Men on the Move 6

Five Local Leaders Share Their Most valuable Life Lessons

Dr. Richard C. Rooney, M.D., FACS

Seattle Regenerative Medicine Center

How long have you been in your line of work?
Since 2001.

What is one major life lesson you have learned and would like to share with other men?
Never forget what your role is as a man, a husband and a father. Be a provider, not a taker. Don’t have a fragile ego, and don’t be envious of others’ success; celebrate it with them.

What is your life philosophy, and how was it developed?
Life is a grind, and you can’t cheat that grind. In order to succeed, you have to embrace and thrive off hard work. You have to push yourself into uncomfortable situations to grow as a person. 

What inspires you?
My family. They are grinders, and it helps motivate me to be the same.

What do you love about your community in Bellevue? What sets it apart?
Bellevue is a beautiful place, for one. The water, the trees, the views—it is hard not to like that. We have children in the public school system, and the whole vibe is about striving for excellence in everything. There are resources for the kids in every aspect of their development—the fine arts, academics, athletics, trades; you name it, there are people in the schools eager to help kids achieve their potential. I think this foundational notion of achievement is what sets Bellevue apart from a lot of other communities.

Quote or words to live by?

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

SeattleRegen.com and @seattleregen

Andy Lakha

CEO and Principal, Fortress Development

How long have you been in your line of work?
I got my start in commercial real estate in the ’90s as the owner and operator of corner convenience stores, gas stations and car washes. From there, I began developing my own properties, progressing to bigger and more complex projects as time went on, but it has all lead up to the project I’m working on now, which is by far the most important project of my life: Avenue Bellevue, a luxury condo, hotel and retail project planned for the heart of downtown Bellevue.      

What is one major life lesson you have learned and would like to share with other men?
I came to the United States from Pakistan at age 17 with little money to my name. It wasn’t an easy journey, but it was my perseverance and commitment to excellence that got me to where I am today. I would encourage other men to set big goals and not be afraid of obstacles. If you have a strong intention and passion for something, the rest will follow.  

What is your life philosophy, and how was it developed?
To me, life is all about relationships—with friends, family, yourself, your environment. The relationships I’ve built throughout my life and career have been the foundation for my success.  

What inspires you?
Exceptional places and events inspire me greatly. I travel quite frequently and, as a developer, naturally I am fascinated with the architecture in every city I visit. I also love being a part of spectacular events, whether it’s a major sporting event, an awards show or an audience with one of my heroes. Being a part of these once-in-a-lifetime moments is really energizing and inspirational to me.

What do you love about your community in Bellevue? What sets it apart?
In my opinion, Bellevue is one of the best places to live in the United States. It offers a very high quality of life. I love the balance between nature and the urban city center. I love the people and the culture here. I am so proud to be building Avenue in this city that I have called home for nearly 20 years.

Quote or words to live by?
“Life is relationships, and the best form of relationship is friendship.”

LiveAtAvenue.com

Richard Harris

VP of Licensing, Intellectual Ventures and Chairman of the Board of Directors – Boys & Girls Club of King County (BGCKC)

How long have you been in your line of work?
During the past 35 years, I have lived in the U.S., Europe and Asia and worked, at various times, as an engineer, a lawyer and a tech deal team leader. For the past seven years, I have been a member of the Board of Directors of BGCKC.

What is one major life lesson you have learned and would like to share with other men?
Never cite a problem without proposing a solution. This is important in both professional and personal contexts. It’s not always easy to devise potential solutions to vexing problems; however, it’s always more productive to do so. Whether or not your proposed solution proves successful, the people affected—your family, your friends and your professional colleagues—will benefit from your solution-focused approach.

What is your life philosophy, and how was it developed?
Do what you can when you can. After I graduated from college and started my first full-time job, I often found myself saying, “I’ll do more to help others when I make more money or when I have more time or when I have more experience.” I eventually realized that no matter what your current socio-economic status, no matter how much or how little time you have and no matter what your level of education, training or expertise, you can engage, give back and make a difference in someone’s life.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by the can-do spirit of the people around me. I see evidence of this spirit in my wife, Vandana, who tackles daunting social problems with passion and conviction. I see it in young tech entrepreneurs who constantly prove that the old rules don’t apply to them. I see it in the staff at the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County who tirelessly work to make the world a better place one child at a time. And I see it in thousands of kids from disadvantaged backgrounds who are determined to succeed despite the odds. 

What do you love about your community in Bellevue? What sets it apart?
I love that in Bellevue and throughout King County people on every rung of the socio-economic ladder selflessly give their time, talent and treasure to help others. I have lived in 15 cities in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and I’ve engaged in the tech community and the philanthropic community in each of these cities. I’ve found that in King County, more than in any other area in which I’ve lived, people don’t just talk about giving back; they actively and enthusiastically engage in doing so.  

Quote or words to live by?
Remember to say “thank you.” I’m still working on this! We all get busy in our personal and professional lives, and we often take for granted the things that others do for us. Saying “thank you” is easy to do, and it doesn’t cost anything. Sometimes these two little words can make a big difference!

PositivePlace.org

Scott Swerland

CEO, TruFusion (TFO, LLC)

Taryn Naidu

President, TruFusion (TFO, LLC)

How long have you been in your line of work?
Officially, one year. Our first location in Washington opened in March of this year.

What is one major life lesson you have learned and would like to share with other men?
Scott: Get your PSA tested early. Know your family history with health.
Taryn: Self-reliance. Your skills are transferrable. You have relevant life experience that can transfer into any situation. You just have to dig for it.

What is your life philosophy, and how was it developed?
Scott: Work hard and play hard. My family has always taught me to put my all into everything I’m doing.
Taryn: Enjoy what you do, and surround yourself with people you want to see succeed and vice versa. Life is too short to settle for anything less.

What inspires you?
Scott: The creativity and ingenuity of the people I work with every day. I’m surrounded by so many diverse skill sets, and it’s incredible to work alongside them and see how they solve challenges and grow over time.
Taryn: Perseverance. Seeing how people recover personally or professionally from a bad situation and turn it into success.

What do you love about your community in Bellevue? What sets it apart?
Scott: Bellevue is safe and clean and has always been welcoming to my businesses. The people and community are warm and inviting.
Taryn: Watching a small town grow into a major business center in the world, but it hasn’t lost its community feel. It’s really quite remarkable.

Quote or words to live by?
Scott: Live for today, plan for tomorrow and never give up.
Taryn: If there’s a fork in the road, take it.

TruFusion.com and @trufusion_wa