Getting to Know Someone: An Interview with Richard Sincere

Getting to Know Someone: An Interview with Richard Sincere

Richard Sincere
Richard Sincere

10/20/2012

To Our Valued Clients and Friends:

We continue to receive great feedback from our “Getting to Know Someone” article. Today we introduce my good friend and colleague, Richard Sincere. He is our first responder to our lifestyle interview questionnaire.

Richard is President and CEO of Sincere and Co., LLC, a mutual fund marketing firm headquartered in Chicago, IL. He is on the Executive Board of the American Friends of Tel Aviv University, a member of the International Board of Governors of Tel Aviv University, and a member of the Recanati Business School Faculty Board of Directors. Richard also serves as a Trustee of the Rogé Partners Funds Trust. Being a successful entrepreneur allows Richard and his wife Deb to travel and to engage in local and international philanthropy.

In the last issue of our newsletter, we discussed how Europeans work to live while Americans live to work. Here, Richard adds another dimension to living a more meaningful and balanced life by showing us that gratitude and generosity are an essential component of that equation.

This section of our newsletter is dedicated to learning about the lives of others so we can all learn what it means to live a more balanced and satisfying life. Think of it as a lifestyle section with the purpose of connecting with the “Live” part of our Plan. Achieve. Live.® philosophy.

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If you did not live in Evanston, IL where would you choose to live? Either New Hampshire or Tel Aviv Israel.

If you weren’t currently an entrepreneur, what would you choose to do? I would teach college students.

Tell us about an unforgettable place that you have traveled. I find Israel one of the most interesting places and I travel there regularly. Since living there in 1973-74, I find it constantly changing and modern despite its ancient history. I like its international demographics; it now has many people from Asia visiting and/or living there, many who came over to work after Palestinian workers were not able to cross the borders due to terrorist activities.

Have you traveled to an unforgettable place in the past year? I travel all the time throughout the U.S., Europe and Israel but I really like small Midwestern towns with all their charm and friendliness. Going to Lincoln, Nebraska and having a private tour of the Corn huskers’ Memorial Stadium was particularly fantastic. The stadium has a private area where they recruit the top high school football players and it is really interesting learning the history of the University.

What’s the one place that inspires you? I love being with students and being at college campuses. With my son entering his second year at Vanderbilt, I get the privilege of visiting him and talking with his friends. I also spend considerable time at Tel Aviv University where I serve on various boards and find students who are intellectually curious and interesting. They are great motivators.

Tell us about memorable people you have met in your travels? I’ve been fortunate to be involved in numerous charities so I’ve had the benefit of meeting the President of Austria and senior political figures in France, Germany, England, Mexico, etc. I’ve met U.S. politicians including Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Barack Obama (I’m actually an independent voter), and of course, very senior business executives. My most favorite discussion was in London with one of the most well known retailers who basically spent two hours at dinner talking about his life, family and how he went from rags to riches.

Describe what a perfect weekend looks like. I am having the perfect weekend right now in New Hampshire. It is being with my wife in a quiet location. We’ve gone hiking and then I go off biking for a little while. And, during ski season, a perfect weekend is in front of the fireplace with a stack of newspapers after a day of skiing.

R. Sincere in New Hampshire

Where is your favorite place to shop? I hate paying full price but I like discount shopping so North Conway, NH is great for that. For some reason, it’s relaxing. I like to buy things that are out of season and selling for a great discount.

What was the last item of clothing that you added to your wardrobe? A new ski jacket and leggings. Plaid!

What was the best gift you ever received? My son, Alex. Children are life’s greatest gift and he is a real joy.

What was the best gift you gave someone recently? My thing is being involved in charities and giving scholarships to students. My wife and I are involved in some interesting charities and, this weekend one of my friends in New Hampshire called and said that one of his Kismet students needed a computer (Kismet is a New Hampshire charity that brings at-risk children to rock climb for a week. It teaches leadership and teamwork). I committed to purchase a computer on the spot along with the printer. He then called and said that he mentioned the gift to others and that they all wanted to donate. We each put a couple hundred dollars and instead of just one student getting a computer, we will ensure that several students will get computers and printers.

