Season 3
49 Minutes

E106 | Evan Snow | How Becoming An Arts Advocate Changed My Life

Evan Snow is an arts advocate, community builder, and creative entrepreneur who launched the Choose954 social movement to Cultivate Culture & Community in his native Broward County. Evan's initiatives have included the Fort Lauderdale Art & Design Week, AAF CreativeZen Inspirational Talks, & Zero Empty Spaces, a now national movement that converts empty storefronts into studios for artists.

He is also a founding board member of The Ocean Rescue Alliance & The 1000 Mermaids Artificial Reef Project which works to deploy artistically crafted artificial reefs in the ocean off the coast of South Florida.

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Evan Snow  00:00

I initially didn’t see people that I grew up with 35 minutes to the north and to the west of downtown Fort Lauderdale. In the, you know, suburban town I was from called Coral Springs, I didn’t see these people out and about anymore. And I felt if I could show them initially with my cell phone and a hashtag, through visual storytelling, all the cool things that were going on, which was just starting to develop in Fort Lauderdale at that time, and Broward County, it would give them a reason to quote unquote, choose the 954. And that was ultimately just started with the hashtag before the Artwalk and Flagler village June of 2016. And that’s one of my favorite stories to tell because, you know, if I was able to start that social movement with a cell phone and a hashtag, anybody is possible of accomplishing any goal or idea or dream.

Achim Nowak  00:56

Hey, this is Achim Nowak, executive coach and host of the MY FOURTH ACT podcast. If life is a FIVE ACT play, how will you spend your FOURTH ACT? I have conversations with exceptional humans who have created a bold and unexpected FOURTH ACTS. Listen, and to be inspired. And please rate us and subscribe on whatever platform you are listening on. Let’s get started. Hello, I am Achim Nowak and I am so happy to welcome Evan snow to the my fourth act podcast. Evan is an artist advocates that community builder and a creative entrepreneur who launched the choose nine five for social movement to cultivate culture and community in his native Broward County in South Florida. Evans initiatives have included the Fort Lauderdale Art and Design Week AATF, creative Zen inspirational talks, and zero empty spaces and now national movement that converts empty storefronts into studios for artists. And when is also founding member of the ocean rescue Alliance and the 1000 Mermaids artificial reef project, which works to deploy artistically crafted artificial reefs in the ocean, off the coast of South Florida. Evan recently published his first book, learning to choose Hey, Evan, welcome.

Evan Snow  02:33

I appreciate the invitation and consideration my friend. Thank you very much.

Achim Nowak  02:38

Oh, you’re so welcome. And I have to chuckle we had this little exchange last week when I think you texted me says, Am I the youngest guest you’ve ever had on the My fourth act? And it was a very reasonable question. Because I tend to speak with people who have lived multiple acts. That’s the podcast, you are one of the youngest guests I’ve ever had. But I also think of you as an old soul, and the amount of stuff you have crammed into a very short life so far. It’s just amazing. Let’s begin with this. When you were a young boy growing up here in Broward County, which I’ve already mentioned, and I’m assuming teachers and mom or dad at some point as to you’d like to happen. What do you want to do when you grow up?

Evan Snow  03:29

I always love sports, and I wanted to, you know, be successful in some Avenue. Fortunately, my father turned me on to Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway when I was very young. And I did take an interest in stocks and mutual funds, and establishing myself ideally, successfully in some type of business element, I didn’t know that it was going to become entrepreneurship at that time. And also back in those days, entrepreneurship wasn’t as prominent or as prevalent as it is today. I actually thought I was going to go to school for sports administration and sports management to work in the front office of a major sports team. And I thought that would have been and it would be rewarding and fulfilling work. But fortunately, life took me on a different path.

Achim Nowak  04:16

I chuckled as you tell the story, because you have done none of that. The other thing I happen to know about your parents. And I’m curious about understand your parents were very much interested in personal growth, personal development. They, they’re committed to pursuing that. And when you’re a child of parents like that they can be either very inspiring or totally annoying. So what was it like to have parents who were into personal growth, which you are, of course, totally committed to yourself right now.

