69 Day Gift Giving Challenge – Day 10

My gift today is more of an acknowledgement than anything. It’s an acknowledgment that my Chief Marketing Officer at Silverback Social, John Zanzarella is one of the best dudes I know.  Frankly, he’s been a gift for me in my career and my life.  We were introduced by one of my first childhood friends, Len Ciffone.  When I met him I told Len that you can tell he was raised well. I was drawn to how “still” he is.  If you’ve met John, you know what I mean. After this first meeting we immediately became friends.  Soon after John and his parents became my business partners as we launched the Westchester Digital Summit. We all immediately became family. I tell his mother that I love her. There was a moment toward the middle of that first summit 2 years ago when we were walking through the venue and I turned to him and said “you know, you have to come and work with me and be my CMO at Silverback.” I guess they say that the rest is history, but it’s not. John and I are just getting started.  He began working here only a year ago, but his impact is felt in everything we do. He brings positivity, energy, poise, class and fun to the office daily. He got me back into shape after I was working 15 hour days and driving myself into the ground. He literally has to remind me to eat on some days.  Sometimes he even warms up food that his mother has made for him and slides it onto my desk.  We’re a powerhouse business combination.  He inspires me to do great work, and I try my best to offer him advice and guidance in business and in life.  He supports me in everything.  After running everything about the summit last year it was my pleasure to make him CEO of the Westchester Digital Summit. While working with our lawyers to itemize equity for our business I spoke to my father about John’s contribution to Silverback stating that I wanted to give him the largest portion of equity I could as an employee. That’s when my father asked me what John does for me. After I told him, Dad replied saying “you’ve got yourself a partner, not an employee.”  John is now a partner at Silverback Social.

Some little known facts about our relationship:

  • John and I spend more time together than I spend with my wife.
  • When we end each day we usually fist bump, but we alway say “I love you.” No shit.
  • We’re both usually sore during the work day now that we’re both doing crossfit – it’s funny when we sit down.
  • When he makes me laugh I punch him.  I do this with most of my friends, but John bears the brunt of it because he sits so close to me.
  • We both voraciously snack on healthy popcorn, protein bars and almonds during the day, and we both stay ridiculously hydrated to the point where we’re in a near constant dance of bathroom runs come mid afternoon.
  • Every single girl that works at every single coffee shop in White Plains, New York falls in love with John.  Usually they put their numbers on his coffee cup.  I’m deeeeply jealous of this.
  • John is in a charity dance competition next week, and I can’t be there. I feel like I’m missing my daughter’s dance recital.
  • We call him JZ (short for John Zanzarella).
  • We’re both voraciously seek out knowledge. We listen to audiobooks every day, and spend most mornings riffing on ideas and inspiration from the previous days books.
  • I’ve been getting heavily into meditating, and he’s followed suit.
  • We sometimes take office breaks to meditate.
  • I’ve forgotten full conversations I’ve had with him the day before and ask him the same line of question the next day. Sad but true.
  • He was prom king at Kennedy High School.  I’m deeeeply jealous of this.
  • That’s it. I love this kid, and this is a small gift to him. Really, this may be more for his mom Karen Zanzarella (who I know is crying right now), but it’s for him too….oh yeah and his Dad John Zanzarella – you guys did a great job raising him!

To learn more about why I’m giving a gift every day for 69 days, please read this If you have any ideas where I can give, what I can give, or how I can go about giving please either email me at chrisdessi@silverbacksocial.com, text or call 646 645 4171, comment  below or find me on Twitter @chrisdessi