Ron Rapatalo is a coach, connector, and catalyst leader who encourages others to live authentic and inspiring lives.
This episode is important to me because of Ron’s insight through personal experience and coaching related to toxicity as we examine the intersection of racial identity.
Ron has been a talent shepherd for 15+ years, recruiting and selecting thousands of candidates to become education and nonprofit leaders, so he has a wealth of knowledge and experience to learn from.
The Toxic Leadership Podcast
Dr. Kevin Sansberry II is a behavioral scientist and executive coach with expertise in toxic leadership, human capital strategy, and creating inclusive cultures of belonging to enhance organization performance. Over the years, Kevin has focused on providing research-informed solutions in various settings such as higher education, nonprofit, sales, and corporate environments.
Follow KEVRA: The Culture Company on Linkedin to keep up with your favorite behavioral scientist, Dr. Sansberry. At KEVRA: The Culture Company, we partner to effectively evolve your organizational culture by focusing on competency development, best practices, and leading research to deliver systemic and innovative solutions for company success.
Have a question for Dr. Sansberry? Visit askdrkev.com to send your leadership and organizational-related questions.
Listen to the podcast here:
Exploring Identity And The Racialized Impact Of Toxicity With Ron Rapatalo
Ron Rapatalo was a Coach, connector and catalyst leader who encouraged others to live authentic and inspiring lives. This episode is important to me because of Ron’s insight through personal experience in coaching related to toxicity as we examine the intersection of racial identity. Ron has been a Talent Shepherd for many years, recruiting and selecting thousands of candidates to become education and nonprofit leaders. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience to learn from. Let’s get to it.
Welcome to the show. We have Ron Rapatalo. How are you?
I’m doing well. Thank you for having me, Kevin.
I’m so excited to have you here. I’m interested in all your LinkedIn posts and I’ve been following you for a while. I’d like to talk to you about how we look at toxic leadership, race and identity. Before we jump into that, how about you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and what you’re working on nowadays.
I always like to start my origin story with the statement, “I’m a child of Philippine immigrants.” My dad came from the Philippines in 1970. My mom and the other six of my siblings came in April of ‘72, a little bit before Martial Law got instituted by Marcos. I take that from the fact that the Immigration Naturalization Act of ‘65 is why I and many other Asian-Americans, eighteen million accounted are here and have been tying that into the civil rights movement and how African-Americans played a big part in getting the Immigration Naturalization Act passed.
I am not here in this country, born here and my parents and my siblings aren’t here without the fight of African-Americans to change immigration laws. I just wanted to state that, first and foremost, that’s important to why I’m here in America. I was born in ’75 in East Flatbush in the largest municipal hospital in New York City, Kings County Hospital. I grew up in a predominantly Caribbean neighborhood. East Flatbush used to be pretty Italian.
I think by that time, there was a transition. Living in a three-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn and remembering the Blackout in 1978. Unfortunately, my father was robbed in our apartment building and shot. That led my mom to say, “We need to move and find a home.” We’re not going to live in East Flatbush, unfortunately, for that much longer when that happened. In ‘81, right before I turned six, we moved to South Ozone Park to home.
That neighborhood back in the ‘80s was still predominantly Italian and Irish. Starting in the mid-‘80s, it became a predominantly Caribbean-Guyana-Trinidadian ethnically Indian neighborhood. I say those things because a lot of my origin story and growing up in New York City was growing up in diversity. Growing up cross-racially, cross-culturally. It’s what I know and what I seek. When I tell people that I seek to continue to live a United Colors of Benetton ad, that’s how I experienced the world.
It’s not always about doing the most rigorous thing or the most prestigious thing.
That’s where I see depth. That’s where I see incredible rich experiences. I’m a product of New York City public schools. I was very fortunate to get to Stuyvesant High School. I couldn’t afford a test prep but I was very lucky to have a rigorous education through being gifted and talented. Stuyvesant back then, although the numbers are incredibly decrepit around the number of Black and Latino students getting in a bit more percentage. I would say it’s probably 10%. It’s not a lot but it was predominantly East Asian and White school, a 45% split.
The rigor of Stuyvesant was ultimately one of the equalizers in my life because that led to me getting accepted into New York University and being someone who’s a Pell Grant recipient. My parents started off on food stamps in my first five years of life, not having a lot but having a big family but having a lot of support and love and frankly, a great public education. Those are the things that got me from the bottom 15% of income to the top 50% of income.