Evan Snow  04:52

So fortunately, my parents did meet back in the 70s with my mother living in Kendall and my father living in North Miami which is in in South Florida and Miami Dade County, without the internet, cell phone or GPS, they met through something called landmark education, otherwise known as the landmark forum, they were actually doing the work with the founder, Warner Earhart, and something called S training ESD. Back in the 70s, I refer to it now for those that are not familiar it, it predated gratitude training and the secret and some of the more common personal development, self help type of workshops, seminars, they really love that work. And they took it all the way up to the advanced course, hosting and leading seminars, I mean, they were there with Warner Earhart, and fortunately, that served its purpose for me and for them, but for me, at least, I feel like those genes were obviously a big part of my DNA in terms of becoming this altruistic community builder that wants to do good without having my handout, hoping or expecting anything in return, especially as an arts advocate, where you’re not always being compensated for your advocacy. The other part that I’ve mentioned about my parents is my father grew up playing the game of lacrosse. And he grew up in New Hyde Park, Nassau County, Long Island, and lacrosse is very big in New York. And he brought the game of lacrosse in part amongst with other people, my godfather and other advocates down to Florida back in the 70s, when it was a club sport, a private school sport. And he advocated all the way up until the year I graduated high school. That following year, it became a F H s a public school sport, earning my father a spot in the inaugural class of the US lacrosse Hall of Fame, Florida chapter. So I feel those two passions of theirs definitely contributed to my future and soon to be advocacy that they instilled and passed down to me through the work that they did. Yeah.

Achim Nowak  06:59

What a wonderful story. Because you’ve done so many things. I want to jump ahead to the story where you started doing let me say unexpected stuff. And one reason I wanted to have you as a guest on the My fourth ag podcast, you know, a lot of my listeners are have been very successful. And they also possibly dreaming of doing some unexpected stuff. So at one point in your life, you started doing some food blogging, at a time when no blogging is wasn’t as popular as it is now. Like, how the heck does somebody become a food blogger ever? And how does that happen?

Evan Snow  07:40

And to give context as to what you just mentioned, how it really wasn’t popular. This was in 2014. So there was a platform called Foursquare that used to be very popular. This kind of predated Yelp or is maybe around the same time Yelp was starting. So you would effectively similar to Yelp or Google Maps now or Facebook, you know, you have been checked in at restaurants. And at this time, I was still living at Western Western Broward County in a suburban area to Fort Lauderdale. And I was just getting into going to the cool areas of Miami, which is the Wynwood Arts District and downtown Fort Lauderdale at this time, which is the major city in my county and Broward County was starting to become more culturally diverse and starting to have more of The Chef inspired craft food farm to table restaurants and I was going to these places and I was taking pictures of food and I quote unquote, wasn’t really doing anything with it. And I went to a training seminar for business I was considering getting into and on the break some young woman God bless her Molly was said to me, I’m getting paid to get cool items for free to write a quote unquote blog post about these things. And hers was very Rob report. So they were like watches and jewelry and luxury items. And I kind of made a mental note of that. And as I finally did move to this downtown Fort Lauderdale area, and I started thrusting myself in the community. My friends would say, I love the places that snow stops at I go by my last name, I don’t know my first name, and felt a calling and got some inspiration, which we’ll talk about in a little bit to create snow stops food blog to highlight these places that I was going to after I found out you can get invited to eat for free and go to really cool events in restaurants just by doing this little blogging thing. So that’s actually how I started on this path transitioning from being a Johnny nine to five recruiters sitting at a desk to you know being a a community builder and a creative entrepreneur.

Achim Nowak  10:03

You may know that in my first career I was for a while a professional actor than a theater director. And the joke among us was, we’ll show up anywhere for free food. So I. So I completely understand the motivation that you just described. At some point, you started the movement that I’ve first so learn about you from you know about was called choose 954954 Is the zip code for Broward County phone numbers. How did you come up with that? Would you tell us

