectively. I think every Board should support leveraging external organizations of this caliber for CEO management training. It’s a great way to augment Board guidance, and one’s own peer group.

CEO groups within Vistage can have many prominent CEOs (my group is at 15), led by a reputable chair. CEOs meet: 1) as a group once every month; 2) with their Vistage Chair 1-on-1 each month; and 3) with other group CEOs in separate meetings as-needed – all of this supporting executive growth, personal/family growth, and ultimately helping the CEO be a better CEO by working through strategic as well as tactical issues in their role. As you can imagine, this directly benefits the company.

Group meetings always involve having an external consultant/speaker who advise CEOs on aspects of their business. The following are a sample of topics covered in past meetings with my group – all of which providing perspective on how to improve my business:

  • Breaking The Communication Barrier At Work And At Home
  • Cracking The Code Of Hiring Right
  • Developing Courageous And Effective Leadership
  • Change Matters: Finding Your Blue Ocean Strategy
  • Built On Values
  • You’re The Person I Want To Keep: A Ceo’s Guide To Retaining Top Talent
  • The Success Formula: Get Productive – Market Profitably – Innovate Teamwork!
  • Harnessing The Power Of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership
  • Effective Executive Negotiations!
  • The Five Attributes Of Highly Profitable Companies: How To Achieve Results That Count
  • Managing People, Priorities And Power
  • Leadership, Conversations, Results
  • The Persuasion Code
  • Financial Planning That Drives Growing Companies
  • Value-added Selling
  • Action Dialogue: Piercing Conversations
  • Make Or Break Execution: The Core Of Success
  • Social Media For Business–how To Use It; Why You Can’t Ignore It
  • Seven Easy Ways To Increase Value And Grow Your Business
  • Unearthing The Leader’s Code: Drive Superior Strategic Growth And Organizational Performance
  • The Biggest Elephant: How Leaders Use Conflict To Create Opportunity And Performance
  • Building A World-class Sales Force
  • How To Finance Growth
  • Accountability: The Key To Driving A High-performance Culture
  • Culture Trumps Everything
  • Maximizing Performance In A Multigenerational Workforce
  • Executive Presence: How Do You Look And Sound As A Leader Today With One-on-one Speech Coaching
  • Creating High Accountability Cultures
  • Who Am I & Who The Heck Are You?
  • Attitude: Hire The Best, Fire The Rest, And Stay Out Of Court V2019
  • Negotiating For Success
  • Competitive Advantage: Is Yours A Hit Or A Myth? Arm Your Sales People For Stronger Profitability
  • The Execution Tune-up: Executing Your Vision And Getting Results
  • The Business Plan For The Body
  • Producing Peak Performance
  • Best Practice Sales And Marketing Strategies For Sustained Revenue Growth
  • Entrepreneurial Team Building For Strategic Success
  • Wellness 2018 – Epigenetics: Your Dna Is Not Your Destiny!
  • The Secret Sauce: A Recipe For Growth
  • Mega Trends And The Next Economy
  • Super-diversification And Surviving A Bear Market
  • The Numbers Aren’t The Most Important Thing For Your Business–they Are Everything
  • You On Your Best Day
  • Keeping Great Employees Focused, Fired Up And Engaged
  • Realtime Ceo: Strategy – Operations – Numbers
  • Becoming Mentally Prepared For Extraordinary Performance
  • How To Run A Small To Mid-size Company In A Turbulent Global Economy
  • How To Set Self-motivating Goals You Can Achieve
  • Better Leaders, Better Teams, Less Stress
  • Insights Into Leadership Development, Managing Relationships And High Performance Teams
  • The Leader’s Guide To Marketing & Branding – Inspire Your Team, Motivate Your Customers, Create Lasting
  • Impact
  • Avoiding The High Costs Of A Missed Connection
  • Mind Matters – Brilliance, Passion, And The Nature Of Mastery
  • Visual Planning – Business And Personal Success

How do you invest in yourself…to become a better version of you?