What are you eyeing to buy next? I wish I could say that it was a car. My car is seven years old and I just have no intereest in purchasing a new car (much to the chagrin of my son, but at least I got the dents fixed). Right now, we’re about to meet a soldier who just got out of the Israeli army and we’ve committed to pay for 4 years of his or her college education. It will be really nice to meet a young soldier and provide support to someone with fewer financial opportunities who has certainly paid their dues to society.

What’s the one thing you would collect if you could? People. I always like meeting new people and introducing people to one another. I’m always trying to connect people that might have similar interests.

What was the best souvenir you brought home from a vacation or trip? I used to do business in Haiti and I purchased a couple of hand-carved wooden statues back in the early ’80’s and they are still in my office today. Haiti was filled with many nice people in such an impoverished location. But you had to navigate the country knowing that you were being watched by the government.

Israeli Boot CampWhat is one object you would never part with? I have two things. One is my grandfather’s watch which is a constant reminder of him, though he passed away before I was born. I always wear it to important events. The other item I wear is an army dog tag that was given to me by Israeli soldiers after I participated in an army boot camp in 2006.

What’s one indulgence you will never fore-go? My Starbucks Coffee. Each and every day I go to Starbucks and get my addiction fixed. In fact, it is 8pm and I am ready to go right now. My Doctor and wife realized that the caffeine causes me to shake but I just can’t quite give up my morning routine. Even if I have to drink decaf.

What was the last meal that truly impressed you? In New York City there is place called the Cinema and their dried fig and goat-cheese salad is fantastic.

What music do you listen to most often? Harry Chapin and Johnny Cash. Harry Chapin was such a wonderful and generous person. I really like country music and being in Nashville is always a treat.

What was the last music you downloaded? Randy Travis 25th Anniversary for the song, Didn’t We Shine– An incredible song.

Tempo, By: Venkatesh Rao

What book is on your nightstand? Tempo, by Venkatesh Rao, a book on strategic marketing. I also have Steve Jobs’ biography which I think should be interesting. I also have several books on the Middle East.

Tell us about the most memorable speech you have listened to or read. David Ben-Gurion, the former Prime Minister of Israel, made a speech to his country after he formally proclaimed the State of Israel. It was so inspiring that it caused me to leave the United States and go to Israel for my junior year abroad at Tel Aviv University.

What will we always find in your refrigerator? All kinds of olives. Maybe this started from my father’s martinis (though I don’t drink alcohol), I enjoy stuffed olives. And I always keep filtered or bottled water on hand.

What are your favorite websites? I like iGoogle (personalized google, although it’s being discontinued) and Morningstar.com. As a discount shopper, I like my amazon.com deal of the day and, of course, Groupon.

What is your favorite room in your home? I like my office. It is always quiet (unless I’m on the phone, which is constant throughout the day). But during weekends and evenings it is quite peaceful with my computer and not many distractions.

Tell us something about you that most people don’t know. I’m an introvert. Unless I’m being featured or on a board of directors where I have to be outgoing, I will usually stay in the background. I’ve had to train myself to be outgoing.

Tell us about people that you have met that had a big impact on your life and the choices you have made on your journey in life? My highschool teacher, Ken Miller, had the biggest impact on my life. He was very rebellious and challenged everything and somehow or someway he motivated me like no other teacher. He helped me develop my analytical thinking which serves me well today. And, then my mentor Roberta, who was one of the most senior people at Citicorp, taught me more than anyone in the businesss world. She was so knowledgeable on so many subjects and her sense of right was above reproach. Her strategic mind and her ability to manage people, up and down, as well as her knowledge on subjects that ranged on the arts, business, world affairs, etc. made her special.

Tell us about the riskiest thing you have ever done. I’m kind of a risk taker so most of the things I think of are taking risks and enjoying them. The risks which include going too fast on jet skis, hiking above my ability, skiing mountain trails that are over my head, are all part of my personality. It hasn’t always been this way though. It happened when I was working at Wilson Sporting Goods and I decided that I would go from non-athlete to loving working out all the time (I’m still a poor athlete, but I like trying). Actually, the riskiest thing I’ve ever done is starting my own business.

Starting a business is only for those who are singularly focused and have this high belief in their ability to succeed. And, you need a garbage can near your bed for the first few years as you question what you’re doing, where your next nickel is coming from, and feel sick. But being able to create a successful business and maintain its success is a great achievement. It gives you more opportunities than anything you can find in the corporate world. You get to control your environment or at least have more control than working for someone else.

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