Evan Snow  10:42

I fortunately, that first apartment I moved into in downtown Fort Lauderdale was with two brothers from Honduras by the way of Memphis, and they would have friends come and visit us. And they would use in conversation this term that David, my one roommate who played a large part in my story, they would say David doesn’t quote unquote, choose 901 Because he doesn’t go back to Memphis. 901 being the area code for Memphis. So I started doing some research on my own. I said, What’s the shoes not a one thing I ended up calling and speaking to one of the founders and coming to find out it was a social movement started by the church initially, to teach people computer skills to improve their job opportunities. Because Memphis while it’s a great city, a lot of history, unfortunately, has two of the five worst neighborhoods in the country. And that social movement was so impactful that the city acquired it, and then they started using it to recruit teachers, paramedics, and firefighters to want to live and work in Memphis. And Memphis has a month long series of events called Memphis In May, which the signature event is something called the World Championship barbecue Festival, which is a mile long on the Mississippi River. And all these Memphis friends I had always told me, you gotta go. So as I’m newly, you know, becoming a food blogger, I decided to take a trip and I see the impact firsthand, of this choose nine, a one movement in Memphis, where at the time, they were not very social media savvy, but this page had already amassed 70,000 followers back in 2015, which was, which was very, very good. And I came back supercharged and inspired and said, You know what, our problems aren’t that bad. in Broward County, I just initially didn’t see people that I grew up with 35 minutes to the north, and to the west, of downtown Fort Lauderdale. In the suburban town I was from called Coral Springs, I didn’t see these people out and about anymore. And I felt if I could show them initially with my cell phone and a hashtag, through visual storytelling, all the cool things that were going on, which was just starting to develop in Fort Lauderdale at that time, in Broward County, it would give them a reason to quote unquote, choose the 954. And that was ultimately just started with the hashtag before the Artwalk, and Flagler village June of 2016. And that’s one of my favorite stories to tell. Because, you know, if I was able to start that social movement with a cell phone and a hashtag, anybody is possible, of accomplishing any goal or idea or dream. And thankfully, I’ve developed some tools, resources, and opportunities for people to tap into support to help them achieve their dreams and goals.

Achim Nowak  13:38

Now, I’m curious, Evan, as I listen to your story, let’s say if I’m an artist and some artists Studio, and I’m doing my work, and Evan snow shows up and says, Hey, I have this choose nine, five for movement, and maybe I want to let’s partner up or I can feature you or whatever, where people open to you or do they kind of just go like, Who is this weird guy? And what is he doing?

Evan Snow  14:04

That’s a very good question. You know this because you’ve been in the arts. So initially, I was reading warmly, by the majority of emerging and mid career artists that needed and wanted support. And I was always and I still am very genuine, very authentic, very altruistic. In terms of, you know, just wanting to explore and showcase I was never asking anybody for a nickel to put them on my channel, or, you know, do a podcast interview. But yeah, to your point. I was met with skepticism from people that had been around, unfortunately, didn’t always and still don’t always get the respect that I have since earned and deserve for the work that I’m doing by people that thought, you know, why would this guy do that? for free, why did why would he care this much? Who is he? Why is this important to him? Obviously, I’ve gone on to prove a lot of them wrong. And a lot of those people have played themselves out of the art scene. But you know, once again, if you’re genuine, if you’re authentic, if you’re going about pursuing your passions, the right way, I think that shines through. And thankfully, I was able to impact 1000s of artists lives now, just by showing up with my cell phone, sharing their work, sharing their event, sharing their show, and doing things as are the right things to do, not just because somebody has offered me a check to do it.

Achim Nowak  15:34

I’m sure there are many moments when you think of the early days where you might have been frustrated and challenged, as you just indicated, but take us to a moment where you you went, Wow, I can’t believe I’m helping create this and this is why the heck I’m doing this where you went. This is really happening.

Evan Snow  15:54

So unfortunately, this was a time before I knew you because you would have loved this event. My business partner and I we never had Art Basel we never had a Miami Art. We have a an art fair that takes place on the you know, main street of of our county called La Solis, which runs from, you know, downtown to the beach, and they do it four times a year, nobody’s flying it to go see this 10th Street Fair. So we thought to ourselves, you know, we have unique elements of Fort Lauderdale. You know, every art fair in the world is done in the 10th convention center or a hotel like Art Basel. Why don’t we use these unique elements of Fort Lauderdale to put Fort Lauderdale on the map as an international destination to view and interact with art. So we came up with utilizing the vessels intercostal waterways, which have beautiful homes that are for sale, oftentimes vacant, with the Venice of the Americas. And we have a water taxi system. What if we created the first art fair in the world to take place inside of mansions that people could only get to on a boat called Art Fort Lauderdale, the Art Fair in the water, and you would think you come up with an idea to revolutionize the art fair world, the city would want to get involved, the county would want to get involved, the business community would want to get involved. And God bless my business partner, Andrew Martineau. He had been around he had been in a few different timelines of art in Broward County, and he knew if you were going to have to wait for a check to come, we’d be waiting forever. And he opened his piggy bank and his 401 K to the tune of $50,000 to self fund an art fair that we did not charge anybody to participate in. We quote unquote, the Art Fair ran, we had to pay to charter the boats and you know, do all the promotion and all things considered. But he knew that we just needed to build it and they would come. And thankfully, I’ve gotten past all the bitterness and jadedness through developing my yoga and mindfulness practices and you know, I don’t hold these things as grudges anymore. But if you ever hear an executive level, leadership member of Broward County use the term cultural wasteland, you can politely remind them that we are not a cultural wasteland anymore. And that was the moment when I realized we’re going to take this thing into our own hands, we’re going to build it and we don’t need the county’s money, the city’s money or anybody’s money, we’re gonna figure out how to do it on our own. And that was one of the best decisions, most empowering, most enlightening, and ultimately life changing decisions to start the Art Fair.

