Making an Impact & Being Influential with Alan Mullendore
Announcer: Welcome to the “What Matters Most” podcast, presented by First United Bank & Trust. That’s my bank. Visit us today at mybank.com.
Eric: Hello, and welcome to “What Matters Most,” the podcast all about finances, community, savings, and security for you, your family, and your business. This podcast is brought to you by the helpful folks at mybank, First United Bank & Trust. I’m your host, Eric Nutter, and in today’s episode, “What Matters Most” is making an impact and being influential. And for this helpful discussion, I am so happy to be joined today by Alan Mullendore, market president at First United, covering the areas of Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland. Good morning. How’s it going, Alan?
Alan: It’s going well. Thank you for having me today. Greatly appreciate it.
Eric: Yeah. No. I appreciate it. And the cool thing about today is that the topic is kind of a little bit outside of our norm. We’ve talked about a bunch of different topics, but you had brought this to me, and I thought this was a really cool thing to talk about, about making an impact and being influential. But tell me a little bit, or tell our audience a little bit about why you wanted to talk about this.
Alan: Well, you know, it’s a topic that’s near and dear. It’s a topic that I use when I’m working with some of my community organizations where, whether it be in grand nature or just a small little tidbit, we influence not only our lives daily, but those that are around us, whether it be business, community, family, whatever the case may be. We have an impact, and it’s something that sometimes we actually don’t realize it. We don’t realize how much influence we do have, or can have with a group of folks. So that’s why I think it’s important, and it’s a pertinent topic across many different lines.
Eric: Yeah. No. I appreciate that you brought this thought to the podcast, and I think that it will be really helpful for our listeners, no matter what walk in life they may find themselves in. In preparation for it, you actually even sent over a YouTube video, and I’ll link to it in our show notes. But the video is called “The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews.” And if you haven’t seen it…it’s several years old. I think the date on it says June, 2013. So I don’t know how long ago the speech was, or if that’s just when they uploaded the video, but it’s about a 10-minute clip of him telling the story about Norman Borlaug.
And he talks about how every choice we make is significant and has an impact, and everything you do matters. And in the story, he talks about Norman, who was being recognized as person of the week because they had identified the work he had done in agriculture, saved the lives from famine of over 2 billion people. So he was talking about that.
But then he said, “But is it Norman who did that, or is it Henry Wallace, who created the facility that was dedicated to that technology that hired Norman to learn it? Or was it George Washington Carver, who spent time with Henry Wallace and helped foster that love of agriculture? Or was it the family that took in George Washington Carver and saved his life as a child?”
So there’s this idea of the butterfly effect, and the actions that we do, everything we do matters, and it impacts everything down the road. And I thought it was a, it’s a really well-told story. Andy is a great storyteller, and I really appreciate you sharing the video. But tell us a little bit about what that thought means to you, and what that message that Andy was sharing means to you?
Alan: Well, from my perspective, I started using this and I got introduced to this video through Leadership Frederick County. And in that process, I’ve really kind of adapted and morphed it into my every day. And I look at it from the perspective of, we have the ability to get in front of, and talk to, and touch different members of our community, our family, but we can help guide the direction based on our attitudes, based on our positioning of things.
So it really is one of those that, I like it from the standpoint of, I don’t necessarily need my name on a building, from a legacy perspective, but I want to make a positive influence in the community that I live so that it’s a better place for my family, my friends, my customers, everybody that I come in contact with.
And that’s where this really hit me. You know, it’s one of those that, by making a positive influence, you think you may touch one or two, but in essence, you may touch, just like Andy talked about, 2 billion. But you never know. And it’s pretty powerful to see just how far allowing a young man to come and sit in a lab and watch experiments on hybridized corn in arid climates then in turn saves the lives of 2 billion people, you know, and whether it’s fostering that passion for agriculture, for finance, for community involvement or improvement.
It’s a litany of things, but it really gets down to the real core of it, of having a positive impact and a positive influence every day. So that’s where it moves me, and that’s kind of the piece that really drives me in that I really enjoy this. I also share… Oh, go ahead.
Eric: I was just gonna say it’s awesome to hear that and, kind of, in the words and the way you’re describing it, it’s, as an organization, as a community bank, you know, obviously part of who we are is making that impact in the community and trying to be a helpful partner in the community. So I love hearing that, and I think that message resonates really well within the brand of First United. And so I appreciate that you’re pushing that forward.
