VOL. 1 · JULY 2020
SUCCESS SECRETS BRANDONCWHITE.COM · 320 CENTRAL AVENUE, HALF MOON BAY, CA 94019 · 415-429-1229 HOW 2 PHILLY CHEESESTEAKS CHANGED EVERYTHING My First Date With My Wife, Ivette
People give a lot of credit to entrepreneurs for running their businesses single-handedly. But in my years as a businessman, I’ve realized there’s one person at the entrepreneur’s side who often gets overlooked: their romantic partner. Personally, I’m not sure I’d be sitting where I am today without my wife, Ivette. I might’ve still been an entrepreneur, but my business and my life would be very different without her helping and supporting me every step of the way. I met Ivette largely by chance. Though we both earned our undergrad degrees at Washington College in Maryland, we didn’t date until years later, when I went back to school to get my master’s in psychology. We re-met for the first time in a local bar. I used to meet a friend of mine there on Tuesday nights after class, and one night, Ivette happened to be there, too. She’d stayed in our college town of Chesterfield to work for child services and ended up joining us to raise a glass. I could tell right away that she was very different from me, and that difference was intriguing — we hit it off, and it wasn’t long before we picked a time for our first date. Looking back, I think a lot of those differences came from our childhoods. I grew up in Maryland, mired in an East Coast mindset. It was a very traditional, conservative place, and I always joke that living there was like living in one of the original 13 colonies. I never really felt like I fit in. Ivette, in contrast, grew up in sunny California — a place that I thought of in
terms of Silicon Valley, surfers, and the skateboard scene. She had very different ideas about what life could be like. At age 14, she moved 3,000 miles across the country to boarding school to ride horses. When she told me that, I was floored by how much courage it must have taken! She still has that fierce adventurous spirit, and I’m just as impressed by it as I was on day one. That disparity is probably why when Ivette told me over cheesesteak sandwiches on our first date that she didn’t want kids, it rocked my world. Up until that point, I’d always
Ivette and I took this picture as we walked out the door of our house in Easton, MD, leaving to drive across the country to our new house in Half Moon Bay, CA, after selling our first company.
house in California, and that’s where I’m writing this newsletter from today.
assumed that I’d do what everyone else did: get married, have two kids, teach them how to play lacrosse, and send them to the same high school I went to. When Ivette challenged that norm, it was a pivotal moment for me. It stopped me in my tracks, and I thought, “Wow, maybe there’s more out there.” Dropping that bomb on the first date takes a lot of guts, too. Even though I didn’t really “get” Ivette yet, I knew I wanted to spend my time figuring her out. Twenty-four years later, I like to think I’ve made some headway! We didn’t go the traditional route, but we’re fine with that. It took us 14 years to have our courthouse wedding, and instead of having kids, we ended up with four dogs, a cat, and a rescue horse named Casey. After we sold our first company (which I started on Ivette’s LC 475 computer), we bought a
If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, one of the most important things you can do is find a partner who is on your level. Luckily, Ivette is just as curious and career-driven as I am. She’s very competitive, and she’s never afraid to call me on my b.s., so the bar is very high in our house! Ultimately, I think our relationship has succeeded because we each have our own lives. We trust and respect each other as individuals but recognize that we’re even better together. Every day, we wake up and choose to continue being partners — and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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