Achim Nowak  18:32

Well, there’s so much wisdom in what you just said. And you’re absolutely right, I totally would have loved that art event. That’s amazing. Now, if I can go one level further with this question, because this is a really stupid question I get all the time. You know, I’m in my third season of my podcast, I have a thriving business. The podcast has been amazing to me. That people always ask me, how do you monetize the podcast? You know, and I’m sure people are getting we’re like, how do you make money doing this? Like, how do you give it away for free? And clearly, you were driven by a passion. And money is very important. Don’t get me wrong, but you are driven by passion bigger than money. How did you navigate those questions when they came?

Evan Snow  19:19

I drove Uber and Lyft to make ends meet. Even after we started the art fair, because we didn’t make money on the art fair. I left recruiting for the first time in 2015 to enter entrepreneur Ville. And I didn’t want to have to rely on working with that shop. I thought with the motivation and inspiration I was getting at that time that I could do something and figure it out. Lo and behold, the money did not come initially the first couple of years of entrepreneur Ville at the rate that I wanted it to are needed to ultimately to sustain living expenses, you know, and so on and so forth. So I did go back to recruiting back usually from about 2017 to 2019, when I left for the last and final time, but we started generating some revenue by building the Choose 954 platform as a marketing vehicle, we built up a 20,000 person plus email database that we send by weekly cultural roundup newsletters to highlighting the best events in art, food, music and community. And otherwise, that cities and businesses pay to extend the reach of their initiative with their marketing budgets. And thankfully, our great city of Hollywood has been an amazing partner, supporter, client of mine, and has been paying for years to extend the reach of the great work that they’re doing. Because it’s one thing if a city says, Hey, come to Hollywood, it’s great. It’s another thing if this cool arts and culture, you know, neutral third party voices, like Oh, come to Hollywood, so I started building some revenue there, started doing some other events, which were getting us some revenue. And ultimately, I don’t monetize my podcasts yet like to future. I do it to storytelling, I do it to, you know, for the right reasons. I haven’t got the advertisers yet. But a lot of to answer your question in closing, a lot of little things that add up to make for me to generate enough revenue, and fortunately, zero empty spaces, which takes up the majority of our time now, you know, does generate, you know, some revenue with the model that we have that allows me to cover my living expenses, and pursue the work that we’re doing without having to rely on going to work at this job or doing something else.

Achim Nowak  21:54

A word from your sponsor, that’s me, I invite you to go to the website associated with this podcast, fourth, you will find other equally inspiring conversation with great humans. And you will also learn more about the my fourth act mastermind groups where cool people figure out how to chart their own fourth acts. Please check it out. And now back to the conversation. You mentioned zero empty spaces, which is this amazing. I’ll do a little introduction. And then I ask you to run with it. Because you know, I have a lot of artists friends. And it seems so ridiculously simple. But somebody had to come up with it, which is, you know, there are all these cities all over the country that have empty storefronts that are not being used. And there are lots of creative people who need a place where they can do their work. And zero empty spaces you and your business partner Andrew Martin No, have put that together and created a form an organization that does just that. So please elaborate on what I just said about zero empty spaces. Give us a sense of the scope of it, and then I’ll follow up with