Granted, the top 15% of income does not mean I am a millionaire. It means my family and I earn comfortable money. New York University is where I started seeing a lot of my journey and activism. I was very active on campus with the Asian-American scene to being the president of the International Filipino Association fighting for Asian Pacific American studies. I was a student agitator and co-founder of that program and institute.
I was active in a lot of other non-Asian American student clubs. I was involved in the Latino student club on campus because many of them were my friends, frankly. They do the best parties. As with every good Filipino, I was destined to go to medical school. I disappointed my mom. I did not apply. I had a good GPA and MPAT score so that wasn’t it. At the age of 21, around my senior year in college, I realized that it wasn’t what I was passionate about.
The question I asked myself was if I were to have gotten in, which I’m pretty sure I would have, four years of med school, probably four years of residency but that was probably going to do some neuro something. I’m a Neuroscience major. It was crazy. I said, “If I get to 29 or 30, is this what I want to do?” I got scared. I was like, “I don’t know.” A lot of the I don’t know came from the reason I was pursuing being a doctor was because of a lot of the things I was taught as a kid.
Every Filipino needs a professional job. They overlay the model minority myth on it. Do the most rigorous thing. Do the most prestigious thing. Do the thing that externally people dig you up on. I started to learn that the things I enjoyed most of the college, leadership, activism, relationship building. I just didn’t know how to monetize that or think about that as a career. It took me a while to figure that out. I meandered through working at New York University.
I had three years working in finance. I started then working at a well-known national education nonprofit in 2003. That became the beginning of my career in education eighteen years later. I’ve worked in executive search. I also career coach on the side but I’ve also dabbled in some other things like the men’s personal styling. I’ve taught fitness classes on and off for a long time, doing hiring and coaching, especially with an emphasis on building equitable practices, teaching people and leaders of color what the game is and how truly equitable it is and coaching folks in how to play it.
When they get in positions of power, hopefully, they’re going to change the game. I give them advice, especially when they’re hiring. I think I try to bring an aspiring anti-racist lens, an equity lens, to how I do the work. Being like a United Colors of Benetton ad, seeking different experiences, better relationships, especially with people who don’t look like me, I think it’s very integral to how I see the world and how I push myself to be better. To hopefully have a world where my two daughters will have to fight as hard as much as I do. I like to do. That’s a bit about me.
I appreciate hearing your story, especially from a very young age, how diversity was so much ingrained into you as a kid. You talked about leadership and you recognize the servant leaders and the transformational leaders. You know about all of that. You brought up playing the game and the impact on people of color. Talk to me a little bit about your experience with toxic leadership and how it simply manifests throughout your life.
Unfortunately, I’ve been on the end of having had toxic leadership in terms of direct managers. I’ve seen toxic leadership from the clients I’ve had to serve. I’ve had to deal with toxic leadership from having to coach leaders of color who are going through toxic leadership. People that are very close to me have had toxic leadership themselves in terms of managers. It’s deeply personal. It’s also something that professionally the search firm I work at, Edgility Consulting, because we bring an equity lens to work at some level, the clients we’re working with are in various parts of their journey.
What’s toxic for one person may not be toxic for another. For me, from a feeling in my bones, toxic leadership is something that when you start feeling the stress of work and you don’t want to go to work, that’s probably the last time. That’s when your body determines that it’s thirsty, you should have had water three hours ago. That’s the worst sign. Let’s be clear. I’ve had that at least twice in my professional life.
Thank God I work at a good place. I got fired from a job. I have a LinkedIn post about it. I had a toxic manager then. I didn’t realize it when I got hired. Toxic leaders, at least in my experience in the nonprofit education space, will play a good game. They’re like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They could be nice to you on some level and different people experience them differently at different times. If you cross them the wrong way or you act a certain way that this is the archetype of what they want you to be then the wolf comes out. That’s literally what happened to me at a job that I had in late 2011 through early 2012. I was fired after five weeks.
For me, the definition of toxic leadership is getting all these informal sides that my manager wasn’t happy with me. All of a sudden, I get a final written review. Now, mind you, as someone who does HR talent, you’re supposed to get other written warnings before. I had a final written warning without. They just wanted to let me go. They didn’t want me there at all. The stuff they went up the ladder of inference about, it was cockamamie. I wish I would’ve kept a copy of this so I could have printed receipts and showed it on Twitter.