Eric: So you were about to say something more to that?
Alan: You know, I just was gonna elaborate a little bit. You know, a couple of years ago, I talked with a group of senior athletes as they were getting ready to graduate, and I used this video to show them, “You know, guys, hey, you have a finite window of time in your life to play sports or do those things. Of course, the percentages are small, but you have an infinite amount of time to make a positive impact in everything that you do.” So, again, it’s one of those that, it truly is about making that impact in the community.
You can flip it into our world and talk about the impact that we make with our customers. If we’re that trusted advisor, and we have that rapport and that ability to help positively influence them, then they can go out, they can become successful. We’ve helped them grow in their community. They, in turn, impact their community through, whether it be donations, jobs, various items, but now, that butterflies, that continues down many different avenues, not just one side or the other.
Eric: Right, right. Yeah. And that, you know, as any community organization or local business that may be listening, they have that opportunity, too. And many of them showcase that. Like, a lot of the businesses that we work with are local businesses, and they make that positive impact. They’re coaching the Little League team, or they’re, you know, doing things outside of their business to try and create that same level of support. So I think, you know, it takes a community, and I think that representing that and encouraging that in others is a great thing to do. And so, I think that’s an awesome message.
Alan: Thank you.
Eric: So, in terms of engaging your community, are there things beyond just getting involved that you see as ways to create that impact? Is there something you’re looking for in people, or trying to push in people in particular, or is it just, you know, that a simple smile to somebody down the street, that may be the only smile they see today, and that’s an impact?
Alan: I think that is a very good point. I think it is a small thing like that, or a larger, actual involvement in organization. I mean, we can only be reactive to our environment from the standpoint of, as we’re doing things, we don’t understand what other people are thinking or what other organizations are doing unless we’re intimately involved with them.
So that smile can have…like you said, it can be the only one that they see all day, and that may be change. They may go home and they say, “You know what? That person smiled at me today and it made me feel pretty good. Maybe I’m gonna go around, and turn around, and smile to the next person.” It’s kind of that “pay it forward” concept. Very similar idea.
The other piece of it is is if you’re actually gonna engage, you know, when I talk to my team about community involvement and engagement on a much higher level, I look at it from the standpoint of aligning my passions with my purpose. So, what does that mean from the standpoint of that true butterfly effect? You know, if I’m not passionate about affordable housing, it doesn’t make sense for me to go engage with an organization that that’s their main mission, and vision, and values, is affordable housing.
My personal passion is kids, and health, and the community. So I’ve spent time on the board of the YMCA of Frederick County in Maryland. I currently sit on the Meritus Healthcare Foundation board, because I’m very, very passionate about our healthcare system, but I also have a personal connection. So, you know, early in my career, I would just throw my hand up and volunteer for everything, just because that’s the family that I was raised in, but also those are some of the things that I wanted to make sure that I was…I was trying to make an impact.
But as I got older, and really, truly after watching this video, said, “Hey, instead of giving 10 people 10% of my time, that I’m kind of passionate about, or I can make a difference,” I said, “Let me really narrow it in. Let me identify who I feel I can give the most benefit to as an organization through my time, my talent, or my treasure, and really now make a focused, positive impact the way I see fit, and then go forward.”
So, fast forward it now, like I said, I’m involved with specific organizations that match my passion for our children, and our youth, and our community, the health and well-being of that community. And that’s what I focus my efforts on, because that’s where I think I can make the most impact and the longest legacy, or the biggest ripple from the flapping of my wings.
Eric: That’s really cool. So, I think that it can be easy, to your point, you know, early on, that level of just wanting to do something, and just saying yes to everything, it can actually be a detriment. To your point, you end up not giving your all to everything because you’re trying to give some to all of it, and it becomes a challenge for you. So I love that idea of aligning your purpose with your passion. That’s a really cool way of thinking of it, and I think that’s good advice for people out there.
Alan: Yeah. It’s hard. And it’s one that, I’ve learned that through several influential people in my life. You know, they flap their wings to me, I picked up tidbits from them doing the same thing that I’m talking about, and really that butterfly effect. And, you know, they said, “Hey.” You know, “you’re here, and it takes a different person to say no, because if you’re not truly passionate about it, you’re not gonna give it your all.”