Evan Snow  23:19

Sure. We actually did start it before COVID. And we were doing an art fair, which was primarily for independent artists not represented by galleries. We had so many relationships with, you know, so many artists, and oftentimes they would say, Where are the studios at, let alone affordable. And generally the studios are in as most people might know, industrial warehouse districts with low price per square foot cost of real estate. You can maybe get a warehouse in you know, a city for $1,000 a month probably won’t have AC, you know, nobody’s walking this industrial warehouse district. Right. So aside from certain areas just to discover an artist so we were leaving a business meeting I’ll never forget. And that day, an article in NPR came out that was talking about Broward County was one of the least affordable counties for housing in the country. We left this business meeting it was actually business meeting that we left the jected we were a sure thing to get a contract with somebody. And they for whatever reason decided not to do it. And we saw all these for lease signs we were passing by this is in 2019 says before COVID There was 90 million square feet of vacant commercial real estate in the country before COVID. And we turn to ourselves very similar to how we turned to each other when we created our Fort Lauderdale. We said what if we can make this one of the most affordable counties for artists to create it? What if we could take these empty storefronts and make them art studios and Andrew my bins Sparta God bless him. He had been a marketing executive with the Westfield Corporation, one of the largest mall companies in the world. And he had developed vacancy management strategies and solutions for taking underutilized portions of malls and, and even like the food court and making a commercial free art gallery, I’m sorry, commissioned free art gallery, to have it be more of like an activation, generate some positive press and Buzz help retain shoppers in centers longer keep the feet in the street, all those things, create social media content, Buzz, all the positive things that are too. So we turn our friend Mayor de insurance Ellis, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale, big supporter of the arts, one of the first openly gay mayors of any major city, especially for large scale. And we said, hey, Dean, we want to do this thing. And he says, Why don’t you reach out to a gentleman by the name of Mike Weymouth. And Mike Weymouth owns the Las Olas company, which is our Main Street USA pretty much he’s one of the largest real estate owners in the area. And we always heard he was a tough cookie, get a meeting with him, it took him three minutes, maybe even less. And he said I’ll give you a space and we started the program. Main Street, downtown Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas Boulevard. At six bucks a square foot real estate space was vacant for three years, we go into a space have one of the widest largest attended grand openings of any event in Fort Lauderdale history. Over 1000 people in the streets for an art studio opening would have been different if it was a coward. But it was a studio. These were the artists paint. And basically the program was was proven there. And it since led to now 29 spaces in three states over the last four years with over 400 artists coming through the program. And having hundreds of artists lives changed now 1000s of times over.

Achim Nowak  26:55

So it’s remarkable because it meets so many different needs. And what I’m also hearing and let me test this, as you tell the story. The right collaborators showed up at the right time and you tap into the right resources. Right you you knew how to you know Dean trental was the mayor you could get to him. Dean said I know who you need to talk to that person was available. If Dean hadn’t said talk to this person, this might have been a tougher meeting. And that was such an incredible need for what you’re creating. It’s like the a wonderful confluence of energies. Now I was listening to you, and just as you went into the details of what it takes to build out a space. And what ask you a question to which I know the answer, but our listeners don’t. Because I was thinking God, how do you ever not totally burn out? When you do all of this stuff? This is never ending work. And it could eat you alive? Well, how do you figure that one out for yourself?

Evan Snow  28:01

The short end of the question is 37 years old, been single for about eight years now never married? No kids. So I’ve had i Fortunately, I’ve had that time and ability to dedicate myself to this work to the communities supporting the arts. So that’s like the short end of like, how did you have the time and energy to do it now to your point to your question, and as it’s apparently obvious now that you know, so many projects, so many moving pieces for companies, to nonprofits, you know, 20 spaces, I was burning myself, I did burn myself out multiple times over that help one of them I’m going to briefly touch on and mention because it is important and one of them I will tell you the full story on I prioritize self care now, self care in many different ways. You know, sauna massage, my morning routine, psilocybin mushroom journeys that helped me go introspective and reflect on life and help me process some of the most difficult parts of life and thankfully, psilocybin, you know, is becoming more socially acceptable as mental health treatment and not taboo anymore. The real way that I got through the burnout was fortunately, long story short, I was with my nonprofit reef project in in Saloon in Mexico, on the beach in the state park, doing some work working with a partner organization to that was restoring the vacant Lighthouse ruins and we were working on some reef projects with them. We wake up one morning we shoot the sunrise with my drone and my GoPro which was a new hobby at the time. And then when the batteries died, and we were done. My nonprofit partner Shelby Thomas said, I’m going to go walk off to explore these Lighthouse ruins. It was a 10 minute walk each way she needed a few minutes to explore so she was gonna be gone for 30 minutes and her friend was 10 years younger than me they were 25 at the time. I was 35 Brilliant A super nice guy never met before, turned to me and said the words that really changed my life and you just said you want to do some yoga? I said, Sure. And I just jumped right in. We did a couple of down dogs couple sun salutations, and I remember that trip. We were on the go a lot. We went Cancun to loom Cozumel, Playa Del Carmen. I just remember it made me feel so much better. And then long story short, I had just moved into a new building in downtown Fort Lauderdale with the 25th floor wrap around panorama view of the county of the world. And I had a beautiful green space area and the universe place this absolutely beautiful soul that I had known for in the arts district into this building to offer yoga for free. And while while I’m on the beach in Salem, I send a message to this woman Chloe Revell, aka the Gemini rising. And I say there was a girl I just met, she saw I was in Venice magazine, which is a popular magazine down here and we started chatting. I said, Hey, Chloe, could you put a word it good word and for me with this girl, and Chloe said the next words that changed my life. Come to yoga. And obviously enclosing the girl evaporated the yoga stuff. And I started one class two classes a week samples started spending more time with Chloe started engaging Chloe and coaching, developing my mindfulness practices, my daily routines and habits and yoga mindfulness. And now retreats have since changed my life. And I’m forever grateful for yoga, Chloe, and Reed Hamel who just said those words to me on the beach in Tulum, that changed my life.