Something I want to lift for readers is two big things I heard was one is not wanting to go to work that morning or what have you, it’s too late. We have to make a concerted effort to listen to our intuition. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this before but a lot of times in these toxic environments, you doubt yourself first. “Maybe I’m the one. Maybe I’m too sensitive. Maybe it’s me.”
Until you realize that it’s not, which is sometimes cathartic but it’s also sad that we get gaslighted in those situations. It sounds like your guard was down. You got attracted to the role. You go brought in and then the disguise came off. Talk to me a little more about how did that feel at the time for you navigating that.
It was like I was hit by a truck and I saw it coming and I didn’t know how to get out the way. When I took the job, I took it. I’m already talking to my wife and she had a bad feeling. Her intuition is that I shouldn’t take the job. My intuition was like, “I see some flags. It can’t be that bad. They’re offering me my own AmEx.” It was all the external. I got my own office. This particular job that I had, there was a one-week free paid vacation to the Caribbean. All the trap. They offered you free breakfast and lunch.
Let’s say this particular thing that I was at was well money. I was like, “This would be so nice to be taken care of and having the opposite of all this stuff.” When I was there, I was starting to see signs of people I’m working with, they are vibing with me. I came from what’s considered education rough. The folks that were there were like, “Are you trying to come up with an acronym in a way to act? We’re not like that. We’re not like those people. Those folks are trying to bring in capitalist forces and stuff.”
I’m not saying this has some truth because I’ve understood what that is too. At the same time to be judged like that and to have my ideas taken as like, “You are a toxic leader yourself, by the way. You’re trying to tell people ideas.” I was like, “What?” When I got the final written warning, I remember feeling so numb. By then, it was too late. I did have an inkling that something was happening. I was brought into my manager’s office with the HR rep, like, “Here’s your final written warning. You’re struggling here. You got to shape up.”
Toxic leadership is when you start feeling the stress of work and don’t want to go to work anymore.
From there, I think in my gut, I knew they were going to fire me. I was at a loss for, “What do I do?” I didn’t know the things that I coach people to do in a situation like that, which is double down on your network and leave at your own accord. Don’t give them the reason to let you go. I knew it was going to and then two weeks later, brought into the office, “This isn’t working out.” They gave me my one-month severance and I was out the door. I should have never signed that NDA.
It was the first time something like that had ever happened. I was scared about where I was going to earn money from. I’ve just been married for a little over eighteen months. I was shocked. As a man, I’m not bringing income. I got fired. It was demoralizing. I think that experience of toxic leadership led to then seeing the right thing on the wall.
The second time happened to me on my next job where I decided to leave on my own accord, I said, “I’ve seen this playbook. They’re trying to okey-doke me and ditch me out.” In that instance, I got demoted. That’s how they okey-doke me. They said, “We’re going to keep you here but we’re going to demote you to a role.” One of the tasks that I had to do was writing on the wall that they didn’t want me. I had to organize Microsoft Office.
You said you got a degree from NYU in Neuroscience?
Yeah. It’s funny the person who did that with someone that I knew for a long time. I just wished that person was honest with me and saying like, “It’s not working out here.” The fact that that has been done to me. When people want to have you resign on your own without firing or something else, they’ll just make you uncomfortable. That’s exactly what this person did. What hurt me even more is that person I thought was a bit more in my corner working was managing me at the time was like, “This is what you’re going to do. I’m going to stop managing you. I’m going to have a 26-year-old manager.”
The very deep ancestral warrior side, my Filipino-ness, I don’t forgive easily with stuff like that. I don’t block many people on my Facebook and LinkedIn. I’ve blocked that person because that’s the thing like, “I don’t wish you harm. I don’t need you in my energy.” When something like that happened and the blessed thing in the skies of all of that was that turned into me deciding to solopreneur. That’s how I found Edgility in 2014.
Before I came to Edgility, one of my colleagues was running her own search firm shop. I came to her, I was like, “I’m stuck. I don’t know what to do.” She’s like, “I’ll give you six months of work. I got you.” Another one of my friends who I love in the space was like, “I got you. We’ll bring you in as a talent scout.” When I got those two pieces, I gave that last full-time employer the deuces. I gave them two weeks’ notice. It felt so good. The interesting thing was I wasn’t the only person that’s happening to. Many old people left.