And it’s not gonna be beneficial to the organization, but, personally and professionally, it’s not gonna be beneficial either, because it has that negative butterfly effect, versus the positive butterfly effect. And we’re really trying to create a positive change in the world, regardless of what we do on a daily basis. We’re trying to make a good, positive impact. And if you follow that piece of it, that’s the best way to do it, in my opinion.
Eric: Yeah. Absolutely. Well, and it kind of follows the same advice of, you know, oftentimes you hear people say that if what you do for your career is something that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. And it’s kind of like taking that same thought process and applying it to also your additional passions outside of work. What are you doing in the community? What are you giving back? And aligning those things with something that you’re actually interested in, otherwise you’re not gonna be able to give it your all, because you’re just not into it.
Alan: Well, I couldn’t agree more, you know. My wife gives me a hard time because sometimes I engross myself so much into some of my things outside my work, but the problem is is everybody’s like, “You’re putting all this time to this, you spend all this time, and effort, and energy. When do you have a life or anything?” And I tell them, you know, it’s one of those that, it’s fun. It’s one of those that I view as, while it’s a focused effort, it’s one of those that I ultimately am…it’s a stress reliever for me.
As funny as that sounds, focusing that energy that I take to my daily job, and focusing it in, whether it be with the Healthcare Foundation, or focusing it, whether it be with my girls that I coach and mentor from a softball perspective or basketball perspective, you know, it’s a lot of engagement, but it truly is a…I think of it as a vacation. I mean, it’s that if you really do love it, you’re not working. And it’s not work. It’s really fun.
Eric: Right. That’s awesome. Well, actually I’ll shift things around a little bit. Tell us more about what you’re involved in in the community. So you mentioned coaching. But what all of the different things, and groups and things are you currently involved in?
Alan: So, it may sound like a long list, but I’ve pared back.
Eric: This is the shortened version of it.
Alan: The shortened version. So, you know, it’s one of those, it’s a servant leadership mentality, and the first organization really follows that. I’m a Rotarian. Just by the nature of where I’ve worked, I’m in my third different Rotary club. But Rotary’s mission is “Service above self.” And I truly do believe that. It’s a great organization. I’m currently with the Hagerstown club. I’m active there.
I am on the Meritus Healthcare Foundation board, and sit on the finance committee there. That is our local healthcare foundation that services Washington County. It’s a full healthcare system, based right in Hagerstown. I am very active with Leadership Frederick. I teach the actual communication and team-building component of the Leadership Frederick opening retreat and closing retreat.
That’s something I’ve been involved with, and I became very passionate about it, which is why we’re talking about Andy Andrews today, in that process. And I actually used that for my professional development from a work perspective, because teaching team building and communications helps me get back to understanding how to talk and communicate with others, and understanding dynamics and those impacts.
We also strip away titles. So we’re now down to dealing people to people versus, you know, we have C-level executives, we have the garrison commanders at the local fort. So a lot of different dynamics go in, but that’s a fun one that I enjoy being a part of.
And then my last piece that I got involved with, I’m very active in the girls’ softball community. I started a league in Western Maryland for local girls, a big passion to keep them together from the standpoint…I’m a firm believer that teamwork, and continuity, and familiarity will breed success. And we started a Babe Ruth section here in Washington County, and have won several state titles, which is nice. And those kids now will stay and move together as a team up through, and benefit the high school systems.
So we keep geographically centered, so if they feed into a Hagerstown group, I will help them with that. And they’ll stay together. They feed into maybe a Boonsboro area, or Williamsport. So it’s really to keep that continuity. And then I also serve as the Maryland state director for softball for Babe Ruth. And then, in my free time, I also manage a travel team and an organization based out of Frederick, called the Heartbreakers. I manage the 11U program there.
So, again, little bit of downtime in my life, but, you know, I do try to give back. You know, you only live once, and you only make a positive influence once. I also do these things because I wanna be around my kids and have a positive influence in their lives, but I also want them to see that it’s not just about me, it’s about giving back. I want them to understand when they get older, they have, in my opinion, a duty to give back to the community that they live in, and pass on positive traits and positive experiences. So that’s a big piece. I also help out other organizations along the way with project-specific things, but those are the main ones that I’m currently involved with.
