By: Niki Shadrow Snyder
- NS: Tell us about yourself and what you do? MP: I am the CEO of OPTE.
- NS: How did you personally move the needle in 2020? MP: I think that is a complicated question. On the business side, we launched our company, OPTE. After 13 years, OPTE is finally available and it is an exciting time. Launches are always hectic, but forming our company, planning and executing a launch, all remotely, has been an interesting challenge. But honestly, the way I moved the needle the most was through family and friends. It is all about personal connection and reaching out. We all need connection so I have been really making an effort to instigate conversation and check in. I know it is important to me and for those around me.
- NS: How did you deal with the stress in the world in 2020? MP: In times of stress, I need two things. Physical activity and getting into nature. Sometimes I can get both, if I’m lucky. Lately, I have been running a lot in the Santa Monica Mountains, and that has been a huge stress reliever. 2020 has taught me to appreciate time in nature more than ever before. I have had the pleasure to visit both Joshua Tree and Death Valley National parks during this hectic year and found that time spent in both locations reinvigorated me and brought me some much needed peace.
- NS: Do you have any advice for your younger self? MP: I would tell him so much. Most importantly, slow the hell down! Why are you in such a rush all the time? But seriously, I think that the main lesson is that relationships are the key to life and to happiness, so the advice would be to really focus on those things. Also to invest in tech stocks earlier.
- NS: What did you do in 2020 that you’re most passionate about? MP: A commitment to family and friends and really taking the time to slow down and talk more with them and stay connected. This year has made me realize how much I love my home and how grateful I am for what I have around me. I have become much more passionate about my time and not focusing on things or people that are not bringing value to my life. It has really made life more rewarding.
- NS: What was the worst part of 2020 for you? MP: This year has been hard for so many and seeing all of the inequality that is happening because of Covid-19 has been by far the worst part. I am increasingly disturbed by the fact that the poor are getting crushed by this disease and the chasm between the wealthy and the rest grow bigger by the day. I feel real empathy for those who have been put into a tough situation that is no fault of their own.
- NS: What was the best part of 2020 for you? MP: I used to travel to the Silicon Valley every week for work and so I was on a plane every week for two years. I can say that now I truly don’t see how I could go back to living that type of life. I am also the healthiest I have ever been, so that’s a major plus. I have not gotten sick once in 2020. So in a way, with everything that is going on, I feel the healthiest and most vibrant I have felt in years, being home with my family.
- NS: What does success mean to you? MP: I used to think it was about keeping score, meaning it was about winning, and that success was viewed outside of me and versus others. Now I realize it is internal and it is the journey as much as the result. I know that OPTE will be successful from a business point of view, however, the personal success my team and I will have is related to building the company, establishing our values, and going through our journey will be as valuable as the end financial result.
- NS: What causes are important to you? MP: Having kids of my own and realizing how important it is to be there for them in every way possible has made me passionate about helping other kids who might not receive as much support. Some charities that I have been involved with, that are really making a difference, are LA’s Best and The Harold Robinson Foundation.
- NS: Do you think the world right now needs to be influenced by what they can get or what they can give in the middle of this pandemic? MP: It’s all about your point of view. There are so many people that need help and they need to get that help to get by. I think whether it is through their government, their community, or their friends and family, it is important that those who need help receive it. Those that can give, should be giving. It is our responsibility as citizens to help others when they need it. So giving back, in whatever way you can, becomes important as well.
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