What’s interesting about that sometimes in places, we’ll attract people that the culture didn’t take care of and you have those kinds of things. People leave. I often think about it like in sports teams. You could bring talented people. There’s a toxic culture. I think of the New York Mets, the epitome of a toxic culture. They’ve not had a problem getting talent over the years. They probably have the best pitcher on the planet, Jacob deGrom. Why did they have the same record as my Yankees? It’s not a money issue. People spend more money. I’m like, “Look at the stuff that’s coming out about the way that men have treated women in the organization.”
In reality some people would take less salary if they could, if they were in a better culture or if they felt psychologically safe to be in the environment. One of the things that that’s interesting to what you said was the effect of it drove you all the way to be a solopreneur. You’re like, “I’m going to do my own thing. I can’t put my trust into those power structures. That’s not cool.” Let’s say in your situation, back then you signed NDA and you’re like, “I’m out.” You coach people through this. They may have these kinds of situations. What would you say to somebody who had a boss who exudes this toxic type of behavior? What would you say related to mitigation? What could they do?
I was reading this book called Insight because I’m a little bit of a self-awareness nerd. The woman who wrote it is a social psychologist. Funny enough, at the end of her book, she talks about three different toxic leadership archetypes. The lost cause, aware don’t care and someone you can nudge, the nudger. I can’t help but use that framework to think about if you have a toxic leader or toxic boss, what lane of those three archetypes is your boss in?
The lost cause means that you can give that person feedback but they’re probably not going to take it. They’re headed so far up their butt that they act the way that they act. Some of that I would say is mitigating harm, frankly. The book gave a lot of techniques on how to deal with that. One of the things that were interesting is if you’re talking to that person, it’s almost like you’re a laugh track. You feel sorry for that person. Folks are just dealing with their trauma.
They’re on their own journey. Some of us are trying to think about ways to empathize a bit more with them so that we can protect ourselves. The aware don’t care is a tougher one. It’s that person you can give feedback to and they gaslight and say, “The reason why I’m shouting you off is that you need the motivation to do things. I wouldn’t do it if you did your work.” That person is totally what I would say, a dangerous person. That person is probably not even worth giving feedback to either.
The person that you can nudge, I think my advice is if you have someone you think you can nudge to advise you to figure out who someone was a better relationship with that person you think you confide in to able to say, “How have you been successful working with that person?” Here’s a bit of what I’m dealing with. Some of it is that person can advocate on your behalf or share some things with you. In the other two cases, aware and don’t care and the lost cause, it’s about minimizing harm.
I’m not saying that in every circumstance, at that moment, you have to leave your job because you got to pay bills. You got to find your exit plan. I would say, if you identify a toxic leader or boss, more often than not, you better start thinking about what your plan B is. “Is this situation salvageable in the short-term that I have the psychological space and safety to look for something else?” I don’t believe most times an organization has a toxic leader or manager but in my anecdotal experience, you’re going to fix that person, make it easier or find somewhere else to go with your organization especially in the nonprofit.
ften, those toxic leaders have been there for a reason. I’ve seen the archetype of this person to have a lot of power and privilege because of their title. You’re protected because of their history with the entity that may even be the CEO or ED. This is where race and identity plays into this. Let’s keep it real. I’m not saying that people of color can exhibit toxic leadership. I’ve had it once with a leader of color. The other time I had it was with a White person.
When you put White dominant culture and toxic masculinity as two big things I’ve often seen in toxic leadership, those are things just to be well aware of. This is the book’s study and understanding these things helps that if you ever fall in a situation like that, you have a framework of understanding so that you can assess objectively. The thing I wish I would have told myself in 2011, 2012 was to have trusted that gut. If I were to read a book like Insight, it was around back then. It was something like that. If I had trusted my wife’s ear more than taking the job with the most stuff I told her and to even rewind past that, I was in an organization for seven years. I wanted out. I didn’t feel on an upward trajectory.