Eric: That’s awesome. Well, you said you only live once, but it sounds like you’re making the most out of your one shot at this, and you’re influencing a lot of people along the way. So, thank you for your commitment to the community. It’s a really cool thing to see, and I don’t know how you find the time. That’s amazing. So, for those listening, obviously you are impacting a lot of folks at all ranges of ages.
And I love that you’re working with young folks as well, and building that foundation, so that they can continue that effort forward, and continue to influence people, and make an impact, and flap their butterfly wings, and just make that ripple effect for the community, grow and grow and grow. For those listening, are there tips? Are there tricks? Some people are good at influencing people, but, you know, some people may be struggling with it and want to be able to do it better, or maybe they’re just not sure where to start. What do you see as keys to building the trust that allows you to influence people?
Alan: You know…and it’s not a paid advertisement, I just think the video’s a wonderful tool, but to take the 10 minutes and watch the video, because, you know, as Andy walks through the story, some of the influences are large, some of them are small, but they all have an impact in the direction.
And really, when I talk to people and point them in that direction, I tell them, say, “Hey, take the 10 minutes, watch this video, and then think about really what drives and motivates you. You know, what gets you up in the morning? Why do you do what you do? What are you passionate about?” And if you take that passion and that want and desire to make that influence, that’s how you can direct where you wanna go. That’s how you’ll be able to maybe select a nonprofit that you want to engage with or get involved with.
If senior care is something that you’re passionate about, you know, or if it’s affordable housing, or if it’s youth sports, or if it’s medical-related, there’s a variety of different ways to do it. But it really is is, the key piece is aligning your passions with where you want to focus your energies, because if you don’t, you’re not gonna make that positive impact. But lining those up and understanding what you really want to do first.
And it may take 5 to 10 tries. You know, it may come in the form of somebody hearing a conversation and say, “Hey, would you like to help me out? You know, we think you may be a good fit.” Test it out. So there’s no real perfect formula or perfect recipe for it.
Eric: Yeah. I think that, I mean, and you’ve said it several times about aligning that passion and purpose, and it can’t be said enough. And it goes with everything. If you are doing the thing you love, you can’t go wrong. And you just need to keep pushing towards that. And when you aren’t doing something that you love, it’s noticeable. I mean, that comes through in your demeanor and your negativity, and things like that can start to creep out if you’re not doing something that you’re passionate about. And so, finding that true North, so to speak, is really important.
Alan: That’s it. Absolutely.
Eric: Yeah. Well, Alan, do you have any final thoughts to share with our listeners that maybe we didn’t cover today?
Alan: No. I think, like I said, if you can spare 10 minutes, and surprisingly enough, I think everybody has 10 minutes in their life to sit down, take a minute, watch the video, and, amazingly enough, it should be able to give you an idea of, in all walks of your life, how you can have a positive impact.
Alan: You know, it’s really not just centered towards community service, but it can be your work service, your influence on those that you work with, work for, and work for you on a daily basis. So it really is. I love the video. I share it and use it as much as I can, because I think it is truly a powerful message of how much we can really influence the greater good and the positive things in life.
Eric: It’s a great message, and thanks again for sharing it. I will include that in the description and in the show notes, so that everyone can find it really easily. Alan, again, sincerely, I want to thank you for joining me today and providing such helpful thoughts and insights. If any of our listeners have a question, or they want to learn more, maybe they want to learn about one of the organizations you talked about, what’s the best way that they can get the support they need?
Alan: So, you’re welcome to reach out to me at any time. I’m pretty accessible. You can email me at email@example.com, or you can, depending on your community, from the standpoint that you have an idea, your local Chambers of Commerce are great resources. Your community members are great resources as well. So those are some great ideas to point out and identify, your local United Ways traditionally have some good ideas, your community foundations. Also, know the nonprofits in the area. So those would be the places I’d start, but you’re welcome to contact me at any time, and I’ll try to help you out as much as possible.
Eric: Excellent. Maybe you can get somebody on one of those committees with you.
Eric: Well, Alan, thank you so much. And, absolutely, those are great tips on making an impact, being influential. And with that, that brings us to the end of our show. You can always find more episodes by visiting mybank.com/podcast, or on your favorite podcast app. And the great news is we’re on almost every podcast app you could possibly look for. So find us and subscribe, and leave us feedback.
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