Denver: We’re going to play Take Five with Mario Morino, the Chairman of the Morino Institute. Are you ready?
Mario: Yes, Sir.
Denver: What should we be worried about?
Mario: The state of our democracy.
Denver: What is one of your favorite documentaries and movies?
Denver: What is today’s most underreported story?
Mario: Community solutions that are working.
Denver: What idea in philanthropy is ready for retirement?
Mario: Evaluation for the sake of the foundation.
Denver: What is something you believe that other people think is just insane?
Mario: Performance really matters.
Denver: Name some organization or person you have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for.
Mario: Business sector, Steve Denning, the chairman, General Atlantic partners with Bill Ford, its CEO. Nonprofit sector, many people. Gordon Berlin, MDRC; Pat Lawler, Youth Villages, to give a few, real quick.
Denver: What is the favorite part of your morning ritual?
Mario: Starting to walk in the mornings just to get some bearing and normally, get my coffee, get my [unintelligible]. Go through the papers quickly, and then try to find something that will get my mind positive again.
Denver: What is the most important thing that makes for a healthy organizational culture?
Mario: The leader walking the talk.
Denver: What have you changed your mind about in the last 10 years and why?
Denver: What do you wish more people would be open and honest about?
Mario: The facts.
Denver: If you were a kitchen utensil, what would you be?
Mario: A stirrer.
Denver: If you were to start your career all over again to do something completely different and away from this field, what do you think that might be?
Denver: What is your superpower?
Denver: If you could have one gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would you have it say?
Mario: Love my family.
Denver: What is something, whether it’s related to your work or not, that you’re exceptionally excited about right now?
Mario: Unfortunately, I’ve so many things I could comment on but I’ll just hope to see the innings in the World Series.
Denver: Name one book that you would like to give as a gift.
Mario: Boys in the Boat.
Denver: What do you think about when you’re driving in the car alone?
Mario: Execution. My mind is always on execution.
Denver: What topic would you speak about if you were asked to give a TED talk on something completely outside your main area of expertise?
Mario: Probably implications of technology.
Denver: What is something about you that very few other people know?
Mario: I’m a pushover.
Denver: Given a choice of anyone famous in the world, dead or alive, that you could invite over as a dinner guest, who would that be?
Mario: The Pope.
Denver: What is the best constructive criticism you have ever received?
Mario: Oh boy, there’s been a lot. Probably from a relationship I broke up in. I was reading a book about type-A personalities, when I interrupted her sentence and it dawned on me my type-A nature and why I didn’t listen well. It was a galvanizing moment.
Denver: When was the last time you sang to yourself?
Mario: My son’s wedding.
Denver: What is the last thing that you taught yourself to do?
Mario: We’re using a technology to do a video recording, a PowerPoint presentation, so you can deliver the presentation with yourself in the screen, so it’s personal. We’re just implementing that right now.
Denver: What is something that everyone seems to just love but you don’t particularly like?
Mario: I’m the Bert of the Ernie and Bert world, and I am skeptical. I just get so fed up with all the quick praise of things without stopping when they ask the hard questions.
Denver: What is one of the best gifts you’ve ever received?
Mario: My kids calling me.
Denver: What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Mario: Slow down.
Denver: Do you have a quote you live your life by or think of often?
Mario: Not in the way you just said it… Determine your eulogy. What would you say? It took me some time to get to this point. But when you look at it, there’s no such thing as legacy. I don’t think that way, and this is what drives me. You want to be known that you were a good father, good husband, good son, good sibling, a good member of the family, good friend, and you made a difference in other people’s lives in big and small ways.
Denver: Thank you very much, Mario.
Mario: Thank you.