Your frame of mind about what’s next will take you to pick things for all the wrong reasons. What I then coach people to do is to think about what are the 3 to 5 non-negotiables you’re looking? Let’s be clear on that rather than just taking the next thing because you want it, which is what happened to me. In retrospect, I’m glad I went through that because I wouldn’t be able to coach with the authority and support clients the way that I do if I didn’t have those two things happen.
You have a superpower even more to help others because of that personalization of it, your ability to be empathetic. Thank you for sharing that. I’m interested in hearing from you when we talk about the intersection of race and identity and how these White dominant culture norms tend to manifest, I’ve heard a lot of people in the US at least talk about that very openly now. I know people of color. We’ve been experiencing these things all the time and it’s always been in our gut, like, “Something is off.” What do you think the impact is on people of color who are struggling with that? What does that feel like?
White dominant culture and toxic masculinity are often seen in toxic leadership.
This is where the imposter syndrome starts to show up. I’m a very intuitive spiritual person. The things that I think reside in our ability to sense what is right, not just with our five senses but in our being. You start to question yourself because it’s being in a bad Groundhog Day movie. You experience the same thing over and over again and yet you get the same outcome and know what’s about to happen. You just cannot stop it. I think about the White supremacy standards document that’s been out for some time.
That’s a good thing for people to point towards, like binary thinking. Urgency is a big one that often pops up. That is the impact of questioning yourself, skills, stress, physical, emotional and spiritual that you get from being in these places. That toxicity, when it starts to get into you some people internalize it. Some people lash out at others and their families. Sometimes you’d think, “I just have to work that much harder to prove myself.” The imposter syndrome pops up. I’m like, “Maybe if I showed them that I’m capable of these things. Maybe if I play the game a little bit more, become a lot more accommodating when I’m asked to do things.”
If I get that 2:00 AM email, “I’m so sorry I didn’t respond to it. I fell asleep at 1:00.” It’s pretty incredible the things that people will do to act because I think many of us have been taught as people of color that getting another job is difficult but we are so talented. I say this from a position of privilege. I’m a hetero male. I’m Asian American. I’m Filipino American.
I am coming from a different experience than folks I know who are Black men or Black women, particularly who will be, “Look at your ambiguous last name. People don’t know you’re Filipino until they see you. Even then sometimes they don’t believe that.” You can carry yourself a certain way. I am like, “That is correct.” I began to give a big asterisk that how you are going to govern yourself in the workplace and the experience you have. Your identity and what you’ve experienced are true.
You have to use that to better understand what you’re willing to do and not do as you govern how toxic leadership is. We all know the archetypes in the stories are people of color. What we experience is as valuable data like that and I’m sick and tired in these conversations that we need to present another report.
It impacts everybody. To survive in that toxic workplace, you’ve been perpetuating toxicity to others. Second, coaching and having a career coach, employment coach and talent coach and things like that to help with resume support and knowing your worth. It’s always helpful to hear somebody coach you through that because that imposter syndrome is a pretty heavy burden. Back to the frame of sometimes to survive, people may perpetuate toxicity to others but not know it. How does one know if they are exhibiting toxic leadership themselves?
Be brave to get feedback from others. I don’t think a toxic leader or a sociopath looks in the mirror and says, “I’m that. I get it.” They wouldn’t use that term. They would just say, “I am a demanding leader.” All these other things. Code words for toxic. What I’ve seen, though, is that there’s usually a pattern for other people experienced enough people experience similar things from that toxic leader or manager. Being micromanaged, not being given experiences to do other work, not being included in certain meetings. Being shared information late or like, “You shouldn’t.” The throwaway. Being demeaned in public or via email.
Even in private.
It shouldn’t have to take seeing it from other people. If you’re experiencing it then that’s real. It should be an ideal world where there’s that safety mechanism. Talking to someone in HR about that. Sometimes the toxic leaders are communicating with HR. HR is not going to do much or they’re going to out you at some level. They haven’t had a reputation for protecting their employees from toxic leadership. This gets back to then the hiring process. You’re a candidate.
Some of it is sussing out, “How many people were in that role before?” I’m talking to other people, not only during a search process but ideally informally outside of the process, to get to know a bit about the culture of the team org and that person. I will say is that when that’s navigated well and you can get trusting relationships, that’s not always easy. Streets will talk. From where I sit and the information I can get, the kinds of things people tell me about people in org is wow.