Achim Nowak  31:46

Those are powerful words. I want to get to now to 2023 to this book, your road called learning to choose. And since I’m a fellow writer, again, you just for us pick apart the title because we know that you obviously chose pardon the pun, to use the word learning. And I feel like you’ve already talked a lot about things that you have been learning. But is there anything else that you want to say about the importance of the word learning and what learning has meant to you?

Evan Snow  32:28

And that’s a good question. And nobody really talks about this, unless you’re like really deep doing the work. But I’m actually been going through a lot of unlearning, which is becoming a little bit more common, socially acceptable thing to discuss, you know, we’re taught so many things, as we grew up, society says, you know, the book says, do it this way, you know, what book is that, you know, you can write your own book, you could pave your own way, I was not a good student growing up, I did not enjoy learning for fun. But when I found things that I became passionate about, which initially started with TED talks, and then a little bit of inspiration from people like Simon Sinek, start with why, you know, Gary Vee, who was preaching entrepreneurship and to pursue your passion, I then found, ultimately, my true calling, and ultimately, things that I was enjoying learning about, that I wanted to just go down the rabbit hole as far as it could go. And now that I’ve learned those things, and taking the pursuit of my passion to a point where I’m able to craft this life that I wanted to live, and doing the work that I want to do that I find rewarding and fulfilling and impactful. Now, I’m helping other people discover not just my story, but really the learning lessons from just seven of the choices that I made as an aspiring creative entrepreneur, to reach my hidden potential, and I want to help other people unlock theirs, because I just stepped a little bit outside my comfort zone, you know, made a couple choices that none of my friends wanted to bake. And God bless that intuition to do that has led me to a life that I never could have imagined for myself. And if that was possible for me, as a Johnny nine to five recruiters sitting at a desk, just listening to TED Talks. I know that’s possible for anybody. And that’s truly, you know, what I’m trying to encapsulate in the book here and with the book tour and speaking opportunities, and so on and so forth.

Achim Nowak  34:37

So I want to talk about you already talked about choice and choosing, and, you know, I’m, I’m a generation older than you. So my choices right now are to do less to reflect more. I know I’m going to choosing to write more books that you have more time to do Go to the beach and do nothing to swim laps in the pool. And I think at different ages, we make different choices, what I’m hearing from you, and I want to hear again, where about where everyone is going 2023 is, you’re gearing up to do a lot more stuff in the service of others. But it’s, again, a lot of just continuing the fast ride you’ve been on. Am I hearing that correctly?

Evan Snow  35:26

It is, I’m being mindful of that my business partner reminds me and I remind him to keep our eyes on the prize we we have set out to achieve certain goals, we do want to bring zero empty spaces to every major metro market in this country and beyond and do have, you know, aspirations and plans to expand internationally, we have other plans and other things that we would like to do when we get more resources in terms of investment, or when we generate enough revenue to scale our organizations so that we can hire and build our teams to work on some of the other things that we would like to work on. But for now, I’m continuing growing zero empty spaces with my business partner, putting the book out there just to try to inspire others and see where that’ll take me. And then I do have hobbies or passion projects interest. As you know, I just returned from my first yoga retreat with Chloe and her, her business rising nature retreats in the island of serifos Greece, which was absolutely life changing experience for me. And I was reawakened on her reawakened retreat. So I’d like to continue going on retreats. And so I’ve caught a little bit of the travel bug being, you know, single, Never married, no kids, allows me to go to the places that I want to go to and see and do. The one thing I will share that I am getting more into, and I’m very, very excited about is we recently fell into the placemaking conversation, and I was fortunate to connect with the leaders of placemaking us and placemaking X, the leader of placemaking acts as father invented placemaking, pretty much Fred Kent, and these gentlemen, Ethan Kent, and Ryan Splore. They’re two of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met. And basically, they’re advancing this movement of not just taking underutilized spaces to make art studios. That’s, you know what we do, but they’re working on projects for, you know, adaptive reuse of, of former warehouses and factories, taking vacant green spaces and making parks and urban farms and working on freeway fights where they’re tearing down underutilized freeways that run through traditionally historical African American communities that just don’t need to be there anymore. And now there’s fights in these communities between the community wanting to take back that soon to be vacant land to make it a park or green space, and the real estate developers wanting to build apartments. So I find this work, which I recently just started diving into, very fascinating. I went on one train trip with Ryan across the rust belt, and visited a bunch of cities that were revitalizing themselves, and just fine, the conversations and dialogue that we’re having. Absolutely fascinating, impactful. And I feel like this is part of my calling to take the learning lessons that I’ve acquired locally here in Broward County and southeast Florida. And now I can apply them to help other communities and allow me to travel and allow me to see and do other things and build new relationships and and ultimately, further my legacy, which is something that is important to me.

