We had the good fortune of connecting with Peter Schirripa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Peter, how do you think about risk?
Risk innately has a negative connotation; it infers that there is a chance you lose. I don’t think of risk as anything other than an opportunity. In order to progress – whether it be in relationships, financially speaking, or in your profession – you should aways be looking for opportunities to progress forward. When assessing an opportunity, I like taking an age-old approach (I actually call it “a George Washington list.” I take the opportunity (for example, switching roles within a company) and outline the pros and cons. In that example, a pro might be more money, but a con might be extensive training needed to succeed in the role. I fill out both sides of the list in its entirety, and simply take a high level look to see which side of the list is bigger (pros or cons). This has helped me throughout my life and career. When I can think about risk (opportunities) holistically, it allows me not only the ability to make the right decision, but to think through the total impact – good and bad.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a VP, Sales at a big tech company, there’s always work to do. Always fires to put out. I find that there’s a stark difference between being busy and being effective. That’s the difference between being reactive and proactive. I make sure to prioritize what’s most important, and always schedule time for “ideation” or planning for the future. It’s not about skating with the puck, but skating to where the puck will be. I really value “me time” or the time I spend building my own craft, reflecting, and planning. Oh, and use Sunday to set up the week. If you start Monday with a plan, the rest of the week is a breeze.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There’s so much to do in Phoenix. I live downtown, where there’s a new place opening each week. You have to start with the outdoors. Hiking is simply a right of passage. I would begin with a hike up Camelback or Squaw Peak. From there, get a local craft brew (I love Wren House) and some tacos (Tacos Chiwas, Taco Chelo, etc.). Depending on the weather, I’d try to soak up as much of the sun as possible, assuming its not too hot. That may be a spring training game, a bike down the canal path, or a walk through the murals downtown. For dinner – I love the Rokerij. A tall martini, a sizzling steak, and good scenery in an old rustic adobe house. If you are still up for it, a late night rooftop drink to seal the deal!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Two things, reading & volunteering. When I look back on my career and think “what’s something I wish I did more of/differently” what comes to mind is reading. I made a commitment to read 12 books in 2020 (ended up reading 13) and set a goal for 14 in 2021. I find that there’s so much value to reading: from being a good conversationalist, to learning about topics otherwise unknown, to improve your craft, etc. I try to expand my reach beyond just leadership books – I now enjoy novels, some sci-fi, and world history. Volunteering: I currently serve as a mentor at New Pathways For Youth, a non-profit centered around helping inner city kids in Phoenix. I gain so much from this – a perspective on life, an appreciation for the little things, and a true humbling take – and I wish everyone could gain a similar experience.