If I get people in a lot of work environments, let’s talk and you keep it real. It’s about framing it as a, “I want to be real skinny because this is important for me.” Some of it is a personalized thing, “I’m not going to attribute to you. I want to understand because this is my livelihood. I want to make sure that I can get a place where I can thrive.” For a lot of people, when you open up your vulnerability, I think enough people react well to that.
You can get honest feedback. Vulnerability can be used as the Excalibur to get past the fog of toxic leadership. Vulnerability at the same time with toxic leaders is not something I would use with them but with other people around them. Toxic leaders will want to use your vulnerability and hurt you. You have to protect yourself a good deal. I would say you have to play the politician. You have to play the okie-doke in order for them to survive. To be safe around them.
Thank you for everything. I appreciate your knowledge and insights and how this is personal to you. With that being said, what would you leave our readers with related to words of wisdom?
I’m going to read what is always my default favorite quote which I think will be apropos. I’ll give you the background of this. I got this James Baldwin quote and it’s from Nobody Knows My Name. When one of my friends who I went to NYU with left her job in a public theater, she had a big going away party. She decided to go to Asia to move. She’s Filipino like me. What’s also cool was that I got to see the last Noise Funk on Broadway, where Savion Glover came back and Gregory Hines tapped with him. It was surreal.
She took me to that show. She said, “Ron, why don’t you come over here?” I was like, “I’ll come.” Having seen Hamilton live, that will probably supplant Noise Funk, admittedly. Noise Funk is the best Broadway production I’ve seen in years. It’s better than Les Mis. I’ve seen a lot of stuff but the context of this quote is that she was giving this on a postcard to people to give understanding as to why she was doing what she was doing.
I think this will help with understanding generally when you’re undergoing toxic leadership, something that is grounding about what’s on the other side of beyond toxic leadership. “To any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it. The loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. At such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring forth, one clings to what one knew or dreamed that possessed.”
“Yet, it is only when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a dream he has long possessed that he is set free. He set himself free for higher dreams for greater privileges.” I think about that quote. It’s letting go. Letting go is the hardest thing in this situation because you think it’s you but you got to let go of that thing you’re involved in. That’s hard because you bring that as part of your identity.
The things that reside in your ability to sense what is right are not just in your five senses but it’s in your being.
Thank you for sharing that. Before we go, one of the things we talked about is the power of relationships. With that being said, how can people get ahold of you?
Messenger pigeon or they can send smoke signals. If you are intuitive like me, you just have do a Professor X. If you’re a five senses person, you can find me on Instagram or Twitter @PhenomeRon. I’m also easily findable on LinkedIn or Facebook. Look up Ron Rapatalo. I like to brag so I’ll brag here. My LinkedIn connections are closing in on 20,000. I’m always looking to add more people. I’d like to get to the 30,000-connection limit because the more amazing people you have in your network, I think the richer my life becomes. Come at me. I’m always happy to chat.
Thank you, Ron.
I appreciate crossing paths with you and having this wonderful conversation.
Thank you. I appreciate it.
Yeah. I thank you for reading. Until next time.
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About Ron Rapatalo
Ron Rapatalo’s career vision is coaching, connecting, and inspiring others to find their best selves through healthier living, increased mindfulness/interconnection, and stronger intention/strategy. He believes in the power of intuition and deepening one’s self-awareness and impact on others. He also believes that we must dismantle systems of oppression and racism to recover our fullest humanity.
Ron has been a talent shepherd for 15+ years, recruiting and selecting thousands of candidates to become education and nonprofit leaders. He joined Edgility full-time in September 2018 after consulting with them and other search firms for over 4 years.
Ron is also a coach, giving career advice on how to navigate career transitions and present oneself from networking to interviewing. He also supports others on how to live healthier lives. He believes in the power of connecting with others to support, nurture and develop our talents. He is an active member of the NYU alumni community for over 20 years, currently serving as an Officer Emeritus of the NYU Alumni Association. He is also an active member of the Education Leaders of Color and a 2009 Coro Leadership New York alumnus.
In his spare time, Ron loves spending time with his wife Shanita and his daughters Sofia and Ava, whether it’s watching reality TV, enjoying Jeopardy!, or devouring favorite movies/shows on Netflix. He’s also an avid yoga practitioner, meditator, and obstacle course racer. A native New Yorker, he’s a rabid New York Yankees and New York Giants fan.