The Prouty Team

Decades of Dreams

by Kaitlin Hoffman
*Article also appears in The 2020 Q2 Prouty Pulse.
Beyond the walls of the Creative Think Tank and Strategic Leadership Lab is a comfy, living-room type space called the Steinway Studio. Outside of it sits a Steinway & Son’s Spirio Piano — a dream of Jeff’s that came true this past summer. Notes from the La La Land Soundtrack fill the air — Jeff’s favorite Steinway playlist — as Jeff sat across from me.
Time with Jeff is always filled with great laughs, good fun, and valuable insights. This time was no exception. He dreams big, knows no strangers, and has a heart that overflows with generosity. As we enter a new decade, I caught up with Jeff to look back on the past decade, look forward on the new one, and talk about dreams he has for himself, his family, and the firm.
I started by asking Jeff to describe the last decade and new decade in three words:
Last Decade: Fulfilling, STRETCHing, Invigorating.
The stories behind each of last decade’s words were inspired by events like celebrating his dad’s 90th birthday with 28 Prouty’s from around the country, Dairy Queen Blizzards, meeting his first grand puppy, Bluey Vuitton, and sled pushes at Higher Power Training.
The decade was rounded out by a trip to the North Pole with his wife Mary, daughters Paige and Shea, business partner Mike Felmlee, and 10 other STRETCHers (July 2019), AND explorations to Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands with Paige and Shea (December 2019).
And while Jeff’s travels have taken him to a lot of places, his trips to the top and bottom of the world in 2019 were particularly extraordinary. “There is something about passing the point of no return, being greeted by polar bears and penguins, seeing nothing but ice for as far as the eye can see, and having the ability to really stop, think, and reflect.”
Jeff sat down, being interviewed by Kaitlin. Jeff at an indoor training center with members of the Prouty Project before a workout. Jeff in a chefs hat cooking.
New Decade: Significant, Invigorating, Inspiring.
So, what about 2020? This year will be filled with many exciting firsts for Jeff: officiating a wedding, hiking the Tour Du Mont Blanc with friend Chuck Squires, and traveling to Egypt with Paige. By the time this newsletter is published, he will have teamed up with Chef Marshall to cook a South-of-France-inspired meal as the head chef for their friend group’s annual Valentine’s Day dinner — a 12-year tradition that is shared between six couples.
And the decade ahead? In a nutshell, Jeff hopes the next decade is filled with warm-weather adventures with Mary, celebrating life’s milestones with Paige and Shea, trekking in Bhutan, and learning from and sharing ideas with the next generation of leaders in the firm.
In between all of those events, Jeff also has dreams to write a book, summit a 14er in Colorado with the Prouty team, do a vision quest in Vermont, and cover the same ground Ernest Shackleton did back in 1901.
Additionally, Jeff reflected on a few things he would like to stop, start, and continue in the next decade.
Stop — Indulging in so many sweet treats.
Start — Eating cleaner, less processed food.
Continue — Working out with Jason Ivesdal, Dave, Zak, and the rest of the Higher Power Training crew. Jeff hopes to still be working out at 93, and he’s on the right track. In 2019, he completed 233 workouts!
He also wants to continue living and breathing the Prouty Project’s core values — curiosity, adventure, generosity — over the next 10 years and beyond. How?
If you’ve ever been to our office, you have seen the hundreds of books that line the walls. Jeff is a voracious reader. In the new decade, Jeff hopes to continue to grow his curiosity and book collection by reading and learning from influential leaders.
On the adventure side, he loves exploring the unknown of untouched regions. This decade, he’s hoping his travels present him volunteer opportunities in developing countries and the roads less traveled.
Jeff also dreams to spread even more generosity in the next decade by continuing to build the STRETCH Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation as well as make our initial donation to organizations that support kids.
So what? As we move into a new decade, I hope you enter it feeling as inspired and energized as I did after sitting down with Jeff and hearing his hopes and dreams for the new decade. As a firm, we encourage you to think of this new decade as the beginning of anything you want. Dream it. Chase it. Do it.



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