Achim Nowak  39:03

It’s so clear to me that you have a strong entrepreneurial streak, because somebody else might listen, go, this sounds really cool, but I just don’t have that drive. And it’s fantastic. It’s one of the many things I appreciate about you. I want to go a little more personal for mom, because you said it several times that conversation is that 137 I’m single I’ve never been married. One of the things that really touched me about you. I remember like it was like one valentine’s day or so a couple years ago. And I remember reading a little note on Facebook where you said, you know, I’m single, but I’m open to being introduced to the right girl. My reaction was like shit. This takes a lot of chutzpah to own that around Valentine’s Day and say, I’m single. I don’t necessarily want to be single. I’m open to it. Do you remember that because it’s too Without for me when I read it, and I went good for you, Evans No, but you want to talk about that moment, because it really captivated me.

Evan Snow  40:10

So my friends are really anybody that I’ve gotten to having some more interpersonal intellectual conversation know that we’re on a continual search for future Mrs. Snow, I don’t know where she is or where she’s been hiding, I really feel and I can tell you that and we, for those you guys who don’t know, we’ve become friends, Kim spoke at creatives. And it’s one of my favorite people. I mean, it’s one of the nicest guys, as you guys know, obviously, if you’re listening to this podcast, but like I said, I feel the universe was protecting me over the last few years that allowed shielded me from getting in the wrong relationship. When I wasn’t far enough. In my journey, when I hadn’t done enough work before I discovered yoga before I discovered meditation of mindfulness that allowed me to develop into the human being that I’ve since developed into organically and authentically the way it was supposed to happen. So I do say, Now, all of the things that didn’t work out for me, really did work out for me, you know, the woman that I got into yoga to chase, she led me down a, a really windy road, that ended up with her ghosting on me, and me running into her and her new boyfriend a month later in the building that we both lived in. And that was, you know, very traumatic, and I’ve had similar situations, which I’ve done a lot of work to find closure on and therapy and the men’s work. And I’m in a conscious men’s circle that meets weekly, that provides a lot of support and workspaces. But I do feel like now where I’m at, I am ready for this right relationship, and this right woman, and I think that it I say all that to say this, that she’s going to manifest herself feature, Mrs. Snow, when the time’s right when the situation is right, maybe, you know, in all reality, I love Broward County, I’m born and raised here, I’ll always have connection here. My parents still live in the house I was born and raised in. But maybe she’s not here in southeast Florida. And maybe she’s in Greece, and maybe she’s in Nicaragua. Well, who knows. But I do appreciate you mentioning that. Because if you do know somebody that’s entrepreneurial, and into the arts and into yoga and into mindfulness, and it’s the psilocybin, and it’s all these things, I would certainly love to beat her if she’s interested.

Achim Nowak  42:24

As I listen to the story, and going in the spirit of your book, your playing field of choice has gotten a lot bigger. So I was thinking Wabo really nice. Now, as we wrap up, if you had a chance to sort of give some guidance and advice to the younger version in Coral Springs in that house, when you were a teenager, to lead them not to change the course of your life. But what’s something you know, now that you have learned along the way that you didn’t know, then? What would you want to say to him?

Evan Snow  42:59

So I recently on the retreat, and serifos, there was a workshop with a speaker named Mary, who works for Microsoft, who’s their chief storyteller. She came on the retreat and led this encoding empathy journaling workshop, where we did this exercise where I did write a letter to a younger version of myself. And I’m not going to read the full letter, because I’ve cried every time I’ve read it. But it was apparent to me to tell them myself, and I’m super transparent about this. This path has not been easy. It has not been fair, it has not been fun. I mean, there are a lot of people that I’ve met, that wanted to meet me, that could have helped, yeah, that should have helped. And they didn’t help. And that caused a lot of bitterness, a lot of jadedness, and I feel in writing this letter to my younger future self, essentially telling myself, you know, you’re gonna get past that, you need to get past that. I wish I would have got past it sooner. I told myself on this letter, when you do a lot of work, there’s going to be more work to do. And I actually just started therapy for the first time in 25 years. So I’m at a point in life now and my journey and my process that I own that I could recognize that I’m so proud of myself. I love myself now, apart thanks to yoga, and Chloe and everybody for the human being that I’ve developed into the amount of work that I have done to get to this point, but I wish I could have minimized some of the negative elements that I harped on that I really unfortunately let shine through and probably pushed me they did push people away. I was a little too transparent at times, that I didn’t need to be in conversations that I didn’t need to Have where people that ultimately made decisions or influence people that made decisions probably didn’t appreciate how vulnerable and transparent I was sharing. And that’s, that’s all good. And that’s the way that it was supposed to happen. But I didn’t need it to happen for as long and drawn out as it did, and it could have saved me a lot of sleepless nights and tears on my pillow.

Achim Nowak  45:24

That was really clear. Thank you, Evan. Now, for folks who want to learn more about you about your book, or want to learn more about how they can support the causes and organizations that you champion, where would you like them to look to, to find and learn more about you.

Evan Snow  45:45

So the book and information on me and can be found at learning to social media as well. On my YouTube page there, I have a couple of talks I’ve recently gave one at Creative Mornings, which was my aha moment where I share my story and another one at the monthly breakfast Lecture Series, mini TED talk that I hold for free every second Friday morning of the month at the Alvin Sherman library on the campus of Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida, which you spoke at previously, man, I still continue to host because it’s the right thing to do, they can find out hearing my story there, I would welcome people to join that event, if they’re local to South Florida every second Friday morning of the month. And then all my links are on my link tree. If you go onto my Instagram, it’s on my website as well, the link tree, you know, because I have a lot of websites, you know, zero spaces, choose five, four, have a lot of YouTube pages. So at summarize it, I encourage people to connect with me on LinkedIn. I try to share thought provoking content, they’re relevant content, I’m an open book, you can email me, you know, Evan, at learning to evidence here. certainly glad to answer if you have an event, you could send the event to choose 954, we’ll do our best to promote and support it. We don’t charge regular people to do that. And then the last one that I want to make a point to mention two brief things. I am people like what they’re hearing and they find a liking the book, I did just decide to launch a virtual book club, that I’m going to host the moderate, not just to discuss the book, but really the learning lessons and the choices that the readers are making, and how that’s impacting their life. And that’s going to be me holding a safe space for people from all over the world doing it virtually to connect and engage. And then if you want to take that one step further, we’re very excited to be relaunching a event that we ran for many years up to COVID, called axon Club, which is a goal setting mini mastermind accountability group, where you come with an idea, a startup passion project, or none of those things. And literally, the brain power of the people in the room at that table, help you smart your goals, make them specific, measurable, action oriented and results driven with the time constraint to help people unlock their hidden potential and pursue whatever they want to pursue if it’s business or if it’s personal. So we’re relaunching that on Tuesday, August the eighth, it’s going to be bi weekly, at a art in Oakland Park. And the book club is going to run concurrently bi weekly, virtually, starting Tuesday, August 15. And I’m glad to do those things. You know, keep providing value, connection and inspiration. I have a meet the author book tour if you’re interested in hearing me in person, glad to speak to organizations, clubs, festivals, conferences, or anybody that wants to hear the story and thinks that they could benefit from you know, making their own choices and unlocking their own potential.

Achim Nowak  48:49

So I invite you all to check out Evans book. Heaven, as your heard is very accessible and He will answer your emails so reach out. And Evan i Even though I know you a little bit, I learned some more stuff about you today as we record this, I’m grateful. So thank you so much for your time. And to be continued. Okay,

Evan Snow  49:12

likewise, thank you, my friend. I appreciate it

Achim Nowak  49:14

by shares. Like what you heard, please go to my fourth And subscribe to receive my updates on upcoming episodes. Please also subscribe to us on the platform of your choice. Rate us give us a review and let us all create some magical fourth acts together. Ciao


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